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What is Bitcoin?

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

Bitcoin Latest News

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Posted on 18 February 2018 | 8:14 pm

Win bitcoin for buying juice? Only in Australia - CNET


CNET

Win bitcoin for buying juice? Only in Australia
CNET
You thought you had to pay real money for bitcoin? Well you could do that, or you could enter Boost Juice's competition and win a Bitcoin instead. If you live in Australia, that is. The Australian company on Monday announced its latest publicity stuff ...

and more »

Posted on 18 February 2018 | 6:42 pm

Bitcoin Thieves Threaten Real Violence for Virtual Currencies - New York Times


New York Times

Bitcoin Thieves Threaten Real Violence for Virtual Currencies
New York Times
In the beach resort of Phuket, Thailand, last month, the assailants pushed their victim, a young Russian man, into his apartment and kept him there, blindfolded, until he logged onto his computer and transferred about $100,000 worth of Bitcoin to an ...

and more »

Posted on 18 February 2018 | 12:26 pm

Shark Tank's Herjavec Thinks Bitcoin And Blockchain Are 'Here To Stay' - Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)


Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)

Shark Tank's Herjavec Thinks Bitcoin And Blockchain Are 'Here To Stay'
Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
He believes that cryptocurrencies should and will be regulated, and that as firm regulation becomes closer to reality, the price of Bitcoin will continue to speculate but then drop way down. Based on this idea, while maintaining that Bitcoin is around ...
Bitcoin Prices Will Double in 2018: 'Shark Tank' Star Robert HerjavecTheStreet.com

all 2 news articles »

Posted on 18 February 2018 | 11:58 am

Gambling tycoon builds $100m bitcoin-funded Antiguan resort - The Guardian


The Guardian

Gambling tycoon builds $100m bitcoin-funded Antiguan resort
The Guardian
We look forward to working with Mr Ayre on this resort and the many other investments he has made in Antigua.” Ayre, 56, to whom Antigua and Barbuda has given the official title of “his excellency”, said: “This resort will attract a totally new market ...

Posted on 18 February 2018 | 9:54 am

Wall Street Has Solved A Big Problem For Bitcoin - Forbes


Forbes

Wall Street Has Solved A Big Problem For Bitcoin
Forbes
Wall Street has solved a big problem for Bitcoin: market volatility, paving the way for the people's currency to gain broad acceptance among merchants as a medium of exchange. That's a bullish development for the “people's currency.” Starbucks and ...

Posted on 18 February 2018 | 6:31 am

Dogecoin Is Helping Ethereum Solve Its Biggest Issue

Years after it was written off as a joke, dogecoin continues to prove useful, this time factoring into a major ethereum test.

Posted on 18 February 2018 | 3:00 am

64% Of Germans Aware Of Bitcoin, Says IT Association Bitkom - Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)


Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)

64% Of Germans Aware Of Bitcoin, Says IT Association Bitkom
Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
A survey published Feb. 15 by the German Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media (Bitkom), found that just over two thirds of Germans are aware of Bitcoin (BTC). Awareness of the most popular cryptocurrency has ...

Posted on 17 February 2018 | 6:54 pm

The CryptoKitties Competitors: 4 Ethereum Games That Are Catching Up

CryptoKitties may be the best-known ethereum app, but other games are fast winning users and registering notable volumes for expensive collectables.

Posted on 17 February 2018 | 3:00 am

Bitcoin May Have Found A Bottom - Forbes


Forbes

Bitcoin May Have Found A Bottom
Forbes
at least for now Bitcoin appears to have steadied itself · Bitcoin was in a fairly well defined downward sloping channel until a few days ago. Bitcoin hit a high of just under $20,000 in mid-December after increasing about 20x since the beginning of ...

Posted on 16 February 2018 | 11:34 pm

FCC: Bitcoin Miner Interfered With T-Mobile Network

The Federal Communications Commission says a crypto mining rig has caused interference with T-Mobile's LTE network in Brooklyn, New York.

Posted on 16 February 2018 | 3:15 pm

Ellen DeGeneres on Bitcoin: It's 'Either Worth $20K or Nothing'

Ellen DeGeneres says she has learned about bitcoin...but only 'a bit.'

Posted on 16 February 2018 | 11:35 am

Prosecutors Accuse Chicago Trader of $2 Million Crypto Theft

A Chicago trader has been charged with fraud for allegedly misappropriating $2 million in cryptocurrencies from his employer.

Posted on 16 February 2018 | 10:30 am

Swiss Finance Regulator to Treat Some ICO Tokens As Securities

Switzerland's financial regulator has released new guidelines indicating it will treat some initial coin offerings (ICOs) as securities.

Posted on 16 February 2018 | 9:30 am

$10K Again for Bitcoin, But Other Cryptos Outperform

Another week, another spin of the markets. This time, litecoin came out on top with the world's fifth most valuable crypto posting big gains.

Posted on 16 February 2018 | 8:45 am

SEC Suspends 3 Companies Claiming Crypto Connection

The SEC has temporarily halted trading of three companies after comments they made about cryptocurrency and blockchain-related business moves.

Posted on 16 February 2018 | 7:54 am

Munich Security Conference: US government nowhere near ... - CNBC


CNBC

Munich Security Conference: US government nowhere near ...
CNBC
Rob Joyce emphasized the need to better understand the cryptocurrency's risks and benefits before embarking on any sort of regulatory regime.

and more »

Posted on 16 February 2018 | 7:03 am

Silent No More: Ethereum Users Spurn Recovery Code

Community members have taken to Github to express their discontent over a controversial proposal for lost fund recovery.

Posted on 16 February 2018 | 6:05 am

Bitcoin Cash Hits $1.5K Amid Short-Term Bull Reversal

Bitcoin cash has rallied sharply from recent lows, but still remains trapped inside a bearish pattern, price charts indicate.

Posted on 16 February 2018 | 5:00 am

Vitalik Hopes New Ethereum Fund Will Deliver on Hype

A group of notable ethereum startups are partnering to create a new financial fund designed to boost the blockchain's ecosystem.

Posted on 16 February 2018 | 2:00 am

Spanish Government Eyes Tax Benefits for Crypto Companies

Spain's ruling political party is reportedly drafting legislation that it hopes will help woo cryptocurrency and blockchain companies to the country.

Posted on 16 February 2018 | 12:00 am

As Bitcoin Soars, So Do Coinbase Customer Complaints

In recent weeks, Coinbase users have voiced a litany of complaints about the U.S. mega-exchange: missing wires, unreleased bitcoin, disabled accounts.

Posted on 15 February 2018 | 10:00 pm

'Hundreds' of Crypto Miners Said to Be Descending on Quebec

Hydro-Quebec may charge an industry-specific rate to crypto mining farms to deal with overwhelming demand for Quebec's cheap energy resources.

Posted on 15 February 2018 | 8:40 pm

CFTC Advisory Committee Recommends Creation of Virtual Currency Subcommittee

CFTC Advisory Committee Recommends the Creation of a Virtual Currency Subcommittee

On Wednesday, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Committee’s (CFTC) Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) held a public meeting at its Washington, D.C., headquarters. During the meeting, members of the Bitcoin and cryptoasset industry shared information regarding this emerging market and offered guidance on how the CFTC may approach regulating the space in 2018.

Multiple participants in the public hearing made comments to differentiate between different types of cryptoassets and their associated technologies.

Potential regulation around cryptoasset exchanges was also discussed as a potential area for further regulation, as has been noted by regulators worldwide over the past few months.

By the end of the portion of the public hearing dedicated to virtual currencies, the TAC voted unanimously to recommend that the CFTC create a subcommittee for this new asset class.

Differentiating Between Different Types of Cryptoassets

One of the key points made by those who were invited to speak about the cryptoasset industry was that all of these tokens or coins should not necessarily be treated equally. For example, during his opening remarks, Coin Center Executive Director Jerry Brito discussed the differences between traditional cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, and initial coin offerings (ICOs).

“Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are commodities, of course, as the SEC has previously [said].  Questions remain however about the borders [around] these categories and about how one can responsibly share tokens to future investors,” noted Brito.

Special Counsel Gary DeWaal of Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP went on to discuss the often-mentioned Howey Test and how it helps determine which types of tokens are securities under U.S. law. In DeWaal’s view, the CFTC could offer assistance in differentiating between commodities and securities in the cryptoasset market.

“Ultimately there has to be some clarification. The distinction between a commodity, the distinction between a security, may seem (from a common sense perspective) clear, but there are very, very important issues around those that I think this committee could very much [help clarify],” said DeWaal.

Notably, DeWaal also pointed out that cryptoassets are “critical” to decentralized ledgers.

“They are the mechanism in proof-of-work blockchains where miners are rewarded: In proof-of-state blockchains where fees are paid, these are the ways you incentivize folks to keep the system together. If you’re only talking about centralized ledgers, sure, you don’t need to worry about coins,” DeWaal added.

Regulation of Cryptoasset Exchanges

RGM Advisors’ chief executive, Richard Gorelick, also made an appearance at the CFTC’s public hearing, and he focused on the market structure of cryptoassets during his brief opening presentation (PDF). Gorelick was one of the only people in the room who referred to the subject at hand in terms of “cryptoassets” rather than “cryptocurrencies” or “virtual currencies.”

One of the key areas of focus for Gorelick during his presentation was the problems associated with current cryptoasset exchanges. More specifically, Gorelick discussed the issues associated with connectivity of liquidity between global exchanges.

“Generally speaking, I think trading on these [exchanges] can be challenging, particularly if your goal is to trade across multiple spot exchanges. It’s difficult to weave liquidity across exchanges and jurisdictions due to a number of factors,” noted Gorelick.

Some of the factors limiting the movement of funds between various exchanges pointed out by Gorelick include:

  • Technology
  • Concerns about deceptive trading
  • Lack of standard best practices
  • The fickle nature of banking relationships
  • Capital inefficiency
  • Security and transparency
  • The slow speed at which money and assets can move in and out

In the face of these issues found on cryptoasset exchanges, Gorelick hit on the large scale of the over-the-counter (OTC) markets.

Representatives from LedgerX and CME also provided updates on the state of the Bitcoin futures market later in the public hearing.

After gathering information from representatives of the cryptoasset industry and asking questions, the TAC voted unanimously to recommend that the CFTC create a new subcommittee focused on virtual currencies.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 15 February 2018 | 2:32 pm

Cryptocurrency Exchange’s $170 Million Nano Coin Loss Sparks Outrage

Cryptocurrency Exchange’s $170 Million Nano Coin Loss Sparks Outrage

On Friday, February 9, 2018, Italian cryptocurrency exchange BitGrail announced that “internal checks revealed unauthorized transactions which led to a 17 million Nano [XRB] shortfall, an amount forming part of the wallet managed by BitGrail.” The shortfall when reported was allegedly worth $170 million and has presumably rendered BitGrail insolvent, despite the fact that the other wallets and currencies that the exchange has were purportedly untouched.

The 9:30 p.m. UTC announcement by the Florence-based exchange gives some cause for circumspection. The founder of the exchange, Francesco “The Bomber” Firano, fired off salvos on Twitter in defense of the loss. His defense rang hollow for BitGrail customers, however, as Firano had noted the problem a day prior but withheld disclosure to authorities, users and the public while trying to work through the issue with the Nano team.

The “Hack”?

When news of the lost coins broke, BitGrail released a statement citing “unauthorized transactions” that were later confirmed by Firano to be the result of a hack. However, it appears many users have taken to Twitter to accuse Firano and BitGrail of committing fraud, with some positing that withdrawals have been severely limited on the exchange for months across multiple coins while transaction fees had increased. The coins lost represent approximately 14 percent of the total outstanding value of Nano mined.

However, there is some dispute (discussed below) on what actually caused the loss of coins. Whether it was an error in the BitGrail system, a planned exit scam or a hack from outsiders, taking or keeping the ill-gotten tokens seems ill-advised. The percentage of coins taken represents five times the current daily trading volume of Nano and would require careful offloading to avoid driving the price down by selling the coins.

Any scenario in which those lost coins could be dumped prior to the Nano coin gaining greater stability and trading volume forecasts a tumultuous time for the Nano team.

Nano Coin

The Nano coin, previously known as RaiBlocks, is a coin with a low level of liquidity that only trades on a few exchanges, (previously) including BitGrail. At the time of this writing, CoinMarketCap lists the volume for the coin at $34 million over the trailing 24 hours. The XRB coin has spiked as high as $31.14 on January 2, 2018, and currently sits at $9.75. Nano hosted its first Meetup on February 6, 2018, and launched its iOS wallet in beta on February 5, 2018.

BitGrail vs. Nano

Relations between the coin and the exchange disintegrated over the weekend with Firano accusing the Nano team of libel and threatening to call the police “for irresponsible behavior,” while Nano retaliated in a “tell all” Medium post. In a de-evolution of relations, Nano core team member Zack Shapiro (in a deleted tweet to user @jsmoove08) defended BitGrail a day prior to the exchange’s announcement.

nano twitter

The Nano team issued this announcement in response to the news. The team started with:

From our own preliminary investigation, no double spending was detected on the ledger and we have no reason to believe the loss was due to an issue in the Nano protocol. The problems appear to be related to BitGrail’s software. We had no knowledge of BitGrail’s insolvency prior to February 8th.

It concluded with this accusation:

We now have sufficient reason to believe that Firano has been misleading the Nano Core Team and the community regarding the solvency of the BitGrail exchange for a significant period of time.

Reactions from Firano were expectedly harsh, including one tweet where he stated:  

In the wake of the unfounded accusations made against me by the dev team and of the dissemination of private conversations that compromise police investigations, BitGrail s.r.l. is forced to contact the police in order to protect its rights and users.

It should be noted that the Nano team relayed through its Medium post that they would “not be responding to individual posts or accusations by Firano regarding this situation.”

As BitGrail was one of the few exchanges that had been accepting Nano, the coin is now facing trading volume declines, down from the $50 million reported by the Wall Street Journal on February 10, 2018.

Nano also linked a pdf of a private conversation between Firano and Nano core team members Shapiro and Colin LeMahieu. The chat shows Firano’s insistence that the loss of Nano was due to an issue with corrupted time/date stamps of the errant transactions and suggested the fault lay with Nano as non-Nano wallets remained intact. Shapiro and LeMahieu disputed this claim. Firano also asked if the stolen coins could be forked in order to recover the “stolen” Nano from the burned address. The dev team refused to acknowledge a fork as a possible solution.

Firano stated in the chat that he first noticed the bug eight hours prior to the conversation with Shapiro and LeMahieu. Shapiro challenged Firano’s timeline, asking, “If withdrawals have been closed for the last month, how did you not notice this? Someone with[sic] allegedly withdrawing for weeks according to you via this ‘hack.’”

Social Media Reacts

Users on social media seem to have sided with Nano on events, accepting the narrative that a bug in the javascript for the client-side interface allowed for wallets to withdrawal more coins than they had on the exchange. Others, though, were just as furious with the Nano dev team for supporting BitGrail in the weeks leading up to the loss of funds.

Regardless of fault, the turmoil caused by the loss of $170 million worth of Nano on the BitGrail exchange has left both the exchange and the dev team faced with accusations, angry customers and little recourse for those affected.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 13 February 2018 | 7:58 am

Space Decentral: Using Blockchain Tech to Democratize Space

Space Decentral: Using Blockchain Tech to Democratize Space

Renowned scientist Stephen Hawking recently called for a concerted effort to launch humans into space saying:

To leave Earth demands a concerted global approach, everyone should join in. We need to rekindle the excitement of the early days of space travel in the ‘60s.”

While NASA and Tesla are already well established in the game, Space Decentral, founded by international Space Cooperative, is staking its claim in outer space and all that’s in it. Using the latest blockchain technology to launch a social network, they’re on a mission to democratize space by crowdsourcing information and crowdfunding citizen-powered space travel.

As interest in space travel grows worldwide, an international group of scientists, engineers, architects, futurists, artists and software developers including former and current NASA employees is working collaboratively to share the latest scientific research and help crowdfund projects that lack government funding.

According to Space Decentral advisor Dr. Paolo Tasca, Executive Director of the Centre for Blockchain Technologies at University College London (UCL):

“It's a global space research lab where individuals and organizations can contribute knowledge and pool intellectual property in an open manner and where revenue can be fairly shared among contributors."

"This is a massive project that will require the presence of hundreds of scientists, engineers and innovators,” he adds.

Space Decentral hopes to leverage some of the current development work under way in the Ethereum community to produce an open-source toolbox to collaboratively design space missions.

"Space technology and Earth technology go hand in hand we need to utilize systems thinking to solve problems in parallel,” said Yalda Mousavinia, Space Decentral co-founder, referring to blockchain technology and distributed engineering.

Faster Than Light: A Utility Coin?

Offering their Faster Than Light coin (FTLcoin), Space Decentral is planning an ICO to raise at least $10 million with a maximum goal of $35 million, as soon as the membership has approved its final white paper (due at the end of February 2018).

In an interview with Bitcoin Magazine, Mousavinia acknowledges that this first ICO will only fund the initial setup and there will need to be subsequent ICOs as projects are approved. She notes:

“The goal is to fund the technological infrastructure, such as decentralized collaboration tools and smart contracts that will make the process for operating a space DAO more efficient.”

They hope to sell internationally and within the U.S., where they will write the SEC to ask that their FTLcoin be considered a utility coin and not a security.

“We are in the process of writing a letter to the SEC that makes our case for why we believe it is a utility token. What we are really trying to do here is create a community where people want to purchase the token to actually have a voice on humanity's future in space this isn't a pump-and-dump ICO,” says Mousavinia.

Building an Aragon DApp

Space Decentral’s governance and operations will be mediated by smart contracts, using Aragon, an organization that builds DApps on the Ethereum blockchain to help new startups securely manage their organization and governance.

“We’re building our organization on top of Aragon’s governance and decision-making infrastructure. Aragon's refactored DApp goes live on testnet this month and it’ll be rigorously tested,” says Mousavinia.

“We are looking into using Giveth's minime smart contract for the token sale. This smart contract has been used by both Aragon and Status and has had several security audits. Additionally, we are thinking about using the Gnosis multisig as the initial wallet.”

Evolving Into a DAO

The founding team is currently managing and directing Space Decentral, but their goal is to be replaced by a decentralized voting process and regular community meetings of all their members.

“We envision Space Decentral as a vehicle for humanity’s interest in space exploration, and recognize that it must be fully autonomous in order for it to truly serve that purpose,” Mousavinia said.

Mousavinia recognizes that the transition will be challenging as the team has so far set priorities and has already developed proposed space missions like Martian Spring and Lunar Odyssey.

The goal is to connect multiple organizations while making it easy and transparent for individuals to collaborate without any organizational affiliation and incentivize involvement by rewarding contributors adequately and giving them a voice. 

Space Decentral is laying out a roadmap to give potential investors assurances that the team is in it for the long haul.

Mousavinia explained:

“We plan on creating milestone-based smart contracts, such that there will be separate tranches of funding that are activated once different aspects of the technical roadmap or community development is accomplished. These full details are still being worked out and will be described more in the full white paper.

She added that the team is determining a timeline which will give the DAO ultimate approval on the yearly budget. “A mutual understanding will be developed on the best way to monitor funds that provides transparency in addition to room for experimentation as needed.”

"We all need to take the long view and work together to create the system that sustainably makes humans a true spacefaring species,” said Space Decentral co-founder and former NASA engineer, Dr. Marc M. Cohen, a member of the core team that is designing the DAO.

“We may not complete the effort in our lifetime, but we have an obligation to humanity to begin.” 


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 13 February 2018 | 7:53 am

The Electrum Personal Server Will Give Users the Full Node Security They Need

The Electrum Personal Server Will Give Users the Full Node Security They Need

The Electrum Personal Server promises a resource-efficient, secure and private way to use bitcoin with hardware and software wallets, connected to full nodes. Developed by open-source programmer Christian Belcher, best known for his contributions to JoinMarket, the Electrum Personal Server directly addresses vulnerabilities with the popular Electrum Bitcoin wallet, while sparing users the significant resource usage of an Electrum server.

According to Belcher, connecting Electrum with the Electrum Personal Server is the most resource-efficient, secure and private way to use a hardware or software wallet connected to a full node. It is important for all users to connect their wallets to full nodes for the Bitcoin network to maintain long-term security, he maintains.

“If bitcoin is digital gold, then a full node wallet is your own personal goldsmith who checks for you that received payments are genuine,” explained Belcher in correspondence with Bitcoin Magazine.

Full Nodes vs. Thin Clients Refresher

In the Bitcoin blockchain, full nodes are programs that validate transactions and blocks on the network. Full nodes assist the network by accepting transactions and blocks from other full nodes, validating them and sharing them with other full nodes. Essentially, full nodes are the referees of the Bitcoin blockchain –– they check to see that chains are following the rules of the network and ignore chains who break them. As an example, Belcher noted that “[transactions] printing infinite money would be rejected by [full nodes] as if they never existed.” In this way, Bitcoin can ensure that no more than 21 million coins are ever minted.

While full nodes are the most secure, they are are also more resource-intensive. A full node takes up around 156 GB of disk space (a number which is growing by more than 50 GB per year), can take days to sync when used for the first time, requires significant amount of bandwidth each month, and takes up CPU power validating all transactions and blocks on the network.

Thin clients (also known as lightweight clients), however, do not download the entire Bitcoin blockchain. Instead, they only download a copy of all the headers for the blocks in the blockchain. Thin clients are able to achieve increased efficiency and speed by receiving notifications when a transaction affects their wallet specifically. But this does mean that thin clients must tell a third party which addresses belong to them, which is bad for privacy. Additionally, thin clients trade full validation and security for efficiency, placing their trust in full nodes to verify that rules are being followed on the Bitcoin blockchain.

Electrum

Since 2011, the Electrum wallet –– a light client –– has been among the community favorites. It features a pleasant user interface, hardware wallet connectivity, “forgiving” seed recovery phrases, cold storage solutions, decentralized servers to prevent downtimes, and multi-sig permissions. However, similar to other thin clients, the Electrum wallet’s lightweight connection with the Bitcoin blockchain comes at the cost of privacy, validity and scalability.

By default, the Electrum wallet sends all its bitcoin addresses to an Electrum server, which sends back a user’s history and balance. According to Belcher, “This means that the Electrum server knows all the user’s bitcoin addresses and could spy on them, essentially seeing everything a user does.” Users should note that anytime their bitcoin addresses are stored on a thin-client server, their transactions can be monitored.

Like other thin clients, if Electrum servers do not properly verify the rules of the Bitcoin blockchain, wallets can be deceived. For example, a compromised Electrum server could lead the Electrum wallet to accept a fake transaction for USD $1000 worth of bitcoin that would not have been validated by a full node.

Electrum servers also store records of every address ever used on the Bitcoin network, which, as user-base increases, poses a hindrance to scalability.

In the Electrum ecosystem, the only way for a user to avoid these vulnerabilities inherent to the Electrum thin client is to run their own Electrum server and connect it to their wallet. This fix is more resource-intensive than running a Bitcoin full node; it requires the unpruned Bitcoin blockchain, the full transaction index and extra address index. Electrum Servers are also more RAM and CPU intensive than full nodes, and are not made to be turned on and off efficiently.

Electrum Personal Server Solution

The Electrum Personal Server provides bitcoin users with increased efficiency, security and privacy. In this implementation of the Electrum server protocol, users seeking a full node connection can interact with all traditional Electrum wallet features while running a Bitcoin full node, instead of downloading an Electrum server.

Efficiency

From an efficiency perspective, connecting an Electrum wallet to a full node allows users to take advantage of resource-saving Bitcoin Core features such as pruning, disabled txindex and blocksonly. These features are not available to an Electrum server.

Users also benefit from the traditional Electrum wallet user experience/user interface and functionality such as hardware wallet integration, offline signing, recovery phrases and multi-signature wallets.

Security and Privacy

Because users are connected to a full node, they aren’t prone to any of the aforementioned privacy and security threats posed to thin clients.

There is a caveat –– users lose the popular “instant-on” feature of the Electrum wallet when using a full node such as the Electrum Personal Server. The full node must synchronize first, before displaying a wallet’s bitcoin balance. Depending on connection speeds and time since last connectivity, this process could take a few minutes or hours.

For users seeking to connect their wallet to an Electrum Personal Server, the process is fairly straightforward. According to Belcher’s blog post, users must:

  1. Download the alpha version;
  2. Configure the Electrum Personal server with their master public key. Those addresses are then imported into Bitcoin Core as watch-only;
  3. Rescan the wallet if it contains historical transactions. There is no need to rescan, however, if a new, empty wallet is created.

Why Should the Average Bitcoin User Care?

Belcher outlined that since the inception of the Bitcoin network, the basic security model has relied on most of the economy using full node wallets, not thin clients that are vulnerable to manipulation. This way, legitimate Bitcoin transactions are always accurately verified, nefarious transactions are always rejected, and the hard limit of 21 million bitcoins (which are really just bits and bytes) is enforced.

Belcher believes that “bitcoin is dead in the long term” if most of the Bitcoin economy does not use full node wallets.

He hopes that the Electrum Personal Server can serve as a framework for other lightweight Bitcoin wallets to connect to full nodes run by users, rather than (centralized) servers. For instance, a Samourai Wallet or Breadwallet can utilize a script similar to the Electrum Personal Server to connect to a full node.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 12 February 2018 | 3:21 pm

Hong Kong Regulators Send Warnings to Non-Compliant Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Hong Kong Regulators Send Warnings to Non-Compliant Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Regulators in Hong Kong have issued a strict warning to exchanges doing business with Chinese customers about trading tokens deemed as securities.

In an announcement today, Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) said it has sent letters to seven Hong Kong exchanges and firms attempting to fundraise through initial coin offerings (ICOs), warning them about the legalities of selling digital tokens with the characteristics of securities. Most of those receiving the letter confirmed compliance with the SFC's regulatory regime or delisted tokens in question.

The agency said it had been receiving complaints from Chinese citizens about market manipulation on exchanges. Some said they were unable to withdraw funds and reported significant losses due to “technical breakdowns” on exchanges.

"We will continue to police the market and enforce when necessary," SFC CEO Ashley Alder said in a statement. "But we are also urging market professionals to do proper gatekeeping to prevent frauds or dubious fundraising and to assist us in ensuring compliance with the law."

The agency also cautioned investors about the risks involved in trading cryptocurrencies, including price volatility, theft and fraud, and the difficulty of recovering losses.

"If investors cannot fully understand the risks of cryptocurrencies and ICOs or they are not prepared for a significant loss, they should not invest," said Julia Leung, executive director of intermediaries at SFC. "Investors who store their fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies with unregulated cryptocurrency exchanges should be aware of the risks of hacking and misappropriation of assets."

The SFC issued two prior warnings to exchanges, one in September and other in December, about selling bitcoin futures.

Today’s statement follows a denial by Hong Kong–based exchange Binance, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, that it had been hacked after it suspended trading on Thursday. The company blamed the suspension on a prolonged system upgrade.

Regulators in Europe and in the U.S. are coming down on fraud in the space. Earlier this week, representatives of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) spoke before the Senate Banking Committee about future cryptocurrency regulations. And recently, several U.S. banks banned customers from using credit cards to buy digital currencies on exchanges.  

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

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February 18, 2018 -
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