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What is Bitcoin?

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

Bitcoin Latest News

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Posted on 19 November 2017 | 3:02 am

Bitcoin's blockchain technology praised by Wall Street - New York Post


New York Post

Bitcoin's blockchain technology praised by Wall Street
New York Post
What set the financial world agog is the blockchain technology that supports bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. While JPMorgan chief Jamie Dimon slammed bitcoin, he had praise for the technology. I had the opportunity to speak with Brad Levy, the CEO ...
Up and Away? Bitcoin Price Eyes $8000 Or HigherCoinDesk

all 15 news articles »

Posted on 19 November 2017 | 1:50 am

Bitcoin Demand Surges in Zimbabwe Following Successful Coup - Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)


Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)

Bitcoin Demand Surges in Zimbabwe Following Successful Coup
Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
The price of Bitcoin surged by as much as 10% on the Zimbabwean exchange Golix in mid-November 2017 after the military successfully staged a coup d'état. The country is already known not to have a strong economy; Zimbabwe's peak month of inflation ...
Why Bitcoin Is Super Hot in ZimbabweInc.com
Bitcoin investments new attraction for Indians, say expertsEconomic Times
Bitcoin Has 'Unquantifiable Risk': UBS Investment ChiefCryptoCoinsNews
Seeking Alpha -Business Insider
all 22 news articles »

Posted on 19 November 2017 | 12:23 am

Major ATM Manufacturer Integrates Bitcoin, Exposure to Millions of Users - Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)


Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)

Major ATM Manufacturer Integrates Bitcoin, Exposure to Millions of Users
Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
Since 2014 Hyosung has collaborated with leading Bitcoin service providers within the South Korean cryptocurrency industry such as the Tim Draper-backed Coinplug. For over three years Hyosung has enabled South Korean ATM users to buy and sell ...

Posted on 18 November 2017 | 8:01 am

ICOs on Our Terms and Conditions

How to structure token sales that comply with securities laws open participation to a diverse range of purchasers and enhance value for all involved.

Posted on 18 November 2017 | 5:40 am

Millions Gone? Broker Takes Fire for Bitcoin Cash Freeze

Bitcoin cash's big ups and downs have had market impacts far and wide, while showcasing the nascent nature of the crypto sector as a whole.

Posted on 18 November 2017 | 4:45 am

Gox ICO? CEO Karpeles Floats Token Sale to Revive Bitcoin Exchange

A Mt Gox initial coin offering (ICO)? It's not that much of a far-fetched idea, according to the defunct bitcoin exchange's controversial CEO.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 3:10 pm

Now the SegWit2x Hard Fork Has Really Failed to Activate

The SegWit2x Hard Fork Has Now Really Failed to Activate

In case there were any remaining doubts, it now seems clear that the SegWit2x hard fork will not happen.

The SegWit2x project, a product of the New York Agreement signed onto by a long list of companies and miners in May, had scheduled a hard fork to double Bitcoin’s block weight limit today. And while the controversial effort was suspended by leaders of the project last week, this would not have stopped anyone else from proceeding with it. Companies like Coinbase were indeed taking into account that the SegWit2x hard fork could still happen.

The Fork That Wasn’t

SegWit2x nodes — most notably btc1 — were programmed to fork away from the Bitcoin blockchain this afternoon (UTC) to create the SegWit2x blockchain and a new currency, often referred to as B2X. However, not a single SegWit2x block has been mined since fork point, nor is there any indication that this is likely to happen. For all intents and purposes, there is no SegWit2x — nor a B2X.

Further, software bugs in the btc1 codebase made all btc1 implementations grind to a halt even before it reached the expected fork point. While Bitcoin and SegWit2x nodes were widely expected to share a single blockchain up until block 494783 and then to go their own ways at block 494784, btc1 nodes never made it past block 494782.

This is mainly because the first block on the SegWit2x chain was required to have a “base block” larger than one megabyte. This is how the chain would diverge from the original Bitcoin protocol. But due to what is referred to as an “off-by-one error,” SegWit2x blocks started to reject smaller-than-one-megabyte blocks one block too soon — at block 494,783 instead of 494,784.

Moreover, another btc1 bug prevented miners from mining a big enough block when it was needed. So even if some miners did want to proceed with the fork, they accidentally wouldn’t have done so — at least not automatically. Miners would instead have had to manually configure their block weight settings, but it’s unlikely they knew about this step. Btc1 maintainer Jeff Garzik (while also denying there was a problem) has since released a patch to resolve this issue.

But judging by the absence of any SegWit2x blocks, the patch hasn’t made a difference, most likely because few, if any, miners were interested in mining on the SegWit2x chain in the first place.

NO2X?

Despite the seeming failure of SegWit2x to take off in any way, it should be noted that there is technically no way to declare a fork like SegWit2x officially “dead” or “failed.”

While unlikely, it’s always possible that the SegWit2x hard fork could proceed at some point in the future. In fact, there is no way to tell whether the SegWit2x chain is currently being mined with a little bit of hash power right now, and it is strictly impossible to foresee whether it will be mined later on. Perhaps a SegWit2x block will be found a day from now, a week from now or even ten years from now, at which point SegWit2x and B2X will technically come into existence.

However, since the SegWit2x chain did not include a mining difficulty reset, it will be as hard to mine a B2X block as it currently is to mine a BTC block. Meanwhile, market support for B2X appears to be extremely low, with B2X futures trading below 2 percent of BTC. So even if miners decide to mine B2X blocks, they’d almost certainly be earning far less than they would by mining BTC. Or, more accurately, they’d spend more on electricity bills than they’d be able to earn by mining B2X. The financial incentive to mine the SegWit2x chain just isn’t there.

Alternatively, SegWit2x could see a bit of a rebirth in the form of “BitcoinX” (BTX). This project, supposedly started by disappointed SegWit2x supporters, will take a snapshot of bitcoin balances at block height 494,783 and start a SegWit2x-like altcoin that offers all BTC holders the equivalent amount in BTX. Though, while this coin is arguably more viable than B2X thanks to a mining difficulty reset and more, it really is a new coin — arguably even more so than B2X would have been.

The post Now the SegWit2x Hard Fork Has Really Failed to Activate appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 2:54 pm

UBS CIO: We Aren't Getting Involved With Bitcoin

UBS chief investment officer Mark Haefele says the world's largest money manager will not include bitcoin investments.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 2:00 pm

Crypto Trading and Traditional Assets: New Options for Investors

cryptotrading.jpg

While trading of crypto-assets is booming, some investors are looking for options to trade traditional assets like stocks via cryptocurrencies. Three new operators are among those developing trading platforms to meet this need, with blockchain-based tokens pegged to the underlying assets.

Ankorus

Ankorus is establishing a platform that will permit trading traditional assets, including stocks, bonds, futures, options, gold, silver, commodities, ETFs, FX and bitcoin futures with cryptocurrency.

“Ankorus will establish an online exchange populated by any financial asset currently available worldwide,” reads the Ankorus white paper. “Various auditing measures will be taken to establish transparency, and customers will be able to validate that tokenised assets are fully backed and held by Ankorus.”

To enable cryptocurrency holders to buy real-world financial assets, Ankorus will create and allocate tokens that are exactly value-pegged to the underlying assets in exchange for cryptocurrency.

Ankorus will hold its “fundraising contribution” or “Token Generation Event” (TGE) between November 25 and December 25. The ANK token will be distributed to contributors during the TGE.

“The ANK is a utility token, used for commissions, for datafeeds, professional technical charting software, webinars, financial education materials and also membership for those who wish,” Ankorus CEO John Cruz told Bitcoin Magazine. “The ANK token will be allocated during our TGE and later listed on exchanges, beginning with EtherDelta. It is an ERC20 token.”

Another token, the Anchor Token, will be the asset value-pegged token, separately created to tokenize specific securities using a yet-to-be-determined technology.

“Anchor Tokens will come later, after we receive the requisite regulatory approval,” said Cruz. “Anchor Tokens will be created for our customers when they wish to tokenize specific assets. For example, if a customer wishes to purchase and tokenize Apple stock, we create an Apple Anchor Token (known as AAPL.A) or simply credit the customer with them if we created one earlier.”

One of the most interesting asset classes that Ankorus is targeting is that of traditional financial instruments based on cryptocurrencies, such as futures and derivatives. A few weeks ago Bitcoin Magazine reported that CME Group, one of the world’s largest derivatives exchanges, will launch a bitcoin futures product before the end of Q4 2017. In a video, Cruz explains why he considers CME bitcoin futures as a breakthrough that could soon push bitcoin’s price up to $50,000, and expresses confidence in Ankorus’s ability to offer CME bitcoin futures trading soon.

It’s worth noting that Ankorus’s offering can be seen as the reverse of CME bitcoin futures: while CME will offer a traditional financial instrument tied to cryptocurrencies to investors that prefer not to hold and trade cryptocurrencies directly, Ankorus wants to make CME bitcoin futures and other traditional financial instruments available to cryptocurrency holders.

One is left to wonder how Ankorus will navigate the compliance minefield, which has blocked similar initiatives before. The Ankorus team insists that they will be totally SEC-compliant and follow all KYC (Know Your Customer), AML (Anti-Money Laundering) and CTF (Counter-Terrorist Financing) regulations. According to the white paper, Ankorus intends to become a fully registered broker-dealer, acquire membership on a large and reputable exchange, follow best practices for insurance and auditing on a regular basis, and establish a compliant trading platform that will bridge the crypto and finance worlds.

“By becoming a broker-dealer entity, we will get SEC blessing,” said Cruz. “Everyone else is trying to tokenize assets by not being a broker-dealer entity; this is where they run into trouble with the SEC.”

“Within the team we have experience of complying with different market regulators’ KYC, AML and CTF requirements for an FX remittance company,” Ankorus COO Haldane Marnoch told Bitcoin Magazine. “PEP [Politically Exposed Persons] lists are vetted and we check against a suite of sanctions lists too. Documents supplied by our customers for proof of identity or proof of address expire and need to be renewed on a regular basis. Source of funds also needs to be proven for larger transactions.

“Our team is familiar with all the provisions required for operating across multiple jurisdictions,” continued Marnoch. “We’ll use as our primary reference the standards set by the SEC and the CFTC, but naturally we’ll be implementing processes to comply with each and every market we trade in, for instance the FCA in the U.K.”

“We will become a division of a Futures Commissions Merchant (FCM), expected early March, and will be able to fill orders for CME bitcoin futures at that time,” added Cruz.

LAToken and Jibrel Network

LAToken (LAT), which recently raised $19.6 million in a token sale, wants to broaden the use of cryptocurrencies in the real economy and allow cryptocurrency holders to diversify their portfolio by getting access to tokens linked to the price of real assets.

The LAT platform is already operational: asset tokens can be created, listed for sale and traded on the LAT platform. At this time, tokens linked to the price of stocks (e.g., Apple, Amazon, Tesla), commodities (oil, gold, silver) and real estate are already being traded on the LAT platform. Tokens linked to artwork are soon to follow.

According to the white paper, the LAT platform provides cryptocurrency holders with transparent price discovery and diversification across multiple asset classes, allowing for the creation or listing of third-party asset tokens compliant with LAToken disclosure and legal structure rules.

Jibrel Network wants to provide currencies, equities, commodities and other financial assets and instruments as standard ERC20 tokens on the Ethereum blockchain.

Jibrel Network’s draft white paper explains that the platform will support tokens, dubbed Crypto Depository Receipts (CryDRs), which represent ownership of an underlying traditional asset held by Jibrel. On release, Jibrel will support six fiat currencies (USD, CNY, EUR, GBP, RUB, AED) and two money-market instruments.

In the future, Jibrel plans offer CryDRs pegged to a wide range of currencies, commodities, securities and derivatives. The project will hold a token pre-sale between November 27 and January 27.

Both LAToken and Jibrel Network expect to be fully compliant with applicable regulations, including KYC/AML rules, and apply for relevant licenses where needed. Full compliance may prevent the companies from targeting customers in certain jurisdictions. For example, the Jibrel token sale will not be available to U.S., Chinese and Singaporean residents.

The post Crypto Trading and Traditional Assets: New Options for Investors appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 1:34 pm

Blockchain Coalition Seeks to Make Bitcoin Welcome in Wyoming

wyomingbc.jpg

A group of people are on a mission to bring Bitcoin back to the state of Wyoming after unfriendly laws made it impossible to transact with cryptocurrencies there more than two years ago.

The Wyoming Blockchain Coalition announced its formation this week. Its volunteer members aim to create a legal and regulatory environment in the state that welcomes cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology companies with open arms.

Among the group’s advisors are Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock — Byrne lives in Utah but has been a Bitcoin advocate for years — a former Wyoming governor, and two deans and a computer science department head from the University of Wyoming.

Outdated Laws

Bitcoin used to be welcome in Wyoming. But a 2015 interpretation of the Wyoming Money Transmitters Act (which the state passed in 2003, years before Bitcoin even existed) by the Wyoming Division of Banking made it impractical for cryptocurrency exchanges to operate in the state.

Cryptocurrencies are not specifically included on the list of “permissible investments” within the Act, as stocks or securities would be. As a result, after learning it would have to put up huge financial backing to stay in operation in the state, Coinbase suspended its operations in Wyoming indefinitely in June 2015.   

But a lot of people think the law doesn’t make sense. They see cryptocurrency as the future, and they think Wyoming would benefit from being more progressive.

Caitlin Long is one of those people. Now living in New York, where she serves as chairman and president at smart contracts platform company Symbiont, Long grew up in Laramie, Wyoming.

Over the summer, she wanted to give back to her alma mater. But when she went to personally fund an endowment for female engineers at the University of Wyoming, she found out the school was unable to accept her bitcoin as an appreciated asset.  

Fortunately, Long was able to find a charity outside of Wyoming that could legally liquidate the bitcoin and send it to the university through a donor-advised fund.

“They still got the cash, but it prompted a lot of discussion internally in the university about ‘what just happened here?’” Long told Bitcoin Magazine.

Long would not disclose how much she donated, but typically, donations to an endowment are $50,000 and up.

“When universities have donors that are interested in donating properties, they usually try to find ways to accept the properties,” she said.  

The event prompted a lot of discussion among some of the people within the university and eventually led to the formation of a coalition aimed at educating about and advocating for the adoption of blockchain technology in the state.  

Long offered up her services as an advisor member. “I’m in the business,” she said. “So I volunteered to help with both the bitcoin and the blockchain education efforts.”

No Time to Lose

The coalition is moving quickly. Within a week, the group formed an LLC, sent out a press release stating its goals and launched a website. “This is very, very new, and it is happening in real time,” said Long.

They have good reason to make haste. The new legislative session begins in February. If the coalition wants to push through a bill that will get digital currencies recognized as a “permissible investment” under the Wyoming Money Transmitters Act, they will need to move quickly.

Currently the group is working on legislative language with local attorneys and legislators. Next, they need to educate the citizens of Wyoming and the legislators about the benefits of Bitcoin and blockchain technologies. Some of that will involve webinars and live events, as as well as organizing a dinner in Cheyenne during the legislative session.  

Last year, a similar regulatory effort, Wyoming House Bill 26, did not pass, but that was due to lack of knowledge and some “unrelated political feuds,” Robert Jennings, another one of the group’s advisor members, told Bitcoin Magazine.

This time around, he thinks “blockchain [technology] and cryptocurrency will stand on its own merits.”

Jennings added, “There is already a groundswell of support in the state due to the rise in popularity of Bitcoin.”

But, he cautioned, it will require “an extensive education campaign, which is why we formed the Wyoming Blockchain Coalition.”

The post Blockchain Coalition Seeks to Make Bitcoin Welcome in Wyoming appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 1:28 pm

Internet Archive Adds Bitcoin Cash, Zcash to Donation Options

The Internet Archive, host of the Wayback Machine, has announced it now supports donations in bitcoin cash and zcash.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 9:45 am

Bitcoin Just Surged Past $8000. Here's What's Causing the Spike - Fortune


Fortune

Bitcoin Just Surged Past $8000. Here's What's Causing the Spike
Fortune
After dipping below $6,000 earlier this month, the price of cryptocurrency Bitcoin surged as high as $8,040 Friday on one of the world's largest exchanges, Bitfinex. The globally weighted average-high Bitcoin prices were slightly lower, sitting at $7 ...
Bitcoin Surpasses $8000 As Hard Fork Takes PrecedenceForbes
Does Bitcoin Cash's Success Signal a Cryptocurrency Conflict?Investopedia (blog)
Bitcoin breaks $8000 barrier amid speculation over spin-offThe Guardian
Reuters -Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News) -CryptoCoinsNews -Medium
all 52 news articles »

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 8:34 am

Ripple Makes a Splash: XRP Price Looks Up on Amex News

Positive news flow for Ripple seems to be boosting price, while the technical analysis also favors the bulls.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 7:30 am

Mike and Nathaniel's Week in Tech: Everybody Loves Bitcoin - New York Times


New York Times

Mike and Nathaniel's Week in Tech: Everybody Loves Bitcoin
New York Times
Farhad is off this week, so Nathaniel Popper, a Times tech and finance reporter, is filling in for him. Want this newsletter in your inbox? Sign up here. Mike: Why, hello there, new newsletter partner! It's everyone's favorite Bitcoin reporter ...

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 7:00 am

Visa Launches First Phase of Blockchain B2B Payments

Credit card giant Visa has launched the trial phase of its business-to-business payments system built with blockchain startup Chain.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 6:35 am

The World's Biggest Wealth Manager Won't Touch Bitcoin - Bloomberg - Bloomberg


Bloomberg

The World's Biggest Wealth Manager Won't Touch Bitcoin - Bloomberg
Bloomberg
UBS Group AG, the world's largest wealth manager, isn't prepared to make portfolio allocations to bitcoin because of a lack of government oversight, the bank's ...

and more »

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 6:32 am

Up and Away? Bitcoin Price Eyes $8,000 Or Higher

Bitcoin has staged a remarkable "V" shaped recovery from the last week's lows near $5,500, and may be looking at new highs ahead.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 5:30 am

Friends Don't Let Friends Do Bad Crypto

Our duty to users doesn't end when they leave our site or app. Behaviors learned from us guide interactions with other services, writes Dan Elitzer.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 4:30 am

Bitcoin Barrelled Near $8000, $10000 By Year End? - Forbes


Forbes

Bitcoin Barrelled Near $8000, $10000 By Year End?
Forbes
I cover commodities, FX, equities in developing & emerging markets. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. The cryptocurrency king, Bitcoin, smashed another record and grabbed investors' attention again. It appears that there is ...

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 3:09 am

Bitcoin adds $41 billion to market cap in 6 days as it hits all-time high of $7998 - CNBC


CNBC

Bitcoin adds $41 billion to market cap in 6 days as it hits all-time high of $7998
CNBC
The cryptocurrency touched an all-time high of $7,998.40 in the early hours, U.K. time, according to industry website CoinDesk. The digital currency erased the days gains to trade slightly lower near $7,632 late Friday afternoon. It's been a wild week ...
Bitcoin Hits Record Just Days After a 29% PlungeBloomberg
Bitcoin is hitting new highs—here's why it might not be a bubbleArs Technica
Bitcoin Reaches Latest High, Inches Closer To $8000Forbes
Reuters -CoinDesk -Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News) -Forbes
all 238 news articles »

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 2:45 am

Nasdaq Explores Storing Asset Data on Blockchain

Stock exchange operator Nasdaq filed a patent outlining how to store asset ownership data on a blockchain.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 1:10 am

Europe's Executive Arm Issues Report on Blockchain For Education

EU Commission has released a report titled 'Blockchain in Education' that explains on potentials of the nascent technology in the education industry.

Posted on 16 November 2017 | 9:00 pm

Mimblewimble Just Launched Its First Testnet

An experimental blockchain boasting an innovative array of potential features is now entering a new phase of testing.

Posted on 16 November 2017 | 6:35 pm

Bitcoin Price Analysis: BTC Pushes All-time Highs and Tests Historic Resistance

Bitcoin Price Analysis

Throughout the life of bitcoin’s two-year bull run, it has been confined within two macro trends: one parabolic and one linear — both on a logarithmic scale:

Figure_1.JPGFigure 1: BTC-USD, 1-Day Candles, Macro Trend

The parabolic envelope (black curves) has confined the entire bull run throughout the last two years. Over the weekend, we saw a test of the lower curve that proved to be proper support and propelled the market into a bounce that now has the market testing the upper linear trendline (purple lines) at the time of this article:
Figure_2.JPGFigure 2: BTC-USD, 2-Hour Candles, Test of Upper Trendline

As the bitcoin market approaches the upper trendline, the price action will coincide with a test of the previous all-time high. Expect this to be a point of resistance with possible market turbulence. However, if we manage to break that resistance level and hold support above the trendline, there is no clear resistance until we test the parabolic envelope in the upper $8,000s.

If we look at the macro indicators for this move, we see some signs that have proven to be indications of short-term rallies leading to corrections:

Figure_3.JPGFigure 3: BTC-USD, 1-Day Candles, Bollinger Band Trend

The last two corrections bitcoin has seen came on the tail of a minor pullback that rebounded to a new all-time high. The one-day candle trend is, so far, showing a repeated pattern that has led into a reversal each time it tested the upper parabolic curve. A rounding of the Bollinger bands during an upward move (shown in purple) is a forecast for decreased upward volatility that will lead to either a consolidation period or a reversal to the lower Bollinger bands.

While a reversal is not required of this move upward, one can speculate that once the price tags the upper parabolic curve, we could see a pullback to the lower Bollinger bands on the one-day charts. A pullback to the lower Bollinger bands would see support quite nicely with the lower parabolic curve.

One of two outcomes can be expected from this move upward: either we will test the upper parabolic trendline and reverse, or we will break above and consolidate before continuing on a very strong bullish move to new highs.

However, these macro moves have become increasingly more demanding on the market as we continue to get squeezed within the parabolic envelope. The forecast of the Bollinger bands indicates we are not likely to see a sustained move higher without a consolidation period or a pullback.

Summary:

  1. Over the weekend, bitcoin saw another test of the lower parabolic curve that proved to be strong support.

  2. After testing the parabolic curve, the market rebounded and has now established a new all-time high.

  3. If this trend continues, bitcoin could see prices in the mid to upper $8,000s before any noticeable resistance stands in the way of the price growth.

Trading and investing in digital assets like bitcoin and ether 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.

The post Bitcoin Price Analysis: BTC Pushes All-time Highs and Tests Historic Resistance appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 16 November 2017 | 4:00 pm

The Lightning Network Now Supports Transactions Across Blockchains

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Although still in testing phase, the lightning network can now be used to send transactions across different blockchains. The Lightning Labs development team successfully swapped testnet bitcoin for testnet litecoin through a lightning channel this week: ownership of the coins changed hands, while no transaction was recorded on either blockchain.

“Previous atomic swaps that I have done were on-chain, and had the on-chain limitations of slow [transactions] and high transaction fees,” Litecoin creator Charlie Lee told Bitcoin Magazine, referring to an older trick to exchange different types of coins trustlessly. “Off-chain atomic swaps are significantly better. They are instant, [have] low fees, and better protect one’s privacy.”

The successful test paves the way for trustless cryptocurrency exchanges, near-seamless multi-coin payment processors and more.

Bitcoin and Litecoin

The lightning network is the highly anticipated second-layer payment network to be deployed on top of Bitcoin. And as an open protocol, it’s relatively easy to deploy lightning network support for other cryptocurrencies that are forked from Bitcoin’s codebase — like Litecoin.

Interestingly, if the lightning network runs on different blockchains, these chains can effectively be linked together. If one or several peers on the network are willing to take one type of coin and forward another, it’s possible to send bitcoins on one end of a channel that will end up as the equivalent in litecoin on the other end.

In a Medium post published in the first week of 2017, Lee explained that this potential to create these kinds of “bridges” between cryptocurrencies made him throw his weight behind the Segregated Witness (SegWit) soft forks on both Litecoin and Bitcoin.

When SegWit activated on Litecoin last spring, Lee’s vision came one step closer to reality. Because the soft fork had not yet activated on Bitcoin at that time, Lightning Labs decided to add Litecoin support to their LND lightning network implementation. Thus, by the time SegWit activated on Bitcoin last summer, LND was already compatible with both chains.

The testnet versions of these two blockchains are now made interoperable through the lightning network for the first time, allowing users to swap one type of coin for the other.

“The primary advantages over previous solutions are speed, cost and privacy,” Lightning Labs developer Conner Fromknecht told Bitcoin Magazine. “Transfers are more or less instant, and don’t require the cost of an on-chain transaction. Additionally, in the cooperative case, the transactions are never broadcast, and leave no trace on the blockchain, offering privacy benefits. And with any luck, these privacy benefits will only continue to improve.”

The Test (and the Potential)

This week’s specific test was done on a local machine, on which Fromknecht himself created two nodes: “Alice” and “Bob.” These two nodes were modified to be able to monitor both the Bitcoin and Litecoin testnets. Fromknecht then created a single lightning channel that sent testnet litecoin from Alice to Bob and testnet bitcoin back from Bob to Alice at a fixed exchange rate. While still all in an experimental setting, the test was successful; Lightning Labs today published a blog post and a video detailing the results.

In addition to offering a faster, cheaper and more private solution to exchanging coins, the successful test paves the way toward a whole new range of possibilities in the context of the lightning network. For example, peers on the network could eventually act as cryptocurrency exchanges, competing with one another to offer the best exchange rates.

“Arguably the most important benefit of Lightning swaps is the ability to efficiently exchange different currencies without a custodian,” Fromknecht said. “Our ecosystem heavily depends on exchanges to fulfill this role today, but Lightning swaps offer users a choice to get the best of both worlds — instant exchanges without relinquishing control of your money.”

Similarly, such exchangers could act as payment processors: it would be much easier for users to spend litecoin at merchants that only accept bitcoin (or vice versa). And it’s even conceivable that bitcoin-to-bitcoin payments over the lightning network will route via Litecoin hubs, if that’s the cheapest way to get funds from A to B.

For Lee, at least, this is not as unlikely as it sounds, and the successful tests mark another step toward his vision for the lightning network on Litecoin and Bitcoin.

“The Litecoin team is excited to work with Lightning Labs to explore the true potential of instant cross-chain atomic swaps,” he concluded.

For a more in-depth technical explanation of these kinds of atomic swaps, see our previous article “Atomic Scaps: How the Lightning Network Extends to Altcoins” or the blog post and video published by Lightning Labs today.

The post The Lightning Network Now Supports Transactions Across Blockchains appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 16 November 2017 | 3:48 pm

Coinbase Courts Hedge Funds With Storage Service

Cryptocurrency wallet and exchange startup Coinbase is launching a new storage service aimed specifically at institutional investors.

Posted on 16 November 2017 | 2:40 pm

Kaspersky Lab and Parity Technologies Launch Blockchain-Based Voting System

Kaspersky Lab and Parity Technologies Launch Blockchain-Based Voting System

Cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab unveiled Polys, a secure online voting system based on blockchain technology and backed with transparent crypto algorithms, at the company’s annual Cybersecurity Weekend event in Dublin.

“[Online] voting imposes extremely stringent requirements on the security of every aspect of voting,” notes the Polys website. “We believe that the blockchain technology is the missing link in the architecture of a viable online voting system.”

“In our Kaspersky Lab Business Incubator we’re supporting both internal and external teams in developing bright ideas and technologies, which can be implemented in various areas where safety and security are important,” said Vartan Minasyan, Head of Investment and Innovation at Kaspersky Lab.

“One such area is online voting and, when exploring the possible implementations of blockchain in particular, our team realized that this technology combined with the company’s cybersecurity expertise could solve key problems related to the privacy, transparency and security of online voting. We’re excited that we have been able to create a suitable environment for this internal innovation.”

Kaspersky Lab released a beta version of Polys, intended to get early feedback and iteratively develop an operational voting system that, according to the company, “will change the way people vote.”

At the moment, Polys offers a free web-based dashboard to create an online vote with two options: majority vote, in which the option that gets the majority of votes wins, and cumulative vote, in which the voter has multiple votes that can be given to a single option or divided among several options. Cumulative voting is often used, for example, for committee elections where voters can support more than one candidate.

Once a vote has been created on the Polys dashboard, the administrators can choose how to accept votes. Currently supported options are email, unique codes, and public voting. In email voting, Polys sends an email to each voter with a secure voting link. In public voting, the voting link is open to everyone who can view it. A combination of online and offline voting can be implemented with secure codes, generated by Polys and sent to users in electronic or printed format, which enable users to vote using either personal devices or public computers in voting kiosks.

Polys will support a desktop app to create a vote and a mobile app to actually vote. Besides the free dashboard, Polys offers a paid version that supports white-labeling, re-branding and integration options.

According to Kaspersky Lab, a robust voting system should ensure voter anonymity, provide protection against trash votes, vote trafficking and voter coercion, and enable voters to check that their votes have been recorded in the blockchain. It’s also important to encrypt the voting results recorded in the blockchain, otherwise intermediate results could become available before voting ends, which is often against the law.

For now, votes can’t be changed by Polys or by the voters, but a Polys white paper suggests countering the threats of vote trafficking and coerced voting by enabling voters to change their votes without limitation.

The source code of Polys, based on Ethereum smart contracts, will be made available on GitHub. Cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab is leading Polys’s security development;  Parity Technologies, a company specialized in blockchain and peer-to-peer software for the decentralized web, will support the project’s blockchain development.

“Parity Technologies is excited to be involved with Polys as their platform of choice for such an innovative project,” said Jutta Steiner, co-founder of Parity Technologies. “Blockchain [technology] is increasingly being implemented by a vast number of industries, and we believe that decentralizing the voting procedure will ensure a fair process and create a high level of trust in the system.”

Kaspersky Lab proposes two typical use cases for Polys: early-adopting environments such as universities, where students and faculty will be able to informally vote for classes and student councils, and tech-oriented “future cities” that need new solutions for conducting formal elections with speed, reliability and trust.

It seems likely that blockchain-based online voting systems, including but not limited to Polys, will first find operational applications for informal, non-binding consultative voting in academia and similar environments. It’s worth noting that Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs), which can often be considered as demonstrators of future governance methods, have built-in voting systems based on blockchain technology, often implemented with Ethereum smart contracts.

Therefore, it seems plausible that blockchain-based voting could move to the “real” world of cities and governments. Once blockchain-based voting systems are able to demonstrate watertight security, they could address the challenge of counting errors and fraud in elections. It’s also worth noting that, while blockchain voting has its delays and costs, it could be much faster and cheaper than traditional voting systems. Blockchain voting could enable governments to implement direct democracy with frequent consultations on a wide range of political and social issues.

The post Kaspersky Lab and Parity Technologies Launch Blockchain-Based Voting System appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 14 November 2017 | 12:57 pm

Bitcoin reaches new all-time high: $ 3,000

Posted on 12 June 2017 | 1:06 am

CRYENGINE now accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 29 March 2017 | 1:24 am

Consulting firm EY Switzerland accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 26 November 2016 | 12:47 am

Bitcoin Trading Bots

There have been a wide variety of situations in which algorithmic trading programs have proven to be beneficial for investors. However, investors who only trade a cryptocurrency can also take advantage of bitcoin trading bots. Through bitcoin bot trading, traders can become more flexible and prompt, minimize errors and process information more rapidly. At this… Read More »

Posted on 8 November 2016 | 6:20 pm

Steam accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 29 April 2016 | 1:09 am

Microsoft accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 11 December 2014 | 5:06 am

Mozilla accepting Bitcoin

Posted on 20 November 2014 | 1:55 pm

PayPal and Virtual Currency

Posted on 23 September 2014 | 9:52 pm

Wikimedia Foundation Now Accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 30 July 2014 | 3:14 pm

German Newspaper "taz" accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 22 July 2014 | 1:32 pm

airBaltic - World’s First Airline To Accept Bitcoin

Posted on 22 July 2014 | 11:03 am

November 19, 2017 -
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