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What Every Bitcoiner Should Know About ‘Bitcoin Cash’

In a few days the notorious August 1st is approaching, and it’s likely this day will be remembered for a long time. This week Bitcoin.com discussed the possible scenario of a user activated hard fork called “Bitcoin Cash” as much of the community doesn’t realize this fork will likely still happen despite Segwit2x’s current progress.

Also read: Bitmain’s 24 July Statement about Bitcoin Cash

What is Bitcoin Cash?

Bitcoin Cash is a token that may exist in the near future due to a user-activated hard fork (UAHF) that will bifurcate the Bitcoin blockchain into two branches. The UAHF was initially a contingency plan against the user-activated soft fork (UASF) announced by Bitmain. Since this announcement, at the “Future of Bitcoin” conference a developer named Amaury Séchet revealed the Bitcoin ABC” (Adjustable Blocksize Cap) project and told the audience about the upcoming UAHF.

Following Séchet’s announcement and after Bitcoin ABC’s first client release, the project “Bitcoin Cash” (BCC) was announced. Bitcoin Cash will be pretty much the same as BTC minus a few things, like the Segregated Witness (Segwit) implementation and the Replace-by-Fee (RBF) feature. According to BCC, a few of the biggest differences between BTC and BCC will be three new additions to the bitcoin codebase that include;

  • Block Size Limit Increase – Bitcoin Cash provides an immediate increase of the block size limit to 8MB.
  • Replay and Wipeout Protection – Should two chains persist, Bitcoin Cash minimizes user disruption, and permits safe and peaceful coexistence of the two chains, with replay and wipeout protection.
  • New Transaction Type (a new fix was added, note the “UPDATE” at the end of this post)– As part of the replay protection technology, Bitcoin Cash introduces a new transaction type with additional benefits such as input value signing for improved hardware wallet security, and elimination of the quadratic hashing problem.

Bitcoin Cash will have support from various members of the cryptocurrency industry including miners, exchanges, and clients like Bitcoin ABC, Unlimited, and Classic will also be assisting the project. In addition to this help, Bitcoin Cash developers have added a ‘slow’ mining difficulty reduction algorithm just in case there’s not enough hashrate to support the chain.

Mining and Exchange Support

“We continue to remain committed to supporting the Segwit2x proposal, which has received broad support from Bitcoin industry and community alike — However, due to significant demand from our users, the Bitcoin.com Pool will give mining customers the option of supporting the Bitcoin Cash chain (BCC) with their hashrate, but otherwise Bitcoin.com Pool will by default remain pointed at the chain supporting Segwit2x (BTC).”

Bitcoin.com previously reported on Viabtc adding a BCC futures market to their exchange’s listed coins. The token has been trading at roughly $450-550 over the past 24-hours and reached an all time high of $900 when first released. Two other exchanges, Okcoin via the ‘OKEX’ platform and Livecoin have also announced they will also be listing BCC on their trading platforms. Bitcoin Cash supporters expect more exchanges to follow shortly after the fork is complete.

What Can I do to Obtain Bitcoin Cash?

Again, regardless of Segwit2x’s progress this fork most likely will happen and bitcoiners should be prepared. There are a few days left until August 1 and those looking to acquire Bitcoin Cash should remove their coins from third parties into a wallet they control.

For more information on Bitcoin Cash check out the official announcement here, and the BCC website here.

 

UPDATE, 28 July 2017: According to bitcoincash.org, a change (fix) has been introduced to make “New Transaction Type” to “New Sighash Type”. Following is more info on this new feature:

New SigHash Type – As part of the replay protection technology, Bitcoin Cash introduces a new way of signing transactions. This also brings additional benefits such as input value signing for improved hardware wallet security, and elimination of the quadratic hashing problem.

 

 

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

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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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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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The Rise of the Crypto Ponzis and How to Identify Them

Introduction

Bitcoin has often been hailed as bringing financial freedom by removing the need of governments, banks and middle men to store and remit money anywhere in the world in a matter of minutes with minimal fees. Its decentralization and the fact that Bitcoin addresses cannot be easily tied to a real life identity has stymied legislators who have sought to combat illicit use and money laundering.

Most current forms of legislation aimed at digital currency focus primarily on regulating exchanges where people convert Bitcoin or digital currencies into fiat and vice versa (such as the New York BitLicense) and taxation. One area which has seen little oversight has been the rise of Bitcoin or cryptocurrency based ‘investment’ programs where the vast majority are Ponzi, pyramid, HYIP scams. These schemes promise extremely high returns and many have gained significant traction among people who don’t completely understand how cryptocurrencies work. This is especially when regulators and the judiciary still can’t make up their minds on whether Bitcoin is a commodity or money with conflicting rulings even within the US.

Ponzi schemes, also known as pyramid schemes, have been around since the 1920s and basically work by promising big returns to ‘investors’, with a strong focus on recruitment of new ‘investors’. They generate such returns from the influx of new money coming in from the new investors rather than from profit of legitimate sources. In short, they pay your ‘returns’ by using other people’s money. when  new investors aren’t sufficient to give payments promised to previous ones, the Ponzi scheme falls apart. Not only do people not get their promised returns but they then realize the money they thought they had is no longer there because it was used to pay off earlier investors’ returns.  So the idea of Ponzis isn’t new but the use of cryptocurrency ponzis introduces new challenges.

Why Ponzis love Cryptocurrencies

Traditionally, to enable a Ponzi scheme, a normal bank account is required and a legal entity such as a limited company is formed to hold deposits from investors. However, most countries have strict controls requiring licensing from the government or the central banks to accept deposits or promote investment funds to the public. To mask the Ponzi scheme, they often use a physical product which can be anything from health supplements to mobile phone top-up vouchers or services such as educational packages to pass themselves off as legitimate businesses that use multi-level marketing.

Accepting Bitcoin effectively sidesteps these issues especially in countries where Bitcoin’s status as a currency has not been conclusively determined yet since no bank account is required, and in many cases, the product or service is delivered purely digitally. No legal entity needs to be formed when no bank account is required, adding further anonymity to the people who start the Ponzi.

Cryptocurrency ponzis also capitalize on the fact that although Bitcoin is starting to be known in the mainstream, the extent of understanding is usually limited to it being associated with overnight millionaires, it’s use in the drug trade and the MtGox hacks. It’s the promise of overnight riches that makes crypto Ponzis so alluring, much like how the huge gold price increase from 2000-2012 also birthed many gold-based Ponzi schemes.

Crypto Ponzis come in three main forms

  • Cloud Mining programs
  • Cryptocurrency investment programs’ Ponzi that accepts Bitcoins/cryptocurrencies as deposits
  • Posing as an altcoin with almost guaranteed capital appreciation

Ponzi disguised as a Cloud Mining program

For crypto ponzis, the most common ‘products’ are cloud mining programs whereby people think they’re buying hashing power or renting mining machines to get returns. Such programs often promise extremely high returns that claim to make your money back in a matter of 2-3 months or even weeks.

Legitimate cloud mining operations would generally yield a small profit if any at all in the ordinary course of mining where they leverage economies of scale and low power costs. They prefer to lock in longer term contracts and often receive funds upfront for better cash flow and certainty while giving their cloud mining customers a chance to make a small profit.

For Bitcoin even large mining farms that buy equipment in bulk are generally looking at close to a year to break even. Any ‘Bitcoin cloud mining’ scheme that claims you can break even in 2-3 months is most likely a scam. Some Ponzi operators are smarter and claim to mine a variety of altcoins instead making it harder to verify but the general rule is that if mining is extremely profitable, the cloud mining operators would be better off mining for themselves instead of renting their hash out, especially if they can break even in 2-3 months.

There are legitimate uses of cloud mining such as renting hashrate to mine a new coin but such uses are temporary in nature and involve risk as well. For example, if there’s a newly launched coin that you believe is promising and not many people have started mining it, renting hashing power to mine it while not many others are doing it can be very profitable if the coin subsequently becomes successful. But you are taking the huge risk that the coin will not take off. Once people recognize the mining opportunity and more people mine the coin, the returns will quickly decline and normalize and as such, such mining opportunities are very ‘event’ based and cannot be relied on to generate consistent returns. Such opportunities rely on the fact that they are unknown for long enough for people to successfully mine it and therefore there is little incentive for people to share this knowledge until they have already made their profits.

Cryptocurrency Investment Programs

Other crypto ponzis tell you they have a secret and proprietary trading or arbitrage arrangement and will trade/arbitrage using your money giving you a share of the returns. Again very high returns are promised such as 1% or even 3% daily interest. Some even use automatic ‘investment bots’ that claim to do all the trading on your behalf and give you a huge return.

Again, even the best traders cannot make money all the time and there is no such thing as a sure win trading strategy. Successful trading is not just about identifying opportunities and periods of volatility and making an educated guess as to what direction the market will take. It is also about managing risk by taking profits in stages and managing losses by setting stop-losses. Successful traders don’t really have any need to utilize other people’s funds to make money unless they are charging a fee for their trading services and even they will have periods of unprofitability.

Scamcoin posing as an altcoin

Many are drawn to Bitcoin purely for the allure of making instant riches only to realize that they may have missed the boat already.This is where the scamcoin comes in, claiming to be an improved version of Bitcoin or cryptocurrency where it’s full potential has yet to be realized and that this is the new Bitcoin rocket to get on while it’s still cheap and relatively unknown.

These fake altcoins often come with shoddy whitepapers that will fool those that do not understand cryptocurrencies and demonstrate a roadmap that’s more about how much the value of this coin will increase via “IPOs” and “coin splits” rather than a genuine development plan. The more professional ones will often take advantage of cryptocurrency-related publications and blogs that often do not do investigative journalism and pay for press releases in such publications to give an image of legitimacy.

The ‘developers’ of such Ponzi altcoins also tend to be unknown with no history of having been involved with cryptocurrencies and the code for such coins tend to be closed source making it impossible for outsiders to verify the veracity of their claims.

Most of these scamcoins do not have public blockchains and aren’t even genuine crypto currencies which allow the creators of such scamcoins to manipulate prices and balances at will thus creating the impression that the coin’s price is almost always rising. These coins also tend to only to be traded internally within the ponzi’s own network of sites.

How to Identify these Ponzi Schemes

Identifying these Ponzis is not easy for the lay person and this is why even highly suspicious programs can operate until they collapse and expose their Ponzi nature. These can be believable enough that even those that have a cursory understanding of how cryptocurrencies work can be fooled. However there are certain distinctive hallmarks of these types of crypto Ponzis and although such a scheme may not tick all of them, the more suspicious traits it has, the more likely it is a Ponzi scheme.

  • Huge and consistent returns If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t. This is in general the biggest telltale sign of a Ponzi scheme. In general, the greater the rate of probable returns, the higher the risk. Whether cloud mining, investment programs or altcoins, no investment can consistently generate high returns with no risk or guaranteed returns. Remember all Ponzi schemes always begin with paying out or else they will not attract new recruits.
  • Returns highly dependent on referrals: If the primary way of earning is through referrals or commissions, your alarm bells should be ringing since it means that the business model on its own is unprofitable. This is one of the primary differences between genuine multi level marketing programs and Ponzi schemes.
  • Unclear Ownership: Are their founders anonymous or their company undisclosed on their webpages? Usually a quick Google search of their founders’ names can uncover any dodgy history.
  • Need to join to get more information: To go under the radar of authorities, many websites of such schemes pose as legitimate businesses such as a coin wallet service, marketplace, cloud mining but the investment and referral portions are hidden until you sign up or go to their seminars. As such the website’s material and focus appears to be different from what their main focus which is recruitment and ‘investment’.
  • Closed source and non public blockchain: For scamcoins, almost all of them are closed source meaning their code is not up for public review. Similarly their blockchain is private though more advanced ponzis have a simulation of a blockchain within their own internal websites. You can do a quick check to see if they are listed on coinmarketcap.com (although many scam coins are listed there so it’s only a very cursory check) which requires coins to be a genuine cryptocurrency, traded on a public exchange with an API available and must have a public URL that shows the coin’s total supply.
  • Only internal exchanges: One of the biggest telltale signs of a Ponzi altcoin are ones that can only be traded within exchanges that are run by the company itself which allows them to manipulate prices and put up fake bid orders. Genuine coins will tend to be traded on the more reputable altcoin exchanges such as Poloniex and Bittrex though some new coins do take some time to be added there.
  • Check if they’re listed on the BadBitcoin website: An easy rule of thumb is to check on this amazing resource at badbitcoin.org which identifies Ponzi schemes that utilize cryptocurrencies. The list is not exhaustive but the major ones are listed there.

Summary

A combination of high potential of profits, technical nature and lack of regulation make cryptocurrencies a ripe place for Ponzis to flourish until regulators catch up with tackling them. Treat crypto investments promising amazing profits for very little risk with a healthy amount of skepticism and remember that Ponzis not only hurt you but also the friends and family you recruit.

 

 

About the Author

Reuben YapReuben Yap is a strong online privacy advocate and cryptocurrency enthusiast and is the co-founder of  BolehVPN which was the first online merchant in Malaysia to accept Bitcoin. He is also a practicing corporate lawyer and the community manager of the Zcoin project, the first cryptocurrency implementing Zerocoin technology allowing users to make private transactions utilizing zero-knowledge proofs.

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Zcash, the Newly Launched Currency, and How to Get It

Zcash (ZEC), the new digital currency lauded for its privacy features, is launching today amidst some massive hype. But until enough tokens become available on exchanges, Zcash enthusiasts are poised to acquire their ZEC first-hand by mining for it, either by setting up a home rig or by signing up for a cloud mining contract.

Created from a fork of Bitcoin’s codebase, Zcash promises all the best features and stability of Bitcoin with the added bonus of total payment confidentiality. Zcash transactions can be shielded to hide the sender, recipient and value of all transactions on the blockchain. Only those with the correct view key can see the contents.

Another interesting aspect of Zcash is it uses a memory-hard proof-of-work known as Equihash. This means the best hardware for mining Zcash tokens is standard GPUs and RAM. The hope is this will lead to a more decentralized set of miners.

“We think it is unlikely that anyone will be able to build cost-effective custom hardware (ASICs) for mining in the foreseeable future,” Zcash CEO and founder, Zooko Wilcox, and software engineer, Jack Grigg, wrote in a blog post.

Since Zcash did not hold an initial crowdfund, every Zcash token issued will be as a result of mining. And it’s likely that mining, especially in the early days, will be cheaper than purchasing Zcash on an exchange.

Mining for ZEC

There are two ways to mine Zcash: you can build your own GPU rig — arguably, with good mining software, you can use a CPU as well, but more on that later — or you can mine Zcash in the cloud.

Building your own GPU is not easy. When you buy an ASIC for mining bitcoin, you simply connect it to the internet and plug in the power. But GPU mining is a custom setup, where you need to source motherboards and graphic cards.

Because of the work involved, cloud mining make might make sense for some people, though it carries more associated risk. To that end, several cloud GPU providers are open for Zcash business. Genesis Mining is offering a limited number of one-year contracts. Toomim Brothers is offering Zcash cloud mining on three, six and 12 month contracts.

If you are setting up your own CPU or GPU rigs, you will need to find an efficient mining software. Zcash recently held an open source miner challenge, and made all the submissions available to the public.

Slow Start and the Founders Reward

Mining will begin with a “slow start,” which limits the block rewards for the first 20,000 blocks (roughly 34 days). During that time, the block reward will gradually increase from 0 ZEC to 12.5 ZEC.

Typically, when a coin first launches, mining difficulty is at its lowest and rises over a few days or weeks. A slow start discourage the big outfits from dedicating all their resources to mining in the beginning.

“With the ‘slow start’ approach, we can pull the trigger to start mining, knowing that we still have a few weeks before it gets to be significantly valuable, giving us time to watch for failures, work on related operational things (updating our web site, dealing with getting hacked and defaced and all that, collaborating with wallet makers, exchange operators, and other partners, touring the world to visit stadiums of screaming fans, etc.),” Wilcox  wrote on GitHub back in March.

But some in the Zcash forum argue, in the case of Zcash, where there is so much buzz around the coin, major players may jump into the game right away, and the difficulty will soar beyond the reach of the average CPU within hours or days.

TY13R (as he is known on the Zcash Slack channel), who has worked on the Zcash GPU miner, told Bitcoin Magazine:

“When they publish the first block, a huge a amount of hashing power will move over to it. There could be hundreds of blocks mined on the first day.”

Like Bitcoin, the plan is to only produce 21M tokens with a halving every four years, where the reward is halved to control inflation. However, unlike Bitcoin, for the first four years, a full 20 percent of the Zcash mining reward will go to stakeholders in the Zcash Company. This is known as the “Founders Reward.”

Exchanges  and Wallets

If you’re not up for mining, another option is to simply buy Zcash tokens. Coins will be sparse until there is enough in the supply system. But, said TY13R, “If there is money to be made, people will sell. It all depends on whether the miners are willing to give up their ZEC.”

Several exchanges — including Poloniex, Bittrex, HitBTC, and Kraken — have already announced support for Zcash.

Shapeshift has also said that its platform will support ZEC as soon as liquidity allows. Erik Voorhees, CEO of ShapeShift, said to Bitcoin Magazine:

“Just as we should expect privacy in our emails, telephone calls and personal relationships, so too is privacy warranted in financial transactions. In our age of surveillance, the individual deserves every tool of empowerment, and Zcash has the potential to uphold this principle.”

Along with Trezor wallets by SatoshiLabs, Jaxx has revealed it will integrate Zcash a few days after the launch, making Zcash the fifth token Jaxx has added to its lineup in less than three months.

“VCs have invested in Zcash, there’s cutting edge security technology behind it and that’s resulted in quite a lot of chatter in the crypto community,” said Jaxx CEO Anthony Di Iorio. “Zcash holds an extraordinary amount of promise.”

The Case for Zcash

As of this writing, the price of Zcash futures is hovering between 1.2 and 1.4 bitcoin ($820- $950) on BitMEX. If those numbers are any indication, Zcash could well become the second highest valued digital currency on record behind Bitcoin.

Zcash represents the hope for a perfectly untraceable digital currency. Although progress is being made, at this point, Bitcoin transactions are traceable. This lack of fungibility, the idea that one bitcoin may not be as valuable as another, based on how it has been used in the past, has long been a threat to Bitcoin’s livelihood.

“You need fungibility for Bitcoin to function. If you receive coins and can’t spend them, then you start to doubt whether you can spend them,” Blockstream CEO Adam Back told the audience at the Scaling Bitcoin conference in Milan.

The hope is that Zcash finally solves that problem, using the established cryptographic protocol, zk-Snarks. The basic idea is that when you make a transaction, you give a proof that says you have access to a certain amount of funds, but that proof gives zero knowledge to other people about what those funds are. (That is the “zk” part). The “SNARK” part is that Zcash can do this fairly efficiently now, especially compared to ZeroCoin, its precursor.

But Wilcox’s own words capture the aspirations of Zcash the best. In an earlier interview with Bitcoin Magazine, he said:

“The dream is that people all around the world use Zcash and other cryptocurrencies directly, to cooperate and organize with one another in safety and privacy. This will give them freedom from corrupt regimes, banks and unstable national currencies.”

Whether or not Zcash lives up to this dream, only time will tell. As it states on its website, Zcash still considers itself “an experimental technology” and cautions, “there is risk involved.” But for many people who wish they had jumped into Bitcoin earlier, those cautions may go unheard.

 

Written by Amy Castor for Bitcoin Magazine | Original article: https://bitcoinmagazine….

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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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Bitmain Launches Antminer R4, the Most Silent Multi-terahash Bitcoin Miner, for Home Use

Some people hang photos of their family on their office walls. Others, might place trophies, diplomas or that huge fish they caught during their last fishing trip. Us, we’re Bitcoin miners. We finally have a miner that belongs on our office desk.

We are launching at 23:00 (GMT+8) on Monday (29 August) the world’s most silent multi-terahash bitcoin miner and a silent 2600W PSU specially designed for high-performance mining.

The Antminer R4 uses the world’s most power-efficient 16nm BM1387 ASIC chip for bitcoin mining. It can deliver a hashrate of 8.6TH/s with a power efficiency of 0.1J/GH and a noise level less than 50dB. At an ambient temperature of 35°C, the R4’s noise level is 52dB.

The Antminer R4 has been designed with great care to ensure the least possible sound with the maximum hashrate. It replaces the traditional miner fan with a centrifugal fan inspired by the fan of a silent split air conditioner. The speed of this unique fan is automatically controlled to ensure that it never produces more sound than is absolutely necessary. The slim design of the Antminer R4 allows it to be conveniently placed in a book rack or computer table at home.

APW5 power supply unit (PSU) for bitcoin miners

The APW5 power supply

The APW5 power supply is compatible with the 220V as well as the 110V mains power supply in North America. On full load, it has a power factor greater than 0.95. With a 220V supply it can deliver an output of 2600W. It comes with seven pairs of 6-pin PCI-e connectors but can easily be fitted with upto 20 PCI-e connectors. It is built for high-power performance and low noise. Like that of the R4, the APW5’s fan is automatically controlled so it only produces as much sound as is absolutely necessary.

For home users who wish to utilize R4’s exceptional noise level with the optimum performance, we highly recommends that they use it with Bitmain’s APW5 power supply.

With the release of these products, Bitmain hopes to bring bitcoin mining back to homes and continue decentralizing the bitcoin mining network.

 

Learn more about the Antminer R4 here.

You can download the e-brochure of the APW5 power supply from here.

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Department of Homeland Security Awards Blockchain Tech Development Grants for Identity Management and Privacy Protection

In May, Bitcoin Magazine reported that both the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and NATO have requested proposals for the development of military-related apps built on blockchain technology. In particular, DARPA wants to leverage blockchain technology to create a secure messaging service and NATO is interested in applications of blockchain technology to military logistics, procurement and finance, with a catch-all described as “other applications of interest to the military.” Previously, the U.S. Air Force worked with contractors to develop a Bitcoin payment gateway.

Now, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has awarded $1.3 million in funding to 13 small businesses for the development of new cyber security technology. Four projects will use distributed ledger technology to develop new solutions for identity management and privacy protection.

“A technology such as the blockchain, if it can be validated to be able to support the appropriate level of security and privacy, has potential applicability to multiple information sharing use cases within the homeland security enterprise,” said DHS S&T Program Manager Anil John, as reported by FCW.

The program is managed by the Cyber Security Division (CSD), established in 2011 within S&T’s Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA). The CSD develops and delivers new technologies, tools and techniques to enable the DHS to defend the U.S. against cyberattacks. Its mission includes technology transfer as well as coordination among domestic and international research partners.

The four firms below were awarded about $100,000 each in preliminary funding through the DHS S&T Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and will be eligible for further funding depending on the results produced. The DHS seems especially interested in research results that, besides enhancing homeland security, show potential for commercial exploitation.

Digital Bazaar, a developer of technology and services for internet payments, is developing a Linked Data ledger format and architecture to demonstrate how to publish identity credentials.

Respect Network Corporation, a data network provider that enables customers and companies to safely share sensitive private data over trusted private connections, is developing a decentralized registry and discovery service to integrate with the public blockchain.

Narf Industries, an information security company focused on reverse engineering, vulnerability research and tool development, is developing an identity management solution built on a permission-less blockchain, with a focus on confidentiality (with selective information disclosure), integrity, availability, non- DHS repudiation, provenance and pseudo-anonymity.

Celerity Government Solutions (doing business as Xcelerate Solutions), a provider of security, IT and management consulting services, is researching blockchain solutions to enable users to establish and maintain trusted identity transactions with public and private organizations.

In June, the S&T awarded a $199,000 contract to Factom to study possible blockchain-based advancements for the security of digital identities for the Internet of Things (IoT) — the upcoming connection and convergence of mobile devices, information technology networks, connected sensors and devices.

The project, titled “Blockchain Software to Prove Integrity of Captured Data From Border Devices,” will create an identity log that captures the identification of a device, who manufactured it, lists of available updates, known security issues and granted authorities while adding the dimension of time for added security. The goal is to limit would-be hackers’ abilities to corrupt the past records for a device, making it more difficult to spoof. It’s interesting to note that the NATO request for proposal, mentioned above, also included an IoT section, which underlines the synergy between IoT and blockchain technologies for military applications.

“IoT devices are embedded within our daily lives — from the vehicle we drive to devices we wear — it’s critical to safeguard these devices from adversaries,” said DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology, Dr. Reginald Brothers. “S&T is excited to engage our nation’s innovators, helping us to develop novel solutions for the Homeland Security Enterprise.”

Melissa Ho, managing director, S&T’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program, added that collaborating with the many companies that are already developing commercial solutions that can be reused to enhance homeland security is in the best interest of the DHS.

The growing interest of military agencies in distributed ledger technology and in particular, its potential for distributed, resilient and tamper-proof identity systems, is one more signal that blockchain technology is becoming mature and ready for real-world application and could bring more mainstream credibility and funding to the blockchain sector.

Written by Giulio Prisco for the Bitcoin Magazine | Original article: https://bitcoinmagazine…

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World Economic Forum Examines How Blockchain Can Reshape Financial Services

On August 11, 2016, the World Economic Forum (WEF) released a 300-page report entitled “The future of financial infrastructure: An ambitious look at how blockchain can reshape financial services,” exploring how the financial sector “could overcome current-state pain points through distributed ledger technology (DLT).”

The WEF has been one of the most vociferous advocates for the potential of the blockchain technology. Bitcoin Magazine reported that in 2015 the WEF predicted that blockchain technology was one of the 21 changes in technological transformations and that the tipping point for its adoption would be in 2025.

A year later, World Economic Forum repeated that “virtual currencies and their underlying technologies can provide faster and cheaper financial services and can become a powerful tool for deepening financial inclusion in the developing world.”

In this latest report, the WEF concluded that blockchain technology could have impressive ramifications but would need the collaboration of government and technological experts to succeed.

It took a year for the World Economic Forum (WEF) to research how blockchain technology could help nine financial sectors, which included global payment and foreign trading. More than 200 innovators, subject matter experts and executives from prominent institutions, such as JPMorgan Chase, Visa and MasterCard, contributed their opinions. The results was assembled in this latest report. These are some ifs most significant conclusions:

Blockchain helps by being transparent and effective

“Distributed ledger technology (blockchain) has the potential to drive simplicity and efficiency by establishing new financial services infrastructure and processes” (p.19).

The blockchain ledger can be proven enormously useful to banks and financial institutions by providing them with an unprecedented layer of transparency and trust. The operational transparency of DLT will cut down, if not eliminate, the number of disputes, minimize frauds and ensure that obligations and settlements are met. The ledger could also give companies a more secure, effective way of moving money and tracking transactions. Regulators could employ real-time monitoring of transactions, while operations could better source liquidity of assets and move money between accounts.

Blockchain merges with other transformative technologies

“Distributed ledger technology will form the foundation of next generation financial services infrastructure in conjunction with other existing and emerging technologies” (p.20)

Over the last 50 years, a number of emerging technologies have merged to transform the financial services industry of the future. These include biometrics, cloud computing, cognitive computing, quantum analytics, predictive analytics and robotics. Distributed ledger technology is one of these but the WEF cautions that blockchain should be seen as “part of the toolbox” rather than a panacea. Each industry, too, would use DLT in its own ways and for its own means, so for instance, the trading sector will likely use the ledger for real-time tracking and efficacy while payers that deal with global payments will use DLT for, among other reasons, preventing friction.

Blockchain is revolutionary

“Similar to technological advances in the past, new financial services infrastructure will transform and question traditional orthodoxies in today’s business models” (p.24)

Blockchain upends all aspects of the traditional financial services sector from standard accounting habits to lending practices. Blockchain provides its own distributed, transparent record-keeping, leverages real-time trust among market participants and balances the information flow between lenders and borrowers. It also boosts dispute resolution since it provides regulators and regulated entities with a common transparent ledger. Finally, DLT reduces the need for intermediaries because of its shared and trusted environment.

Blockchain needs collaboration to succeed

“The most impactful distributed ledger technology applications will require deep collaboration between incumbents, innovators and regulators, adding complexity and delaying implementation” (p.23)

The World Economic Forum cautions that “updating financial infrastructure through DLT will require significant time and investment.” The three imperatives are: Resolving security issues, aligning competing interests and imposing a legal, regulatory and governance framework. This sounds easier than stated since divergent company interests are involved. If, and once achieved, this would provide DLT with a standardized system and superior efficacy that would boost the financial success of all nine sectors.

Looking ahead

To date, more than 24 countries and 90 corporations use blockchain technology with many more expressing interest. The WEF notes that large banks around the world, including more than 90 central banks, have developed blockchain groups that hail its potential impact and study how to harness its technology. In fact, the report predicted that a full 80% of these banks could launch their own blockchains by 2017. Blockchain technology has “captured the imagination and wallets of the financial services ecosystem” but the WEF concluded that DLT has to resolve critical issues moving forward. These include: How to develop a roadmap to achieve market collaboration and standardized regulation, how to structure a regulated tax framework and how to implement a cost-benefit analysis to determine the financial viability of distributed ledger technology.

Article written by Leah Zitter for the Bitcoin Magazine | Original article: https://bitcoinmagazine….

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