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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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Will Trump’s New Policies Boost U.S.–Mexico Bitcoin Remittances?

Last week, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to build a wall along the U.S.–Mexico border as he had promised during his presidential election campaign. Aside from the ethical and practical issues of building the border wall, the issue of how it will be financed was also raised by opponents during his campaign. Trump’s proposed solution to funding the wall is either to heavily tax U.S.–Mexico remittances or to fully prohibit them altogether, so that the funds needed to build the wall will stay in the U.S.

According to the World Bank, U.S.–based Mexican immigrants send around $26 billion annually to their families back home in Mexico. Trump’s proposed legislation would hit Mexican families that rely on remittances from their U.S.–based relatives hard. The Mexican economy would also suffer as the multibillion-dollar remittance inflow to Mexico adds substantially to the country’s domestic spending.

In light of Trump’s proposed policies to fund the border wall, remittances from the U.S. to Mexico jumped to a ten-year high after Trump’s election win in November in anticipation of possible legislation restricting cross-border money transfers to Mexico. Remittances in the month of November jumped by almost 25 percent compared to the same month the prior year, according to data collated by the Mexican central bank.

Will Bitcoin Be the Answer if New Legislation Is Imposed?

If U.S.–Mexico remittances using traditional channels such as banks or large money transfer operators (MTOs), such as Western Union or MoneyGram, are to be heavily taxed or severely restricted, then bitcoin remittances could offer a solution.

Bitcoin allows users to send and receive money from and to anywhere in the world at a very low cost using online or mobile wallets to make the transfer. Furthermore, legal restrictions on money transfers could easily be circumvented using the digital currency, as no paperwork needs to be filed when sending money abroad. That way, both documented and undocumented Mexican immigrants would still be able to send money back home without any restrictions, should the new laws be put in place.

Alternatively to bitcoin, anonymous digital currencies such as DASH, Monero or Zcash could also be used to make cross-border money transfers, should Trump decide to go through with his legislation and attempt to crack down on bitcoin remittances.

Bitcoin in Mexico

The main reason bitcoin hasn’t taken any notable market share of the $500 billion global remittance market is the challenge of transferring fiat currency into bitcoin and then bitcoin back into fiat currency without having to pay too much in bid/offer spread costs. Illiquid local exchanges in developing countries can easily hike up the cost of the remittance to the extent that it would make more sense to use traditional money transfer solutions.

Fortunately, for Mexican bitcoin users, there are several exchanges to choose from when needing to convert bitcoin into pesos or vice versa. Mexico’s main bitcoin exchanges include Bitso, Volabit and LocalBitcoins.

Given the liquidity of both U.S-based, Mexico-based and international exchanges that residents of the two nations have access to, the costs of converting bitcoin to and from fiat currency are reasonable low, making bitcoin remittances from the U.S. to Mexico a viable solution should Trump’s remittance restrictions be enforced. Furthermore, there are bitcoin remittance companies such as Abra and Cashaa that aim to make cashing out bitcoins in local fiat currency easier.

In terms of bitcoin regulation, Mexico has taken a stance similar to many of its international peers. In April 2014, Mexico’s National Commission for the Protection and Defense of Users of Financial Services issued a warning on the risks of using bitcoin stating that it is not legal tender and not regulated by the Mexican authorities. Therefore, the commission warned, “any individual or business that uses or accepts virtual currencies as a means of payment does so at their own risk and on their own responsibility because the use of this type of asset entails high volatility and potential monetary losses.” In other words, bitcoin is not illegal but the commission warns against its use due to the risks involved in dealing in the digital currency.

Not surprisingly, following Trump’s election win in November, bitcoin trading volumes in Mexico on global peer-to-peer exchange LocalBitcoins and on the country’s leading bitcoin exchange, Bitso, increased substantially as Mexican bitcoin users moved funds away from the weakening peso and into a better-performing currency.

Should Trump succeed in imposing strict remittance restrictions from the U.S. to Mexico, this could become the first case study of bitcoin remittance succeeding and actually become a viable means to make cross-border payments.

 

Written by Alex Lielacher for Bitcoin Magazine | Original article: www.bitcoinmaga…..

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As India Goes Cashless, Both E-Money Stocks and Bitcoin Benefit

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on November 9, 2016, that 500 and 1000 rupee notes would be taken out of circulation in an effort to reduce corruption, terrorism, black money and counterfeiting, and will no longer be accepted as legal tender in India. His surprise announcement caused chaos in the country as citizens scrambled to adjust to a new monetary norm that banned about 85 percent of cash in circulation.

This move was meant to bring billions of dollars worth of unaccounted money back into India’s economy. The Indian economy has thus far run primarily on cash transactions. This, in turn, has left a substantial proportion of India’s national income unaccounted for, as it doesn’t fall into the tax net. According to a research note by Ambit Capital Research, the size of India’s untaxed black market economy is worth $460 billion. In a “cashless” India, financial transactions will be more easily traceable, and previously unaccounted transactions will not fall through the net of the tax authorities.

The demonetization of the two highest-denomination notes in India has led to an increase in the use of electronic payment services and is a big step toward a cashless society. This, in turn, has two key benefactors: e-money payment companies and bitcoin.

E-Money Stocks Are Rallying

As reported by Bloomberg, e-money stocks have soared since Prime Minister Modi announced that he wants India to become a cashless society. India’s publicly listed electronic cash companies’ stock prices have surged in the wake of the currency reform in November. They are expected to continue to outperform since the government has introduced a range of discounts for making digital instead of cash payments.

Of the 23 e-payment solutions companies listed on India’s National Stock Exchange, 5 have been key outperformers since the new currency reform.

The stock prices of e-commerce software developers Intense Technologies Ltd. and Vedavaag Systems Ltd. increased by over 50 percent, while e-payment service provider RS Software India Ltd., technology solutions provider Aurionpro Solutions Ltd. and telecom solutions provider Tanla Solutions Ltd. have all rallied by over 20 percent.

On the day after the announcement, Credit Suisse Singapore made a strategic investment in Vakrangee Ltd., which provides digital financial services to governments and lenders, by buying 3.83 million shares in the firm and thereby signaling that it is prepared to bet on the profitable future of this sector in India.

A. K. Prabhakar, Head of Research at IDBI Capital in Mumbai, told Bloomberg that his team expects “double-digit revenues growth for e-governance firms over the next 3 to 4 years if the government systematically encourages cashless transactions” and that “growth in digital modes of payments will continue to be strong if the safety is increased and charges are reduced.”

According to the Reserve Bank of India, digital payments have increased by almost 50 percent from November to December, which shows that the shift toward a cashless economy is happening despite initial chaos in the country. This development will bode well for e-payment solutions providers and mobile money services.

Bitcoin Is Booming in India

India’s aggressive move toward becoming a cashless society, however, is not only benefiting e-money companies.It has also created a boom for bitcoin in the world’s seventh largest economy.

According to data compiled by Coin Dance, trading volumes at peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange LocalBitcoins has spiked aggressively in India since November 9, while leading Indian bitcoin exchanges Zebpay, Unocoin and Coinsecure are witnessing a surge of new users coming onto their platform to exchange rupees for bitcoins.

According to Zebpay Co-Founder Saurabh Agarwal, Zebpay’s trade volumes have increased by 25 percent from October to November; they have had 50,000 new users sign up to their exchange in the month of November alone, well above the usual 20,000 new-user increases they have experienced in previous months.

Coinsecure experienced a 300 percent increase in user sign-ups in November, while Unocoin had their user base increase threefold in the wake of India’s currency reform.

While bitcoin merchant adoption is still next to none in India, the new currency reform and the subsequent push toward digital payments will give bitcoin a boost as a means of making online payments. More merchant adoption will also lead to more individuals adopting the digital currency, which, in turn, will help bitcoin flourish in India’s future cashless society.

Written by Alex Lielacher for the Bitcoin Magazine | Original article: https://bitcoinmagazine.co….

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Stuck With an “Unconfirmed” Bitcoin Transaction? This May Help Next Time.

The number of transactions on the Bitcoin network has steadily increased over the years. This means more blocks are filling up. And as not all transactions can be included in the blockchain straight away, backlogs form in miners’ “mempools” (a sort of “transaction queue.”)

Miners typically pick the transactions that pay the most fees and include these in their blocks first. Transactions that include lower fees are “outbid” on the so called “fee market,” and remain in miners’ mempools until a new block is found. If the transaction is outbid again, it has to wait until the next block.

This can lead to a suboptimal user experience. Transactions with too low a fee can take hours or even days to confirm, and sometimes never confirm at all.

But here is what you can do today to keep your own transaction from getting stuck.

Before You Send It

For the first years of Bitcoin’s existence, most wallets added fixed fees to outgoing transactions: typically, 0.1 mBTC. Since miners had spare space in their blocks anyways, they normally included these transactions in the first block they mined. (In fact, transactions with lower fees or even no fee at all were often included as well.)

With the increased competition for block space, a fixed 0.1 mBTC fee is often insufficient to have a transaction included in the next block; it gets outbid by transactions that include higher fees. While even a low fee transaction will probably confirm eventually, it can take a while.

Try increasing the fee

If you want to have your transaction confirmed faster, the obvious solution is to include a higher fee.

If your wallet (by default) includes an insufficient fee, you may be able to adjust the fee manually, either as part of the wallet settings, or when you send a transaction. (Or both.)

Websites like 21.co monitor the network and suggest how much of a fee you should include per byte, as well as how fast you can expect your transactions to confirm at different fee levels.

If you need the payment to go through in the next block or two, you need to pay a higher fee. For less urgent payments, you can include a lower fee; it will just take a bit longer to confirm.

Check if your wallet includes dynamic fees

These days, most wallets support dynamic fees. Based on data from the Bitcoin network, these wallets automatically include a fee that is estimated to have a transaction included in the next block, or maybe in one of the first blocks after that.

Some wallets also let you choose the fee priority. Again, higher fees let your transactions confirm faster, lower fees could make it take a bit longer.

If transactions from your wallet are often delayed during peak hours, and you have no option to adjust to higher priority fees, your wallet is most likely outdated. Check if there is an update available, or switch to a new wallet.

Consider switching wallets

If you do switch to a new wallet, you of course need to transfer funds from your old wallet to your new wallet. If you’re not in a rush and don’t mind paying the fee, you can just send it from your old wallet to the new wallet through the Bitcoin network. It will probably arrive eventually — even if the fee is low.

If you are in a rush, some wallets allow you to export your private keys or the private key seed, and then import them into the new wallet. This requires no transaction on the Bitcoin network. From the new wallet, you can immediately start transacting.

After You’ve Sent It

If you’ve already sent a transaction and it gets stuck, that transaction can, in some cases, be made to “jump the queue.”

Opt-in Replace-by-fee

The easiest way to make your transaction jump the queue is using an option called Opt-In Replace-by-Fee (Opt-In RBF). This lets you re-send the same transaction, but with a higher fee.

In most cases, when the same transaction is re-sent over the network, but with a higher fee, the new transaction is rejected by the network. Bitcoin nodes typically consider this new transaction a double spend, and will therefore not accept or relay it.

But when sending a transaction using Opt-In RBF, you essentially tell the network you may re-send that same transaction later on, but with a higher fee. As a result, most Bitcoin nodes will accept the new transaction in favor of the older one; allowing the new transaction to jump the queue.

Whether your new transaction will be included in the very next block doesdepend on which miner mines that next block: not all miners support Opt-In RBF. However, enough miners support the option to, in all likelihood, have your transaction included in one of the next couple blocks.

Opt-In RBF is currently supported by two wallets: Electrum and GreenAddress. Depending on the wallet, you may need to enable Opt-In RBF in the settings menu before you send the (first) transaction.

Child Pays for Parent

If your wallet does not support Opt-In RBF, things get a bit more complex.

Child Pays for Parent (CPFP) may do the trick. Applying CPFP, miners don’t necessarily pick the transactions that include the most fees, but instead pick a set of transactions that include most combined fees.

Without getting into too many technical details, most outgoing transactions do not only send bitcoins to the receiver, but they also send “change” back to you. You can spend this change in a next transaction.

Some wallets let you spend this change even while it is still unconfirmed, so you can send this change to yourself in a new transaction. This time, make sure to include a high enough fee to compensate for the original low fee transaction. A miner should pick up the whole set of transactions and confirm them all at once.

If your wallet does not let you select which bitcoins to spend exactly — meaning you cannot specifically spend the unconfirmed change — you can try spending allfunds in the wallet to yourself; this should include the change.

Like Opt-In RBF, not all miners currently support CPFP. But enough of them do to probably have your transaction confirmed in one of the next blocks.

Or…

If neither Opt-In RBF nor CPFP are an option, you can technically still try and transmit the original transaction with a higher fee. This is typically referred to as “full replace-by-fee,” which some miners accept. However, publicly available wallets currently do not support this as an option.

Otherwise, you may just have to wait either until the transaction confirms or until the bitcoins reappear in your wallet. It’s important to note that until a transaction confirms, the bitcoins are technically still in your wallet — it’s just that it often doesn’t appear that way. The bitcoins are not literally “stuck” on the network and cannot get lost.

As the Receiver

Of course, a transaction can also get stuck if you’re on the receiving end of it.

If your wallet allows spending unconfirmed transactions, this can be solved with CPFP as well. Much like as mentioned before, you can re-spend the unconfirmed, incoming bitcoins to yourself, including a fee high enough to compensate for the initial low fee transaction. If the new fee is sufficient, the transaction should typically confirm within a couple of blocks.

The only other option is to ask the sender whether he used Opt-In RBF. If so, he can re-send the transaction with a higher fee.

Written by Aaron van Wirdum for The Bitcoin Magazine | Original article: https://bitcoinmag….

Note: BTC.COM has a real-time transaction fee tracker too. The BTC.COM wallet will soon have the RBF option too.

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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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BTC.com Launches New Open-source Mining Pool with Zero Mining Fee!

Bitmain’s BTC.com, the free bitcoin block explorer, analytics tool and bitcoin wallet, has launched an open-source bitcoin mining pool and is charging no mining fee until 2017.

With the launch of this open-source mining pool, the BTC.com team hopes to set new technical standards for mining pools and remove barriers that limit the efficiency or ease of mining pools.

To ensure stability and efficiency, the BTC.com mining pool has been tested for upto 180,000 miners (or workers) by using software simulators that replicate the load of real workers. If each worker is assumed to have the hashrate of an Antminer S9, that would make the total hashrate of this simulation more than that of the entire bitcoin network.

The BTC.com pool has many firsts for any mining pool:

  1. A “PoolWatcher” function to “listen” to other mining pools for newfound blocks and starts mining at the next height after a block has been found on any pool. This reduces the number of orphaned blocks and increases the productivity of the pool.
  2. A “BtcAgent” software that allows mining farm owners or miners with multiple workers to view every worker in their LAN on the mining pool. This software can be downloaded from GitHub, like the rest of the BTC.com mining pool source code.
  3. Users can see the real-time stats on the pool immediately after connecting their worker. This eliminates the long wait to see the stats of your new worker on the mining pool.
  4. Payouts are calculated almost instantly.

To reduce latency of newly mined blocks and increase robustness, the BTC.com mining pool has independent server clusters in China and USA with more clusters planned for Europe and North America.

btccom launches new mining pool

I accessed this website from within China so it was automatically redirected to the China server cluster. For users accessing the new pool website from outside China, the hashrate shown will be significantly lower.

The BTC.com mining pool has a full-feature mobile app available for download from App Store as well as Google Play store. This app also allows users to manage their miners by creating groups, deleting inactive miners and sorting their miners.

Besides zero mining fee until 2017, BTC.com is also offering a 1% subsidy to every new user within first 3 months of its launch, provided the user maintains his/her hashrate for at least one month.

The BTC.com pool will offer rewards based on pay-per-share (PPS) and, after 31 December 2016, charge a fee of 1.5%, among the lowest in the industry.

Bitmain hopes that the open-source BTC.COM mining pool will set new benchmarks in terms of stability, efficiency and service for all mining pools and, by helping other developers around the world to develop mining pools using BTC.COM’s source code, further promote decentralization of the bitcoin mining network.

The pool website is pool.btc.com and the source code is available on GitHub at: https://github.com/btccom/btcpool

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