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Monday, 21 January 2019

Distributed Dialogues EP #14 - A Quiet Crisis

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"Let's imagine that it was a war and those bodies were coming home in flag draped coffins at the Dover Air Force Base, we'd tear down the walls of Congress to get something done, right? Instead we allow people to die quietly in their bedrooms, in their basements, in cars, or in parking lots."

'" Tori Adams

On average, 130 people die every day from an opioid overdose. How did it get this bad? In this episode, the guys break down the opioid epidemic and what role blockchain technology might play in the fight against it.‚

Distributed Dialogues is a BTC Media-produced podcast on The Let's Talk Bitcoin Network. Visit www.letstalkbitcoin.com for more engaging podcasts and follow us on twitter @DistributedDD.

Theme music provided by: David Berges (www.pond5.com)

Additional music provided by: Trent Ubben

Episode Sponsors: Accenture, The Bitcoin 2019 Conference, ButcherBox

Special Offer: Visit ButcherBox for $20 off your first order and a free box of bacon!‚



via The Let's Talk Bitcoin Network https://letstalkbitcoin.com/blog/post/dd-ep-14-a-quiet-crisis

South Korean Exchange Loses $5 Million in Accidental Bitcoin Airdrop

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South Korean exchange Coinneset reportedly lost around $5 million when it airdropped bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies instead of WGT.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/south-korean-exchange-loses-5-million-in-accidental-bitcoin-airdrop

Op Ed: Bitcoin Mining Attacks Are Overblown

http://bit.ly/2W9RRLz

Op Ed: Bitcoin Mining Attacks Are Overblown

Whenever I claim that bitcoin is the only decentralized cryptocurrency, I get one of two arguments:

  1. My X coin is also decentralized.
  2. Bitcoin isn’t decentralized because of Core and/or miners.

I’ll leave 1 and the first half of 2 for another day, but the “mining centralization” argument is what I want to tackle in this article.

The questions I’ll be answering are:

  • Is Bitcoin mining centralized?
  • In what way do miners “control” Bitcoin?
  • What are the risks of a 51% attack?
  • Are the altcoiners right?

Decentralization

Decentralization is a key property of Bitcoin. If you remove decentralization, it’s not an interesting project. There have been lots of centralized issuers of money — that’s what causes inflation and why your savings lose purchasing power daily. The response by altcoiners is to argue that decentralization is a spectrum or, barring that, that Bitcoin is centralized.

First, decentralization is not a spectrum. It either has a single point of failure or it doesn’t. Centralized things are called centralized because there’s a single point at which everything can fail. You either have a centralized point of failure or you don’t. There’s no real in-between like altcoiners would have you believe. Altcoins all have one or more of these properties which create a single point of failure:

  1. A creator that’s still involved;
  2. A development team that forces upgrades on all the users (hard forks); or
  3. A foundation/organization which directs what the coin will do.

Some have more than others (ETH has all three vs. XMR which has just the second); in that sense, you can say something has more single points of failure than others. Nevertheless, the fact is that if at least one single point of failure exists, the token is centralized. A government could very well control the coin with whatever regulations it wants through that single point of failure. They could, for example, arrest the creator, tax the dev team or nationalize the foundation or organization. The method by which an authority can take over doesn’t really matter here: The fact that it can is what is of concern. Centralized coins have the potential to be taken over relatively easily.

The question here is whether bitcoin mining is a single point of failure. Could a government or other authority control Bitcoin through controlling a single entity in mining? Much has been speculated about this and that is the subject of this article. What would it actually take to “take over”?

What Miners Can Do

The miners’ job is to secure the network. They do so by finding proof of work. Having 51% of the network hash power gives a single miner the ability to attack the network. That, however, is not the same as controlling the network. The attack is limited in nature and affects only the account holders attacked (say, an exchange). This is in contrast to forcing upgrades on the network, which can reset entire balances, inflate the currency or change all sorts of incentives. The latter is real control of the entire network, a real choke point, as the network rules are dictated by a single group. The former is a possible way in which some participants become vulnerable. These are two different things!

This distinction is crucial as altcoiners often conflate the two. The two vulnerabilities are not the same. The first is an attack vector with a lot of conditions required to execute, affecting a limited number of people; the latter is the possibility of complete takeover. Think of the former as a weakness in your army defenses and the latter as a takeover of the army for whatever purposes the conqueror pleases. The former still requires the attacker to fight out in the open. The latter is something that can be accomplished without the knowledge of anyone but the inner circle.

It is with this in mind that we call altcoins centralized. They can be taken over, conquered, changed by the whims of a few people. Controlling a large amount of mining hash power is not the same as that and the vulnerabilities are limited, not to mention very expensive to execute. This is the difference between a single person in charge of a bank account (who can thus embezzle, run away with the money, etc.) vs. a possibility that a valid wire transfer can be forced to wait a long time before being deposited.

Requirements of a 51% Mining Attack

To bring this home, let’s go through how a 51% mining attack must be executed. In order to execute a 51% attack, you first need more hashing power than the rest of the network. This means getting lots and lots of mining equipment, which costs a good deal of money. The equipment currently has long lead times and acquiring the latest generation of miners is notoriously difficult as such equipment tends to be very profitable. Using old equipment is an option, but the savings and convenience of such equipment is more than offset by the inefficiency. Either way, obtaining and running the equipment necessary is really costly. This requires incredible capital investment in order to compete with miners who are mining honestly and making a good deal of money doing it.

Furthermore, not only do you need the equipment, but you also need the electricity. Most bitcoin mining is done at the margins of electricity profitability for power suppliers. Mining tends to move to where the power is and not vice versa. So using hydroelectric dams, solar panel farms and geothermal at the margins tend to be how mining equipment is powered. Typical miners get rates of anywhere from $0.025/kWH to $0.06/kWH. These tend to be the absolute lowest rates, and most power companies require very long contracts to supply at rates this low.

Due to the increasing price and, thus, energy requirements, obtaining sufficient electricity to run a mining farm has become much harder over the past few years. When the Bitcoin network was small, it was perhaps possible to obtain enough electricity to run equipment that could supply 51% of the hash power, but that’s become less and less feasible over time. The power consumed by the Bitcoin network continues to grow, and an attacker would need to obtain a significant amount of electricity in order to successfully execute the attack.

There probably are some power companies that can supply 51% of the total network energy consumption at once, but good luck trying to convince them to sell you that much in a single burst. The power business is one where consumers are locked into lots of long-term contracts: A short-term, intense burst of power for a week or two is not practical, and if it is possible, it tends to be very expensive. Remember, there are factories, businesses and farms — not to mention homes — that rely on the electricity that these power plants supply to continue operating. These can’t simply be shut off to supply a hypothetical attacker with electricity.

In other words, as an attacker, you’re going to need access to some serious amounts of electricity, which is not likely going to be available to you without controlling the power source yourself. So not only do you have to control 51% of the potential hashing power, but you’ll likely need to generate the electricity yourself.

Profit-Driven Attacks

The capital costs of doing a 51% attack are enormous. You’ll need a large supply of really good mining equipment and a ton of electricity, neither of which you can buy off the shelf. This means that you’ll likely need to produce your own mining equipment and possibly produce your own electricity. This likely requires years of lead time to produce the equipment and long-term contracts to get the required electricity. Economically, investing this much capital would only make sense if you could profit enough from the attack as to make the venture worthwhile. There are several ways to attempt to profit from this, including shorting the market or attempting a double spend, but they all require some off-ramp to take the money and run. This used to be much easier but is no longer due to the AML/KYC laws surrounding most exchanges.

Furthermore, getting an operation like this together means that the attacker has enormous revenue potential through honest mining. This is much less risky and requires much less capital investment up front as you don’t need 51% of the network.

In other words, economically, it really doesn’t make any sense to do a 51% attack due to the costs and risk involved. Altcoins with a much lower hash rate are much more economical to attack this way.

Sovereign Attack

The only real potential for 51% mining attacks come from state-level actors. Assuming it’s a single sovereign, such an entity would need to not care at all about the cost, have access to incredible amounts of energy and have motive to attack Bitcoin. Again, this does not give the attacker control of the network, just the ability to attack a small slice of it. Leaving aside motivation, let’s look at the practical logistics.

In order to pull off something like this, even a sovereign nation would need to coordinate a lot of pieces to make it work. A government would need to get a large supply of hashing power, either through its own factories or through commandeering the needed equipment. This is not likely to be secret for very long and the community would likely be able to prepare. Similarly, a government would need to get a large supply of electricity in the same way. Again, this is not likely to be secret for very long. The coordination necessary would be at military levels and this is not something that most governments know how to do.

And all this for what? A single double-spend that screws over a particular exchange? Again, such an attack does not destroy Bitcoin. The rest of the network keeps chugging along and if the attack is sustained, there are decentralized ways to nullify even the most hash-heavy attacks. This is not a single point of failure in the least because, simply speaking, Bitcoin won’t fail that easily.

Why Altcoiners Are Obsessed With 51% Mining

So the question then turns to why so many altcoiners bring this up so often.

First, it’s one of the only things that’s even slightly perceived as a vulnerability in Bitcoin. Remember, altcoins are competition to bitcoin and like any good competitor, it helps to FUD your competition to make yourself look better. It’s a great way to distract people from the shortcomings of the centralization that their altcoin clearly has.

Second, they’re usually trying to sell proof of stake or proof of storage or some other nonsense. This is their way of showing the benefits of their system. Most altcoiners support their altcoin because they really want their coin to be bitcoin. They want to be rich like Trace Mayer but with their coin. That’s another whole article I need to write, but it’s an understandable emotion driven largely by envy.

Conclusion

Mining attacks are overblown, mostly by people that are trying to print their own money (or at least be the elite in the new currency). 51% attacks are too costly to be economical, have too little a payoff to generate much money and are too limited to hurt more than perhaps a few companies or individuals.

It’s even possible that a 51% attack that screws an exchange out of 100 BTC or so wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing for Bitcoin. Much like the BCH hard fork, it’s possible such an event would prove Bitcoin’s antifragility and cause a large rally.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.



via Bitcoin Magazine https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/op-ed-bitcoin-mining-attacks-are-overblown/#1548096745

Attorneys, Politicians and a Bitcoin Entrepreneur: The 23 People Running for Public Advocate


By JEFFERY C. MAYS via NYT https://nyti.ms/2sDzKjG

Wyoming Bill Would Clear the Way for Crypto Custody at Banks

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Wyoming legislators have introduced a bill to classify digital assets as property and provide banks with clarity on crypto custodial services.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/wyoming-bill-would-clear-the-way-for-crypto-custody-at-banks

Privacy Cryptocurrency Beam Experiences Blockchain Stoppage

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Privacy-oriented cryptocurrency Beam said Monday morning that its blockchain had stopped, later adding that a fix is in progress.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/beam-cryptocurrency-experiences-brief-blockchain-stoppage

Coinbase Hires New Compliance Chief for UK Operations

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U.S.-based crypto exchange Coinbase has hired a new U.K. head of compliance with three decades of experience in the industry.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/coinbase-hires-new-compliance-chief-for-uk-operations

Japan’s SBI Invests $15 Million In Crypto Card Wallet Maker Tangem

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Japanese financial services giant SBI Group has invested $15 million in slimline cold wallet provider Tangem.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/japans-sbi-invests-15-million-in-crypto-card-wallet-maker-tangem

This Former Bitcoin Price Support Is Now Capping Gains

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Bitcoin's weekly gains were wiped out at the weekend by a key moving average that previously offered support.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/this-former-bitcoin-price-support-is-now-capping-gains

SF Summit Shows BitTorrent Is Boosting Tron’s Appeal

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At Tron's niTROn Summit, CEO Justin Sun sketched out his vision for how BitTorrent's massive user base can leapfrog the crypto adoption problem.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/sf-summit-shows-bittorrent-is-boosting-trons-appeal

Digital Garage to Test Yen-Pegged Stablecoin on Blockstream Network

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A Digital Garage subsidiary has partnered with blockchain tech firm Blockstream to test atomic swaps of a Japanese yen-pegged stablecoin.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/digital-garage-to-test-yen-pegged-stablecoin-on-blockstream-network

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Proof-of-Stake Could Lead to Crypto Banking. Let’s Avoid That

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"Staking as a service" is taking off. We need to think hard about what this means for crypto's evolution, warns Michael J. Casey.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/proof-of-stake-could-lead-to-crypto-banking-lets-avoid-that

Let's Talk Bitcoin! #385 Consensus Concrete

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On Todays Episode of Let's Talk Bitcoin...

Andreas M. Antonopolous, Stephanie Murphy, Jonathan Mohan and Adam B. Levine answer listener questions with a big focus on Code is Law vs. Political decision-making.


Tip LTB:1FZGD64BA7B9GdwDhGGGF92amt9X6VH38K

or Via the Lightning Network at tipltb.tokenly.com/


Thanks for listening to this episode of Let's Talk Bitcoin, content for todays show was provided by Andreas Antonopoulos, Stephanie Murphy, Jonathan Mohan and Adam B. Levine.

This episode was edited by Dave, and featured music by Jared Rubens.

Send questions or comments to adam@letstalkbitcoin.com



via The Let's Talk Bitcoin Network https://letstalkbitcoin.com/blog/post/lets-talk-bitcoin-385-consensus-concrete

Oceans Apart: Crypto Regulation in the US and EU

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The differences between U.S. and EU approaches to crypto asset regulation are even more complicated than they appear, writes Noelle Acheson.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/oceans-apart-crypto-regulation-in-the-us-and-eu

Saturday, 19 January 2019

CoinDesk’s Crypto-Economic Data Is Now Accessible on GitHub

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CoinDesk will now use GitHub to help crowdsource potential methodology changes and data sources for our Crypto-Economics Explorer.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/coindesks-crypto-economic-data-is-now-accessible-on-github

Why ‘Mainstream Adoption’ Is an Unfair Success Metric for Dapps

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We are way too early for “mainstream adoption” to be a sensible success metric for dapps, says Coleman Maher.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/why-mainstream-adoption-is-an-unfair-success-metric-for-dapps

Friday, 18 January 2019

Haven, a New App From OB1, Lets Users Chat, Shop and Send Crypto Privately

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Haven OB1.jpg

Blockchain startup OB1, the developers of decentralized shopping platform OpenBazaar, have announced Haven, a privacy-focused app for socializing with friends and making purchases with cryptocurrencies.

The project was announced by Brian Hoffman, founder and CEO of OB1, at the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami. The developers claim that Haven will “enable users to shop, chat, and send cryptocurrencies privately from their mobile device.”

The ability to chat with friends and family on social networks has been tainted with data breaches and reports of the networks tracking user activity and selling collected data to third parties.

According to a company announcement, Haven will have a little bit of everything. It will "combine a multiple-cryptocurrency wallet, a social network and a truly peer-to-peer marketplace" for an inclusive economy and global participation with a focus on privacy.

Users can set up an e-commerce store using just their smartphones. They can also purchase items through the marketplace using cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. To speed up the shopping process, Haven features a multi-wallet where you can keep, receive and send the four cryptocurrencies supported on the platform: bitcoin, bitcoin cash, zcoin and litecoin.

Haven comes with a social feed, complete with features that allow users to share, like, comment and repost, prominent on the app.

To ensure a secure shopping experience, Haven leverages the OpenBazaar software and InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), a decentralized and distributed file storage system.

OpenBazaar is an open source project for building decentralized e-commerce stores that doesn't require go-betweens to function. Think of it as an eBay without fees.

“We believe users should be in control of their own data and are inspired by how cryptocurrencies allow them to trade with one another around the world. Users can connect this way now without needing access to traditional payment processors or using giant e-commerce platforms that collect all their personal data,” Hoffman explained in the company announcement.

“Haven is OB1’s most advanced project representing our mission to bring a convenient but private social marketplace experience to users.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.



via Bitcoin Magazine https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/haven-new-app-ob1-lets-users-chat-shop-and-send-crypto-privately/#1547848645

Binance Expands Fiat-to-Crypto Exchange Into Europe Via Jersey

http://bit.ly/2RTMIYV

Binance Expands Fiat-to-Crypto Exchange Into Europe Via Jersey

Binance’s cryptocurrency exchange platform has expanded into the European market with its entry into the Island of Jersey, a self-governing dependency of Great Britain. Binance Jersey will allow trading of popular cryptocurrencies bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) against the euro (EUR) and the British pound (GBP).

The exchange will launch with four trading pairs, including BTC/GBP, ETH/GBP, BTC/EUR and ETH/EUR.

In a statement, Wei Zhou, Binance’s chief financial officer, called the island “an undisputed pioneer in blockchain development leveraged by this strong framework and talent pool.”

He added: “Binance Jersey hopes to increase Jersey’s competitive advantage in banking from other jurisdictions competing for cryptocurrency-related business as the island’s cryptocurrency regulation allows.”

Binance and Digital Jersey first partnered in June 2018, with both companies signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) such that Binance could “develop a compliance base and cryptocurrency exchange in Jersey.” The partnership was also meant to help Binance develop a better understanding of the regulatory and economic environment of Jersey Island, particularly with compliance with anti-money laundering and know-your-customer (KYC) laws.

At the time, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao explained why they chose Jersey as their latest destination. “We have chosen Jersey to be the next big step in our global expansion strategy for its clear and pro-crypto investment and regulatory environment. With its local economy based on a major currency (GBP), and its proximity to the UK and Western Europe, we are confident the cooperation with Jersey will not only benefit the local economy, but also form a strong operational foundation for our expansion into the rest of Europe.”

Jersey is not part of the EU; however, it maintains a special relationship with the EU through the U.K. It is only regarded as being a part of the European Union for trade in goods; otherwise the Island is not a part of the EU. (Its formal relationship is set out in Protocol 3 of the U.K.'s 1972 Accession Treaty.) The island has made its intention known to Great Britain that, post-Brexit, it intends to preserve its relationship with the European Union, as well as with the United Kingdom.

Jersey could serve as a contingency plan post-Brexit for Binance, following in the footsteps of Coinbase, which opened a Dublin office last year. Binance officials were unavailable to elaborate on these potential plans.

Registration on Binance Jersey started immediately, as Zhao noted in a tweet:

“Binance.je is overwhelmed with registrations. There is a backlog of KYC verifications already. More resources are allocated to reduce it. In the mean time, we appreciate your understanding and patience. The registration prize is FIFO based, no worries. Just crazy!”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.



via Bitcoin Magazine https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/binance-expands-fiat-crypto-exchange-europe-jersey/#1547848213

Living on Bitcoin Day 4: The Uphill Climb

http://bit.ly/2FAAEGc

LOBday4.jpg

I woke up in a state of amazement: In my three days of living on bitcoin, I had managed to survive on a handful of services and the generosity of friends.

Hungry for any place that would let me spend it, I was more determined than ever to call up every single store in the Bay Area that might accept bitcoin. A few, like Bamboo Asia and Ramen Underground, were closed yesterday, so I still had a small, if shrinking, beacon of light at the end of a tunnel of rejection.

Most places weren’t open yet, so I had a call with my editor, who was keen to hear about how it had been both too simple and hopelessly difficult.

“Well hey, there’s the angle,” she suggested.

It was an angle, but it was also a dead end of sorts. I needed to find someplace to finally spend my bitcoin to make my day-to-day purchases different for a change (though going shop-to-shop in unsuccessful attempts to spend it and acting like a hungry lunatic on Haight street could also be considered “something different”).

A bit of work, a bit of coffee, a bit of social media trumpeting and it’s 11:00 a.m. Excited by the prospect of hopefully going out for lunch for once this week, I called up Bamboo Asia first.

“Hello, is this Bamboo Asia?”

“Yes it is,” a woman responded over the phone.

“Do y’all still accept bitcoin?”

“What?”

“Do you still take bitcoin?”

“Bit … coin?” she stuttered, a bit confused.

“I take that as a no, then?”

“No.”

“Okay, thank you,” I hung up.

Strike one.

Next up: Ramen Underground:

“Yes, hello, do you take bitcoin?”

“Bit what?”

“Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency.”

“Oh. No.”

Strike 2.

Then, I dialed Numa, a sushi joint that had slipped through yesterday’s round of solicitations:

“Do you accept bitcoin?”

“Do we have corn?”

Uh, no.

“No, no, do you take bitcoin — as a method for payment?”

“I’m sorry. I don’t know what that is,” she said hesitantly.

“It’s internet money. It —”

“Oh, no, no, no — no, not that, sorry.” She quickly cut me off.

Strike 3.

Well, in reality, there were many more strikes than that. I even called Siegel’s Clothing Superstore and Tuxedo, just for hell of it.

Over the phone, the question like an incessant recording (at this point, everytime I ask, I close my eyes and squinch my face up in embarrassed anticipation for the answer).

“I — I don’t think so, but let me check — can you hold on a minute?”

“Absolutely,” I answer, excited at the prospect of potentially something to go on.

“For the current sale, I’m sorry, no, they don’t accept bitcoin. No Apple Pay. Just Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and, of course, U.S. cash.”

Yep, I expected as much.

There was one last hope, but I was beginning to doubt that even Stookey’s, a bar I’d been told takes bitcoin by someone other than Google, would take it. If all else fails, maybe I’ll get to spend it there — eventually.


As night rolled around, I got ready to transition to the Crypto Castle. Queen Liz had granted me two night’s stay: On Tuesday, I’d be on the couches upstairs, but for Monday, I’d be sleeping in Jeremy’s room.

Oh. Ok.

The gesture took me aback for a second but it made sense for the bohemian-tech aesthetic that the house has going for it. That I would sleep in a millionaire’s bed one night and then a couch the next was humorous and exotic in a very benign way to me.

It was a short walk from Christian’s apartment, only half a mile, but distance can be deceiving when San Francisco's hills tack on a couple hundred feet of elevation gain. Lugging my belongings in a 50-gallon hiking backpack, my daypack slung over my right shoulder, I schlepped myself up the hills that were sloping at a crazy 45 degrees.

I was partially heaving when I topped the hill, turned right on Kansas Street and stopped in front of the castle’s telltale blue door with a “Bitcoin Prefered Here” sticker in the window. I pressed the buzzer.

“Yes, who is it?”

“Colin — the Bitcoin journalist,” I responded, and soon heard the door’s unlatching click.

Hans, an Italian expat developer with a machine-learning background who’s relatively new to the space, let me in. He has rich olive skin and curly black hair, and an apprehensive but affable personality.

We walked over to Jeremy’s room as Hans recapped some of what Liz had told me.

“I’m finishing up some work right now, do you mind?” he asked as we entered the room. Apparently, Jeremy’s room is a free-for-all space; he would likely have it no other way.

“Of course not — work away,” I told him. I mean, it’s not really my place to dictate what he can and can’t do in a room that isn’t mine to begin with.

The in-and-out style of the house’s residents made for some brisk but pleasant introductions. I would meet Teddy, a tall, lanky and balding Ethereum-to-EOS developer who works with Hans. He’s a bit jumpy and is into Soylent (and keeps offering me some to drink). Diego, another developer who used to play soccer at Boston College, would also come through with Kingsley, an Australian venture capitalist.


I posted up upstairs and did some work, shot the bull with Crypto Castle denizens and made plans for the rest of the week. I also reviewed Kashmir Hill’s 2014 living on bitcoin series. She had held on to some of her coins (she had a few left) and they had appreciated in value from 2013 to 2014.

Her second series is even more entertaining than the first. With her bitcoins’ increased purchasing power, she could access more exotic experiences: She spends it on winery tours, a nice (boy, I mean nice) dinner and even a riotous strip club experience.

Reading her accounts, I feel a wave of envy and the sense of a missed opportunity. She had so many more ways to spend her bitcoin; in reality, five years later, my bitcoin doesn’t have the same reach and San Francisco has basically zero merchant presence. Even if I had 2–3 bitcoin like her at the time of this experiment, I wouldn’t have a way to spend it (unless I wanted to drop it on bottles at Monarch, but that’s not really my scene).

Toward the end of the day, the reality that I hadn’t had one, in-person exchange with a merchant of any kind deeply depressed me.

Why the hell am I even doing this, and why I am spending so much money here?

I could be doing this anywhere. I could be doing this back home. Even there — in little ol’ Nashville with its tinkertoy tech scene — I could have at least bought dinner at Flyte, the only restaurant in town to accept BTC. But it’s a pricey dine, so by the time the week was up I would have been out a month’s rent (or a week’s rent in San Francisco).

Dinnertime approaching, I decided to use a Whole Foods gift card to stock up on provisions. It was a five-minute walk from the castle, and Kashmir had used gift cards she purchased from Gyft on her second go-around, so I thought it was permissible to buy one off of Bitrefill myself.

At least I could tear into the San Francisco Whole Foods’ hot and cold takeaway bars, an unmatched cornucopia of grocery store self-serves. Turkey pot pie, steak fries, tabouli, butternut squash, kale salad, chicken salad, couscous, shrimp, croquettes, yams, all crammed into the brown to-go box. I also got some Peet’s coffee and almond croissants for the house (should have gone for whole bean because of course this house would also have a grinder).

While the young woman at the counter dealt with the somewhat clunky process of redeeming my gift card — after I’d had to go through the even clunkier process of buying bitcoin before buying said gift card before being able to buy the groceries in store — something Hill observes in her article resonated with me.

The process was more time consuming and labor intensive than paying in fiat, but it was also liberating in its own way.

Bitcoin had provided me the opportunity to purchase those groceries, just as it had allowed me to buy all my Uber Eats food up till now. The merchant/drivers didn’t know where the credit came from, nor where or how it was bought.

For Uber, KYC is a given. But with gift cards, you can use bitcoin to transact in near complete anonymity. You can bank like a ghost if you want, and you can buy most everything you need without leaving a trail of credit or debit. Like cash, bitcoin can be used as an anonymous transfer of value — you just need to transmute it into a different payment method for real-world use first. If you want to increase your anonymity, you can take steps to mask your network activity. (e.g., I started using the privacy-focused Samourai wallet on the fourth day after my BRD wallet became too unreliable).

With these thoughts, I returned home (unfortunately, uphill again). After hanging with the castle’s crew and eating my meal, I took my rest in the bed of a guy who probably didn’t even know I was sleeping there but would doubtless not care.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.



via Bitcoin Magazine https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/living-on-bitcoin-day-4-the-uphill-climb/#1547845830

The Tatiana Show Ep. 166 Chris Karabats and Lily & John of Anarchaforko

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On this episode, we hear from the organizers of the Anarchaforko, Lily Forestor and John Galton. This unique conference is taking place in Acapulco, Mexico on February 22-24 and aiming to offer the attendees the chance to create their own experience. Use my code: Tatiana to receive a 15% off discount on https://anarchaforko.com/tickets/ Then we get the inside scoop from Chris Karabats of SmartCash who is supporting my performance at Anarchaforko and making it all possible. SmartCash has been supporting a lot of amazing content creators in the space, especially those with a voice advocating freedom, so I was really interested to learn what makes this project special. Tune in, and hear for yourself!

About the Guests:

Chris "Zaphoid" Karabats joined SmartCash as part of the support hive in early 2018 after leaving a 12 year career in IT. Chris purchased his first Bitcoin in 2013 and has been enthusiastic about how sound money cryptocurrency can help usher in the next renaissance of human development sence. He believes SmartCash is a strong player in the crypto as money space, and it's strong focus on adoption and usage as a currency backed by sound economic principles, self funding, and decentralized governance sets it apart.

Lily Forester and John Galton are the organizers of Anarchaforko which is the original fork of Anarchapulco intended to decentralize the conference structure and return the anarchists to Acapulco Bay. Our DIY conference structure is intended to promote a free market of goods, services and ideas all in the dynamic coastal city that is Acapulco, Mexico. Our main events will be February 17, 22-24 at Hotel Copacabana with several weeks of other events throughout the bay.


More Info:

TatianaMoroz.com

CryptoMediaHub.com

Smartcash.cc

Smartcashradio.libsyn.com/

Anarchaforko.com

Youtube.com/c/SmartCashDotCC

Sponsors of the Show:

TheBitcoinCPA.com

CryptoCompare.com

Paxful.com



via The Let's Talk Bitcoin Network https://letstalkbitcoin.com/blog/post/the-tatiana-show-ep-166-chris-karabats-and-lily-john-of-anarchaforko

How BlockEx Went From a $24 Million ICO to Layoffs in Less Than a Year

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BlockEx, a London-based platform for launching and exchanging tokens, was beset by a series of setbacks that led to downsizing.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/how-blockex-went-from-a-24-million-ico-to-layoffs-in-less-than-a-year

This Bitcoin Startup Is Working on Free Speech Alternatives to Patreon

http://bit.ly/2sC4lOM

bitpatron.jpg

Patreon has been making the case for censorship-resistant money increasingly apparent.

The platform allows members to contribute to artists or creators that they support. These contributions are made via standard payment methods like credit cards.

Over the past few months, there has been an increase in public outcry over multiple separate instances where Patreon has removed creators from its platform. BitPatron, a Bitcoin-friendly version of the website, has recently come to the surface as a possible alternative.

A Series of Bans

One of the first well-known bans dates back to August 2018 when James Allsup, a far-right political commentator, was banned from the funding platform.

In December, a wave of media attention ensued when another alt-right activist and spokesperson, Milo Yiannopoulos, was shut down almost 24 hours after he had set up an account to fund his “magnificent 2019 comeback tour.” Patreon’s reasoning for removing Yiannopoulos’s account was due to his past association with the Proud Boys, a violent, far-right political group (whose founders were kicked off of Facebook and Twitter recently as well).

Only a day after Yiannopoulos’s ban, British YouTuber Sargon of Akkad had his account removed for violating Patreon’s hate speech guidelines by making racist and hateful remarks toward minority groups.

Another notable example occurred when Patreon had to close an account against their will when Mastercard required them to remove the account of Robert Spencer, a political activist and author of several “counter-Jihad” books.

In response to Spencer’s removal and other account bans, Jordan Peterson, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, and David Rubin, creator and host of The Rubin Report, announced they were leaving Patreon because of the way that the platform has handled these situations.

Bitcoin and BitPatron

Bitcoin is a censorship-resistant currency. One of its many valuable attributes is that nobody can tell anyone what they can or cannot do with their bitcoin. As long as someone is able to receive bitcoin (which, by design, is very easy to do), no transaction from anywhere can be stopped.

BitPatron is a direct response to Patreon’s proclivity to censor content on the platform. It will offer a similar crowdfunding platform as its predecessor, but will allow users to support creators with bitcoin.

By using Bitcoin and Lightning as payment methods, BitPatron expects to offer lower fees than its competitor. BitPatron’s payment processing system is built on top of BTCPayServer, an open-source payment processor for Bitcoin and Lightning. According to the website, there is no minimum pledge amount, compared to Patreon’s $1 minimum. Total fees for the platform are 4 percent, much lower than Patreon’s 10 percent.

The platform’s co-founder believes that, more than just offering users a lower fee competitor to Patreon, BitPatron’s focus on bitcoin is about free speech.

“Patreon publicly admitted that Mastercard required them to remove accounts. This is where Bitcoin and BitPatron come in. Bitcoin is censorship-resistant, free-speech money, and BitPatron is taking a leading role at building a Bitcoin-based, censorship-resistant platform that gives the power back to the community where it belongs,” Vin, co-founder of BitPatron, told Bitcoin Magazine.

But BitPatron is still not a completely, “anything goes” platform yet. A spokesperson for the company told Bitcoin Magazine: “For now, we are planning to monitor and block only in extreme cases, such as illegal pornography, threats or calls for violence, or terrorism-related content.

He added that ideally, in its purest form there would be no centralized control, but there’d be some sort of decentralized algorithm to perform the necessary checks. “That's why we are considering blockchain platforms that would allow users to self-host their content and be responsible for it.

“We want to remain a platform for every voice, which is, in our opinion, a far greater task than monitoring ‘hate speech.’ We therefore need to make sure that the platform remains interesting for voices of the entire spectrum.”

Who Is It For?

BitPatron will first allow podcasters and video creators to offer exclusive content to their supporters, and it also has plans integrate with Discord groups to support chat rooms.

In the bigger picture, a platform like BitPatron could support content creators from all walks of media. It is a platform where people receive financial support from others all across the world in a seamless and instant way with a censorship-resistant currency.

According to the platform, the public beta will go live next month.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.



via Bitcoin Magazine https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/bitcoin-startup-working-free-speech-alternatives-patreon/#1547838940

Overstock’s Patrick Byrne Says tZERO Will Launch Next Week

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The tZERO security token trading platfrom will go live next week, says Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/overstocks-patrick-byrne-says-tzero-will-launch-next-week

Former French Central Bank Chief Joins Blockchain Startup Board

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French economist and former central bank head Christian Noyer is joining blockchain-based financial services startup SETL's board of director.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/former-french-central-bank-chief-joins-blockchain-startup-board

Huobi Resumes Operations in Japan as a Fully Regulated Exchange

http://bit.ly/2FyHMmp

Huobi Japan.jpg

Huobi is back in Japan, this time as a fully regulated exchange under Japan's Financial Services Agency (FSA).

Following its merger with BitTrade, Huobi Japan Holding Ltd. is now among the first batch of 17 to receive registration under the FSA and is able to relaunch Huobi Japan.

Leon Li, Huobi Group founder and CEO, called the launch an “important milestone” in a statement, adding that the Japanese market remains important to the group and that working with its “regulators is a longstanding priority for Huobi Group.”

Japan's financial regulator had directed all cryptocurrency exchanges not registered as a licensed exchange with the agency to cease operations in 2017.

Huobi had left at the time, hoping to merge with SBI Virtual Currency, but that deal fell through.

Following Coincheck's hack in January 2018, the FSA had ramped up requirements for exchanges, with 160 applicants waiting in line for approval as of October 2018. Unable to get approval, Huobi acquired a majority stake in Japanese-licensed operator BitTrade, as it prepared to stage a comeback into the market.

At the moment, Huobi Japan will offer trading of bitcoin, ripple, ether, bitcoin cash, litecoin and monacoin, traded against the Japanese Yen. The exchange is also offering zero-fee transactions during the launch period.

Livio Weng, CEO of Huobi Global, told Bitcoin Magazine that Huobi Japan would draw on the expertise of the group to operate an exchange that offers better liquidity, with a strong focus on the safety and security of customer's funds.

“In addition to now offering our users a fully regulated and compliant place to trade digital assets, Huobi Japan also brings with it Huobi Group’s half-decade of experience in cryptocurrency and blockchain.”

Currently ranked as the sixth largest crypto exchange platform in the world, Huobi Group was founded in China back in 2013. The company maintained its headquarters in Singapore after the Chinese government initiated a crackdown on domestic cryptocurrency exchanges in 2017.

Huobi also operates exchanges in Canada, UAE, Australia and Brazil.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.



via Bitcoin Magazine https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/huobi-resumes-operations-japan-fully-regulated-exchange/#1547827410

Ethereum Devs Propose Activating Constantinople Hard Fork in Late February

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After a security vulnerability was found in ethereum's next system-wide upgrade just days prior to activation, core developers now hope to execute the upgrade at the end of February.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/ethereum-devs-propose-activating-constantinople-hard-fork-in-late-february

What Bitcoin Did #65 Why Altcoins Are a Bad Investment With Tone Vays

https://ift.tt/eA8V8J

'œIf you are intending to be around for the next 5 or 10 years, you need to really think about what you are going to say.'

'" Tone Vays

Interview location: Skype

Interview date: Friday 11th Jan, 2018

Role: Bitcoin/Blockchain Researcher, Consultant Content Creator & Derivatives Trader

Trading is hard, and crypto trading is even harder. There are significant disagreements around the value of all cryptocurrencies, especially altcoins. While maximalists believe that Bitcoin is a valid long-term investment in sound money, they also think that all altcoins and tokens are worthless.

Tone Vays does not believe in trading altcoins as he thinks they are not viable long-term, as such you are only trading hype and market cycles. Tone also believes many of these altcoins and tokens are scams, where the creators have printed money.

In this interview, I talk about trading with Tone, why he only trades Bitcoin and the skills which new traders need to master. We also discuss his upcoming conference, Unconfiscatable, why he is putting it on and why Bitcoin only conferences are essential.

This episode is also on:

Listen to more What Bitcoin Did episodes



via The Let's Talk Bitcoin Network https://letstalkbitcoin.com/blog/post/what-bitcoin-did-65-why-altcoins-are-a-bad-investment-with-tone-vays

OECD: ICOs Have Business Financing Benefits But Aren’t a Mainstream Option

https://ift.tt/eA8V8J

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development thinks ICOs may be a beneficial fundraising tool, but not yet for "mainstream" firms.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/oecd-icos-have-business-financing-benefits-but-arent-a-mainstream-option

Daily Bitcoin Transactions on Darknet Markets Doubled Throughout 2018-Report


By REUTERS via NYT https://nyti.ms/2FBdn6S

Who’s Left, Joined and Almost Joined Coinbase Since Its $300 Million Raise

https://ift.tt/eA8V8J

A roundup of notable recent departures and hirings at Coinbase, one of the most coveted places to work in the crypto industry.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/whos-left-joined-and-almost-joined-coinbase-since-its-300-million-raise

Thai Stock Exchange Plans to Launch a Token Trading Platform

https://ift.tt/eA8V8J

The Stock Exchange of Thailand is looking to capitalize on investor interest in cryptos by offering a new digital assets exchange.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/thai-stock-exchange-plans-to-launch-a-crypto-trading-platform

This Malware Has a Worrying Trick to Mine Monero on Cloud Servers

https://ift.tt/eA8V8J

In an apparent first, a relatively new form of malware uninstalls security programs to avoid detection and mine crypto on cloud servers.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/this-malware-has-a-worrying-trick-to-mine-monero-on-cloud-servers

If You Don’t Think Your Office Is a War Zone You Are Fooling Yourself


By CHOIRE SICHA via NYT https://nyti.ms/2RB9e9t

Bitcoin Price Consolidation May Have Weakened Bear Case

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Bitcoin's eight-day stretch of consolidation looks to have weakened the prospects of a drop back to December lows near $3,100.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/bitcoin-price-consolidation-may-have-weakened-bear-case

Chip Maker TSMC Reports ‘Big Drop’ in Crypto Mining Revenue

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Chip-making giant TSMC has reported a significant drop in revenue for its crypto mining segment in 2018.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/chip-maker-tsmc-reports-big-drop-in-crypto-mining-revenue

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Grayscale’s Newest Crypto Investment Trust Will Hold Stellar Lumens

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Grayscale Investments is launching a new single-asset trust for Stellar lumens, allowing accredited investors to gain exposure to the cryptocurrency.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/grayscales-newest-crypto-investment-trust-will-hold-stellar-lumens

You Can Now Buy Bitcoin at Some Grocery Stores in the US

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Supermarket kiosk chain Coinstar will allow consumers to buy up to $2,500 in bitcoin at select grocery stores.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/coinstar-partnership-aims-at-expanding-bitcoin-purchases-in-grocery-stores

Bitcoin Price Analysis: Bitcoin Tests Boundary Support as Demand Weakens

http://bit.ly/2s78wSl

Bitcoin Price Analysis

Following last Friday’s drop, bitcoin has found itself coiled, once again, at the bottom of the range it established back in December. With the current market unable to close a new high, the market finds itself in a precarious position:

Figure_1.png

Figure 1: BTC-USD, Daily Candles, Range Support Test

The blue support level shown above illustrates the boundary of the multi-week range bitcoin has been bound by. At the time of this article, the market is testing the support level but has yet to close and continue below. We did see a temporary close below the support level, but there was a very short-lived rally on low volume shortly after popping the fresh low.

Figure_2 (6).png

Figure 2: BTC-USD, Daily Candles, Secondary Support Level

Just below our immediate support level exists a secondary support level (shown in red) established by a market pivot a few weeks ago. It’s not entirely surprising that the drop inspired some eager bulls. It is still too early to tell, but the temporary support level doesn’t appear to be inspiring much demand. The price spread is low, the volume is low, and the rally was immediately stifled on modest volume. As mentioned in our previous analysis, this is kind of a no-man's-land due to the market indecision within this range.

Figure_3 (5).png

Figure 3: BTC-USD, Daily Candles, Upper and Lower Bound of Current Range

The figure above shows the overhanging resistance (shown in blue and red) that rejected the bullish attempts to break out. We can clearly see that the daily candles at the top of the range closed lower and lower, ultimately being rejected with high volume and high price spread.

Similarly, the market has seen lower and lower closes at the bottom of the range with lower reactionary volume and tighter spread. This sort of market behavior is indicative of high supply presence combined with relatively weak and waning demand.

Currently, we need to see if the market breaks and closes below the current low. If we manage to close below the current level, we can expect to see a test of the next support level in the low $3,000s. However, if we manage to exhaust the bears at this level, we can fully expect to see a test of the upper boundary of the range once again.

We are firmly bound in this price range, and a breakout of the range in either direction will likely yield a strong continuation in the direction of the breakout. As always, we must wait to see where the daily candle closes, but for the time being, the current market seems to be leaning toward a test of the lower support.

Summary:

  1. For the last week, bitcoin has been pretty tightly coiled in a relatively narrow range.
  2. We closed a lower low on the daily candles but have yet to break through support.
  3. The currently price level is bordering on the no-man’s-land of the no-trade zone inside the range. If we manage to close below the current support level, we can expect to see a test of the low $3,000s. If not, we can most likely expect to retest the upper boundary of the range in the low $4,000s.

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 https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/bitcoin-price-analysis-bitcoin-tests-boundary-support-demand-weakens/#1547766151

ConsenSys Invests in Two Crypto Startups to Lead VCs Into Ethereum Ecosystem

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ConsenSys just invested $1 million in privacy-centric browser Tenta and an undisclosed amount in crypto trading platform Coinhouse. It's part of a broader strategy.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/consensys-ventures-ethereum-invest-crypto

Living on Bitcoin Day 3: Brother, Can You Take a Sat?

http://bit.ly/2DfQl3p

LOB Day3.jpg

This is the third instalment of reporter Colin Harper's "Living on Bitcoin" experience in San Francisco. Find out what happened to him earlier on Day 1 and on Day 2.

I woke up on day 3 and made a pact with myself: I had resolved to not rely on Uber Eats that day.

I still think that buying this credit from an exchange like Bitrefill or Paxful is in line with the experiment, but I haven’t made a PoS purchase yet and I want to make today about going out and actually using bitcoin with merchants.

Only once I ventured out to actually try this did I realize that the trend I unearthed yesterday would become an insurmountable obstacle.


I woke up in a bed this time (one had been freed up after Christian’s roommate and friends left to move to LA). Like the day before, I immediately hit the coffee and continued to work on the write-up of the previous day. Little of note happened. Christian left to go back to Nashville to then go to Miami for a conference. Riggins, who had slept on the couch the night before, went with him.

To prep for a day of no Uber Eats, I looked up some of the places that I hadn’t checked with yet to see if they still took bitcoin. The preliminary results were disheartening. Bamboo Asian and Ramen Underground are closed on Sundays. Three Babes Bakery no longer accepts crypto and neither does Elixart, even though their Nevada location does. So my prospects here in San Francisco were looking grim.

Surely somewhere, I thought.

Resolved to make something of the day, I decide that I should just throw myself out there and see if I could stumble upon a place that would take BTC. If all the online bitcoin-as-payment finders had it wrong, maybe there were a few stores that did accept it but weren’t listed.

Clinging to this hope, I ordered an Uber for Haight-Ashbury, starting off my search with a toy shop called Woot Bear that supposedly accepted bitcoin. I wasn’t holding my breath.


An Uber pool took me a block away from Woot Bear and Haight street. Walking that way, I took out a sign I had prepped for my promenade in San Francisco’s hippie district.

“If you buy me food or coffee, I’ll send you bitcoin. I’ll help you set up a wallet and be your friend!”

I figured the absurd gesture would be in character for Haight-Ashbury’s rabble of itinerants, tourists, burnouts and homeless population. People probably thought the sign was asking for handouts. It wouldn’t be the first time I would be mistaken for homeless (happened earlier this year while passing out Thanksgiving meals around Nashville).

Woot Bear’s caretaker was out for lunch, so I walked around, sign in front, and went searching for food (I hadn’t eaten yet) or any place that would take my coins. I didn’t expect to waltz into a place and find that they take bitcoin, no more than I expected someone to take my sign seriously. Still worth the attempt. The reactions themselves when I asked were worth it.

Finding a thrift store I visited last time I was in San Francisco, I went in and glanced at a few shirts. A tall woman with jet black hair was preoccupied with her phone behind the cashier’s desk.

After browsing some flannels, I walked up to ask a question I already knew the answer to.

“Yes?” she asked, a little annoyed, looking up from the phone after I had loomed over the desk for a few seconds.

“What are the chances you could be swayed to accept bitcoin?”

Lips pursed on a to-go drink straw, she slowly shook a lowered head.

“No.”

“Yeah, I expected as much,” I said resignedly.

A little farther down the strip, I walked into a run-of-the-mill smoke shop. I asked the dude working it if they accept bitcoin.

He just shook his head.

“Know of any places around Haight that do,” I asked, grasping at anything I could get.

“Nope. Cash is king here.”

Cash is king, I thought. Yeah, no kidding, bucko. What’d you expect?

I slipped into probably half a dozen more shops, receiving the same result and a mixture of reactions. One young, nose-studded barista looked like I had offended her with my question, another was simply amused and gave me a free coffee. Most young dudes that I asked would just laugh at the question, answering, “No, sorry!” with a grin. The majority of people were simply confused. Some probably didn’t know what it was, but they knew that they didn’t accept it.

A bit defeated, I went back to Woot Bear. Now that it was open, I asked the shopkeeper if they still accept bitcoin.

“Bitcoin?” she asked, pausing her phone conversation for a moment. “Oh, no, I’m sorry we don’t anymore.”

I expected as much — past results were becoming indicative of future ones.

I asked her why they’d stopped. She told me that, apparently, the payment processor they used was no longer operational.

Still, she went on to sing bitcoin’s praises emphatically to the fellow who was still on the other end of her phone call.

“Bitcoin was great!” she told him. “It was fee-less and it would automatically convert to money in your bank account.”

She was treating it like some arcane truth, stammering while explaining how they used to use it and the value it carried.

“I don’t know what it is,” she ultimately confessed.


Phone calls, store visits, solicitations, holding that sign like a lunatic. Nothing would bring me the opportunity to spend bitcoin.

I left Woot Bear — the coincidental significance of its name including “bear” only now starting to register — with my confidence in disrepair. Still, I tried a few more shops to no avail and had an encounter that I won’t recount here for fear of being put on an FBI watch list.

Stopping to record what just happened (and clueing my buddies in — we have a running tally on surreal encounters), I was interrupted by an older, flustered, Indian man.

“Is that you?” he asked, pointing to my sign as it rested on the shop’s sandwich-board sign.

Thinking he was interested in my sign (he was the first person to stop to read it), I enthusiastically replied in the affirmative.

“Well, stop it. This is my sign, my shop.” The man gestured at the storefront.

“Oh, sorry, I was just typing something up — just using your sign for a second.”

“Okay, I don’t care if you need it for a minute,” he said as he stepped farther out on the sidewalk, seemingly to monitor my loitering.

Walking to the panhandle of Golden Gate Park, I was resigned to not finding anywhere on Haight that would take bitcoin, but not to finding nowhere that would take it.

Posted up on a bench outside a public basketball court, I called up a few places I had left to check with.

Nothing.

They’d all stopped taking bitcoin some time ago. A tone of brisk agitation usually followed my questions.

Frustrated, I gave up. The constant Google queries, calls and typing — all my activity had been eating into my phone’s battery — with hunger eating at my concentration: I’d had enough. My phone was at 5 percent, so I called an Uber and retreated to the apartment.

I’m typing this in the Uber and it’s honestly hard to focus with this empty burning in my gut.

San Francisco’s roller coaster landscape didn’t help. Most of what I wrote in the Uber was crap.

Back at the apartment, I ordered Curry Up Now again. The deconstructed samosas and sexy fries were very much a transcendent experience, probably both because they were undeniably delicious and because my stomach was ready to turn in on itself.

I was fed, but I wasn’t satisfied. My pact was broken: I couldn’t use bitcoin in any stores or restaurants, and the reality was becoming very clear that I likely wouldn’t get the chance.

I wasn’t thriving like I would have hoped — or really expected. Sure, saying I’ve been surviving wouldn’t be quite right, because it’s been unequivocally easy to use Bitrefill to get more Uber credit. But there’s no diversity in purchases, just travel and food. Not only have I not been able to spend it in the city, but I haven’t been able to experience the different ways that I could spend it.

Frustrated and disappointed, I watched the Saints play (and beat) the Eagles in the NFC division round and wrote a little more. Another night of being fed by a friend, as Michelle cooked risotto and had her folks over.

Before dinner was served, I heard Michelle talk about the experiment with them. Her mother took to the topic with quick fascination but diagnosed the potential difficulties with it.

“Oh, that’s going to be tough, but if he can do it anywhere, it would be here,” her mom said.

Let me tell ya, lady — you have no idea.

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 https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/living-bitcoin-day-3-brother-can-you-take-sat/#1547759122

BRD Wallet Expands Crypto User Access Across Europe With Coinify Partnership

http://bit.ly/2MiUCWm

BRD Coinify.jpg

Coinify, a European-based financial platform that provides a wallet, trading and payment processing solution, has announced that they are integrating BRD Wallet into their platform to deliver BRD wallet access to users across the European region.

Specifically, the partnership provides access to virtual currencies, like bitcoin, to 34 countries across the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). The SEPA region is a collection of member states in Europe who are part of a payment system that simplifies bank transfers denominated in EUR. The launch is also enabled largely in part by Coinify’s newly rebranded trading solution for wallet partners.

Customers will now be able to use BRD Wallet to “purchase bitcoin at cost-efficient rates with SEPA bank transfers” within Coinify’s trading platform. With BRD integration, customers will also retain control over their private keys while using Coinify.

Essentially, this provides a large number of users with an efficient and secure way to buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and then allows them to immediately store it in a manner where they control what happens to their money. Typically, a user will entrust the custody of their private keys to a centralized exchange while they are waiting for trades to be executed and sometimes for much longer than that.

Aaron Lasher, co-founder and chief strategy officer at BRD, highlighted the advantages of the integration for security-focused users of the Coinify platform.

“We like exchanges and think security will get better in the future, but by using our integrated purchase and trading solutions, you get to keep your funds under your control 99 percent of the time, and only put them at a slightly higher risk for a short period when you make the exchange,” Lasher told Bitcoin Magazine.

“Using a non-custodial wallet means that you and you alone control your funds. It’s similar to having physical cash in a (highly secure) safe at home. Only in this case, we provide our customers a digital safe (the BRD wallet) that they can keep in their pocket and carry along. Nobody else in the world has access to your funds but you, and nobody can stop you from sending or receiving funds.”

Integrating a wallet that allows users to own their funds and seamlessly make trades on a platform like Coinify could help to push bitcoin adoption forward.

"The financial industry is ripe for disruption and we see bitcoin and the other virtual currencies as the future of payments,” said Rikke Stær, chief commercial officer at Coinify, told Bitcoin Magazine. “At Coinify, we have experienced first-hand the rising adoption of bitcoin and working with BRD as a user-friendly, decentralized wallet will only encourage the global reach of the currency."

“Since launching as the first iOS bitcoin wallet in the App Store over 4 years ago, we’ve grown tremendously in North America,“ Adam Traidman, CEO and co-founder of BRD, said in a statement. “Europe will be strategic in the next phase of BRD’s global growth, and the partnership with Coinify will ensure our success in this crucial endeavour.”

In August 2018, Canadian-based Coinberry exchange launched a similar BRD integration, allowing users to quickly and seamlessly buy, deposit and withdraw bitcoin on the Coinberry platform, while keeping control of their keys at all times.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.



via Bitcoin Magazine https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/brd-wallet-expands-crypto-user-access-across-europe-coinify-partnership/#1547758130

BitPay Sets New Company Records, in Spite of Crypto Bear Markets

http://bit.ly/2RWclbu

bitpay.jpg

Blockchain payment platform BitPay has announced that 2018 has been their most profitable year, having “processed over a $1 Billion again in payments and set a new record for transaction fee revenue.”

In a statement, BitPay CEO Stephen Pair said, “To process over a $1 Billion for a second year in a row despite Bitcoin’s large price drop shows that Bitcoin is being used to solve real pain points around the world.”

2018 was a particularly fraught year for the crypto space, as prices saw a steady decline. Nevertheless, BitPay was able to show positive expansion, which it credits in part to “new customers like Dish Networks, HackerOne, and the State of Ohio.”

“The adoption of support for Payment Protocol wallets has made a big difference for our merchants,” added Sean Rolland, head of product of BitPay. “Merchants are now able to easily accept Bitcoin payments in a simple easy way without any support issues. This was our biggest request by our enterprise merchants.”

One of the oldest, still-active companies in the space, having been founded in 2011, BitPay made upgrades to their system through 2018. It set “a record for reducing payment error rates,” from 8 percent to only 1 percent, as well as adding “settlement support for Bitcoin Cash and stable coins from Circle, Gemini, and Paxos.”

Nevertheless, the company is still primarily focused on Bitcoin, and this strategy has continued to pay out dividends despite the fluctuations of the market. At a time when crypto companies are reporting series of layoffs, BitPay both “grew headcount by 78% in 2018” and also “raised $40 Million in Series B funding bringing its total raised capital to over $70 Million.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.



via Bitcoin Magazine https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/bitpay-sets-new-company-records-spite-crypto-bear-markets/#1547754467

Ethereum Co-Founder Joe Lubin Joins Board of Crypto Futures Platform ErisX

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ErisX is expanding its board as it prepares to launch spot and derivatives markets for bitcoin and, eventually, ethereum.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/ethereum-co-founder-joe-lubin-joins-board-of-crypto-futures-platform-erisx

Coinbase Acquires Andreessen Horowitz–Backed Startup Blockspring

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Blockspring, a startup that makes tools for collecting and managing data from APIs, has been acquired by Coinbase.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/coinbase-acquires-andreessen-horowitz-backed-startup-blockspring

OKCoin Founder Star Xu Seeks to Acquire Public Firm for $60 Million

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OKCoin founder Star Xu may be seeking a possible backdoor IPO by buying a majority stake in a Hong Kong-listed company.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/okcoin-founder-star-xu-seeks-to-acquire-public-firm-crypto-60-million

QuadrigaCX Crypto Exchange Users Still Can’t Get Their Money Out

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QuadrigaCX users' concerns were compounded by the exchange's announcement that its CEO had died more than a month earlier.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/quadrigacx-crypto-exchange-users-say-they-still-cant-get-their-money-out

South Africa’s Central Bank Proposes Rules for Crypto Companies

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Crypto exchanges and wallet providers would have to register with regulators under rules proposed by South Africa’s central bank.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/south-africas-central-bank-proposes-rules-for-crypto-companies

BitPay Says It Processed Over $1 Billion in Crypto Payments Last Year

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U.S.-based crypto payments processor BitPay says it processed over $1 billion-worth of transactions last year.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/bitpay-says-it-processed-over-1-billion-in-crypto-payments-last-year

Circle’s USDC Stablecoin Fully Dollar Backed, Says Latest Auditor’s Report

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Crypto finance startup Circle’s USDC stablecoin was fully backed with fiat reserves at the close of 2018, according to auditing firm Grant Thornton.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/circles-usdc-stablecoin-fully-dollar-backed-says-latest-auditors-report

Bitcoin Price Volatility is Down 98% Year-on-Year

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Bitcoin's daily price volatility has plummeted in the last 12 months as the bear market killed off the speculative frenzy.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/bitcoin-price-volatility-is-down-98-year-on-year

Wyoming Blockchain Bill Proposes Issuance of Tokenized Stock Certificates

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Lawmakers from the U.S. state of Wyoming have introduced legislation proposing the issuance of tokenized stock certificates using blockchain tech.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/wyoming-blockchain-bill-proposes-issuance-of-tokenized-stock-certificates

Barclays and Clearmatics Call on Coders to Help Blockchains Talk to Each Other

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U.K. bank Barclays and startup Clearmatics will hold a hackathon next month to spur ideas for blockchain interoperability.

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/barclays-and-clearmatics-call-on-coders-to-help-blockchains-talk-to-each-other

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

One Year Later, What’s Holding Back SegWit Adoption on Bitcoin?

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SegWit was activated on the bitcoin network over a year ago. But only an estimated 36 percent of all bitcoin transactions are using it. Why?

via CoinDesk https://www.coindesk.com/one-year-later-whats-holding-back-segwit-adoption-on-bitcoin

New BitGo Partnership Lets Clients Trade Crypto Directly From Cold Storage

http://bit.ly/2MdxyIM

BitGo Genesis.jpg

American crypto wallet and custodial firm BitGo has teamed up with Genesis Global Trading, a digital asset trading firm, to improve the crypto trading experience for its institutional investors.

Investors who use BitGo's custody service can now trade their assets directly from their BitGo custody account, without the need to move the assets to an exchange.

“Institutional investors want to put their assets to work and they want security,” Mike Belshe, BitGo’s CEO, told Bitcoin Magazine. “Until now, they've had to make compromises on one front or the other, choosing to trade off security for speed of withdrawals from custody. Now, as a result of our partnership with Genesis, they have access to multiple trading venues without ever having to move their assets from the security of cold storage."

The partnership will allow BitGo’s institutional clients to access instant pricing for buy and sell orders. For example, if an investor holds 250 BTC in storage with BitGo, they can get real-time pricing for buy and sell orders, execute transactions from within their BitGo account and have it settled same day.

In a statement, Belshe said, “Our partnership with Genesis, a FINRA and SEC regulated company, gives our clients access to liquidity through Genesis’ robust network of trading partners. And that solves the real problem which is the need to access liquidity — not the need to speed up withdrawals.”

The South Dakota Division of Banking granted BitGo a charter in September 2018 — an approval that allowed the startup to act as a qualified custodian of cryptocurrencies in the state.

Genesis, the subsidiary of blockchain venture capital firm Digital Currency Group, offers over-the-counter trading to its investors and it became the first New York-based firm to receive a BitLicense.

Genesis Global Trading recently revealed that the company saw a 50 percent increase in its OTC trading volumes for 2018, which shows that the company was not shaken by the effects of the bear market that started last year.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.



via Bitcoin Magazine https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/new-bitgo-partnership-lets-clients-trade-crypto-directly-cold-storage/#1547676173