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Thursday, 31 January 2019

SAFE Crossroads #51, SAFE Network Fundamentals, Part 1, with David Irvine and Viv Rajkumar

I had the honor of a 2+ hour conversation with the two people most familiar with all aspects of the SAFE Network, MaidSAFE's Founder and CEO, David Irvine and CTO, Viv Rajkumar.

To guide our discussion we focused on the 21 Fundamentals of the SAFE Network as linked below. We had a very far-ranging discussion from high to medium altitude, touching on all aspects of the whats and whys that make this project so unique and far-reaching.


Safe Crossroads Beta, an original piece composed and performed by Nicholas Koteskey of Two Faced Heroes


The Fundamentals of the SAFE Network

SAFE Network Forum

Safecoin: The Best Think to Do is Just Forget About It --Article

SAFE Network School --A SAFE Crossroads Series

via The Let's Talk Bitcoin Network

IBM Completes Blockchain Trial Tracking a 28-Ton Shipment of Oranges

IBM has completed a trial of blockchain technology to track a shipment of mandarin oranges from China to Singapore ahead of Lunar New Year celebrations.

via CoinDesk

Fidelity Says Its Crypto Trading and Storage Platform Is in ‘Final Testing’

Fidelity Digital Asset Services is in its "final testing" phase, the company said in a blog post Thursday.

via CoinDesk

Crypto Exchange QuadrigaCX Files for Creditor Protection

The QuadrigaCX exchange says it's been "attempting to locate and secure our very significant cryptocurrency reserves held in cold wallets," unsuccessfully.

via CoinDesk

Chainalysis: Darknet Market Activity Nearly Doubled Throughout 2018


Darknet markets are going as strong as ever, if Chainalysis data is to be believed.

In its latest Crypto Crime Report, published earlier this week, blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis reports that darknet market activity has nearly doubled throughout 2018. After a slump in late 2017 and early 2018 due to the closure of two major online marketplaces for illicit activity — AlphaBay and Hansa — volume has since almost completely recovered to early-2017’s all-time high levels, surpassing $600 million worth of bitcoin for the year.

“Law enforcement has been working hard to stop illicit activity on darknet markets, and there have been some notable successes like the closure of AlphaBay,” the report notes. “Overall, these markets continue to thrive, however, as participants simply move their business to other platforms and technologies.”


Darknet markets, the online market places for illicit goods and services that operate on hidden services and use bitcoin (and sometimes altcoins like litecoin and monero) for payments, have been around in their current form since 2011, when Ross Ulbricht founded Silk Road.

Although this pioneering darknet market was shut down by law enforcement in 2013, others have since taken its place. What’s more, the size and volume of these markets have only grown over the years. According to Chainalysis data, trading volume at identified darknet markets was over $700 million dollars worth in 2017 — where Silk Road never accounted for more than $200 million a year.


The Silk Road’s biggest and best-known successor, other than Silk Road 2.0, may have been AlphaBay, with Hansa following closely behind. In the summer of 2017, both AlphaBay and Hansa joined in Silk Road’s fate, however, and were closed down by law enforcement. Silk Road 2.0 had already been shut down in 2014.

Yet, once again, in the greater scheme of countering darknet markets, this only proved to be a stop-gap solution. In what Chainalysis describes as “playing whack-a-mole with darknet markets,” alternative and new platforms took the place of the old, and after an initial drop, overall trading volume rebounded as well. Throughout 2018, this totaled over $600 million, Chainalysis estimates, with more than $2 million a day toward the end of the year.

“Darknet market activity has been remarkably resilient over the last few years, despite continued efforts by law enforcement to shut down illicit activities,” Chainalysis writes in its report. “When one darknet market closes, others pop up to take its place.”

Chainalysis points to the Russian-language Hydra as one of the main successors of AlphaBay, which has doubled its activity since the latter was closed in 2017. Other major darknet markets that are active today include Dream Market and Wall Street Market.

Bitcoin and Darknet Markets

While bitcoin is still the currency of choice on most darknet markets, Chainalysis does believe that this type of activity has come to constitute a much smaller share of total bitcoin usage over time. While up to 7 percent of transacted bitcoin value in 2012 and 2013 — the peak of the Silk Road — was related to darknet markets, this is now well below 1 percent, Chainalysis estimates.

The blockchain data analytics firm also found that the bitcoin price has little effect on its use for these kinds of illicit activities.

“Darknet market activity is relatively price inelastic; that is, you don’t see a drop in this type of activity when cryptocurrency prices fall. In fact, in 2018, when Bitcoin volumes dropped by 78%, darknet market activity nearly doubled,” the report notes.

This inelasticity is in large part because users of these markets often merely use bitcoin as a vehicle to move value around — not for speculative purposes. Consumers buy bitcoin with fiat currency on one end of the trade, and dealers sell the bitcoin for fiat currency on the other. Indeed, Chainalysis found that more funds were flowing to darknet markets toward the end of the week (as buyers move to purchase goods), while dealers generally move their bitcoin out on Mondays to cash in their proceeds.

CA cash out.png

Finally, Chainalysis describes how, as law enforcement is getting better at shutting down darknet markets, a new and potentially even more resilient model for darknet market activity is emerging. Moving away from centralized platforms, the analytics firm reports that an increasing amount of trading is taking place on encrypted messaging apps.

“Top law enforcement officials tell us that criminals are migrating increasingly to encrypted messaging apps including Telegram and WhatsApp to execute illegal transactions. When conducted through these apps, transaction activity is decentralized and person-to-person; there’s little risk that law enforcement will shut down the entire network by closing a website,” the report reads.

You can download the Chainalysis report here.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

via Bitcoin Magazine

Zebpay Continues European Expansion, Launches EU-Wide Trading Tournament


Cryptocurrency exchange Zebpay is opening new offices in five European countries, increasing its presence on the continent to 26 countries.

Launched in 2011 in India, Zebpay grew into one of the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges before shuttering its operation in September 2018, due to the crypto ban in the country. Now, the exchange operates out of Singapore, and today’s expansion will make it available for users in Spain, Romania, Slovakia, Liechtenstein and Lithuania.

The exchange is also running a European trading competition which will debut today, February 1, 2019. The tournament will be used by the crypto platform to identify and reward expert traders in Europe. In part, the competition is a cheers to Zebpay’s expansion, but the self-proclaimed “new member of the European crypto community” said it’s also in a bid “to build a relationship with the crypto trading community and show why over 3 million consumers worldwide trust and enjoy using Zebpay."

Ajeet Khurana, CEO of Zebpay, spoke with Bitcoin Magazine about the expansion. He said, “As we continue to expand into new territories, we want to build strong relationships with crypto communities, enthusiasts and traders in existing ecosystems. Our platform is battle tested with millions of users (many of whom are new to the space) with incident free handling of billions worth of assets. We can’t wait to see how the new countries that we’ve expanded to interact with our platform.”

“As on today we serve most of the EU countries and have also started accepting customers from across the globe including South America and Asia,” he added.

The trading competition will be open to all European countries where Zebpay’s services are available, including the five countries that are now available today.

“The goal of this competition is to encourage healthy competition amongst traders and for new traders to get a taste of the Zebpay platform,” Khurana told Bitcoin Magazine.

The exchange will select 50 participants randomly to compete in a trading challenge. Each participant will get €1,000 to trade with on the platform for 30 days. There will be a public leaderboard, where traders can monitor their progress on the platform and a 24/7 support team will be available to help participants every step of the way.

At the end of the competition, the top 10 traders will keep the balance in their account. Those who don't make the cut will get a reward of €100 for participating in the tournament.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

via Bitcoin Magazine

The Third Web #14 - Dawn of an Ecosystem: Substrate & Polkadot

Care of DFINITY I was privileged to attend the Web 3 Summit in Berlin last year. While there I interviewed Aeron Buchanan, the Executive Vice President of the Web 3 Foundation and Gavin Wood, Founder of Ethereum, Parity, and the Web 3 Foundation. These guys are two of the individuals that launched the programmable blockchain revolution and these interviews plot a course from the founding of Ethereum to their vision of the decentralized web and give us a trajectory beyond.A quick production note. These interviews were filmed in the style of the other filmed interviews on The Third Web, unfortunately the footage was lost to a dead macbook leaving only the audio. As I usually cut myself out of the filmed interviews my contribution is less geared for production.

Visit , for more information

Aeron BuchananExecutive vice president of Web 3 FoundationMasters in Computer science with a focus on engineering at OxfordWorked in filmThen completed a PHD in computer visionBecame algorytm designer

Tell us about your time at EthereumEthereum was initial excitingWent from raising interest to actually delivering and things changed a lotAareon ran most of Eth DevVery stressful

Was Ming Chan hard to work with?Came laterEventually delivery of Ethereum was on course.A CEO or COO type role was needed.Eth foundation was not doing much at the time.The plan was to transition EthDev responsibilities to foundationAfter a worldwide search Vitalik chose Ming ChanAeron transitioned out shortly thereafter

Web 3 FoundationDrives the development and deployment of polkadot.Parity is building the rust implementationThe runtime of polkadot is Parity's Substrate.

What is Web 3?Web 3 is different things to different people.To The Web 3 foundation Web 3 is the deentralized web.The Web 3 foundation aims to map out and build the technologies needed.

This seems very blockchain focussedYes, and polkadot is blockchain platformThe blockchain platform part is only part.There needs to be a large number of other components to build the decentralized web

How do you build decentralised messaging and storage?We are leaving that to others like IPFS.Proof of replication is something that people who looked at proof of storafge instead of proof of work overlooked.Whisper and Secure scuttlebutt are interesting optionsCoordination can happen on the blockchain but messaging on the blockchain is a non-starter.

When will all this stuff come together to make ausable platform?We are not yet at a stage of maturity.The technologists building all of this know we are not at the end yet.We started with scriptingMoved to scalability, reputation, messaging & everything else. We are not yet through the checklist.Polkadot takes us 95% of the way to scalabilityThe next one is reputation. No clear solution yet.

Whats the challenge with reputation?Proposals look at the result rather than the approach.Reputation is different in different contexts.There must not be an originator. Reputation must be decentralized.

Gavin WoodFounded EthereumFounded ParityFounded Web 3 FoundationLead of Polkadot.

You are also working on something called Substrate . . .Parity's gift to the blockchain building community.Geared to creating new chains easily.A turbocharger for blockchain development.Moduralized toolkit.PoS mechanisms, DAOs, balances, governance & voting mechanisms.It is as if departments of a nation state. Parity are building the templated for those departments.The biggest advancement is the ability to upgrade itselfBased on WebAssemblyRun as a blockchain engineThe blockchain's code under substrate is compiled into Wasm.

How do you upgrade?There is a state transition function that describes how the ledger changes from one block to another.In the past it only applied to smart contracts and balancesIn Substrate the blockchain stores consensus information and a blob of Wasm code that stores the blockchain protocol.The transition function uses this to determine how transition should occur.The blob can alter everything and the blob itself can be updated.

What is the importance of these kind of systems for defending personal freedom?When the internet began, the user was free. - No man born into chains.This is no longer the case. Today we need to know who, why and how we are being controled or manipulated.We know the who - Corporate interests.The why is more comp;icated - to make more money, but increasingly to capture more data for other purposes - learning, prediction, targeted advertising, memetic feedback loops, political manipulation.

How do you prevent that?Think how are they doing this?It comes down to centralizationThe fewer organisations that are used to access data and the less the individual control, the more they are able to control.We avoid this by reducing our exposure to these central points of control.We live in an economic world. This is fine on an individual level, but bad on a national scale.We need to restrict nexuses of power and make sure that power is transparent.This is what we are trying to engineer with these components of Web 3

via The Let's Talk Bitcoin Network

Cboe Resubmits the VanEck/SolidX Bitcoin ETF Proposal for SEC Approval

Cboe has re-filed the VanEck/SolidX bitcoin ETF proposal, which it previously withdrew due to the U.S. government shutdown.

via CoinDesk

Prime Trust Undercuts Rivals in Crypto Custody Race

Prime Trust has eliminated its fees for storing digital assets such as bitcoin, ether and Stellar lumens, in a move the custodian called an industry first.

via CoinDesk

NYDFS Grants BitLicense to Third Bitcoin ATM Operator

NYDFS has granted a third bitcoin ATM operator a BitLicense Thursday, with Cottonwood Vending LLC becoming the latest recipient.

via CoinDesk

Germany’s No.2 Stock Exchange Launches Mobile App for Crypto Trading

Stock exchange operator Boerse Stuttgart Group has launched a mobile app for German cryptocurrency traders.

via CoinDesk

A New Test Network Just Activated and Ethereum 2.0 Will Be Using It

Launched today, the Görli test network represents a small step on the long road to solving ethereum's scaling challenges.

via CoinDesk

Pantera, Coinbase Join $4.5 Million Round for Staking-as-a-Service Startup

Pantera Capital and Coinbase Ventures have joined a $4.5 million round for Staked, a firm that helps investors back proof-of-stake cryptos.

via CoinDesk

Blockchain Capital Leads $1.7 Million Round for Crypto Compliance Startup

Venture capital firm Blockchain Capital has led a $1.7 million seed round for San Francisco-based crypto compliance startup TRM Labs.

via CoinDesk

Binance Users Can Now Pay for Crypto With Credit Cards

Top crypto exchange Binance now lets customers purchase some cryptocurrencies using Visa and Mastercard credit cards.

via CoinDesk

February Is Often Good for Bitcoin Prices, Will History Repeat in 2019?

Bitcoin could end its four-year February winning streak unless prices see a strong bounce from key support.

via CoinDesk

South Korea Will Maintain ICO Ban After Finding Token Projects Broke Rules

South Korea has decided not to lift its ban on domestic initial coin offerings after a watchdog's survey found projects have been violating rules.

via CoinDesk

IOTA: Almost All Tokens From $11 Million Hack Have Been Found

Almost all of roughly $11 million-worth of iota tokens alleged to have been stolen by an individual from Oxford, UK, have been found. IOTA co-founder and board co-chairman Dominik Schiener told Reuters that the funds are currently being held as evidence in a police investigation. As reported on Jan. 24, a Europol-coordinated effort involving British and […]

via CoinDesk

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

NEM Foundation, on Brink of Bankruptcy, Plans Layoffs and Pivot

NEM Foundation president Alex Tinsman is hoping a more disciplined approach can save the community-driven nonprofit behind the world's 18th largest cryptocurrency.

via CoinDesk

Corrections: January 31, 2019

By Unknown Author via NYT Corrections

A Bitcoin-Backed Stablecoin Has Launched on the Ethereum Blockchain

Wrapped BTC (WBTC), an ERC-20 ethereum token collateralized 1-to-1 with bitcoin, is officially live, with about $250,000 worth in circulation.

via CoinDesk

Bitcoin 2019: A Peer-to-Peer Conference for the Whole Bitcoin Community

Bitcoin 2019: A Peer-to-Peer Conference for the Whole Bitcoin Community

The first major Bitcoin conference, Bitcoin 2013, was held in San Jose, California. Organized by the Bitcoin Foundation, it was centered on Bitcoin specifically and the more pragmatic issues that Bitcoin was trying to solve, particularly in the areas of Bitcoin technology, Bitcoin mining, Bitcoin business and regulatory issues.

Writing for Bitcoin Magazine at the time, Vitalik Buterin commented, “For long-time Bitcoin users, events like this are particularly emotional; here, for the first time, we are able to see fellow Bitcoin users, whom we have loved, worked with and had heated arguments with over forums or Skype/IRC chat for many months or years as something more than just a username. Entire companies, existing only ‘on the cloud’ before this day, are finally reunited.”

This summer, billed as “A Peer-to-Peer Conference,” Bitcoin 2019 will be held at Pier 35 in San Francisco, California, hosted by BTC Inc., from June 25–26, 2019. In a blog post announcing the event, BTC Inc CEO David Bailey noted that Bitcoin 2019 was so named to harken back to that earlier conference “when the Bitcoin community was unified and nerds filled the hotel lobby until the early morning while dreaming of what Bitcoin could become.”

The Bitcoin community has grown considerably since 2013, and it has experienced its share of growing pains along the way. People who are passionate about the technology have had differing viewpoints about its direction. As a result, even as Bitcoin has matured and the blockchain ecosystem has evolved, the community itself has become somewhat fractured.

Bailey sees Bitcoin 2019 as an opportunity to help rekindle the “sense of shared wonder and spontaneous commitment to realizing Bitcoin’s potential,” as it was back in 2013.

“We want to be able to provide a platform that brings together leaders in the Bitcoin community, along with creators, developers, newbies and enthusiasts, in order to allow for new ideas to freely flow among the people who care most about building the Bitcoin of the future,” Bailey told Bitcoin Magazine.

“We want to help drive the conversation beyond simply scaling Bitcoin. We want to showcase what’s possible to build with Bitcoin, without breaking BTC’s consensus rules, which are rigid.”

Attracting and Supporting New Growth in Bitcoin

Bailey’s hope is that this event will bring together people from across Bitcoin’s ideological and political spectrum. He is quick to point out that this is not a “Bitcoin Maximalist” or an “anti-any-other-crypto-or-fork” event; however, it is unmistakably a Bitcoin/BTC conference.

“We’re working hard to help curate the content of the conference so that people who aim to be unifying with fresh ideas and cool projects built on Bitcoin are able to have their voices heard,” he says. “We’re not here to argue how big a block needs to be or what Satoshi’s original vision was — that debate has already happened. BTC is BTC. Everything else is not BTC, and this is an event for BTC.”

He added, “We are coming at this from the perspective that this is a Bitcoin BTC event, but it’s not ‘anti-other-crypto.’ Regardless of what other projects people have worked on or supported, we want people to not feel excluded from Bitcoin. Just check everything else at the door and come build Bitcoin with us … at least for a couple of days at the conference.”

To that end, Bitcoin 2019 has reached out to a wide array of industry leaders and developers to participate in the event. Among the preliminary list of speakers are Bill Barhydt, Matt Corallo, Diego Gutierrez, Dan Held, Jimmy Song, Erik Voorhees, Jihan Wu, and Bitcoin Magazine’s own Aaron van Wirdum. More speakers will be announced in the near future.

“This is not a pay-to-play event,” Bailey emphasizes. “The easy part is finding the showcase-worthy projects. We actively seek out and learn about the cool things that are going on. We talk to people all over the world constantly about their new projects they’re working on. The hard part will be deciding which ones we will be able to carve out time for at the conference.”

Anyone interested in participating in Bitcoin 2019 as a speaker, panelist or presenter is encouraged to contact the organizers.

In order to make the conference accessible to the greatest number of people possible, tickets will initially be priced at $100. There is also a virtual hackathon “for ideas built atop and around Bitcoin and the Lightning Network” associated with the event in the works.

Bitcoin 2019 is powered by Bitcoin Magazine and produced by BTC Inc.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

via Bitcoin Magazine

Fidelity’s Bitcoin Custody Service Could Launch This March


Fidelity Investments, one of the world’s largest asset managers, is breaking into bitcoin custody.

According to a recent report from Bloomberg, three people “with knowledge on the matter” from firms in contact with Fidelity have said that the company is tentatively planning to launch a custody service for bitcoin in March.

This move would fall in line with the company’s recent pushes toward the crypto space. Last October, Fidelity announced the creation of a platform for institutional traders to invest in cryptocurrencies, using over-the-counter trading and cold storage to ensure the security of the various assets.

As the first quarter of the 2019 fiscal year is well underway, Fidelity is making moves to turn this proposal into reality. These sources claim that bitcoin will naturally be the first crypto asset offered on the platform, though “ether custody is expected to be next.”

Fidelity did comment directly on the imminent plans for this custody service, although they made no guarantees of the projected launch date. “We are currently serving a select set of eligible clients as we continue to build our initial solutions,” they said. “Over the next several months, we will thoughtfully engage with and prioritize prospective clients based on needs, jurisdiction and other factors.”

Custody is a commonplace service in the world of markets but is significantly less common in the crypto asset investment space at the institutional level. Relying on third-party actors to protect securities from the risk of theft or fraud, most crypto custody takes place within the realm of startups. With the recent announcement that New York state will condone crypto custody, however, many financial banks are looking to get in on the action.

An institutional custody service from a titanic asset manager like Fidelity, which deals with trillions of dollars of properties, could give a boost to bitcoin’s slow progress with Wall Street.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

via Bitcoin Magazine

We Asked 66 Startups Just How Bad This Crypto Winter Has Been

While the bear market has sparked layoffs at some firms, a survey conducted by CoinDesk found that many companies find the slowdown to be "a blessing."

via CoinDesk

The Blockcrunch - How Should We Govern Blockchains? - Ryan Zurrer (Web3 Foundation)

Ryan Zurrer, Director of the Web3 Foundation and former Principal at Polychain Capital, joins us in discussing one of the most important questions in crypto: how should we govern blockchains?

We touch on:

How should blockchains be governed?‚

What are the different models of governance?

How do we prevent plutocracies?

How does Polkadot further the governance debate?

Show links:

Hosted by Jason Choi (@MrJasonChoi)

Intro music by Phortissimo.

Outro music by Garreth Chan.

Disclaimer: The Blockcrunch podcast series is intended for educational purposes only and does not constitute investment advice. Conduct your own research and invest at your own risk.

via The Let's Talk Bitcoin Network

The BuzzFeed Layoffs as Democratic Emergency


Venezuela, Alibaba, Climate Change: Your Thursday Briefing


Ripple Hires General Counsel from Lending Giant CIT Group

Ripple has hired banking veteran Stuart Alderoty as its new general counsel, filling a position that had been vacant for several months.

via CoinDesk

Thw Tatiana Show- Kyle Stalzer

Wandering around at the Blockland Cleveland event, I came upon this little startup. I am always eager to think of easy ways to onboard crypto people into Bitcoin in a secure way. The guys at Coin Ninja made a wallet that's called Drop Bit. SUPER EASY! I loved it, and all I needed to give them is my phone number. It seems pretty secure too, so listen to the interview and see for yourself! I like the company story, and it worked really well when I tried it. I am eager to see what else will come out of this team! Listen in and see what a local Ohio business is working on, and get a little insight into community there while you're at it. I am really loving how the city realizes the future is in blockchain, plus there's an artsy side as a bonus!

About the Guests:

Throughout his career, Kyle Stalzer has been at the intersection of technology and business in order to help formulate and optimize online strategy for an organization.

He specializes in developing online product strategy based on developing and interpreting quantitative analytic trends and coupling that with qualitative user inputs to help serve and optimize the offering to the end user.

If you like this content, please send a tip with BTC to: 1444meJi7YjgQGNg3U8Z6qYZFA5cgz4Gmj

More Info:


via The Let's Talk Bitcoin Network

The Tatiana Show Ep. 168 Kyle Stalzer

Wandering around at the Blockland Cleveland event, I came upon this little startup. I am always eager to think of easy ways to onboard crypto people into Bitcoin in a secure way. The guys atCoin Ninjamade a wallet that's calledDrop Bit. SUPER EASY! I loved it, and all I needed to give them is my phone number. It seems pretty secure too, so listen to the interview and see for yourself! I like the company story, and it worked really well when I tried it. I am eager to see what else will come out of this team! Listen in and see what a local Ohio business is working on, and get a little insight into community there while you're at it. I am really loving how the city realizes the future is in blockchain, plus there's an artsy side as a bonus!

About the Guests:

Throughout his career,Kyle Stalzerhas been at the intersection of technology and business in order to help formulate and optimize online strategy for an organization.

He specializes in developing online product strategy based on developing and interpreting quantitative analytic trends and coupling that with qualitative user inputs to help serve and optimize the offering to the end user.

If you like this content, please send a tip with BTC to: 1444meJi7YjgQGNg3U8Z6qYZFA5cgz4Gmj

More Info:

via The Let's Talk Bitcoin Network

The Next Big Ethereum Conference Will Run Almost Entirely on Blockchains

Everything from applications to attend ETHDenver to the processes for submitting, judging and voting on projects will be supported in some way through blockchain platforms.

via CoinDesk

Phishing Scam Hits LocalBitcoins, Clients Lose Funds


On January 26, 2019, clients of peer-to-peer bitcoin trading service LocalBitcoins were the targets of a phishing scam which resulted in the theft of a handful of bitcoins.

The Scam’s Operation

Reports claimed that the attacker was able to conduct the scam thanks to a security vulnerability on the LocalBitcoins platform. The landing page of the site’s forum reportedly was hacked, leading clients to a phishing site.

The phishing site was designed to carefully mimic the features of the actual LocalBitcoins landing page. Once on it, users were prompted to log in and provide their sensitive, two-factor authentication codes.

As soon as the hackers gained access to the codes, the users had the bitcoins in their wallet stolen.

“We would like to inform that today 26.01.2019 at approximately 10:00:00 UTC, LocalBitcoins has detected a security vulnerability – an unauthorized source was able to access and send transactions from a number of affected accounts. Outgoing transactions were temporarily disabled while we investigated the case,” LocalBitcoins noted in a Reddit post.

A user who claimed to have been hacked was able to identify the address of the hacker, and it was later found that the address has received a total of 7.95205862 BTC from five, separate transactions (equivalent to about $28,134 at press time).

LocalBitcoins Safe Again?

According to an announcement made by LocalBitcoins on Reddit, the exchange claims that the vulnerability to their system surfaced from flaws in a third-party software the exchange uses for its forum. In addition to that, LocalBitcoins stated that its security team was able to find and extinguish the issue quickly.

It confirmed that the vulnerability allowed the attacker to gain access to an undisclosed number of accounts, although at press time, it only knew of six cases where users had been affected.

It was reported that the exchange mitigated the vulnerability by blocking user access to their wallets until the issue was resolved. Also, the exchange suspended trading activities for a short period while its developers worked on neutralizing the threat. The platform was returned to full functionality a few hours after the hack.

The team noted that the vulnerability was fixed. However, there was no mention of whether or not affected users will be compensated for their losses and how they intend to track the stolen bitcoins.

The post also noted that the platform’s forum feature would remain disabled for security reasons, so for now, buyers and sellers will only be able to interact through the platform’s ciphered P2P chat.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

via Bitcoin Magazine

Hackers Just Stole Another $180K in Ether From Cryptopia Exchange

Hackers still have control over cryptocurrency exchange Cryptopia and have removed more funds, says blockchain data firm Elementus.

via CoinDesk

Crypto Lender Genesis Capital Processed Nearly $1.1 Billion In 2018

Institutional crypto loans provider Genesis Global Capital says it processed more than $1.1 billion in lends and borrows in 2018.

via CoinDesk

Crypto Exchange Gemini Passes Security Compliance Audit Conducted by Deloitte

Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini says it has passed a SOC 2 security compliance review conducted by Deloitte.

via CoinDesk

Bitcoin Eyes Minor Price Bounce But Bear Trend Intact

Bitcoin (BTC) has recovered slightly from six-week lows seen yesterday and could see a short-term corrective bounce to $3,500.

via CoinDesk

Glyph Partners With 3 Crypto Firms for Accredited-Investor Checks

With many decentralized-identity efforts facing adoption challenges, Glyph's first step – accredited-investor checks – is intentionally niche.

via CoinDesk

SWIFT Chief Announces Integration With R3 At Paris Fintech Forum

Global banking payments network SWIFT intends to integrate technology from R3, its CEO said at an event today.

via CoinDesk

Fujitsu Claims 40% Efficiency Boost for Blockchain Electricity Exchange

Japanese IT giant Fujitsu has developed a blockchain-based exchange system that it says produces a more stable energy supply at peak periods.

via CoinDesk

This Spongebob-Themed Tech Proves That Bitcoin’s Lightning Is Advancing

Spongebob Squarepants term "wumbo" has been appropriated to describe one of the next milestones for bitcoin's lightning network.

via CoinDesk

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

#272 Jameson Lopp: On Being a Professional Cypherpunk

We're joined by Jameson Lopp. Jameson is the CTO of Casa, a company providing key storage solutions. Previously, he was an early engineer at BitGo. However, to most people, he is perhaps known for his Twitter presence and his excellent writing. Over the years, Jameson has written extensively about Bitcoin development, cryptocurrencies, and personal operational security. A self-proclaimed 'œProfessional Cypherpunk,' aligns with the ideas of libertarianism and volunteerism.

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Jameson's background and how he learned about Bitcoin
  • His political view before and after discovering crypto
  • What stands out for Bitcoin in 2018
  • His writing on the decentralized nature of Bitcoin Core development
  • His views on how Bitcoin compares to Ethereum on the topic of development control
  • His thoughts on the Lightning Network and smart contracts on top of Bitcoin
  • Jameson's approach to personal operational security
  • The tradeoffs of having air-tight personal OpSec
  • Casa and its vault offering

Links mentioned in this episode:


  • Azure: Deploy enterprise-ready consortium blockchain networks that scale in just a few clicks

Support the show, consider donating:

This episode is also available on :

Watch or listen, Epicenter is available wherever podcasts are distributed.

Epicenter is hosted by Brian Fabian Crain, Sƒbastien Couture, Meher Roy, Sunny Aggarwal & Friederike Ernst.

via The Let's Talk Bitcoin Network

AMD Cites ‘Absence’ of GPU Sales to Crypto Miners in Q1 Estimate

AMD's revenue from cryptocurrency miners has seemingly gone dry, the company said in its Q4 earnings report.

via CoinDesk

From Mar-a-Lago to Coinbase, Dubious Claims Follow Token Sales

A CoinDesk investigation reveals that health startup has used overstated claims to gin up investor demand.

via CoinDesk

Fidelity May Formally Launch Its Crypto Custody Service in March

The storage component of Fidelity Digital Asset Services (FDAS) is already live, with some assets under management.

via CoinDesk

What Bitcoin Did #68 The Essence of Bitcoin With Peter Todd

'œAnyone who understands economics and finance and how markets work will be a maximalist because it is more efficient to have one currency than a bunch of ones.'

'" Peter Todd

Interview location: Las Vegas

Interview date: Saturday 26th Jan, 2018

Company: Freelance

Role: Applied Cryptography Consultant

There were many attempts at creating a digital currency before Bitcoin, all failing for different reasons. Bitcoin brought together a number of ideas to solve the double spending which has enabled it to flourish for over a decade.

Peter Todd is one of a select few who can think about and understand Bitcoin at such a level that they can hold influence over ideas for its evolution.

I managed to get the chance to sit down with Peter at Tone Vays Unconfiscatable conference in Las Vegas and discuss the history of Bitcoin, why it worked when other digital currencies failed. We also discuss other relevant topics in the world of Bitcoin including scaling, Lightning and Fungibility but we also consider why other projects are scams and should not be trusted.

This episode is also on:

Listen to more What Bitcoin Did episodes

via The Let's Talk Bitcoin Network

Introducing the Coinbase affiliate program

How Bitcoin Could Help Iran Undermine U.S. Sanctions


Joseph Lubin: Money and Rebuilding the World's Systems

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What are your views on centralized control of monetary systems?

It can be viable in many situations for a time. Debt based systems require more debt to be created to pay its own interest. Over time this leads to collapse, especially in the presence of overspending by politicians. Ie. raising budget ceiling year after year. '" creating more debt that there is money to pay it off.Fiscally responsible people could keep it running forever.We may be in an end of life state for many money systems.Blockchain offers an opportunity to build better systems.Without free energy/teleportation/space mining or other way to generate vast amounts of value it is probably impossible for existing monetary systems to survive.Centrally controlled money supplies (central banking) respond to old data that leads to remedial measures comparable to oversteer or speed wobbles.If you are getting real time data to modulate money supply this problem can be remedied.

What is a Token?A construct based in a field called cryptographyCan represent money (cryptocurrency) can represent a share, a resource, (KWh), a ticket to an event

What are the different types of tokens?Protocol tokens including cryptocurrenciesThe original was BitcoinEther is also a protocol token.

So if cryptocurrencies are protocol tokens, what is ether, the Ethereum token?It's a crypto-commodity / asset existing in the service of the Ethereum platform.It mediates the use of the Ethereum platform. You use the token to pay to use the infrastructure.

Let's talk about ICOs[Interrupts] 'œI like to call TGEs or token generation events, token launches.'Meaning the launch of a utility or protocol token indicating that it is not recognized as a security by the SEC.ICO implies a token that is a security. You can make a perfect utility token but if you call it an ICO the SEC may understand it to be a security token

What are the other types of tokens?Protocol token that drives the function of a protocol.Utility Token represents a usage of an underlying platform likely driven by a protocol tokenTicket tokensResource representing tokensSecurity tokens

How did it feel when you first made money in blockchain investing?It didn't feel much different to other ways of making money '" I had already worked for a hedge fund.

Who is making money in blockchain today?There are lots of ways of making money in the ecosystemLong term holdersHedge fundsSpeculative tradersSoime people are building and selling softwareConsenSys makes money security auditing software and provisioning software.Enterprise and government consultingToken launch services

Are there similarities between the Dot Com Boom and the current blockchain token boom, beyond the obvious?The Dot Com Boom & blockchain boom are very comparable.The Dot Com boom had a massive period of speculation and bubble leading to the creation on the internet as we know it.You can't avoid speculation. Speculators take on risk providing liquidity and the fuel for innovation.Because blockchain technology provides a foundation to build far reaching systems it presents an opportunity people pay attention to.Speculation creates fear and greed cycles preventing price discovery.We can build rapid transaction systems moving value, making tramnsations closer together, creating something comparable to exponential speed increase in value creating over time

Is the blockchain space truly non-conformist, or is it really just the old paradigm in new wrapping?Was formed as a reaction to existing systems '" bitcoin a decentralized money protocol in opposition to centralized money protocols.Revolutions start that way '" as counter culture but if it's a good idea it becomes a norm. We are moving toward a decentralized, equitable status quo. Mainstream.'œIt's going to be not at all counter-culture, just better culture'.

Isn't Blockchain really all about a bunch of people trying to make money?It's some people trying to make money '" money represents sustainabilityA lot of people want to build better systemsThe vision of ConsenSys is to help the world build better systems.

via The Let's Talk Bitcoin Network

SEC Official Who Oversaw Crypto Cases Leaves for Law Firm Jones Day

Shamoil T. Shipchandler, whose team at the SEC brought cases against AriseBank and 1Broker, has joined law firm Jones Day.

via CoinDesk

TokenSoft Launches Crypto Custody Service for Security Tokens

TokenSoft is rolling out what it bills as the first cold-storage multi-signature wallet designed specifically for security tokens.

via CoinDesk

The Blockcrunch - How Should We Govern Blockchains?

Ryan Zurrer, Director of the Web3 Foundation and former Principal at Polychain Capital, joins us in discussing one of the most important questions in crypto: how should we govern blockchains?

We touch on:

How should blockchains be governed?‚

What are the different models of governance?

How do we prevent plutocracies?

How does Polkadot further the governance debate?

Show links:

Hosted by Jason Choi (@MrJasonChoi)

Intro music by Phortissimo.

Outro music by Garreth Chan.

Disclaimer: The Blockcrunch podcast series is intended for educational purposes only and does not constitute investment advice. Conduct your own research and invest at your own risk.

via The Let's Talk Bitcoin Network

Cryptocurrency Thefts, Scams Hit $1.7 Billion in 2018-Report


Swiss Startup to Produce ‘Banknotes’ for Marshall Islands’ Official Cryptocurrency

Swiss crypto wallet make Tangem says the Marshall Islands has selected it to produce physical "notes" for its planned national digital currency.

via CoinDesk

SBI, R3 Team Up to Promote Adoption of Corda Blockchain in Japan

Financial services giant SBI and R3 are investing millions to boost uptake of the Corda blockchain platform in Japan and beyond.

via CoinDesk

Saudi Arabia, UAE Aim to Cut Payments Costs With Common Digital Currency

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are hoping a shared digital currency can cut remittance costs between the two countries.

via CoinDesk

Down Again: Bitcoin Is Closing on Key Long-Term Price Support

Bitcoin is on the defensive after a drop to six-week lows and could soon test crucial long-term support below $3,300.

via CoinDesk

Two Groups Responsible for 60% of All Crypto Exchange Hacks: Report

Two groups alone are responsible for a majority of hacks at cryptocurrency exchanges to date, Chainalysis research suggests.

via CoinDesk

ETC Cooperative Adds Developer Bob Summerwill as Executive Director

The former lead architect for ethereum venture studio Consensys, is joining the Ethereum Classic Cooperative as executive director.

via CoinDesk

Blockchain Browser Brave to Offer Free Access to Premium Cheddar Content

Blockchain-based internet browser Brave has partnered with news website Cheddar to offer free access to its premium content for a limited period.

via CoinDesk

Monday, 28 January 2019

Suspected Potassium Cyanide Sent to Japanese Newspapers, Drug and Food Companies: Media

By REUTERS via NYT Asia Pacific

The Crypto Show At TNABC 2nd Hr Greg Magershak, Jason Page, Josh Sigurdson, Wendy-O, Jeff Veir, Charlie Urdman And Paul Puey

This is the 2nd hr of our live radio broadcast in Miami from The North American Bitcoin Conference. We have a whole herd of guest's cycle through the show starting with Greg Magershak and Jason Page of Intercoin talking about their project. Then Josh Sigurdson of World Alternative Media and WendyO of I guess WendyO take the mics to discuss independent media. Third segment Jeffrey Veir and Charlie Urdman from Ideas By Nature share the latest with their project. Finally we close with our favorite wallet Czar Paul Puey sharing the big news about the EOS integration to Edge that Chuck from The Crypto Show actually helped develop. All in all it was a great event and we had blast with this broadcast.

via The Let's Talk Bitcoin Network

Iran Could Ban Bitcoin for Payments, Central Bank Report Suggests

The Iranian central bank has drafted a new report outlining cryptocurrency regulations in the country.

via CoinDesk

Troubled Crypto Exchange QuadrigaCX Goes Offline for ‘Maintenance’

Canadian crypto exchange QuadrigaCX, whose customers have been unable to withdraw funds for months, has been inaccessible for several hours.

via CoinDesk

Bitcoin Price Analysis: Major Support Broken on Expanding Volume and Spread

Bitcoin Price Analysis

After weeks of consolidation, bitcoin finally broke through support. The market now finds itself cruising toward prior lows. On expanding volume and spread, the bitcoin market appears ripe for a continuation of the downtrend:

Figure_1 (5).png

Figure 1: BTC-USD, Daily Candles, Broken Support

Although the current daily candle has yet to close, unless there is a strong influx of demand hitting the market, it stands to reason that bitcoin will be closing a new daily low for the first time since mid-December. Following the stopping action in the low $3,000s, the bitcoin market remained coiled for over a month. However, today marks the first break of these levels once marked as support. To illustrate how coiled the market was and how potentially large the following move could be, check out the 3-Day Bollinger Bands (bbands):

Figure_2 (8).png

Figure 2: BTC-USD, 3-Day Candles, Bollinger Bands

The figure above shows a very tightly wound, consolidated market — a market that previously took several months to consolidate. In just over two months, bitcoin has found itself prepped for another potentially large move. The first logical pitstop on its move is the retest of the prior low in the low $3,000 area. As we move up in timeframes, the weekly candles are showing a zone of support between $3,000 and $3,150:

Figure_3 (7).png

Figure 3: BTC-USD, Weekly Candles, Next Macro Support Level

The $3,000 level is one of the few established levels that has proven to hold up during a support retest. And, since we have already seen major, climactic volume from the last major sell-off to $3,100, it seems logical that we’ll get a slightly deeper test of the $3,000 values.

From there, we will have to reassess and see how the macro view looks if we can manage a retest of that support zone. A weekly close below that level is a decisively bearish move so we will have to keep an eye out for where the weekly candles close. It’s entirely possible that this level will hold up well under a test given how much buyer interest there was last time around. But for now, we will have to play it candle by candle and see how the bulls react to a retest of the low.


  1. Bitcoin finally broke its multi-week support level.
  2. The break came about on expanding volume and price spread. Expanding volume and spread coupled with a major support break is a sign of bullish exhaustion and will likely lead to a test of deeper support.
  3. There is a major support level just below a current low in the $3,000 area. There will likely be buyer interest in this zone, but we will have to measure the response to a test of deeper lows as the market presents itself.

Trading and investing in digital assets like bitcoin is highly speculative and comes with many risks. This analysis is for informational purposes and should not be considered investment advice. Statements and financial information on Bitcoin Magazine and BTC Media related sites do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BTC Media and should not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation to buy, sell or hold. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

via Bitcoin Magazine

Living on Bitcoin Day 7: A Supposedly Fun Thing I’d Definitely Do Again


This is the seventh instalment of reporter Colin Harper's "Living on Bitcoin" experience in San Francisco. Find out what happened to him earlier on Day 1 , on Day 2 , on Day 3 , onDay 4, on Day 5 and on Day 6.

I woke to the sound of thin but consistent rain against the sailboat. A gentle storm soon rolled in to softly rock the harbor’s rustbucket bedfellows, a few spurts of lightning distant and crackling across the bay.

Dustin wasn’t up yet so I made a cup of coffee (gods be praised) and went above the deck of the Velela — the name Dustin’s sailboat came with when he bought it four years ago. The previous owner (a marine biologist) was inspired by the jellyfish of the same name, which can hoist a sail-like fin in the air to propel itself more quickly through the water.


The Velela resting in the harbor.

After Dustin got up (and we wolfed down some bacon-n-egg burritos), we made preparations, which included stuffing a rubber skiff into his Honda Fit, and we set out on the open water. The day was graying as we left the docking area, with a misting of rain so faint you could barely feel it on your skin.

Once we’d motored out far enough, Dustin hoisted the sails. Swelling with the bay’s untamable winds, the sails vaulted us forward and pushed the boat to the right — a bit more than I would have liked.

“This is safe, right? It’s not going to tip over?” I asked apprehensively.

“I wouldn’t exactly call sailing a safe activity,” Dustin said with a smile that managed to be both carefree and severe.

“But it’s not going to tip over, is it?”

“Probably not,” he joked. “But really, there’s a huge weight in the middle of the hull, so we’ll be fine.”

We were headed for the city’s waterfront, a 10-mile trek, give or take. The wind was against us, though, so we had to get there by tacking, a maritime navigation technique that involves sailing diagonally with the wind and cutting an angle to switch back toward your destination (basically making a zigzag pattern).


Roughly 10 miles out from San Francisco, the city’s skyline faintly visible to the right.

Dustin pulled out what he called the autohelm, a smart tablet ((Even the boats in Silicon Valley have iPads) that keeps track of speed, depth, GPS, trajectory and supposedly can even steer the ship using this USB-plunger attachment on the wheel, which looks uncannily like the suction sections of those automatic pumps for milking cows.

He put it to work, the mechanic whir and churn of the plunger struggling to keep the boat on course as the weather worsened. I had the feeling that, under conditions, the autohelm would have performed admirably.

The heavy force of the wind and waves, though, eventually overpowered the automaton’s control over the boat. Dustin “fired” it and took the wheel.

Looking out to my right, I noticed a blackened cloud, dark and gnarly, billowing up, the kind that looks ready to dump at any moment. The rain was falling a bit more steadily (though not too heavily), and the wind was picking up, causing the waves to chop savagely away at the haul.

Before I could convey my concerns, Mother Nature decided to blow them into the open. A gust of wind bruised the sails and sent the ship tipping and the cabin’s contents flying below. The ship was at an angle when the clatter of Dustin’s belongings became audible as they were flung about below.

Should have kept that skiff at hand. And now that I think about it, where are the life vests?

“Let out that line!” Dustin commanded, taking on the urgent persona of a captain as he strained to turn the boat against the lean. “As much as you can!”

I released a line connected to the bow’s sail and it went slack. Dustin rushed to the midsection while I took over the wheel and he let down the mainsail, finally disarming the wind. The entire ordeal, which felt like it took some time, probably lasted a minute at most.

“I think we should turn back,” I observed brilliantly.

“You think so?” he said with a heave of nervous laughter.

We got back (thankfully) right before the boat’s motor died, but we were still eight spots away from Dustin’s space in the dock. With the help of two good samaritans, we towed the sailboat back to its place with painstaking attentiveness. Dustin didn’t relax until she was safely moored.

“Whew! I’m still up on adrenaline!” he hollered when the boat was docked

Most people get stressed into a knot when their car battery dies. Imagine that happening except it’s a boat in open water and it almost capsizes. Oh, and the boat is also your house.

I said goodbye to Dustin over another burrito and sent him some sats for the trouble. After we parted ways, I grabbed a Lyft and headed just south of the Tenderloin district to cryptografitti’s place.

The apartment is on brand for an artist. Sterile, with neutral tones of chrome and white across each room, the flat was extremely well kept. Art of various styles decorates the place: a postmodern painting detailing San Franciscan life, which he had commissioned by a local artist, hangs above a tannish-brown, leather sectional; a puzzle-piece coffee table to accompany the couch; and a metal-matted two-piece fixture in the kitchen with a surface that looks like cells under a microscope that his sister made for him;.

And, of course, his own art is on display in his studio.

One original, United Nodes x 100, hangs directly behind his work desk, while two variants of Currency Exchange lie in the back-left corner and on the desk. Next to the one on the desk is one of his latest: the abstract of the Bitcoin white paper made from USD.

The rest of his office is lined with shelves that are stuffed with various supplies, including the white gloves he wears in each of his videos. On one of the shelves, a bag of hundreds of credit cards for a piece he made to commemorate the late Hal Finney. I was curious as to how he got his hands on that many cancelled credit cards.

“It’s a trade secret. They’re all used,” he said. (You can buy them on eBay, by the way).

We talked art, bitcoin culture and the experiment in a conversation that seemed to intertwine all these topics together.

“To me, it’s all about teaching people about bitcoin through art. I wanted to anchor the work in something that people were already familiar,” he said.

He’s certainly made an impact. The former DJ subsists off the money he makes from his art, and he takes regular commissions, mainly from wealthy, fellow enthusiasts who want an original of the subversive fusion of fiat and digital economies that cryptografitti’s art represents.

“I want to remind people that the materials I use in the work are short-lived and, therefore, so is the entire status quo. And if the old monetary realm is no longer, what should the new one look like and why?”

Carrying on the conversation we had the night before at Stookey’s, he said again that it’s not all that surprising fewer merchants accept bitcoin now. The party’s over and everyone’s gone home. The people who were just there for the good times left with the bull market; but, in the bear, the people who really give a damn are sticking around to deal with the aftermath.

“It’s like when you have a party and your good friends stick around afterward to help clean up after the revelers have left. Go to Bitcoin meetups nowadays and you’ll find the people that care and are willing to put in the work,” he said.

He doesn’t think enthusiasm is dead, it’s just dampened and embodied in a very dedicated core community.

“The excitement is still there, it’s just shifted focus to Lightning,” he said. It’s likely that Lighting is the very thing that may make my experiment easier, if I choose to do it again in the (distant) future.

Black Swan, one of his latest pieces, exemplifies this excitement. The Lightning Network-only auction had 100 plus participants and sold to the lowest bidder — less than 1/100th of a penny. Part-performance, part-visual art, cryptograffiti said he wanted the piece to provoke people to appreciate innovation without fretting about price.

“My work is rooted in activism. When I can motivate people to get involved, it brings more awareness to whatever I am trying to convey. In this case, a lowest-bidder-wins auction was my way of ensuring participation/reach in the project while highlighting the capabilities of the lightning network.

“The fancified promo video that accompanied the art was meant to contrast with the absurdly low micropayments and poke fun at MSM who tend to focus more on price than the groundbreaking tech being built,” he said.

Catching a few hours of R&R, I still had one thing to do before I could call the week quits. I couldn’t get a room at 20 Mission due to San Francisco boarding codes, but I was still game to visit the hacker community house that Kashmir Hill shacked up in during the weekend of her week on bitcoin. I had made arrangements with Berkeley, the community’s head honcho, to visit that night.

The Uber that took me there was yet another Prius, the fifth (maybe sixth) I’ve ridden in this week.

I buzzed myself in with the house’s callbox, entered the foyer and made my way upstairs to a labyrinth of hallways and rooms (the community houses 40 or so people).

A resident came in shortly after, toting an LED-glowing electric unicycle that had an extended handle like a rolling suitcase. I asked him if he knew where Berkeley was, and he pointed me in the right direction.

We made introductions and Berkeley offered me a La Croix, another in a set of San Franciscan constants that include whole bean coffee, 20-somethings ripping Juuls, and Uber rides in Priuses.

Berkeley actually helped Jered Kenna, the cofounder and now owner of 20 Mission, found Tradehill, a once-upon-a-time bitcoin exchange that accounted for 15 percent of the coin’s daily trading volume back in the day when Mt. Gox accounted for 80 percent.

He reiterated some of what Hill talks about in her piece: how 20 Mission was much worse for wear before Kenna first cleaned it up.

“Before that it was basically a seedy crack hotel. Squatters lived there, but it was abandoned for something like 18 years,” said Berkeley.

As we talked, we walked around the house and I surveyed the murals that decorated each hallway. Local artists had done them, including the ones that enliven the house’s glorified courtyard: an open-air space in the middle of the building that’s accessible only through windows and is floored with roofing tiles.


One of the house’s many murals.

At the corners of some of the hallways, street signs with titles like “Litecoin Lane,” “Ethereum Blvd.” and — thank God — “Coinye West.”

The signs made me wonder if the house has an active crypto and general tech community, seeing as it’s billed as a hacker community. They still accept bitcoin for room and board, but the house’s tech focus shouldn’t be overstated, Berkeley told me.

“We have some people working on crypto, but it’s not like everyone is in crypto. For example, we just had a guy here who is a doctor, so it’s a mix.”

Doctors, lawyers, professors, service workers, developers — folks of all kind live in the community.

“With 40 rooms, there are lots of different people. We’re decentralized.”

Unfortunately, none of the crypto-focused professionals were around to chat, either by virtue of being busy or because they were hiding from “the media.” That was all right by me; I understand their need for privacy, and given America’s current media climate and public sentiment, I didn’t find it shocking that they didn’t want to show their faces to a nosy reporter (the industry’s professionals seem to approach the press with serious skepticism).

Satisfied with the tour and the talk, I thanked Berkley and went on my way.

Back at the castle, I had a last supper from Curry Up Now (courtesy, as always, of Bitrefill-funded Uber Eats), relaxed and, just like that, the week was over.

I went to bed thankful I’d be able to use my fiat debit card in the morning.

As Kashmir Hill did in her original journey, Colin is accepting BTC tips to help him along the way.

Tip jar: 3CnLhqitCjUN4HPYf6Qa2MmvCpSoBiFfBN

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

via Bitcoin Magazine Enables Cash-for-Bitcoin Exchange Via the Lightning Network


Many are predicting that 2019 will be the year Bitcoin’s Lightning Network sees massive growth and becomes a more common way to make bitcoin payments, and a new company based in England's East Midlands hopes to help with that process.

Today, has announced the launch of its cash-based bitcoin exchange, which includes Lightning Network integration. With this new exchange, users will be able to avoid touching the blockchain when they decide to buy or sell bitcoin for cash.

The new exchange was founded by former Neo & Bee Managing Director Danny Brewster, who says he is on a mission to restore his credibility after his last venture infamously failed in spectacular fashion.

How It Works

Brewster is also behind AAO Global, a company that provides store operators with digital kiosks that can be used by customers to purchase anything from prepaid cell phone minutes to Xbox Live subscriptions. The plan is to add as one of the 5,000 voucher options on these hardware terminals.

“We take away the current pain points blocking normal people buying bitcoins; there is no complex process involving signing up to a Bitcoin exchange or network and having to convert your money,” said Brewster. “Customers can now just walk into a partner shop and buy bitcoins with the same ease and speed as buying a prepaid telephone/cell-phone credit/top up voucher.”

The terminal was originally debuted in December 2018 when a reporter bought 10 pounds worth of bitcoin from a touchscreen in the back of a London taxi.

In addition to the terminals, also plans to sell physical bitcoin gift cards, integrate with existing bitcoin wallets, and build a mobile app.

“We are also building relationships with other distributors for integrating with our systems to enable the sale of vouchers through their existing hardware,” added Brewster. also has a partnership with crypto payment platform Bitrefill, which means any of the gift cards and other services sold via Bitrefill will also be available for sale via the terminal. Additionally, voucher codes can be purchased via Bitrefill.

Earlier this month, Bitrefill also stepped into the Lightning space when it launched Thor, a service that allows customers to open Lightning channels on demand.’s fees start at 6 percent to buy bitcoin and 3 percent to sell for unregistered users. Fees become lower if the user is willing to register an account or verify their personal information.

In terms of buy and sell limits, Brewster stated, “You must be registered to sell to us, and the limit depends on the retail locations near the user and their limits for paying out cash. The buying limits depend upon jurisdiction, but you can buy up to £250 worth of bitcoin in the UK per voucher without an account. However, we do have monitoring in place to ensure the structuring of transactions isn't occurring.”

Currently,'s products and services are available at locations in the U.K., but the company plans to have some locations set up in Canada before March as well. Locations set up in the U.K. right now include convenience stores, money transfer agents, a tattoo parlor, and the aforementioned London black cab.

Bitcoin Magazine was able to try out the system before launch. An image of a test voucher was shared by, and it was easily redeemed for bitcoin via the Lightning Network after entering an email address and copying and pasting a Lightning Network invoice. was used as the destination for redeeming the voucher via the Lightning Network. Thankfully, had a Lightning channel open with

Danny Brewster’s Controversial Past: Neo & Bee

Those who are new to the Bitcoin space may not be familiar with Brewster’s controversial past.

Back in 2014, Neo & Bee was building a “bitcoin bank” and payment system in Cyprus. This was not long after the bail-ins happened in the European country, and there was a lot of hype around the Neo & Bee project. Shares of Neo & Bee’s parent company, LMB Holdings, were made available via the Havelock Investments platform, which was sort of a more centralized precursor to the ICO mania seen in 2017.

Neo & Bee seemed to collapse as soon as it was open for business. In short, Brewster was facing allegations of fraud, LMB Holdings trading was halted on Havelock Investments and Brewster ended up leaving Cyprus to go back to the United Kingdom.

Brewster claimed a threat was made on his daughter’s life after he returned to the U.K.

“Regular messages directing me to hang myself were commonplace for the first year,” said the former Neo & Bee managing director.

According to Brewster, he eventually met with Cypriot police in the U.K. for a five-hour interview regarding the various allegations against him on the condition that he did not have a lawyer present.

“I knew I was innocent,” said Brewster. “I attended what turned out to be a five-hour interview and made a recording using my mobile phone. By the end of the interview the officers stated that the case would now be closed and passed to the Attorney General's office for them to close it, because it was evident that no crime had been committed and the allegations were false. They also offered the advice to see those responsible in court for the accusations they have made, in an effort to recover the financial losses caused by their actions.”

At the end of 2014, Neo & Bee was listed, behind the collapse of Mt. Gox and the ongoing trial of alleged Silk Road administrator Ross Ulbricht, as the third biggest crypto scandal of the year, as rated by CoinDesk.

Mastering Bitcoin author Andreas Antonopoulos and Adamant Capital founding partner Tuur Demeester both posted their accounts of what had happened with Neo & Bee, as Antonopoulos consulted for them and Demeester had bought one share in the company.

According to Brewster, the company’s issues started with a simple accounting error. He shared his full take on the saga in a 2017 interview with Bitcoin Uncensored.

“When all that was happening I was polishing my coding abilities and building,” Brewster told us.

For Brewster, is part of his plan to make Neo & Bee investors whole again. The business is structured in a way where it never holds customer funds, and they offer complete transparency when it comes to exchange rates and fees.

“Given my past, I am fully aware that I will be under more scrutiny than anyone else in the Bitcoin community,” said Brewster. “But I see this as an opportunity because it also puts more onus on me than anyone else in this space to deliver a safe and trustworthy service. The easiest thing for me to have done would have been to walk away from the industry altogether, or employ someone to be the public face of the business. Yet, despite my past and all of the false allegations thrown at me, I’m committed on two things: correcting mistakes made and bringing the benefits of Bitcoin to society.”

Brewster has pledged to take profits from his new venture at to help make all Neo & Bee investors whole. Brewster says around 20 percent of outstanding Neo & Bee tokens have been settled one way or another, and two of those former Neo & Bee investors are now shareholders in Brewster's new company.

Those who invested in Neo & Bee can make a claim on their investment losses at

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

via Bitcoin Magazine

Nvidia Says Q4 Crypto Miner Demand Is as Weak as Expected

Nvidia has cut its 4Q revenue forecast, which already factored in reduced demand for GPUs used in crypto mining.

via CoinDesk

Multicoin Capital Leads $2.5 Million Seed Round for Blockchain Data Index

Multicoin's investment in The Graph addresses an underserved layer of the web3 stack: querying data from public blockchains.

via CoinDesk

Supercharging Retrofit with Kotlin

Blockstream Breaks into Japanese Market with JPY Stablecoin, Partnership

crypto garage.jpg

Blockstream is partnering with Japanese fintech giant Digital Garage to bring a JPY stablecoin to the Bitcoin network.

To spearhead the project, Blockstream and the ¥120 billion (just over $1 billion) firm are working under the label Crypto Garage with the help of Tokyo Tanshi, the “largest inter-dealer broker in Japan w/ billions in trades daily,” according to Samson Mow, Blockstream’s chief strategy officer.

The collaborative is building the yen-pegged coin (JPY-TOKEN) on Blockstream’s Liquid network, a Bitcoin sidechain that tacks additional technical features onto the blockchain, like smart contracts.

It’s also the inaugural asset for SETTLENET, a new Liquid product suite that Blockstream claims will “enhance trading efficiency and security for participants in the Bitcoin market.”

“SETTLENET will definitely make it easier for Liquid Issued Assets to be created. Currently savvy users can already create assets with command line tools, but having GUI’s and frameworks for asset issuance will speed up adoption,” Mow wrote to Bitcoin Magazine via email.

Leveraging SETTLENET, Crypto Garage’s JPY-TOKEN can be atomic swapped for L-BTC, a Liquid asset token that maintains a 1-1 peg to bitcoin on the Bitcoin mainnet. Like its dollar, pound and euro counterparts, JPY-TOKEN will go 1-for-1 with the yen.

By the Book

The partnership has Blockstream embedded with two of Japan’s fintech heavyweights, so Blockstream is operating within the bounds of Japan’s financial regulations.

Both Blockstream’s blog post and Samson Mow’s tweet on the announcement stressed that the Japanese Financial Services Agency has approved the product.

To assist the exchanges that will be issuing and redeeming the asset, the product suite will come with an authorizer, a “rule-based transaction authorization” tool that will let users process payments under pre-set conditions.

“[The Authorizer] will help ensure regulatory compliance for certain transactions that may need to stay within a certain group of users. For example, a security token offering may only able to be transacted amongst accredited investors,” Mow added in our correspondence.

To start, the JPY-TOKEN liquidity partners, the trusted parties who facilitate the swaps between Liquid and Bitcoin’s networks, “will be limited to FSA licensed crypto exchanges in Japan,” Mow indicated.

“It's not yet clear what the exact distribution model will be for the JPY stablecoin,” he added.

“A Natural Extension”

Mow stated that the partnership had been some time in the making.

One of Blockstream’s board members, Reid Hoffman, connected the company with Joi Ito, the director of the MIT Media Lab and one of Digital Garage’s co-founders. The blue chip would become a lead investor in Blockstream’s $55 million Series A funding round, after which time Samson wrote that they “started to explore a technology partnership to focus on blockchain initiatives in Japan.”

That exploration would begin to materialize in 2017 as Digital Garage Labs, Digital Garage’s research and development arm, which Tokyo Tanshi, a Japanese brokerage services company, would join in the same year.

Samson calls Crypto Garage “a natural extension of [these] relationships,” the culmination of each company’s professional relationships after Blockstream fully committed to the project.

Before Crypto Garage, Blockstream had helped Digital Garage use Blockstream’s enterprise-facing blockchain platform, Elements, “to develop real-time exchange systems for loyalty points and digital currencies, as well as regional money systems,” Mow told Bitcoin Magazine.

Under this new partnership, Blockstream will take in another $10 million in funding from Digital Garage, which it will use to focus on Liquid, its cryptocurrency data feed and “new product lines.”

SETTLENET Sets Expectations for Future of Liquid

While the JPY-TOKEN will position Blockstream in the Japanese market, SETTLENET isn’t confined to its first asset.

“SETTLENET will provide Liquid Network participants, including cryptocurrency exchanges, OTCs and financial institutions, with the functions required for issuance, trading and transaction monitoring of digital assets,” the suite’s website states.

As Mow indicated, it’s made to make the process of issuing Liquid assets easier. In the future, he’s hopeful that it will be used to support more sidechain assets that can interoperate with Bitcoin’s network.

Mow believes that the JPY-TOKEN could be the first of many stablecoins native to Blockstream’s Liquid, telling Bitcoin Magazine that interest from stablecoin creators could mean more to come soon.

“We’ve been in talks with many of the stablecoin issuers and I think there’s a lot of interest to leverage something robust and secure like Liquid — there’s also the added bonus of confidentiality for stablecoin transactions within Liquid thanks to the Confidential Assets feature, and multisig issuance so multiple parties have to sign off on any new issuances. You can expect more stablecoins on Liquid soon!”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

via Bitcoin Magazine