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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

Bitcoin Latest News

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Posted on 15 October 2018 | 6:38 am

Bitcoin Price Spikes But Bull Reversal Is Still $1K Away

Bitcoin is solidly bid Monday amid a sell-off of the tether stablecoin, but the bulls still need a move above $7,400 to confirm a bullish reversal.

Posted on 15 October 2018 | 5:10 am

PBoC's Digital Currency Chief Departs to Lead Securities Clearing House

The former chief of China's central bank digital currency initiative has left the role to lead the country's central securities clearing house.

Posted on 15 October 2018 | 3:50 am

Has Bitcoin Bottomed Out With its Last Dip at $6200? Investors Optimistic - newsBTC


Has Bitcoin Bottomed Out With its Last Dip at $6200? Investors Optimistic
Since Bitcoin found a foothold in the $6,200-$6,800 range in early-August, crypto traders have been doing their best to discern where this unpredictable market will head next. But, with positive crypto-centric news becoming commonplace, there has been ...

and more »

Posted on 15 October 2018 | 3:02 am

Price of Tether Stablecoin Tanks to 18-Month Low

The price of the tether stablecoin (USDT) has fallen to an 18-month low, despite a general rise in the wider crypto markets.

Posted on 15 October 2018 | 2:40 am

Blockchain Refresh: Why KPMG's New Strategy Focuses on Customs

Big Four consultancy KPMG is expanding its blockchain activities beyond pure financial services work to explore a less-traveled path.

Posted on 15 October 2018 | 2:00 am

Bitcoin Price Jumps by 11% to Reach One-Month High Above $6.9k - CoinDesk


Bitcoin Price Jumps by 11% to Reach One-Month High Above $6.9k
Bitcoin, the world's largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, jumped by 11 percent on Monday, pushing prices above $6,900 for the first time in a month. CoinDesk's Bitcoin Price Index shows that ,just after 5:00 UTC on Monday, bitcoin saw a ...

and more »

Posted on 15 October 2018 | 1:47 am

Bitcoin Price Jumps by 11% to Reach One-Month High Above $6.9k

Bitcoin's price spiked by 11 percent in just two hours on Monday, climbing above $6,900 for the first time in a month.

Posted on 15 October 2018 | 12:56 am

Bitcoin Exchanges Shutdown in India Due to Regulations, Pivot to ATMs - newsBTC


Bitcoin Exchanges Shutdown in India Due to Regulations, Pivot to ATMs
Unocoin in its latest announcement revealed its plan to launch a network of Bitcoin ATMs across India. The Bengaluru-based crypto exchange, which has been in the field since 2013 and currently boasts a 1.2 million customer-base, already introduced one ...
Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), XRP ATMs Launch In India To Bypass RBI BanEthereum World News (blog)
India gets its first cryptocurrency ATM amidst the central bank's crackdownQuartz

all 8 news articles »

Posted on 15 October 2018 | 12:29 am

Bitcoin (BTC) Price Analysis: Still Buying on Dips? - Ethereum World News (blog)

Ethereum World News (blog)

Bitcoin (BTC) Price Analysis: Still Buying on Dips?
Ethereum World News (blog)
Bitcoin has formed lower highs and higher lows on its daily time frame to create a symmetrical triangle consolidation pattern. Price has dropped back down to support, which appears to be defended by bulls buying on dips. If buyers are strong enough ...
Bitcoin (BTC) Price Watch: Bulls Defend Triangle Bottom AgainnewsBTC

all 3 news articles »

Posted on 14 October 2018 | 10:06 pm

How a Left-for-Dead, $0.22 Crypto Asset Became a Lifeline for Activists

A tiny cryptocurrency named faircoin is providing an underground economy across the world.

Posted on 14 October 2018 | 10:00 pm

Dr. Doom Ignites A Bitcoin Firestorm - Forbes


Dr. Doom Ignites A Bitcoin Firestorm
Interest in Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies has slowed of late. Earlier this year, across social media, every mention of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency garnered a lot of attention. There was a particular emphasis on futures, ETFs and any plans that Wall ...
Crypto Market Keeps Its Balance After Recent Sell-Off, Bitcoin Above $6300Cointelegraph
Nouriel Roubini Cheated Crypto Investors In Saying Bitcoin Was A Bad Buy At $58 In April 2013Bitcoin Exchange Guide
Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple mixed after Dr Doom warns of “stinking cesspool”Motley Fool Australia
Bitcoin Australia -Senate Banking Committee
all 61 news articles »

Posted on 14 October 2018 | 7:17 am

Crypto Reckoning? Industry Vets Strike Humble Tone in San Francisco

Many at San Francisco Blockchain Week are warily reflecting on the lessons of the 2017 token boom, the pride that came before the bear-market fall.

Posted on 14 October 2018 | 5:10 am

Ethereum's Constantinople Upgrade Stalls on Test Network

Constantinople, ethereum's next system-wide upgrade did not activate on the Ropsten testnet as planned on Saturday.

Posted on 13 October 2018 | 11:25 am

Bitcoin Price Stability: A Bullish Or Bearish Sign? - Forbes


Bitcoin Price Stability: A Bullish Or Bearish Sign?
Bitcoin has demonstrated a remarkable stability in recent weeks. Since early September, it has traded in the range of $6000-$6500. Fundamentally, price stability should be a bullish sign for Bitcoin. It should help its adoption rate in everyday ...

and more »

Posted on 13 October 2018 | 10:46 am

Not Everyone Wants to Fix Bitcoin's 'Time Warp Attack' – Here's Why

A bit of a debate has revved up about bitcoin's "time warp attack" and whether it's an exploit or an unintended advantage.

Posted on 13 October 2018 | 2:30 am

Coinbase Has Just Added ZRX, Its First ERC-20 Token

ZRX Coinbase

Making good on a promise it made back in March of this year, Coinbase has just added its first ERC-20 token. ZRX, the token of the 0x (pronounced “zero x”) protocol began trading on Coinbase Pro (formerly GDAX), the exchange’s professional trading platform, on October 11, 2018.  

"Once sufficient liquidity is established, trading will begin on the ZRX/USD, ZRX/EUR and ZRX/BTC order books. ZRX trading will be accessible for users in most jurisdictions, but will not initially be available for residents of the state of New York," Coinbase Pro general manager David Farmer wrote in a blog post spelling out the details of the launch.

Coinbase said trading of ZRX would happen slowly and in stages. “If at any point one of the new order books does not meet our assessment for a healthy and orderly market, we may keep the book in one state for a longer period of time, or suspend trading…” Farmer wrote. Per the exchange’s policy, new coin trades on Coinbase Pro first. The exchange said it would make a future announcement when ZRX began trading on and the Coinbase mobile apps.

Last year, the popular San Francisco exchange crafted a strict new asset listing policy after getting itself into hot water when a botched bitcoin cash (BCH) listing led to accusations of insider trading.  

A lot has changed for Coinbase since. At one point during the crypto bubble, the exchange boasted a user base of 13 million. Following December 2017, however, Bitcoin lost more than 60 percent of its value, a loss that has cut into Coinbase’s business. In fact, Bloomberg reports that the number of U.S. customers buying and selling on Coinbase has declined by 80 percent.

Amidst all of this, Coinbase has been working diligently to expand its offerings.

A year ago, the exchange carried only three coins: bitcoin (BTC), ethereum (ETH) and litecoin (LTC). That changed when it added support for bitcoin cash (BCH) in December of 2017. In March 2018, the exchange announced plans for a crypto index fund available only to accredited investors. And in June 2018, the same month it launched its index fund, Coinbase added a fifth digital asset: Ethereum Classic (ETC).

Efforts to add new coins continued from there. In July 2018, Coinbase announced it was exploring several new assets. One of those was ZRX (newly listed); the others were Cardano (ADA), basic attention token (BAT), Stellar Lumen (XLM) and Zcash (ZEC). And in September, the exchange announced “Coinbase Bundle,” a product for the average investor.

Last month, Coinbase even announced a new asset listing process by which anyone with a token can apply to have that token listed on the platform.

Most recently, Coinbase told The Block on October 12, 2018, it was shutting down its index fund aimed at wealthy investors, due to lack of interest.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 12 October 2018 | 2:50 pm

Crypto Cybercrime Has Tripled Since 2017; Nearly $1 Billion Lost in 2018

Cybertheft report

Most digital exchanges are unregulated and therefore unqualified to safely process cryptocurrency transactions. They don’t employ necessary know-your-customer (KYC) tactics, and roughly $1 billion in digital asset funds have been stolen since the start of 2018.

These are the unsettling claims made by a new report released by blockchain and virtual currency forensics firm CipherTrace.

The most popular target currency still appears to be bitcoin, and one of the document’s key findings is that roughly 97 percent of bitcoin used in illegal transactions or that stem from criminal activity are sent to unregulated digital exchanges that enforce weak anti-money laundering (AML) tactics. An exchange is considered lacking in AML mechanisms if it does not regulate illegal drug dealing, maintain records over time, report suspicious or large transactions, or enforce KYC regulations, the report details.

In addition, nearly 5 percent of all bitcoins received by unregulated exchanges come from criminal transactions, and some of the world’s top exchanges have laundered as much as $2.5 billion in BTC.

To uncover these findings, researchers at CipherTrace examined over 45 million cryptocurrency transactions through roughly 20 of the world’s largest and most dominant exchanges. A transaction was marked as “criminal” if it came from a dark market website or through means of extortion, ransomware, malware or terrorist financing.

To fully comprehend the damage, the authors also examined crypto funds reported stolen in 2017 to see if the last nine months have been more devastating. According to the report, over $900 million of the more than $1 billion reported stolen in 2018 was taken in just the first three quarters of this year, meaning that the amount of theft has more than tripled since last year.

However, most of these losses can ultimately be blamed on the massive Coincheck hack that took place in January. That one theft was large enough to account for more than half of the reported losses in CipherTrace’s study. Other major hacks that occurred throughout 2018 include those on South Korean exchanges Bithumb ($30 million) and Coinrail ($40 million), as well as Japan-based Zaif ($60 million).

While the document discusses several methods of crypto theft, the most common one appears to be phishing, in which mass, customized extortion occurs through email and other electronic means to garner cryptocurrency-based ransoms. Other common methods include advanced malware and targeting employees of cryptocurrency exchanges directly.

The report also mentions SIM swapping. Though the report indicates that this is still a relatively new method of theft, SIM swapping is an insidious process by which a victim’s phone number is transferred to a thief’s SIM card. The thief then uses the number to change passwords and access the victim’s accounts.

Researchers also mention many of the regulatory actions taken against crypto-hackers, many of which have occurred in the third quarter. Among the most prominent are AMLD 5, which was passed by the European Commission on July 9, 2018. The new ruling states that by January 20, 2020, all AML and counter terrorism funding (CTF) laws presently applied to banks and traditional financial institutions will also apply to digital currency platforms. AMLD 5 also enforces identity checks for every new customer.

In addition, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is looking to apply all its present standards designed for traditional monetary establishments to virtual currencies by the end of June 2019. It is also seeking to ensure these standards are implemented in every nation. Currently, there are several countries that the FATF classifies as “rogue states,” or regions that deny compatibility with FATF goals and refuse to cooperate. These include Syria, Pakistan, Iran, Tunisia and Yemen among others.

However, the authors do take note of several countries working to instill appropriate regulation of virtual currencies and blockchain businesses. Two that really stand out are Malta and Canada, the former having established several licensing requirements for initial coin offerings (ICOs) and similar funding ventures scheduled to go into full effect on November 1.

Canada is also seeking to bring crypto regulation to new heights by requiring payment processors and digital currency exchanges be treated as money service businesses (MSBs). This will require stronger KYC rules for all crypto-related business. Should this law pass, it will go into effect in late 2019.

To view the full report, click here.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 12 October 2018 | 2:34 pm

Blockchain Startup Blockstack Unveils Plan to Decentralize Itself

Blockstack announced a plan to decentralize the network's corporate structure on Friday.

Posted on 12 October 2018 | 2:15 pm

Constantinople Nears: Ethereum's Next Hard Fork Is On Track for 2018

Open-source coders backing the ethereum project now say its next system-wide upgrade, Constantinople, is on track for November release.

Posted on 12 October 2018 | 10:50 am

Microsoft Is Pushing New Blockchain ID Products (But There's Pushback, Too)

Microsoft is moving to turn blockchain-based decentralized identity from a lofty aspiration into a business line, with two products in the works.

Posted on 12 October 2018 | 10:00 am

Coinbase Confirms Shutdown of Crypto Index Fund Product

Coinbase is shutting down its index fund just four months after first offering it to institutional investors.

Posted on 12 October 2018 | 9:30 am

Roubini Faces Off With Coin Center’s Van Valkenburgh at Senate Hearing

Roubini Faces Off With Coin Center’s Van Valkenburgh at Senate Hearing

Nouriel Roubini, an economist best known for his predictions of the 2008 housing bubble, and Peter Van Valkenburgh, Coin Center’s director of research, testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Community Affairs in a hearing on cryptocurrency and blockchain on October 11, 2018.

“We need to sort through the static,” said Banking Committee Chair Idaho Republican Mike Crapo, describing a need to better understand both the opportunities and the challenges in cryptoland. The testimony comes at a time when bitcoin has lost two-thirds of its value since the beginning of the year and U.S. regulators are trying to figure out how to regulate thousands of ICOs that have flown in the face of decades old securities laws.

Roubini wasted no time in firing off his salvos. He called crypto the “mother and father of all scams and [now busted] bubbles.” Among his list of other criticisms: blockchain is overhyped; Bitcoin cannot scale and it is not decentralized; only criminals and terrorists use bitcoin; crypto is a libertarian’s dream; and utility tokens will return us to the Stone Age. “Even the Flintstones knew better than crypto — they used clamshells as their own one currency,” he said, in one bewilderingly anachronistic statement.

In stark contrast, Van Valkenburgh hailed bitcoin as “revolutionary” for its ability to function as a payment system without a trusted middleman. He referred to bitcoin’s underlying technology as a “computer science breakthrough” on par with the internet. Pointing to breaches at Equifax, Swift and DYN in the last two years, he called blockchain technology “our best hope” for secure systems.    

The two testimonies were followed by questions from senators. When asked what factors hindered a broader adoption of blockchain technology, Van Valkenburgh said actual use cases were “hard challenges” and compared blockchain technology to email in the 1970s.

“It took 20 years for those systems to be friendly enough for consumers to want to use them to send messages,” he said.

Roubini, with his usual gloominess, said no government or bank would want to use a public blockchain, because it was too risky. “The idea of decentralization is never going to fly,” he said.  

When asked for examples of how the world was better off with blockchain technology, Van Valkenburgh cited one example: In Afghanistan, a country where men control finances, a woman named Roya Mahboob was able to use bitcoin to pay her female employees.

“I don't think the world is better off,” Roubini grimaced. He pointed to M-Pesa, a mobile money transfer service that is widely used in Kenya, as an example of a system that has transformed fintech. M-Pesa is centralized and does not use a blockchain. Van Valkenburgh called M-Pesa and WeChat, an app used for mobile payments in China, “tools for totalitarianism” because they allow governments access to user data.

The topic of crime came up several times in the hearing. Van Valkenburgh agreed with one senator’s comments that criminals are often early adopters of a new tech.

“In fact, I think if criminals aren’t using your technology, your technology is not worth anything,” Van Valkenburgh said. Bitcoin was notably used in the Silk Road, a now defunct online dark market. He also made it clear bitcoin transactions are traceable, which is how many Silk Road drug traffickers were caught and brought to justice.

When asked if bitcoin would ever move beyond five transactions per second, Roubini replied proof of work is not, and never will be, scalable.

“We can do a lot more,” Van Valkenburgh said, pointing to the Lighting Network, a layer two payment solution for bitcoin. Coin Center even has an M&M machine that is rigged to the Lightning Network, he said. It allows anyone in the Coin Center office to buy a single M&M with a tiny fraction of bitcoin.

Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren asked if decentralization was an inherent property of blockchain technology. Sticking to his script, Roubini replied that it was: Due to economies of scale, single entities control a majority of the bitcoin mining. He added that the situation would only become worse with proof of stake, because oligarchs would control the majority of coins in a system.  

Senator Warren expressed concern that cryptocurrencies were an easy target for theft and a lot of small investors are being scammed through initial coin offerings. “New technologies create these new opportunities,” she said. “But if we are not careful they can follow the same old patterns — they make the rich richer and leave everyone else behind.”

The full hearing can be watched online. Roubini’s written testimony can be found here; Van Valkenburgh’s written testimony is here; his oral testimony is here.   

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 12 October 2018 | 9:06 am

Former Trump Advisor Gary Cohn Joins Blockchain Startup

Gary Cohn, a former chief economic advisor to the U.S. president and Goldman veteran, has just joined a financial data-focused blockchain startup.

Posted on 12 October 2018 | 8:45 am

CFTC Chair Giancarlo Says Institutional Investors Will Help Crypto 'Mature'

CFTC Chair Christopher Giancarlo said the cryptocurrency market will mature as institutional investors enter the space.

Posted on 12 October 2018 | 8:10 am

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Gemini Adds Litecoin Trading With New York Watchdog Approval

Winklevoss-founded crypto exchange Gemini is adding litecoin trading in the coming week, with permission from the NYDFS.

Posted on 12 October 2018 | 7:25 am

Leading Auction House Christie's to Record Art Sales on a Blockchain

Christie's auction house is launching a pilot program to record art sales and provenance on a blockchain.

Posted on 12 October 2018 | 6:00 am

SEC Obtains Emergency Court Order to Halt Questionable ICO

SEC court order

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has obtained an emergency court order issuing the stoppage of a recently planned initial coin offering (ICO) by Blockvest LLC and its founder Reginald Buddy Ringgold III, who falsely advertised that the token sale was approved by the SEC.

According to the SEC, Blockvest has repeatedly violated both anti-fraud and securities registration provisions by incorrectly claiming that its ICO had obtained regulatory approval from Commission officials. The order further states that Ringgold — who also works under the name Rasool Abdul Rahim El — was using the SEC seal without the organization’s permission.

In addition, the SEC says that Ringgold often touted the ICO as being “licensed and regulated,” and that he promoted the event through a false agency known as the “Blockchain Exchange Commission,” which used graphics similar to the SEC seal and boasted the same address as the SEC’s headquarters.

Robert A. Cohen, chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit, comments, “We allege that this ICO is using both the SEC seal and a made-up crypto regulatory authority to trick investors into believing the ICO was approved by regulators. The SEC does not endorse investment products, and investors should be highly skeptical of any claims suggesting otherwise.”

Furthermore, Ringgold is being accused of misrepresenting Blockvest’s alleged ties to the National Futures Association (NFA) and continuing to use the group’s seal on assorted documents and marketing materials, even after representatives had sent him a cease-and-desist letter requesting that he discontinue his statements regarding Blockvest’s connections with the NFA.

The order is seeking the return of any gains obtained through false or misleading tactics, along with both interest and penalties. The SEC is also working to bar Ringgold from participating in any securities offerings, including digital securities, in the future. The organization has frozen all of Ringgold’s assets, while a hearing is scheduled for October 18, 2018, to examine whether the freeze should continue and if a preliminary injunction should be issued.

The incident serves as further proof that the SEC is playing hardball in the digital asset space. Recently, the SEC — along with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) — took firm action against 1pool Ltd., a brokerage firm based in the Marshall Islands, and its CEO Patrick Brunner. The SEC alleged that the venture was trading security swaps with customers across the globe while failing to meet the “discretionary investment threshold” required by federal securities law. The SEC is now seeking penalties and “permanent injunctions” against the company.

Previously, the SEC set a new precedent by charging smart contracts payments system TokenLot LLC with operating as an unregistered broker-dealer in what was the first case of its kind, following the release of the SEC’s DAO Report back in July of 2017. TokenLot was later made to pay nearly $500,000 in disgorgement, along with nearly $8,000 in interest fees.

The SEC also charged Crypto Asset Management LP (CAM) with operating as an unregistered investment firm and inappropriately calling itself the “first regulated crypto asset fund in the U.S.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 11 October 2018 | 4:12 pm

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“This Isn’t How We Saw This Going”: Civil’s Token Sale Is Treading Water

“This Isn’t How We Saw This Going”: Civil’s Token Sale Is Treading Water

Despite a flurry of media attention surrounding the project, Civil, an Ethereum-based platform aiming to save journalism, can’t seem to get enough buyers for its token.

The project released a transparency report showing the figures behind its CVL token sale, which ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on Monday, October 15, 2018, and the numbers do not look good.

“This isn’t how we saw this going,” Civil founder Matthew Iles wrote on October 10. “We don’t know if it will work.”

The project needs to raise $8 million to meet its “soft cap” goal, but, so far, it has only raised $1.3 million from 680 people since September 18, 2018, when the sale started. The ICO money would have supported grants for Civil newsrooms, as well as original journalistic work. Civil has said in the past it will refund people if it can’t raise enough to meet its goal.

Most of the tokens ($1.1 million worth) were bought by ConsenSys, a blockchain venture studio run by Joseph Lubin, an Ethereum cofounder. ConsenSys purchased the tokens in two separate buys last month, the report said. The venture studio also backed Civil with $5 million in funding in October 2017. ConsenSys is the project’s sole investor to date.

Civil has a fixed supply of 100 million tokens. The project is holding on to 33 million tokens. Some of that will go to employees and advisors who contributed to the project early on. Another 33 million tokens will go to “mission-aligned partners” who joined the network at launch. (The Associated Press and Forbes count among those partners.) And the final 34 million tokens were to be sold to raise money for the project. Civil said it was hoping to close several large buyers in addition to ConsenSys to “go the distance,” but that hasn’t happened.

One of the problems is that Civil is only allowing individuals who actually plan to use the tokens on the platform to participate in the sale. Purchasers have to pass a test before they are allowed to buy CVL, and, according to some reports, the test is really hard to pass, especially for people who are unfamiliar with the crypto space. That means that the average investor is getting left out.

Regulatory action over the past year has also taken most of the air out of the ICO bubble that was so prominent in 2017, when ICOs were raising millions of dollars within minutes.

Iles said that “until the clock strikes midnight on Monday, we are still working nonstop on the goal of making our soft cap of $8 million.” Even if the ICO is a failure, Iles said the project will continue with support from ConsenSys until it can sustain itself “via commercial activity.”

Nevertheless, the project still needs to find a way to distribute its tokens. “There are a number of hoops to jump through to buy CVL and to prove you are not a speculator,” a Civil spokesperson told Bitcoin Magazine. “It’s not easy, and we think it needs to get better…” He went on to add: “What we will need to do is distribute them in a more continuous matter, without being tied to a soft cap or a set deadline.”

Civil said it will publish another update on its CVL sale on October 16, 2018, and plans to launch its initial publishing and governance platform within one week.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 11 October 2018 | 2:57 pm

Report Links 74% of Bitcoin Mining to China, Sees Threat to Network

China Mining report

Bitcoin, the world’s most sought-after cryptocurrency, could be at the wish and whim of Asia’s economic giant.

A recent study titled “The Looming Threat of China: An Analysis of Chinese Influence on Bitcoin,” jointly researched by Princeton University and Florida International University researchers, suggests China’s mining scene has an overwhelming influence over Bitcoin, something that could invite network manipulation.

China, which the researchers refer to as the “most powerful adversary to Bitcoin,” has long been known as the country with the largest numbers of miners in the world and the home to Bitmain — the company responsible for mining roughly half the world’s bitcoins.

Bitcoin's network is largely dependent on miners, who use a vast amount of computing power (hash rate) to verify transactions, find blocks to continue the network’s ledger and mint new bitcoin — and 74 percent of that computing power currently resides in China, according to the study.

The Bitcoin community is privy to this worrisome trend and has been wary of a potential attack that could be spurred by external factors. Controlling 51 percent of the network’s hash rate opens the threat of a 51% attack, a scenario where miners can modify transactions on the ledger for their own economic gain.

According to the report, the Chinese government is keeping its eye on all of the Bitcoin-related activity going on in its domain, and, given the concentration of miners in the area, it may have the potential to disrupt the Bitcoin network.

It claims that the government has made well-calculated efforts to reduce the speed of Bitcoin’s network. The researchers made references to China’s Great Firewall and the Great Cannon as the primary tools used to modify and keep track of internet traffic into the country in its bid to hinder the network. While expatiating on China’s technical ability to weaken bitcoin, the paper gave insight on how the Great Firewall was used to incentivize miners to mine “empty blocks” — a possibility since put to rest with the recent Bitcoin software upgrade.

The study explored other ways within China’s disposal to weaken the cryptocurrency, among which are a series of regulatory and technical actions. A vivid regulatory option would involve IP surveillance targeted at Bitcoin users to prevent them “from committing transactions to the blockchain.” Another option at the country's disposal is the deanonymization of bitcoin users, linking them to real-world entities and disrupting the activities of competing mining pools to “consolidate their control” over Bitcoin.

The concluding analysis in the study was centered on China’s ability to use Bitcoin as a weapon in weakening nations that have found an economic leverage while using the cryptocurrency as an alternative to native economic instruments.

“To exert influence in a foreign country where Bitcoin is in use, China may aim to weaken or even totally destroy Bitcoin. This could be done by targeting specific users or miners for attack or by generally weakening consensus to increase volatility to a breaking point,” the researchers noted. 

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 10 October 2018 | 3:29 pm

Blockchain Business in Crypto Valley Has Doubled Since Last Year: Report


The number of blockchain-related companies in Switzerland and Liechtenstein has doubled in the last year, according to a new study published by CV VC.

The Zug-based firm, in partnership with Strategy& (PwC’s global consulting arm) and inacta, compiled information about the top 50 blockchain and digital asset companies between the two countries. The report also highlights blockchain activity in Zug, Switzerland’s Crypto Valley — a moniker it’s earned for its resemblance to the United States’ own Silicon Valley. While Crypto Valley originated in Zug, it has since expanded to include much of the surrounding territories, including the whole of Switzerland and neighboring Lichtenstein.

And that moniker seems more relevant now than ever.

The report reveals that there are over 600 blockchain-related companies in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, and that over 3,000 individuals are employed by them. The top 50 listed ventures covered by the report sport a combined market cap of roughly $44 billion, and five startups are valued at over $1 billion each.  

To earn a coveted spot in the report, companies were required to meet specific guidelines, the first being that blockchain technology must be part of their core business. The second was that a venture must employ at least one person either in Switzerland or Liechtenstein, while the third was that it must somehow contribute to the growth and expansion of Crypto Valley.

In addition, the companies in question had to meet one of the following three criteria: 1) they must have garnered over $10 million USD in funding, 2) they must be valued at over $10 million or 3) they must possess a minimum of 10 full-time positions in either Switzerland or Liechtenstein.

A key takeaway: the report found that the heft of surveyed companies focus on either brokerage, custody and exchange, or developing cryptocurrency platforms and protocols.

The report also threw five of these 50 companies into the spotlight. These unicorns, according to the report, have accrued the highest valuations out of their peers through a combination of on-chain assets, revenue stream and capital funding. Among other sources, the firm pooled data from CoinMarketCap, Crunchbase, Desk Research, ICObench and LinkedIn.

Coming out on top, Ethereum is listed as the most valuable of these. While the smart contract platform was not founded in Switzerland, the Ethereum Foundation resides there with $18.4 million in venture funding behind it, a figure that doesn’t come close to touching ether’s market capitalization of $23 billion.

Mining monolith Bitmain also makes an appearance on this golden list. Some $450 million in capital raised, the report has the company’s total valuation at $12 billion. Bitmain has come under scrutiny recently for its forthcoming IPO, as questions of its holdings in bitcoin cash and investor relationships have begun to surface.

At third, blockchain-powered cloud computing platform Dfinity has raised a hefty $195 million in private funding, a healthy backing that has the platform valued at $2 billion.

Behind Dfinity is public blockchain and cryptocurrency project Cardano, with $63 million in funding. Its cryptocurrency, ADA, has a market capitalization of $2.1 billion.

Finally, wallet and custody service Xapo has a total funding of $40 million and a valuation of $1 billion.

Switzerland and Liechtenstein both have billed themselves as blockchain/crypto-friendly countries. As the report elucidates, either country’s embrace of the industry has paid off, as crypto companies are embracing them in turn to operate in a friendly regulatory environment.

As countries wrestle with how to fit the burgeoning blockchain industry into their current frameworks, some, like Malta, have joined Crypto Valley in opening their borders to the technology and its entrepreneurs. Others, like the U.S., have been slower to define regulatory guidelines, leaving a flurry of court cases and legal actions to construct a rough understanding of how the technology could fit into regulations going forward.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 10 October 2018 | 3:18 pm

Blockstream’s Liquid Network for “High Value” Bitcoin Payments Is Live

Blockstream’s Liquid Network Is Officially Live

The Liquid Network is up and running.

More than a year after its conceptual introduction at the Blockchain Association of Canada's Government Forum in Ottawa, Blockstream’s bitcoin scaling solution made its public debut on October 10, 2018, after going live among its partners on September 27.

Described by its creators as “an inter-exchange settlement network,” Liquid is Blockstream’s complement to Lightning. However, whereas Lightning is designed for micropayments, Blockstream’s CSO Samson Mow told Bitcoin Magazine, “Liquid is designed to facilitate fast and reliable high value transfers.”

“Liquid allows parties to send funds to any destination, without the need to establish channels ahead of time. Funds in Lightning are ‘hot’ (private keys are online), whereas you can store Liquid Bitcoin in both hot or cold wallets. Liquid also has the ability to have Lightning added as a second layer as well, so we view these two technologies as complementary and both important for the ecosystem.”

Unlike its counterpart in Lightning, which is a secondary layer, Liquid was built as a Bitcoin sidechain. Though not exclusive to Bitcoin, you can think of a sidechain as an extension of the Bitcoin blockchain. It allows users to swap coins from the main blockchain to its sidechain in a 1-to-1 parity, usually to tap into a feature that the main network doesn’t provide.

For Liquid, that feature is fast transactions with a special emphasis on trading mass sums between exchanges, financiers and market makers. As such, Mow says that exchanges and members of the Liquid network will be the main providers of liquidity, since they will be the ones keeping a balance of L-BTC which, in turn, they would allow their users to swap for.

This design is a bit of a spin on the original ideation of a sidechain. The concept was initially pitched as an avenue for trustless swaps, but Liquid’s iteration, which requires intermediaries to execute these swaps, may be called a federated sidechain.

“The members of Liquid secure the network by running functionary servers that run the Liquid blockchain as well as maintaining the two-way peg to the Bitcoin blockchain,” he said. He drew the comparison that “Liquid functionaries are like miners” who “generate new blocks to add to the Liquid blockchain.”

To leverage sidechain’s features, users have to exchange mainnet BTC for Liquid Network’s L-BTC using peg addresses.

“When someone wants to move BTC to the Liquid sidechain,” Mow explained, “they send it to a unique peg-in address. When someone is ready to move their money back to the Bitcoin blockchain, they can make a peg-out transaction that will tell the [Liquid members] to send Bitcoin to the desired address.”

After Launch: Looking Forward

Upon launch, the project has 23 partners lined up to serve as Liquid members, namely Altonomy, Atlantic Financial, Bitbank, Bitfinex, Bitmax, BitMEX, Bitso, BTCBOX, BTSE, Bull Exchange, DGroup, Coinone, Crypto Garage, GOPAX (operated by Streami), Korbit, L2B Global, OKCoin, The Rock Trading, SIX Digital Exchange, Unocoin, Xapo, XBTO and Zaif.

Moving forward, Liquid hopes to expand its membership and build out its services. These services could include Issued Assets (IA), Mow explained, what amount to “native tokens within the Liquid blockchain.” These IA could be security tokens, tokenized commodities/real-world assets or even Ethereum.

More than IA, Mow stated that Liquid has “a lot of things coming down the pipe” following its launch. These include a Liquid Testnet that is anchored to Blockstream Signet (Blockstream’s testnet for Bitcoin), GreenAddress integration, a Liquid mobile wallet for mobile platforms, a user interface for Issued Assets, a Liquid Block Explorer and hardware wallet support. He expects these features to be fully functioning by 2018, with more coming in 2019.

In the short term, Blockstream will focus on building out these features to ease Liquid’s introduction to and use in the wider cryptocurrency community. In the long term, Mow said the the company hopes to see Bitcoin at the epicenter of a nexus of sidechains that allow for a seamless, interconnected exchange of the industry’s many assets.

“The end game is a platform for the trustless exchange of many assets, with Bitcoin at the center,” said Mow. “We knew that having a high speed inter-exchange settlement network with privacy features would be something the market would respond well towards, but we’ve seen an incredible interest from parties interested to issue tokens and assets on Liquid as well. They’ve just been waiting for a secure and reliable solution to do so.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

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October 15, 2018 -
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