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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.

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Posted on 23 November 2017 | 5:31 am

Thanksgiving Lull? Bitcoin Trades Sideways But Rally May Continue - CoinDesk


CoinDesk

Thanksgiving Lull? Bitcoin Trades Sideways But Rally May Continue
CoinDesk
However, the investor community does not appear too concerned about the Bitfinex issue and is instead assessing the impact of the rally in bitcoin cash (BCH) and ethereum (ETH) prices on bitcoin. Comments on social media indicate investors are ...
Price Analysis, November 22: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, LitecoinCointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)

all 17 news articles »

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 5:08 am

5 Tips for New Bitcoin Investors - Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)


5 Tips for New Bitcoin Investors
Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
There is no centralized authority to hold your hand, and the rumors and stories circulating around digital currencies can be fear-inducing. However, with a few straightforward tips, negotiating that first Bitcoin transaction or trade can be a lot less ...

and more »

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 3:21 am

Austrian Bank Raiffeisen Enlists in R3 Blockchain Consortium

Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) has become the first Austrian banking group to join the R3 distributed ledger consortium.

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 3:00 am

Nasdaq to Build Blockchain Voting System for Securities Depository Strate

Nasdaq has entered into an agreement with South African central securities depository Strate to deliver a blockchain solution for e-voting.

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 2:20 am

The Uncertain Future of Bitcoin Futures - Bloomberg


Bloomberg

The Uncertain Future of Bitcoin Futures
Bloomberg
My questions are: Will the customers who lose money on bitcoin futures sue JPMorgan for letting them buy them? Will their legal briefs say "JPMorgan knew bitcoin was a fraud, and in fact its CEO said so, but JPMorgan nonetheless pushed bitcoin futures ...
Bitcoin Price Holds Steady As Institutional Investors Reconsider StanceInvestopedia (blog)
Can anything stop bitcoin? Price above $8000CNNMoney
Wealth Managers Being Bombarded With Investor Requests to Buy BitcoinCointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
Futurism -CNBC -The Australian Financial Review -Wall Street Journal
all 94 news articles »

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 12:00 am

This Gold Fund Is Joining the Bitcoin Frenzy - Bloomberg


Bloomberg

This Gold Fund Is Joining the Bitcoin Frenzy
Bloomberg
Bitcoin was explicitly designed to be digital gold,” said Naylor-Leyland. “So if you're going to have a small proportion of a fund in bitcoin, it should be in a gold fund, because that's exactly the point. It's about bringing the ownership of ...
Bitcoin Is A Distraction, Focus On Gold - Rick RuleKitco News

all 13 news articles »

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 4:15 pm

Keiser Envisions $100,000 Bitcoin High - CoinTelegraph - Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)


Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)

Keiser Envisions $100,000 Bitcoin High - CoinTelegraph
Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
Max Keiser is hopeful that Bitcoin could rise to $100000 in the future, asserting its dominance as the father of crypto.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 2:47 pm

Bitcoin Gold Wallet Scam Nets $3 Million in Illicit Earnings

A scammer successfully made more than $3 million after getting the private keys to bitcoin gold users' wallets during the fork's launch period.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 1:55 pm

Bitcoin Gold Wallet Scam Nets $3 Million in Illicit Earnings - CoinDesk - CoinDesk


CoinDesk

Bitcoin Gold Wallet Scam Nets $3 Million in Illicit Earnings - CoinDesk
CoinDesk
More than $3.3 million has been stolen as part of an elaborate scam that took advantage of bitcoin users seeking to claim their share of the newly created ...

and more »

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 1:55 pm

Bitcoins worth $100K stolen over public wireless network - CBS News


CBS News

Bitcoins worth $100K stolen over public wireless network
CBS News
VIENNA — Austrian police say cyber thieves transferred Bitcoins worth more than 100,000 euros, or $117,000, from a man's account while he was logged in on a restaurant's public wireless network. A police statement Wednesday says the Bitcoins were ...

and more »

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 12:45 pm

Baseball Great Jose Canseco Predicts $10,000 Bitcoin By 2018

Former Major League Baseball star Jose Canseco is apparently a big believer in blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 12:05 pm

Video Streamers Have More Options with These New Blockchain Startups

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Innovative technology companies are leveraging blockchain technology to build next-generation business models and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) for video streaming, a multibillion-dollar industry that continues to grow. According to data revealed by Theta Labs, one of the companies covered below, the video content and streaming market accounts for 67 percent of current internet traffic and could reach 82 percent by 2020. The new players promise to decentralize global video streaming, while at the same time making it more efficient.

LBRY

According to Jeremy Kauffman, co-founder and CEO of the blockchain-based content distribution platform LBRY, blockchain technology could transform the monetization of online content by altering the way that creators get paid, and eventually challenge YouTube.

The LBRY protocol allows creators to publish online, making their content discoverable with a small payment in LBRY’s own cryptocurrency token. Viewers pay creators in LBRY tokens to see their work.

“[Blockchain technology] allows us to build technology that’s owned by the users rather than any one party,” Kauffman said. “That’s the problem that blockchain [technology] solves.”

Kauffman explained that under the LBRY model, creators are paid without an intermediary taking an inappropriately large cut. Since LBRY is a protocol, the company can’t control what gets discovered.

Kauffman said that LBRY recruited 4,000 YouTubers in specifically targeted demographics, several of which have 500,000 or more subscribers, which seems a good first step toward challenging YouTube in its own turf.

Theta Labs

YouTube’s co-founder Steve Chen himself, as well as Justin Kan, co-founder of Twitch, are among the advisors of Theta Labs, a subsidiary of live video streaming company SLIVER.tv, which is announcing a new blockchain-based decentralized video streaming network.

“Theta’s innovation is set to disrupt today’s online video industry much in the same way that the YouTube platform did to traditional video back in 2005,” said Chen. “One of our biggest challenges had been the high costs of delivering video to various parts of the world, and this problem is only getting bigger with HD, 4K and higher quality video streams. I’m excited to be part of the next evolution of the streaming space, helping Theta create a decentralized peer-to-peer network that can offer improved video delivery at lower costs.”

Theta is developing a new blockchain-based network, outlined in the Theta white paper, which could enable users worldwide with unutilized PC bandwidth and resources to cache and relay video streams to others in the network, while mining Theta tokens at the same time, similar to Bitcoin and Ethereum. According to the company, the new peer-to-peer decentralized network will allow for much more efficient, high-quality streaming without the need to develop expensive content delivery network infrastructure.

In December, Theta will implement its first generation of ERC20-compliant tokens on the SLIVER.tv platform. These application tokens can be used for virtual gifting and incentivizing streamers. Eventually, these ERC20 tokens will be 1:1 exchangeable for native Theta tokens when the new blockchain launches at the end of 2018.

“We’ve been on the cutting edge of live streaming technology, and by leveraging blockchain [technology] we will truly be able to transform the video and entertainment industry,” said Mitch Liu, co-founder and CEO of Theta Labs. “Theta will be uniquely built to leverage the incentive mechanisms of the blockchain, enabling end-users to contribute their excess PC bandwidth and resources to relay video streams to others and earn Theta tokens at the same time. It’s a win-win for all stakeholders in the ecosystem.

“We’re committed to solving the challenges of today’s video streaming industry,” Liu told Bitcoin Magazine. “We think there’s a huge opportunity to democratize the video delivery infrastructure, to reward end users with excess PC resources and bandwidth to help stream to their neighbors and friends.”

“I think the Theta team is going to revolutionize video delivery with its new native blockchain,” Theta advisor and G FUEL CEO Cliff Morgan told Bitcoin Magazine. “I’m thrilled to be part of this innovative, organic platform to decentralize streaming. This will impact a number of industries from esports to advertising, benefiting our esports fans as well as influencers and content creators. I can see how Theta’s peer-to-peer mesh network will empower our G FUEL community, rewarding them with Theta tokens when they help stream to others in the network.”

Stream

Another new video platform, Stream, has received $5 million to back its Ethereum-based Stream Token in an advisor round of funding led by blockchain investment firms including Pantera Capital, Fenbushi Capital and CoinFund, as well as individual participants like Jed McCaleb, David Johnston and Andrew Yashchuk.

Founded by Ben Yu, Stream wants to facilitate direct transactions between content creators and consumers with a zero-fee structure. Yu was a successful early cryptocurrency investor who became an internet celebrity with videos that received tens of millions of views. In 2011, Yu left his studies at Harvard and accepted a $100,000 Thiel Fellowship, like Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin before him, eventually launching Sprayable and Stream.

The Stream Token was designed to allow digital media creators to earn a fair living from their work, without being exploited by streaming platforms that take unreasonably large shares of their revenue. It is also designed to free content creators from the strictures of advertising models that limit creativity and freedom of expression.

“Stream Token is part of the larger Silicon Valley movement to fulfill the original intention of the internet: universal access to information. We can finally reward those who share information without curtailing freedom of expression. Content creation doesn’t have to be a zero sum game,” said Greg Kufera, CTO of Stream. “And we’re ensuring it won’t be.”

The post Video Streamers Have More Options with These New Blockchain Startups appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 11:02 am

Standard Chartered, Axis Launch Payments Service With Ripple Tech

Standard Chartered and Axis Bank have announced a new cross-border payments platform built on top of technology developed by Ripple.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 10:00 am

Bitcoin Is 'Not Actually Legal,' Says Zimbabwe Central Bank Chief

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has cast doubt on the legality of bitcoin in the country.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 8:45 am

Bitcoin Exchange Globitex Granted European Electronic Money License

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Globitex, a new bitcoin exchange co-founded by former Bitcoin Foundation Executive Director Jon Matonis, is announcing that its parent Globitex Holding (Latvia) group company NexPay UAB has been granted an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license by the Bank of Lithuania, a regulatory authority in the European Union, to carry out payment services and e-money issuance in the EU.

The acquisition of the EMI license will allow Globitex to integrate with the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) euro payment system directly through the central bank of Lithuania. This will enable NexPay to clear euro payments directly, without the involvement of commercial banks, and to issue IBAN accounts to Globitex clients just as banks issue accounts to their clients, which is could be an important step forward in terms of accessibility.

According to the company, this regulatory development opens the way for the institutional- grade bitcoin exchange to deal with EUR fiat payments globally and sets a new level of legitimacy for the cryptocurrency industry overall. It also represents a significant step toward widespread adoption of Bitcoin as a unit of account suitable for global trade, with no geographic, political or monetary restrictions.

Eventually, Globitex wants to allow producers to purchase exchange-listed products for bitcoin, and trading firms, and speculators to hedge their risks in bitcoin with derivatives trading.

“Globitex is looking to set new cryptocurrency trading standards not only technologically, or by commodities linked product offering, but especially in Globitex’s legal setup, ensuring safe passage to the digital age,” said Liza Aizupiete, Managing Director of Globitex, who recently participated in a panel discussion on the future of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies at e-com21 in Riga, Latvia.

While Bitcoin offers enormous advantages for international settlement due to its speed and low cost compared to legacy money transfer services, order-book depth and liquidity cannot yet support very large trades; therefore, bitcoin cannot yet serve as a currency of international trade settlement across the world’s financial markets.

Globitex wants to tackle this challenge by dramatically increasing bitcoin trading volumes and facilitating bitcoin’s use across the spectrum of money and commodity markets, thereby allowing financial instruments and commodities like crude oil, gold and coffee to be priced directly in bitcoin.

Physical-Settlement Futures Contracts as Important Enabling Factors

“I look forward to this evolution of digital currency trading platforms that ensure futures contracts with a physical delivery component,” Matonis told Bitcoin Magazine. “Strong connection to the spot markets, including contract limits and physical delivery that is linked to provisioned commodities, will serve as the market standard for price integrity."

Matonis outlined some risks associated with cash-settled bitcoin futures contracts. He pointed out that the price index is too easily gamed, for example, and that there is no physical commodity (private keys) for integrity of short positions, maintenance margins could potentially approach 100 percent so there is no real leverage during volatility, and there is a risk of limit-up, limit-down insolvency for certain smaller members.

According to Matonis, the cash-settled bitcoin futures contract is a precursor to an exchange offering a proper physical-settlement futures contract like Globitex. In fact, decentralized crypto and physical-settlement Bitcoin markets will be more robust, Matonis explained to Bitcoin Magazine, since warehousing, open-contract limits and maintenance-margin calculations all behave differently under a digital assets class with physical settlement.

Globitex is holding a token sale, to be issued on the Ethereum blockchain, for its GBX utility token to fund the scaling of its existing exchange infrastructure into a commodities spot and derivatives exchange for bitcoin.

A short video explainer outlines a future where Bitcoin is the preferred medium of exchange for everything and permits cheaply settling international trades; swapping precious metals and commodities in seconds; and opening new trading options for farmers, manufacturing companies, metal miners, oil refineries and more.

The post Bitcoin Exchange Globitex Granted European Electronic Money License appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 8:41 am

This Bitcoin Developer Is About to Take on the Mining Hardware Industry

DragonMint

BtcDrak, the most active pseudonymous Bitcoin Core contributor to date, is making a move into the mining hardware industry. The developer, who besides having contributed to the Bitcoin Core repository also maintains bitcoincore.org and the Bitcoin Core Community Slack, told Bitcoin Magazine he helped set up ASIC chip manufacturing company Halong Mining over the past year, and produced an initial batch of mining hardware, with plans to ship to consumers in early 2018.

“We started a mining project with the aim to bring much needed competition to the market,” BtcDrak said. “We want to ‘make SHA256 great again.’”

The Miners

As listed on the company website, Halong Mining is launching a product line that consists of one machine for now: the DragonMint 16T. The miner — its name references the Dragons' Den, an (in)famous private chat channel on the Bitcoin Core Community Slack — is said to be equipped with newly designed chips and can produce a total of 16 terahashes per second. Importantly, BtcDrak claims that the machines are about 30 percent more energy efficient than the most efficient ASIC miner on the market right now, Bitmain’s AntMiner S9.

“The DragonMint will be the most advanced miner to date,” he said.

The main bottleneck to entering the ASIC market is typically capital: developing specialized chips from scratch is expensive. While BtcDrak preferred not to disclose much information about Halong Mining for now, he did note that the machines have been produced by a team with “serious expertise.”

According to the developer, Halong Mining has invested $30 million in research and development so far, with over 100 people involved, including chip designers, electronics hardware specialists and software designers.

“Research and development is not cheap, and we need a lot of diverse skills,” BtcDrak explained.

Halong Mining has now produced a prototype batch of DragonMint machines for testing and fine-tuning, BtcDrak said, but these will not be sold to the public due to risk of reverse engineering. He emphasized that the machines are working, however, adding:

“Other companies that want to enter the ASIC mining industry develop everything in simulations, and then the first presale batch tries to pay for small production. But the NRE [non-recurring engineering] and making wafers is fraught with difficulty; the first run is not easy to do well.”

Halong Mining published a video of a DragonMint on YouTube today. BtcDrak thinks the first mass-produced run of DragonMint miners will happen within about four months and begin to ship in March of 2018.

Apart from the DragonMint machines, he says Halong Mining will also be selling mining chips separately, in bulk.

The Competition

With the introduction of DragonMint miners, Halong Mining should offer an alternative for Bitmain’s mining hardware, which has dominated the market for the past few years. An estimated 70 percent or more of the hash power on the network today is produced by Bitmain machines, and around half of all hash power is pointed to mining pools that are either owned by or closely affiliated with Bitmain, such as AntPool, BTC.com, ConnectBTC and ViaBTC.

“One manufacturer as a monopoly is not good for Bitcoin,” BtcDrak said. “Centralization in mining is a problem regardless of how benevolent you are. If there is a center, then governments and criminals can attack it. Decentralization protects the entire system and all its participants. So I wanted to bring competition.”

Bitmain in particular has also not made itself popular within segments of the Bitcoin community over the past years. The Chinese ASIC manufacturer was at the center of the AsicBoost and Antbleed controversies. And perhaps more importantly, some speculate that the company exerted its influence over the mining ecosystem by allowing or limiting hardware sales based on how hash power from the machines was used. Bitmain has always denied this is the case, however.

Halong Mining wants to distribute ASIC miners “far and wide to help decentralize mining,” BtcDrak said, adding that the company is considering open sourcing its board designs and software. This would help new manufacturers get a foothold in the industry, building on the research already done by Halong Mining over the past year.

BtcDrak concluded:

“There is a lot at stake here. A lot of time and money has been invested … and we have a huge opportunity to bring more diversity to Bitcoin mining, and in turn help secure the network more.”

This article was slightly updated, in part to better reflect the scope (and limits) of our knowledge about Halong Mining and the DragonMint machines.

The post This Bitcoin Developer Is About to Take on the Mining Hardware Industry appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 8:40 am

Central Bank of Malaysia Plans Cryptocurrency Reporting Rules

The governor of Malaysia's central bank has provided more detail on upcoming regulations aimed to counter the illicit uses of cryptocurrencies.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 7:00 am

What's Next for Bitcoin Cash? Stopping User Fund Loss

Bitcoin cash may be vying for the top spot in bitcoin software, but it's still working to correct fundamental usability problems.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 6:10 am

Two-Week Rally Pushes Monero to New Record High

Following a two-month period in the doldrums, the price of the privacy-focused cryptocurrency monero has climbed to a new all-time high of over $155.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 4:35 am

Philippine Regulators Eye New Rules for Bitcoin Exchanges and ICOs

Philippine regulators are eyeing new rules for cryptocurrency exchanges and initial coin offerings (ICOs), according to officials.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 4:00 am

Banca IMI Bank Explores Ethereum Derivatives

One of Italy's largest banks is re-imagining what the $1.2 quadrillion derivatives market would look like on a public blockchain.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 1:00 am

Survey: CFOs Think Bitcoin Is 'Real' But Are Divided on Price

A group of CFOs polled by CNBC are split on whether bitcoin is a bubble, according to newly published results.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 12:00 am

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Enabling or Crippling? The Risks of State-by-State Blockchain Laws

A hodgepodge of state laws intended to sanction blockchain technology could end up making nationwide solutions commercially impracticable.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 10:00 pm

New Code Released for Vlad Zamfir's Ethereum 'Casper' Upgrade

The Ethereum Foundation's lead developer for the Casper upgrade, Vlad Zamfir, uploaded the first version of the protocol's code to GitHub on Tuesday.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 2:30 pm

Blockchain Data Links Tether 'Attack' to 2015 Exchange Hack

The individual or group behind the alleged Tether attack may have been involved in a previous well-known hack in the bitcoin space.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 1:00 pm

Zen Protocol’s Mission for Decentralized Finance

Zen Thumb New

In Eastern traditions, Zen is often defined as a total state of focus, a merging together of body and mind. It involves dropping illusions and seeing things as they are in the present moment.

Based in Tel Aviv, Zen Protocol recognizes that starting in the “here and now” is vital to innovation and progress. Its mission? To create a platform that allows anyone in the world find and use financial products in a highly secure manner.

Zen Protocol’s eclectic team of developers and crypto veterans aims to assist Bitcoin in sustaining its dominance while allowing it to capitalize on advancements that boost adoption. In pursuing this quest, the company has made liberal use of beta testers — a move that runs counter to the prevailing approach in much of the world of blockchain technology, where projects all too often hastily toss up a website and white paper before demonstrating a viable product.

At Zen, 2017 has been about erecting a new blockchain to fuel a marketplace that allows bitcoin holders to issue, trade and invest in stock options, futures, digital currencies, exchange-traded funds, exotic derivatives, contracts for difference and other financial instruments.

This project is predicated on the Zen blockchain functioning in parallel with Bitcoin in what is typically known as a “sidechain.” This opens up a bevy of opportunities for Zen to curate its platform, independent of any changes to the Bitcoin protocol while simultaneously being able to integrate its own set of modifications to fuel its innovative process.

The primary value proposition of the platform involves the facilitation of complex financial agreements through the use of smart contracts. This can be seen as a major breakthrough given that Bitcoin doesn’t natively support smart contracts — a major reason why the majority of blockchain app projects are launching on Ethereum instead.

Through the creation of this sidechain-style model, Zen is able to pay Bitcoin miners for executing contracts without creating a competitive scenario with Bitcoin for computational resources. Zen, therefore, sees itself as a complementary solution for Bitcoin which helps it scale and offload some of the transactional demand from the Bitcoin chain, which often struggles with high transaction costs and sluggish transactions.

A Viable Alternative to Ethereum? 

Through the strategic execution of its ambitious roadmap, Zen aims to usher in a new era for smart contracts using the Bitcoin blockchain — a space where Ethereum has, to date, shown a dominant presence.

On Ethereum, all smart contracts, in order to execute, need to use what is known as “gas.” When this vital resource is depleted, contracts may stop before they finish executing — a frequent source of frustration for both users and developers.

Zen’s smart contracts, on the other hand, always execute without stoppage, never utilizing more resources than required, thereby eliminating the need for gas entirely. Further, Zen lets miners check the computational resources needed for a contract before running it, allowing for more rapid contract execution than on Ethereum.

The Zen team is also making headway in how smart contracts engage with the real world. One major sticking point with the current iteration of smart contracts is that they exist in a walled garden on the blockchain. This prevents them from capturing external data on their own. External data feeds, known as “oracles,” are key to assessing the outcome of real-world events and to resolving any disagreements that may surface. 

By way of example, say a person wants to pay for auto insurance for a long-distance trip from Point A to Point B. A smart contract can set up for that date, with the projected mileage and other key information. Then one or more oracles could be set up to facilitate the exchange of information to the smart contracts with any payout predicated on any agreed upon conditions (such as a qualifying accident) being met. Zen’s oracles can run at a profit, without taking up too much space on the blockchain.

Token Sale and Next Steps

As a critical next step in its progression, Zen Protocol recently announced that its highly anticipated token sale will commence on November 30, 2017. This token is required to switch on smart contracts in the system, but participants can make transactions and use contracts with their bitcoins or other assets, without using any additional tokens. One advantage of Zen’s contract system is that the assets which contracts make don’t need the “native” Zen token to spend or send to other participants.

“At the end of the day, we believe that people have a right to own their financial assets, and we feel a responsibility to provide people with the necessary tools to empower themselves,” said Adam Perlow, CEO of Zen Protocol.

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The post Zen Protocol’s Mission for Decentralized Finance appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 12:46 pm

Hacker Allegedly Siphons $31 Million Out of Tether, Driving Further Speculations About the Cryptocurrency

Hacker Allegedly Siphons $31 Million Out of Tether, Driving Further Speculations About the Cryptocurrency

Tether, a cryptocurrency pegged 1-to-1 to the U.S. dollar, was allegedly hacked today to the tune of $31 million.

Tether functions to convert U.S. dollars to a type of cryptocurrency. The project’s token (USDT) is pegged to the dollar and is used in exchange trading. The idea behind Tether is that instead of having to sell your bitcoin or other token for a fiat currency, you can convert it to USDT, and either hold it in USDT or else transfer your USDT to another exchange and use it to purchase tokens there.

As for the exchanges, USDT allows them to trade in something akin to dollars, without requiring them to have a bank account.

Tether operates on the “Omni Layer Protocol,” which itself operates on top of the Bitcoin network, and uses Bitcoin addresses. According to a blog post on the project’s website, $31 million worth of USDT was sent to an unauthorized Bitcoin address on November 19, 2017.

In the blog post, Tether also noted it released a new version of the Omni Core software used by exchanges and wallets to support USDT transactions, thus implementing a temporary hard fork to the Omni Layer. As a result, the affected tokens are frozen in place, making them essentially worthless to the hacker.

“We strongly urge all Tether integrators to install this software immediately to prevent the coins from entering the ecosystem,” Tether wrote, adding that “any tokens from the attacker’s addresses will not be redeemed.”

Some exchanges, like Kraken, have stopped trading USDT temporarily while they upgrade to the newer software.

The heist was made in three separate USDT transfers out of Tether’s core Treasury wallet in the amounts of 23,000,000; 7,900,000; and 500,000 USDT. It is unclear why the hacker did not move all of the money out at once.

In addition to the other exchanges it trades on, USDT is widely traded on Bitfinex, an exchange that lost 119,756 BTC (worth $72 million at the time) in a hack that took place a year and a half ago.

News of the Tether attack comes at a time when some — notably the blogger “Bitfinex’ed” — are questioning whether USDTs are being issued without backing of actual U.S. dollars. Similarly, there has been growing speculation that Tether is being used in possible market manipulation to drive up the price of bitcoin.

The current market cap value of USDT is around $673 million. If that money is backed by real reserves, as Tether claims, the project would need to have at least that much in its bank account in Taiwan.

Tether publishes a bank account balance on its website’s Transparency page and claims the money is redeemable for U.S. dollars at any time directly through the Tether platform.

The project’s website has been up and down sporadically, since the hack. An archive of the site is available here.

The post Hacker Allegedly Siphons $31 Million Out of Tether, Driving Further Speculations About the Cryptocurrency appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 12:32 pm

Report Warns SAFT May Increase Legal Risk of Token Sales

Making ICOs compliant while delivering on their disruptive promise may be a harder needle to thread than the SAFT plan anticipates, a new paper says.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 10:40 am

NAGA Flourishes at the Epicenter of Blockchain’s Digital Disruption

NAGA Thumb

Blockchain technology’s disruptive force in business and commerce has been well documented. With strong momentum ensuing from its beginnings as the foundational technology supporting Bitcoin, distributed ledger technology shows great promise in terms of its potential impact on the future of our planet. 

One emerging enterprise at the nexus of these developments is The NAGA Group AG, a German fintech company. NAGA’s strategic aim is to create world-class mobile and web applications for the capital markets and gaming sectors, along with cutting edge, blockchain-based solutions.

Listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange as one of Europe’s fastest growing fintech firms, with six offices operating in five countries, NAGA’s successful IPO in July 2017 sparked a share price increase of 500 percent within less than three months.

Indicative of its strong advancement as a curator of cutting-edge concepts and business ideas, NAGA is backed by a number of high profile shareholders, including the Chinese Fosun Group and Hauck & Aufhäuser (one of Europe’s oldest banks founded in 1796).

“We Don't Copy, We Disrupt” is a key theme undergirding NAGA’s roadmap of progress. Employing a highly data-driven approach, it aims to reimagine the prevailing banking sector model through innovative, transparent and simplistic mobile-first concepts. All product development and design efforts target international expansion and a global marketing solutions.

New Collaborations, NAGA’s Acceleration Forward

NAGA’s foundational ecosystem is based on SwipeStox, an existing iOS and Android app and online trading platform that functions as a social network for traders. Operational since early 2015, this network is utilized by hundreds of thousands of registered users, facilitating over 200,000 monthly transactions at the tune of more than $4 billion.

Signaling its next significant breakthrough, NAGA Group and Deutsche Börse formed a joint venture called Switex in December 2016. This venture merges the financial trading world with the gaming world, allowing users to trade in-game merchandise. Currently under development, Switex is scheduled to launch in beta form in Q1 of 2018.

NAGA is also scheduled to launch a digital wallet that will align both platforms noted above. This will allow tokens to be stored so that individuals can use them for SwipeStox, Switex and other forthcoming projects such as the NAGA Trading Academy.

This tool will also provide a mechanism for the conversion of blockchain assets such as bitcoin, ether, litecoin and others. Moreover, NAGA plans to launch a debit card which will support users in their desire to spend cryptocurrencies both online and offline.

Prominent Figures

The NAGA Group AG was recently buoyed by the announcement that Roger Ver and Mate Tokay, Bitcoin.com’s CEO and COO respectively, had joined the company’s team of advisors.

Through the influence of these two cryptocurrency leaders, the company hopes to fuel the next iteration of barrier-free investing into stocks or virtual goods through its forthcoming proprietary token, NAGA Coin.

As arguably Bitcoin’s first angel investor, having funded the seed rounds for a majority of the entire first generation of Bitcoin-related businesses, including the Bitcoin Foundation, Bitpay, Blockchain.info, Ripple and Kraken, Ver is considered a prominent voice and strong advocate for Bitcoin adoption around the world. His philosophy and ideology of libertarianism and “voluntarism” align pretty succinctly with those espoused by NAGA.

Ver holds the view that every person on the planet has the right to freedom of choice, voluntary association and self-governance. This assertion aligns well with NAGA’s aim to build a supportive ecosystem which will allow underbanked individuals throughout the world to participate in financial and crypto markets. This opportunity for involvement in the world of trading and investing is seen as a critical step to fostering financial independence and free lifestyles.

Ver’s colleague, Tokay, is also an active and vocal proponent of Bitcoin. Having cut his teeth as a Bitcoin miner in 2013, Tokay continues to stay abreast of emerging crypto trends as part of his involvement with several successful blockchain-related projects.

“I am thrilled to join the NAGA token sale as an advisor; they already have a working product that will allow millions of unbanked people to trade on the crypto markets and with that giving them the opportunity to reach financial freedom,” Tokay said.

Dovetailing off of this news was the decision to add Bitcoin Cash (BCH) to the list of accepted cryptocurrencies for NAGA’s upcoming token sale.

“We consider BCH to represent the future of cryptocurrencies because of its small transaction cost and other benefits,” said NAGA founder Benjamin Bilski. “Thus, we believe that it will reduce the barriers for our potential investors and future customers to become a part of our ecosystem.”

Igniting the Next Frontier

With the ultimate vision to establish a cryptocurrency that allows anyone to invest and trade easily and securely, NAGA will launch a token pre-sale on November 20, 2017. The Naga Development Association Ltd. will partner with the NAGA Group to introduce the ERC20-based token, NAGA Coin (NGC), a decentralized currency unit with the purpose of bringing together all of the platforms the NAGA network through its own proprietary NAGA Wallet.

During the pre-sale, 20 million NGC tokens will be available with a 30 percent sale bonus. The main sale will then commence on December 1, 2017, and last until December 15, 2017. The maximum cap in tokens for the main sale is 200 million.

Learn more by visiting NAGA’s website as well as joining its Telegram chat. 

The post NAGA Flourishes at the Epicenter of Blockchain’s Digital Disruption appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 9:37 am

Op Ed: “We Never Thought of That” — When Venture-Backed Companies Undertake Reverse ICOs

Op Ed: “We Never Thought of That” When Venture-Backed Companies Undertake Reverse ICOs

With well over $3 billion raised this year alone, in very little time initial coin offerings (ICOs) have emerged as a major source of venture finance. Even companies that have already raised conventional venture funding will be tempted to raise additional funds through ICOs. Although not fully intuitive, some have labeled token issuances by entities that previously obtained equity financing as “Reverse ICOs.”

One prominent example of a Reverse ICO has already occurred. Recently, Kik Interactive successfully completed an ICO of nearly $100 million. With over $3 billion raised in ICOs this year alone, ICOs are not unsubstantial. What made the Kik offering far more unusual is that Kik has already raised over $100 million from venture investors.

The standard documents used for angel and venture investing predate the current ICO craze and, not surprisingly, do not expressly address ICOs. Understandably, these documents are all “share-centric.” The question that needs to be addressed, therefore, is: What rights, if any, do existing investors have when their company elects to undertake an ICO?

What makes the analysis particularly difficult is that, broadly speaking, there are three types of ICOs:

  • Equity Tokens — these tokens are essentially digital shares with the issuer specifying equity participation, voting rights and other token/shareholder rights.

  • Non-Equity Security Tokens — these tokens do not grant equity rights but under the Howey test are nonetheless classified as securities.

  • Utility Tokens — these tokens allow the purchaser to buy products or services from the issuer.

Although not the subject of this article, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued initial guidance with respect to the securities law status of tokens issued in ICOs. The SEC’s Chief Accountant has also put out guidance detailing some of the accounting issues raised by ICOs.

This article will identify several issues raised by ICOs under commonly used SAFE, Convertible Note, Series Seed and Series A documents.

Why Existing Investors Might Object to Reverse ICOs

On the surface, Reverse ICOs would seem to be a net positive for existing investors. Except for equity tokens, ICOs provide non-dilutive financing to companies. Even when tokens are classified as securities, they generally are not issued as equity  —purchasers do not have a share in the issuer, do not receive dividends and do not get voting rights. However, there are several reasons why existing investors might be concerned:

Multiple “Plays” on the Same Company

After a Reverse ICO, a venture-backed company will have both tokens and equity in the hands of investors. Prior to the ICO, the only way an investor could invest in the company was by buying its stock. After the ICO, the investor would have a choice of buying the stock or buying tokens.

At least in the current environment, there is reason to believe that demand for tokens will be greater and drive up relative prices for tokens. Equity holders may find reduced demand for their equity. Further, if the tokens remain outstanding at the time of an exit, it is difficult to predict the impact of outstanding token pools on exit valuations in either an acquisition or IPO scenario.

Impact on Follow-On Venture Funding

Many venture funds make relatively small initial investments, anticipating that they will deploy significantly more capital in subsequent rounds. ICOs may reduce companies’ needs for future equity raises. As a result, venture funds may have reduced opportunities for follow-on funding.

Delay or Elimination of Conversion Events

For holders of Convertible Notes and SAFEs, under most currently used form documents, ICOs typically will not be considered an event that triggers a conversion. In some cases, ICOs may also delay or even eliminate subsequent equity financings. Further, in successful companies, ICOs often will raise the pre-money valuation at which conversion occurs, thereby diluting SAFE/Note holders (although conversion caps in many of these instruments may mitigate the impact).

Avoiding Pre-Emptive Rights

Under the current agreement forms, tokens sold in an ICO would not trigger the pre-emptive rights of existing shareholders — thereby denying them an automatic right of participation in the ICO.

Absence of Transfer Restrictions

Under the current agreement forms, tokens sold in an ICO would not be subject to the rights of first refusal, co-sale rights and the transfer restrictions typically applicable to shareholders in venture-backed companies.

ICOs Do Not Trigger Other Typical Preferred Shareholder Provisions
  • Anti-Dilution Protection. If a company underprices its tokens, its impact on valuation could be similar to a “down round.” However, unless tokens are issued as equity, they would not trigger the anti-dilution protection clauses in the standard forms.

  • Liquidation Preferences. If token holders are given equity participation in an issuer, the issuing documentation will need to specify where they stand in the liquidation stack. For utility tokens, if the claim against the company is viewed as contractual (i.e., the holders of a pre-payment for products/services), token holders may be unsecured creditors instead of shareholders — in which case they would rank ahead of all equity classes.

  • Mandatory Conversion of Preferred Shares. Venture documents typically provide for mandatory conversion of preferred shares in an IPO of a specified minimum amount raised and minimum share price or approval by what is typically a supermajority of preferred shareholders. Several ICOs have raised in excess of $100 million. If these companies go public, it is possible that some may not need additional funding and may do so without a public offering of additional shares (i.e., a direct offering). However, if not all shareholders agree with the decision to go public, the mandatory conversion provision could not be utilized unless approved by a supermajority of the preferred shareholders, which in some circumstances could impede the ability of an IPO to proceed.

Impact on Future Cash Flow

Many ICO issuers are positioning their tokens as “utility tokens” that can be used in the future to buy the issuer’s product or service. As a result, these tokens constitute pre-pays for the future delivery of goods and services. In the future, when the products/services need to be delivered, the venture may experience cash flow issues because no new funds will be coming in to pay for the product or service.

Impact of Regulatory, Tax and Accounting Uncertainty

Currently, the regulatory status of ICOs is unclear. Issuance of tokens in a manner that does not comply with the eventual regulations that emerge could create liabilities for the company and/or limit its ability to issue equity in the future. In addition, the accounting and tax rules for ICOs have not been established, and as a result, there may be ambiguity with respect to several representations and warranties the company typically will need to make in future financings and liquidity events.

Fiduciary Uncertainty

Officers and directors of companies have fiduciary obligations to maximize shareholder value. When companies are insolvent, these duties shift to protection of the interests of creditors. What, if any, fiduciary duties a board has with respect to token holders has not been explored. If a company is facing a decision that would benefit shareholders at a cost to token holders, do board members have any fiduciary obligation to the token holders? Investor representatives on boards of companies that have conducted Reverse ICOs will not only have to deal with uncertainty but also potential conflicts of interest if they have not participated in the Reverse ICO.

Can Investors Prevent a Company from Undertaking an ICO?

While it is difficult to believe that a company would undertake an ICO without board approval, in many early-stage companies, investors do not have control of the board. However, commonly used investment documents may leave shareholders with limited recourse where boards back an ICO. In general, in SAFEs and Convertible Notes, holders do not have protective rights and, as a result, they do not have the ability to prevent an ICO.

The protective provisions in the Certificate of Incorporation for Series Seed financings would not provide Series Seed holders with the ability to prevent an ICO. In the NVCA Series A documents, ICOs do not easily fit into any of the matters for which the investor director’s approval is required. The same applies to the protective provisions for the benefit of preferred shareholders detailed in the Certificate of Incorporation.

What Now?

For blockchain startups, ICOs have become the dominant form of fundraising — far exceeding venture capital financing. Given the strength of the ICO market, “Reverse ICOs” are likely to become even more pervasive. For investors this could be very challenging. Existing form agreements in the venture space are likely to be revised to address the possibility of Reverse ICOs. However, the regulatory, tax and accounting uncertainties around ICOs may not be quickly resolved, leaving uncertainty around some of the concerns raised in this article.

Revising the form agreements will not address the thousands of venture-backed companies that were financed using pre-ICO forms. For existing investors the path forward is more difficult. Where investors control the board or have blocking rights, they will have the ability to prevent ICOs or influence their terms. For other investors, particularly in early-stage ventures with founder-dominated boards, ICOs have the potential to overturn several assumptions under which early investors funded. These investors may have to wait for situations in which their approval is needed for unrelated corporate actions or their funding is necessary and leverage that position to insist upon amendments to existing investment documents to address some of the investor challenges resulting from Reverse ICOs.

This is a guest post by Dror Futter. Views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Media or Bitcoin Magazine.

The post Op Ed: “We Never Thought of That” — When Venture-Backed Companies Undertake Reverse ICOs appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 20 November 2017 | 3:25 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

Bitcoin price climbs over $4,000

Posted on 14 August 2017 | 1:16 am

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

Steam accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 29 April 2016 | 1:09 am

Major Magazine Publisher to Accept Bitcoin Payments

Posted on 18 December 2014 | 12:43 pm

Microsoft accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 11 December 2014 | 5:06 am

Mozilla accepting Bitcoin

Posted on 20 November 2014 | 1:55 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

Expedia to accept Bitcoin payments for hotel bookings

Posted on 12 June 2014 | 12:41 pm

November 23, 2017 -
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