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BitPay Says Alternatives Not as Compelling as the Bitcoin Blockchain

BitPay co-founders Stephen Pair and Tony Gallippi have been around Bitcoin for about as long as anyone else in the industry. The company was founded in 2011, and their actions generally indicate the future direction of the industry.

“When we started in 2011, we would be excited to get five or six transactions through BitPay in a day.” said Pair in a fireside chat with Gallippi, held during the recent Distributed: Markets 2017 conference in Atlanta.

BitPay would go on to cut deals with the likes of Microsoft, Newegg, Expedia and other major corporate customers to provide payment processing services.

Challenges for Bitcoin’s Use in Consumer Payments

While many early Bitcoin adopters claimed the P2P digital cash system was going to replace the use of credit cards and completely overthrow the banking system in 2013, things haven’t exactly panned out that way — at least not yet.

Bitcoin is currently dealing with some issues as a consumer payments platform, mainly because the system is experiencing growth at a rate faster than it can safely scale.

“We have seen an increase in customer service inquiries because of transaction confirmation delays for bitcoin purchasers,” Pair told Bitcoin Magazine in an interview. “We’re also seeing substantially higher transaction fees on our own settlement transactions.”

Recently, BitPay decided to stop covering Bitcoin network fees on invoice payments.

“This friction is making us get more creative in how we do user experience design for delayed payment states on the BitPay platform,” said Pair. “Often delays are an educational opportunity to explain how the Bitcoin network works and point people to wallets that use dynamic transaction fees. Copay and BitPay wallet users have been largely immune from transaction delays because their wallets calculate transaction fees dynamically.

“Our designers and engineers are constantly attuned to how we can make using Bitcoin intuitive,” Pair added.

The lightning network is a proposed method of dealing with the issues related to transaction delays and higher transaction fees on the Bitcoin network. The transaction caching layer would effectively enable potentially improved versions of many of the features people have associated with Bitcoin in the past, such as instant transactions at nearly no cost.

“We’re exploring all possible solutions for scalability,” Pair said. “It’s not a surprise to us that Bitcoin needs to scale — scalability is something we’ve been thinking about for years. The only surprise is that while we anticipated short-term bumps in the throughput, we thought that changes for more on-chain throughput would have happened a couple of years ago. This slow movement to increase network throughput is something we did not foresee. At some point we’re going to reach an actual scalability limit that will only be overcome through solutions like these.”

Some have wondered whether companies like BitPay may turn away from Bitcoin and toward alternative options, such as altcoins or permissioned blockchains, due to the historically high U.S.-dollar-denominated fees and general congestion on the network.

“We have carefully studied the most significant alternatives to the Bitcoin blockchain and have concluded that none of them are compelling,” Pair responded.

Bitcoin’s Use in Consumer Payments Is Still Growing

Although Pair admitted Bitcoin has some issues with scaling right now, BitPay is still seeing growth in the use of the technology among consumers.

“Bitcoin is the fastest, most secure and most cost-effective means of doing value transfer on the internet,” said Pair. “We think of ourselves as a payment innovator, and from a functional perspective, consumer payments and B2B payments are no different on the Bitcoin network and on BitPay’s platform.”

At the Distributed: Markets fireside chat, Gallippi claimed that their transaction count has more than doubled over the past year. Much of that growth, he said, has been seen in the areas of digital goods and video games. Specifically, he pointed to digital distribution platform Steam’s acceptance of bitcoin through BitPay as a source of this growth, and pointed out that there is a lot of overlap between the Bitcoin and gamer communities;

Growth for Bitcoin Outside of Consumer Payments

In addition to continued growth in the area of consumer payments, Pair noted that BitPay is also seeing growth in the use of Bitcoin for B2B money transfers.

“We’re seeing significant interest and transaction volume growth from businesses that need to transfer value to other businesses,” said Pair. “Bitcoin is a fantastic solution for these business-to-business transfers, especially when it comes to international payments, where bank transfers are still slow and inefficient.

“They’re using our platform for billing and settling internationally with a lot of their suppliers,” Pair stated during the fireside chat.

Gallippi added that there has been an uptick in the use of Bitcoin for payment disbursements.

“It’s not that easy to pay people on a regular basis to the majority of the world. Eastern Europe, Israel, Africa, India [and] the Middle East — where a lot of these apps are being [developed] — it’s very difficult to pay them,” said Gallippi, as he explained how app stores pay developers who sell apps on their store.

Gallippi noted that for the app store example or digital marketing companies, BitPay can receive one payment from the business and then disburse payments in bitcoin at all of the endpoints.

“We built that product originally because we had our own needs to pay our own employees in bitcoin,” added Pair. “We’ve got a lot of Fortune 500 companies coming to us now every day asking us to solve these kinds of payments problems.”

 

Written by Kyle Torpey for Bitcoin Magazine | Original article: www.bitcoinmaga….

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One Bitcoin Just Became Worth More Than One Ounce of Gold

One bitcoin has now, at least briefly, been worth more than one ounce of gold, hitting $1239.9 at the bitcoin exchange Bitstamp, while an ounce of gold was priced at $1238.67.

The last time a single bitcoin might have been worth more than an ounce of gold happened in November 2013, more than three years ago. Having taken place based on Mt. Gox pricing models, possibly manipulated due to internal Mt. Gox trading bot(s), the legitimacy of bitcoin’s first dance with gold parity faces continued scrutiny. Regardless, the price of gold in bitcoin terms is now trading at an all-time low.

When, according to Mt. Gox, the bitcoin price exceeded that of an ounce of gold, it had just broken through the $1,000 threshold. Similarly, the bitcoin price crossed the $1,000 mark January 1 before gold-bitcoin parity in the first week of January 2017.

Everything You Need to Know Before SEC Bitcoin ETF DecisionIn April 2011, bitcoin realized parity with the US dollar. It later reached parity with silver (so nicknamed the “devil’s metal” for its ties to populism) at approximately $29.65 per bitcoin on February 19, 2013.

Bitcoin Outshines Troy Ounce of Gold in 2016

Bitcoin, long called ‘digital gold’ due to its strict coin creation protocol involving a computational process dubbed ‘mining,’ performed as a better safehaven, perhaps, than gold bullion.

Gold demand stoked by Negative Interest Rate Policies (NIRP) in Japan led to stalwart demand for the ‘yellow metal’ by July 2017. Gold fell nearly 20% for the remainder of the year.

Bitcoin increased more than 125% over the course of 2016. Fiat crises throughout 2016 in emerging or underdeveloped markets like India, China, Venezuela, and Greece is perceived to have benefited bitcoin more than gold.

Bitcoin: Gold’s “Digital Counterpart”

In “An Analysis of Bitcoin Exchange Rates,” economist Jacob Smith, who calls bitcoin a “digital counterpart” of gold,  “highlights the similarities between the traditional commodity and its new digital counterpart.” He writes:

…the most appropriate way to think about bitcoins is as digital gold. While nominal bitcoin prices are extremely volatile and seemingly uncorrelated with other nominal exchange rates, relative bitcoin prices or implied nominal exchange rates are indeed highly cointegrated with conventional market exchange rates. This mirrors the relationship between physical gold and conventional nominal exchange rates…

One Bitcoin is Now Worth More Than One Ounce of Gold for First Time
Casascius gold bitcoin.

The bitcoin and gold markets have long been intertwined. One of the most popular companies early in bitcoin’s existence, Casascius, produced the most expensive physical bitcoin ever produced, one of which sold for $1,000,000 in 2013.

Comprised of one ounce of fine gold (which was worth about one-third the value of 1,000 BTC when produced), Casascius offered the coins at $5,500. An owner of one such rare coin recently used bitcoin’s price rise as an opportunity to share the rarity on Reddit. The redditor explained how it worked:

“I have a confirmation code that proves that my passphrase unlocks an encrypted private key that maps to the bitcoin address on the coin,” the coin holder wrote. “If I ever sell these coins, I will give the passphrase and confirmation code to the buyer. So the only trust is that Mike Caldwell didn’t screw up and not put the correct encrypted private key under the hologram. So far, Mike’s work has been top notch. But of course, would you trust it with $1M if you have that kind of money? That is for you to decide. Do note that I have not funded these with any BTC.”

Everything You Need to Know Before SEC Bitcoin ETF Decision

At gold-bitcoin parity, the bitcoin market cap ($18 billion) expressed as a percent of gold in circulation ($7 trillion) is currently at about 0.388%. Bitcoiners see this as evidence of bitcoin’s room for growth.

The last time bitcoin approximated the gold price, however, it marked the top of the bull run in 2013 for the digital currency.

 

Written by Justin Connell for Bitcoin.com | Original article: news.bitcoin.co…

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Russian Bank’s VP Says Bitcoin is the Only Successful Blockchain

Over the past couple of months, Russian politicians and banks have been changing their tune when it comes to blockchain technology and cryptocurrency solutions. On February 21 Nikita Smirnov vice president of the state-owned bank Vnesheconombank had some positive things to say about the digital currency bitcoin. In fact, Smirnov believes the Bitcoin network is the only “successful” blockchain technology.

‘A New Philosophical Concept’

Russia’s relationship with digital currencies has been confusing, to say the least. Over the past few years, a few Russian bureaucrats have perceived bitcoin use as a criminal activity. Moreover, in the past, there have also been website blockades against bitcoin domains such as BTC-e and Localbitcoins. However, it seems politicians and banks are slowly changing their minds towards the country’s relationship with bitcoin. Just recently Russia’s Deputy Finance Minister, Alexey Moiseev told the public that bitcoin was “not a threat,” and Russia’s largest bank Sberbank has also been bolstering blockchain technology.

Now one of Russia’s well-known state banks Vnesheconombank (VEB) vice president has told the regional publication Kommersant that bitcoin has many benefits. Additionally, Nikita Smirnov says that bitcoin has an indisputable network effect.

“Bitcoin is the only blockchain technology in the world that has widespread adoption,” explains Smirnov. “It has existed for several years already, people tried to hack it, but no one has succeeded. So right now, if you ask whether there’s another algorithm, which established itself as a solution to distributed consensus problem, then the answer is probably NO.”

As of the present moment, the only successful solution to that problem is Bitcoin.

‘Bitcoin Forms a Symbiotic Relationship with Humans’

Meanwhile, the Russian bank Sberbank has been researching and developing its own enterprise-grade distributed ledger prototype for quite some time. Sberbank CEO Herman Gref believes commercial blockchains will be ready in two years and the company is working with the government on this project. However, according to the VEB vice president bitcoin is really the only successful blockchain today and can be considered a positive bacteria in his opinion.

Bitcoin is kind of a philosophical concept. Compare it to a bacteria, which exists separately from humans, but is in a symbiotic relationship with humans. But the word bacteria has a negative connotation, whereas Bitcoin in many ways is a positive thing, which satisfies many necessities, involves people in the process and allows itself to exists in this way.

Vnesheconombank also works with the Russian government managing state debts and pension funds. The bank, instituted in 1922, has grown significantly over the past few years acting as a progressive “Russian Development Bank.” Smirnov’s opinion may not reflect the bank’s official stance towards bitcoin but may push the bank to research the cryptocurrency further.

“[Bitcoin] truly is a new philosophical concept, which isn’t very well understood quite yet,” Smirnov concluded in his interview.


Written by Jamie Redman for Bitcoin.com | Original article: https://news.bitcoin.co….

What do you think about the vice president of Vnesheconombanks statements? Do you agree that Bitcoin is the only successful blockchain implementation? Let us know in the comments below.

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Bitcoin in Japan to be a Legal Payment Method Soon

Bitcoin will soon be legally recognized as a method of payment in Japan. The bill with provisions for cryptocurrencies has recently passed through the period of public consultation and will enter into force in April.

Bitcoin.com examines what the bill means and how it could affect Bitcoin with Special Counsel at Anderson Mori & Tomotsune, Ken Kawai, who has held numerous speaking engagements on the legal issues of virtual currency regulations in Japan.

Countdown: The Long Awaited Bill

Since Bitcoin’s inception, its legal position in Japan has not been clear. The first bill containing provisions for virtual currencies including Bitcoin was submitted to the Diet last
March. It amends the existing Payment Services Act and the Act on Preventing of Transfer of Criminal Proceeds.

“The revision of the Payment Services Act, which sets out the basic framework of virtual currency regulation, was promulgated last June”, Kawai told Bitcoin.com. The drafts of detailed regulations and guidelines were published in December and the period for public consultation on the bill ended on January 27, he continued, adding that:

The new regulations will enter into force in April 2017.

New Method of Payment but Not Currency

This bill defines virtual currencies including bitcoin and imposes
certain regulations on virtual currency exchange services with the aim to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing as well as to protect users.

While the bill recognizes them as a new method of payment in Japan, virtual currencies are not classified as “currencies” however. Kawai confirmed:

“Virtual currency” is distinguished clearly from “currency” in the regulations.

Even though Bitcoin is not considered a currency, being recognized by the government as a payment method will “likely
have a positive effect on people’s mind and facilitate usage of VC’s [virtual currencies]”, he believes.

Bitcoin usage has already been growing considerably in Japan. Japanese exchange Coincheck revealed significant growth in its user base, rising from 14,000 users last April to 76,400 in January. In addition, the exchange reported gigantic growth in the number of bitcoin-accepting merchants using its service. Also, Japanese giant GMO Internet group has recently announced that it would be developing a bitcoin exchange and wallet service.

Meanwhile, Japan now has the second-largest bitcoin trading volume globally, according to Coinhills.

Bitcoin’s Other Legal Considerations in Japan

While usage as a payment method should not be affected whether bitcoin is legally considered a ‘currency’ or not, Kawai explained that, from a legal standpoint, there are some considerable differences.

“For instance, if they are defined as “currencies”, lending of VCs must comply with Money Lending Control Act (which requires lenders to register as “Moneylenders”) and VCs’ derivatives must comply with the Financial Instrument Exchange Act”, he described.

Some other countries have classified virtual currency as an asset or property for tax purposes such as the U.S. Recently, Israel has issued a draft which considers Bitcoin an asset, therefore imposing Value Added Tax (VAT) as well as capital gains tax on bitcoin transactions.

However, for Japan, this bill does not define virtual currency as “property”. Instead, virtual currencies are defined as ‘proprietary value’, Kawai contrasted, adding that “a precedent of Tokyo District Court denies the concept of having ‘property rights’ of Bitcoin”. Furthermore, “it is not uncertain what is the legal nature of proprietary value in Japanese civil laws”, he clarified, adding that “I do not expect that the government is leaning towards proactively considering it as “property”.

 

Written by Kevin Helms for Bitcoin.com | Original article: https://news.bitcoin.co…

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Weekly News Roundup – 25 November 2016

IRS Files Petition in Court to Get Coinbase Users’ Info

On 17th November, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) filed a petition in the District Court for the Northern District of California asking for permission to serve a summons to the Bitcoin exchange Coinbase to turn over records about every transaction of every user from 2013 to 2015.

According to court records,  the basis of IRS’s claim that all U.S. Coinbase users “may fail or may have failed to comply” with the internal revenue laws is an instance of a tax-defaulting Bitcoin user and two instances of tax-defaulting companies.

 

Bitcoin Price Flirts with Year’s High

Fueled by Indian government’s move to “hard-fork” the Indian Rupee, the Bitcoin price continued to rise since our previous bitcoin news roundup and, on 16 November, it rose by $30 in roughly one hour! On 17 November, it flirted with $780 on Chinese Bitcoin exchanges such as HaoBTC and BTCC.

At time of writing, it was swinging about $730 on Coindesk’s BPI.

Bitcoin Price 11-25 November 2016

Blockchain Partners with Coinify

The Bitcoin wallet Blockchain has partnered with Danish blockchain startup Coinify to offer its wallet users near-instantaneous funding options.  According to Blockchain, this partnership will allow its wallet users to avoid lengthy Know your Customer (KYC) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) verifications to purchase bitcoins more efficiently.

The Coinify integration will first be beta tested by invite-only participants in the UK and, after successful completion of the testing, will be available across Europe.

 

Blockchain Ads Ten Millionth Wallet

Following Blockchain’s previous news, the company announced a new milestone: it surpassed the ten million-wallet mark. The company mentioned that they have seen unprecedented levels of activity following the Brexit vote, the US presidential election and a weakening Yuan.

 

iPayYou Integrates Bitcoin Payment for Amazon Purchases

While major e-retailers like Overstock.com or Newegg.com have long been accepting Bitcoin payments, Amazon has still not adopted the most popular digital currency for payments on its retail platform.  However, early this week, Seattle-based payment platform iPayYou announced a feature called Amazon Direct that allows users to use their Bitcoin to make purchases on Amazon.

According to iPayYou’s CEO, the money is transferred from iPayYou’s bank account to that of Amazon so Amazon only deals with fiat transfers.

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Weekly News Roundup – 11 November 2016

In absence of the previous weekly news roundup, we will be rounding up some noteworthy news of the past two weeks. The past two weeks have been unusually eventful for the bitcoin and cryptocurrency space.

Zcash Launch and Frenzy

The new Bitcoin-derived cryptocurrency Zcash (ZEC) launched amidst much hype  and the frenzy continued after its launch on 28th October, when it surged to a price of  3,300 Bitcoins (more than $2 million). It fell to a value below 1 BTC on 30th October as the frenzy faded, rose temporarily, fell again and remains below 1 BTC at time of writing this.

Zcash / Bitcoin Price

Source: coinmarketcap.com

The company behind Zcash claims that,  in comparison to Bitcoin, Zcash offers more anonymity, increased fungibility and faster transaction verification.

Bitmain Announces World’s Second Most Powerful Data Center

News emerged on a Chinese Bitcoin news’ website on 2nd November that Bitmain is building a giant data center for Bitcoin mining. This was soon followed by Bitmain’s tweets and then a press release that clarified that Bitmain only owns a small share of the 135 megawatt facility and various other investors, who own majority of the facility, can choose to use their share of the data center for any purpose, not only bitcoin mining or mining.

The data center is scheduled to be completed by end of this year. Upon completion, the data center will be second in the list of the world’s most powerful data centers.

BTCC Launches Bitcoin to USD Exchange

Shanghai-based Bitcoin exchange BTCC, formerly known as BTC China, announced on 1st November that they are launching a new USD exchange, one that is operated by a Hong Kong-based legal entity.

BTCC is among the world’s longest running Bitcoin exchanges. By now supporting USD exchange, BTCC can offer tough competition to Hong Kong-based Bitcoin exchange BitFinex, which suffered a major hack and theft of Bitcoins in August.

BTCC’s new service is not yet available to US customers because BTCC is still awaiting approval from FinCEN or New York DFS.

Indian Gov ‘Hardforks’ the Indian Rupee

On 8th November the Indian government announced an overnight demonetization of Rupee notes of the highest (1000 Indian Rupee) and second-highest (500 Indian Rupee) denomination. This move is aimed at stopping counterfeit notes and black money.

In the same announcement, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi informed that new 500 and 2000 Indian Rupee notes will be introduced.

This sudden move by the Indian government to demonetize a considerable portion of the cash that Indian citizens possess is expected to increase awareness and use of cashless payment methods, like Bitcoin, in India.

Bitcoin and Gold Prices Surge after the US Presidential Election Result

The uncertainty in global markets after the shocking win of Donald Trump led to a surge in not only the price of Gold but also that of Bitcoin. The Bitcoin price rose by 3% on Wednesday morning to $726 from $708 the day before.

Prices of other digital currencies (or altcoins) did not make a similar jump. On the contrary, prices of altcoins with the second (Ethereum) and third (Ripple) highest market cap, were down from the day before.

This shows how investors also see Bitcoin as a safe haven at times of market volatility.

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Weekly News Roundup – 28 October 2016

Today is Bitmain’s third anniversary and celebrations are underway at the Bitmain headquarters in Beijing while I start to round up some noteworthy bitcoin news of the past two weeks.

Bitcoin price crosses $700

Bitcoin price continued to flaunt its mojo since our previous bitcoin news’ roundup  and crossed the $700 mark by the time of publishing this (29 October). This is the highest it has risen since 21 June 2016.
The strongest factor in this rise seems to be the devaluation of the Chinese Yuan. The graph below from a Bloomberg article shows an inverse relationship between the price of Chinese Yuan and that of Bitcoin.

bitcoin news roundup - Yuan Bitcoin Inverse relationship

Chinese currency’s weakness is boosting bitcoin demand.                                                Image courtesy: Bloomberg

MGT Capital Investments partners with Bitmain

On Wednesday, news that MGT Capital Investments, Inc. (OTC: MGTI) has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to form a joint venture with Bitmain became public with MGTI’s press release.
The proposed joint venture is expected to result in the development of a Bitcoin mining pool that will include advanced user interface as well as superior network protection and security maintained by MGT’s proprietary cybersecurity technologies. In addition, the companies plan to form a partnership to offer businesses and consumers affordably priced cloud mining contracts.

Bitmain’s BTC.com organizes the biggest conference for owners and operators of “mining farms” 

On 22 October, Bitmain’s BTC.com held the first-ever conference for “mining farm” owners and operators in Chengdu, China. Kevin Pan of BTC.com introduced some unique aspects of its BTC.com mining pool while Chris Zhu of BTC.com explained how miners protect the bitcoin network. Further description of the event is on BTC.com’s blog post.

bitcoin news roundup - BTC.com's Kevin Pan at the miners' conference in Chengdu, China

Kevin Pan of BTC.com at the miners’ conference in Chengdu

Hillary’s campaign team calls Bitcoin a “libertarian Ayn Rand schtick”

An email exchange published by WikiLeaks in which the Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta commented on bitcoin saw the media’s spotlight on 18 October. The email thread was started by Stan Stalnaker, founding director and chief strategy officer of the digital currency “Ven”, to propose Ven for use by Hillary’s campaign after meeting with Podesta at a Hillary fundraiser in London.
Podesta forwarded the email to campaign tech aide Teddy Goff with an explanation: “I don’t send all the crazy ideas I hear about at fundraisers your way, but this seems interesting and legit. Essentially digital currency with a green angle as opposed to bitcoin’s libertarian Ayn Rand schtick. Would you get some members of your team to meet with Stan when he’s in NYC later this month to see if it’s worth a real conversation?”

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Weekly News Roundup – 14 October 2016

The past seven days have been officially and nationally working days, with Saturday the 8th and Sunday the 9th labelled as “Special Working Days” by the Chinese government. Today marks the end of this marathon work week. We have more reasons to celebrate because the bitcoin price seems to have got its mojo back. And this brings us to the first news of our weekly bitcoin news roundup.

Bitcoin price gets its mojo back

After long showing resistance around $610, the bitcoin price started pushing higher on Monday. On Monday (UTC time), it leaped from $616 to $632 and has been hovering around $636 since then. It touched $639.86 on Wednesday (UTC) and $636.62 within the past 24 hours of writing this.
Speculations about the cause of this price rally abound, as usual. The most notable causes I believe are the depreciation of the Chinese Yuan to its lowest in six years and the fact that Monday is also the most common pay-day in China, a country where bitcoin has maximum appeal as an investment.

Japan to drop sales tax on Bitcoin purchase

Earlier this year, Coindesk reported that Japanese Liberal Democratic Party member Tsukasa Akimoto put the question “Can’t you consider not imposing consumption tax on bitcoins in line with the international trend?” to Finance Minister Tarō Asō.
On Wednesday the news emerged that Japan is set to drop the 8% sales tax levied on bitcoin purchases. This will lower the price for buyers and reduce the tax-related administrative work for bitcoin exchanges in Japan.

Blockchain.info hit by a DNS attack

The bitcoin explorer Blockchain.info was unavailable for several hours on Wednesday because of what later turned out to be a DNS attack according to a post on the company’s blog.
According to the company’s report, the attacker changed their DNS servers and blockchain.info itself was not directly attacked.

Scaling bitcoin

The last weekend saw the third conference of Scaling Bitcoin in Milan, Italy. The previous two were in Hong Kong and Montreal last year.
The conference saw a very high number and caliber of attendees from the bitcoin industry worldwide. This number was most likely more than any other bitcoin conference. The main points of discussion were Segwit, lightning network, block size and sidechains. Recordings of the talks and even the transcripts can be downloaded from the conference’s official website.

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Weekly News Roundup – 7 October 2016

Our second weekly bitcoin news roundup comes as the 7-day China National Day holidays come to an end here at the Bitmain headquarters in Beijing. Some notable news from the past two weeks:

Indian bitcoin start-up gets record funding

Bangalore-based startup Unocoin raised $1.5 million in a Pre Series-A round, setting a national record for any digital currency venture in India. The funding round was lead by Mumbai-based Blume Ventures. Other investors included Mumbai Angels, ah! Ventures as well as prominent international investors such as Digital Currency Group, Boost VC, Bnk to the Future, Bitcoin Capital and FundersClub.

According to Unocoin the funds will be used for product development, team expansion and geographical expansion.  Read more…

French company tests Lightning Network routing

French company ACINQ released a press release on 26 September announcing that they had successfully tested a modified version of the ‘Flare’ routing solution that was described in a white paper in July by BitFury Group in collaboration with the Lightning Network.

ACINQ tested their modified version of the Flare routing algorithm on 2,500 Amazon Web Services (AWS) nodes.  After their tests, ACINQ discovered that the proposed Flare algorithm was able to find a payment route in about .5 seconds with a probability of 80 percent.

Blockchain startup Factom raises $4.2m in funding

Austin-based Factom raised $4.2 million in funding from a slew of global investors, led by billionaire investor Tim Draper, to build a series of new blockchain products.  Other investors in the funding round included BnkToTheFuture and Chinese conglomerate Wangxiang Group’s new blockchain investment fund Fenbushi Capital.

Factom’s blockchain and related products have previously attracted partnerships with the government of Honduras as well as the government of China.

US Congress forms a blockchain caucus

On 26 September, Democrat congressman Jared Polis, a longtime bitcoin supporter, and Republican congressman Mick Mulvaney formed the Congressional Blockchain Caucus to educate other legislators about the blockchain technology.

This is certainly a good development for bitcoin but I  recommend you read this article in The Atlantic to learn more on the role of Caucuses – there seems to be a Caucus (officially congressional member organizations) for various hobbies or general interests.

Interestingly, the Atlantic article ended with “One never knows what group will form next — but hey, Rep. Jared Polis, there’s still no Congressional Bitcoin Caucus.”  That has just changed now.

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Weekly News Roundup – 23 September 2016

On Fridays, beginning today, we will be rounding up some breaking news of the past week from the bitcoin/cryptocurrency space. This past week we saw:

the Devcon2 in Shanghai

Several heavyweights from the global cryptocurrency space descended on Shanghai for the Devcon2.  Here are some informative news articles intended to give you some of the experience.

At Ethereum Mega-Event, the ‘Church of Vitalik’ Sobers Up , How Zcash ‘Project Alchemy’ connects with Ethereum , Ethereum Mist and how to build apps that are truly unstoppable , Ethereum Devs Applaud the Audience at Devcon’s Closing

a US federal judge rule that Bitcoin is a currency

Anthony Murgio, of Coin.mx, who was indicted on alleged money laundering charges in July of last year, had sought to dismiss two of the charges against him in part by arguing that bitcoins don’t count as “funds” in the context of US law. This was rejected by the judge Alison Nathan, who wrote in her ruling that: “Bitcoins are funds within the plain meaning of that term. Bitcoins can be accepted as a payment for goods and services or bought directly from an exchange with a bank account. They therefore function as pecuniary resources and are used as a medium of exchange and a means of payment.”  Read more…

Bitcoin.com’s new mining pool mine its first block

Bitcoin.com’s new mining pool, which uses the Bitcoin Unlimited protocol, mined its first block. Bitcoin Unlimited is an alternative protocol that removes transaction block size limits from the protocol level and adds it to the transport level. This means those running the software can choose the size they like. Read more…

BTC.COM’s new mining pool make it to the list of global top ten poolsBitcoin Mining Pool Distribution 23 September 2016 BTC.com

The new open-source pool by BTC.com a place on the list of the top ten mining pools. According to pool distribution statistics from BTC.COM’s free block explorer and statistics website, BTC.COM’s new pool, at time of writing, accounted for 2.9% of the bitcoin network’s hashrate. Read more…

Gemini conduct Bitcoin’s first-ever daily auction on an exchange

The Winklevoss twins’  bitcoin exchange held the first-ever daily auction for Bitcoin on their digital currency exchange Gemini Trust Co. Read more… 

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