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What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a digital crypto-currency with no single point of failure due to its decentralized peer-to-peer architecture. The source code is publicly available and changes to the reference Bitcoin client are made via concensus within the community. Advantages of Bitcoin include irreversible transactions (i.e. no possibility of chargebacks as with credit cards), pseudo-anonymous, limited and fixed inflation, near instant transactions, multi-platform, no double-spend and little to no barriers to entry and more. It was created by an anonymous person known as Satoshi Nakamoto. Find out more at WeUseCoins.com.

Bitcoin Latest News

Lamassu’s Zach Harvey Shares Data on the Growing Use of Bitcoin ATMs

Lamassu’s Zach Harvey Shares Data on the Growing Use of Bitcoin ATMs

Lamassu is a bitcoin ATM manufacturer that started in 2013 with the goal of making it “as simple as possible to get bitcoin.” There are now hundreds of these bitcoin ATMs around the world, and one of Lamassu’s co-founders, Zach Harvey, recently shared some data related to how these machines are used at a Bitcoin meetup in Milan.

While a recent article in the New York Post warned bodega owners against putting bitcoin ATMs in their stores due to potential use by darknet market customers, Harvey stated his belief that most of the bitcoin ATM users are using the devices for speculation on the bitcoin price, which he sees as the biggest use case for the digital asset right now.

According to Harvey, Lamassu set up their business in a decentralized, distributed manner where they manufacture the machines in Portugal and then sell them to operators around the world.

“The reason we did this in a way that is more distributed is because we felt the system would be a lot more robust if every one of these individual operators ran the machines themselves, had their own bitcoin wallets from which to send to the end user, had full control over their user data, there would be no single point of failure, and it would also be more in the spirit of Bitcoin,” said Harvey at the recent meetup.

Harvey went on to discuss data related to the use of bitcoin ATMs, problems associated with increased congestion on the Bitcoin network, and a specific example of why he thinks bitcoin is going mainstream.

Who Uses Bitcoin ATMs?

According to Harvey, the people who use bitcoin ATMs are mostly non-tech savvy users who want to get their first taste of digital currency. Harvey added that bitcoin ATMs tend to attract these types of users due to a focus on convenience and user experience. The Lamassu co-founder also claimed that a new user can complete a transaction in 20 to 30 seconds, while someone familiar with the machine can be done in less than ten seconds.

Two of the key selling points of bitcoin ATMs mentioned by Harvey were that users don’t have to go through the process of connecting a bank account with an exchange and the machines can feel like a safer option than meeting up with a random person found on a P2P bitcoin trading marketplace like LocalBitcoins.

According to Harvey, the selling points of bitcoin ATMs are so strong that many people are willing to pay the 10 to 15 percent exchange fees that come with them. He claimed that the more popular bitcoin ATMs get around 50 transactions per day and “sometimes you’ll even have queue at some of the machines.”

“If you’re around a bitcoin ATM, there really is no easier way of [getting some bitcoin],” Harvey later added.

Having said that, Harvey indicated that many of the bitcoin ATMs in the United States include some sort of identity verification due to Know Your Customer and anti-money laundering regulations. The level of identity verification required tends to vary, depending on the amounts involved and where the bitcoin ATM is located.

Harvey also shared data from one of their operators, who owns 14 machines, that indicated these bitcoin ATMs tend to be used for low-value transactions.

“These are people that just want to get the first experience — see what it’s like to get into bitcoin,” said Harvey. “If they really just want to see what it’s about — feel a little bit of the magic of bitcoin — they’re going to start with a low amount.”

“If you look at machine number 13, there’s almost 90 percent of transactions that are under $100,” Harvey added.

According to the data shared by Harvey, 20 to 30 percent of the transactions at these particular bitcoin ATMs are for less than $10.


Screenshot 2017-07-21 at 4.37.14 PM.png


Network Transaction Fees Have an Effect on Bitcoin ATMs

During his appearance at the Bitcoin meetup in Milan, Harvey also discussed the effect that increased congestion on the Bitcoin network has had on bitcoin ATMs. He noted that operators asked for the functionality to add a flat fee or the complete removal of the $5 and $10 transaction amounts when on-chain transaction fees get into the $1–$2 range.

Harvey also noted that roughly 90 percent of the transactions that are usually processed by bitcoin ATMs would become uneconomical if on-chain bitcoin transaction fees reached $10.

Due to demand from their operators, Lamassu plans to add altcoins, such as ether and zcash, to their machines in the coming weeks. These altcoins feature shorter confirmation times, which can be helpful in situations where a user wants to trade their cryptocurrency for physical cash.

“It’s not as secure as a bitcoin confirmation, but it’s more secure than a zero-confirmation of bitcoin,” Harvey said of confirmations on other cryptocurrency networks.

Due to Bitcoin network congestion and poorly implemented fee estimation software on users’ mobile wallets, Harvey noted that some users have had to wait over a day to get their cash out of a bitcoin ATM.

In terms of unconfirmed bitcoin transactions, Harvey stated that not many operators have had issues with accepting them.

Bitcoin Going Mainstream?

Although Lamassu also has machines in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Canada has become their most active userbase. According to data shared by Harvey, the Toronto area alone has around 50 Lamassu bitcoin ATMs.

“Several years ago, [this] would have seemed like way too many, and now it’s starting to be something that’s the norm as bitcoin goes more mainstream,” said Harvey of the density of bitcoin ATMs in Toronto.

When sharing data related to the proliferation of Lamassu’s bitcoin ATMs around the world, Harvey showed a screenshot of an email he received from a convenience store owner in Toronto.


Screenshot 2017-07-21 at 4.37.44 PM.png

“Customers are coming into my store, and they’re telling me, ‘Why don’t you have a bitcoin ATM?’” Harvey paraphrased from the email. “Can I please get one placed here?”

This is the same area that already has roughly 50 bitcoin ATMs around it.

Watch the full presentation here.


The post Lamassu’s Zach Harvey Shares Data on the Growing Use of Bitcoin ATMs appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 25 July 2017 | 12:42 pm

Eleven Global Cities to Participate in Bitcoin Airdrop 2017

Eleven Global Cities Announce Participation in Bitcoin Airdrop 2017

The Blockchain Education Network (BEN), a global network of blockchain communities, has announced a global Bitcoin Airdrop powered by bitJob to begin this new school year. Fintech communities and universities in 11 regions have agreed to participate including McGill University and the Richard Ivey School of Business in Canada; UC Berkeley, Wake Forest University and St. Petersburg in the United States; University of Queensland in Australia; Trivandrum and Bangalore in India; St. Petersburg in Russia; and Puerto Rico and Colombia.

The first airdrop event begins on August 11 in Colombia, where Jorge Pérez, the director of BEN Colombia, is hosting a meeting at a restaurant. The airdrop then moves to St. Petersburg in Russia on August 16, where the giveaway is being held in unison with the ICO-Hypethon, an ICO-focused hackathon where blockchain developers will build infrastructure around ICOs to pitch to investors. The airdrop will continue on to other campuses and cities until the network has distributed the entire amount of donations.

Rodion Mikhalev, the director of BEN Russia and one of the organizers of the ICO-Hypethon, explained in a statement that “the Hypethon is a mix between a hackathon [and] an accelerator. It’s a 48-hour event hosted by Crypto Friends, where Eberhard Lindfordt will screen the top 20 projects out of hundreds of applicants. Teams chosen will receive help from experienced [b]lockchain experts which will help them finalize their business and lead them into successful ICO launches.

“There will also be ICO angels ready to invest their money into projects on the spot and whom will receive additional bonus coins if done so at the event. This is the perfect event in Russia to host the airdrop and to distribute bitcoins to the hundreds of innovators who will pass by in the 48-hour window, and we are excited to participate in it! This is a very rare and exciting opportunity which will attract some of Russia’s best talent and will pave the way to a better future worldwide.”

Alberto Jauregui, the director of growth of the Blockchain Education Network, said in a statement that he believes the “Bitcoin Airdrop serves as an engine to introduce students to the disruptive blockchain industry and incentivize them to band together to form new BEN chapters or regions.”

Last year, Jauregui hosted a small airdrop outside the main library at the University of South Florida and hid paper wallets throughout the campus. This year, he plans to coordinate an airdrop alongside a BitCrawl on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida. The date is to be announced. “Who doesn’t like free Bitcoin?” Jauregui added. BitCrawl is an event started in Montreal by the McGill Students Cryptocurrency Club and then continued by the Decentralized Tech Association at the University of Toronto, in which a main street agrees to accept bitcoin for an evening and a group of blockchain enthusiasts go between different venues.

High schools are also going to be giving away bitcoin at this airdrop. Sunrose Billing, the director of BEN’s high school network, said in a statement to Bitcoin Magazine that “blockchain [technology] and cryptocurrencies are really taking off and will absolutely continue to grow at a rapid pace. That’s clear when you see teenagers day trading, analyzing macro landscapes and taking the time to educate themselves about innovation in this space in their spare time.” Billing plans to airdrop bitcoin to his friends at University of Toronto School, a high school in Toronto, and he expects that many of his friends at other high schools will join this year’s event.

The title sponsor of the event is bitJob, a decentralized marketplace based on blockchain technology that connects students with part-time work. BitJob has already partnered with many of the blockchain clubs at the participating campuses of the airdrop, including McGill University and the Richard Ivey School of Business, that have agreed to seed the marketplace with the first students looking for work on projects that can help them become fully employed in the blockchain industry.

“It is a true honor to be sponsoring the 2017 Blockchain Education Network’s Global Bitcoin Airdrop across university campuses. BitJob shares a similar mandate with BEN to empower students and give them the necessary tools to compete in today’s marketplace. This year’s event is shaping up to be the largest ever as the popularity of Bitcoin and [b]lockchain [technology] continues to rise globally,” said Dror Medalion, co-founder and CEO of bitJob, in a statement to Bitcoin Magazine.

The airdrop is being supported by blockchain media firms Blockchain TV and BTC Media, digital identity startup DIID and blockchain consulting and development firm MLG Blockchain.

“I am very excited to be a sponsor in this year’s Blockchain Education Network’s global Bitcoin Airdrop 2017. BEN is a driving force behind empowering the youth of tomorrow, which makes for a great story to tell!” said James Gonzalez, co-founder and CEO of Blockchain TV, in a statement.


The post Eleven Global Cities to Participate in Bitcoin Airdrop 2017 appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 25 July 2017 | 12:16 pm

Bitcoin, digital currencies retreat from records - MarketWatch


MarketWatch

Bitcoin, digital currencies retreat from records
MarketWatch
Both bitcoin and Ether had been on a tear so far this year. Bitcoin's market value, representing all the value outstanding bitcoins in its network, has risen more than 160% since the start of the year, sending its total market value to $42.4 billion ...
7 Cryptocurrency Predictions From the ExpertsFortune
How Bitcoin is infiltrating the $60bn global art marketBBC News
Australian Bitcoin Exchange Raises $815k in Series A FundingCoinDesk
The Merkle -Motley Fool -Benzinga
all 53 news articles »

Posted on 25 July 2017 | 10:53 am

A Bitcoin Civil War Has Been Avoided, at Least Temporarily - Futurism


Futurism

A Bitcoin Civil War Has Been Avoided, at Least Temporarily
Futurism
More than 80 percent of bitcoin miners have expressed support for BIP91, a protocol update that represents a compromise between what miners and developers want for the future of the cryptocurrency. If fully adopted, it could help Bitcoin avoid the ...

and more »

Posted on 25 July 2017 | 10:48 am

Australian Bitcoin Exchange Raises $815k in Series A Funding

An Australian bitcoin exchange has reportedly raised $815k in Series A funding.

Source

Posted on 25 July 2017 | 10:00 am

Bitcoin Price Slides 7% As Bitcoin Cash Emerges - Fork Fears? - CoinTelegraph


CoinTelegraph

Bitcoin Price Slides 7% As Bitcoin Cash Emerges - Fork Fears?
CoinTelegraph
Bitcoin is again falling Tuesday as last week's miraculous gains look set to correct downwards. Cross-exchange data from Coinmarketcap shows a seven percent drop in the USD price per Bitcoin at press time, with 1 BTC worth $2,562. A rally last week ...
What Every Bitcoiner Should Know About 'Bitcoin Cash' - Bitcoin NewsBitcoin News (press release)
Bitcoin Cash Cannot Use “BCC” Since It Belongs to BitConnectCoinThe Merkle
Bitcoin Price Falls Below $2550 Due to Renewed Fears of August ForkFinance Magnates
CryptoCoinsNews -Bitcoinist -CryptoNinjas -blog - Bitmain
all 17 news articles »

Posted on 25 July 2017 | 9:04 am

Infosys EdgeVerve Expands Blockchain Integration to Sales Platform

A subsidiary of Indian IT giant Infosys is pushing ahead with its plans for blockchain in a bid to create new revenue streams.

Source

Posted on 25 July 2017 | 9:00 am

World's Largest Bitcoin Tumbling Service Announces Sudden Shutdown - CoinTelegraph


CoinTelegraph

World's Largest Bitcoin Tumbling Service Announces Sudden Shutdown
CoinTelegraph
The largest mixing service has decided to shut down operations, citing the future of Bitcoin as a catalyst. While no links have been made official, users question possible pressure and dark market shops as a possible cause. One of the largest mixing ...
Popular Bitcoin Mixing Service Bitmixer.io Shuts Down ImmediatelyThe Merkle

all 2 news articles »

Posted on 25 July 2017 | 8:14 am

American Express Brings Credit Card Buying to Bitcoin App Abra

Abra users can now buy bitcoin with American Express credit cards, a move that diversifies its available payment options.

Source

Posted on 25 July 2017 | 7:58 am

Bitcoin Virus 'Has Infected 30% Of Russian Devices': Putin Advisor - CoinTelegraph


CoinTelegraph

Bitcoin Virus 'Has Infected 30% Of Russian Devices': Putin Advisor
CoinTelegraph
Russia's chief presidential advisor on the Internet has stated a Bitcoin mining virus has infected up to 30 percent of Russian computers. Speaking in interviews with RNS and RBC, Herman Klimenko said that although infection rates varied by region and ...
A Strange Bitcoin-Mining Virus is Sweeping Through RussiaInverse

all 3 news articles »

Posted on 25 July 2017 | 7:30 am

Months to Minutes: Enigma Launch Aims to Boost Crypto Hedge Fund Creation

MIT Media Lab-incubated startup Enigma is today revealing a product designed to simplify the set-up of crypto hedge funds.

Source

Posted on 25 July 2017 | 7:02 am

Merrill Lynch Plots Bitcoin's Path to Global Legitimacy - CoinTelegraph


CoinTelegraph

Merrill Lynch Plots Bitcoin's Path to Global Legitimacy
CoinTelegraph
In a report on Bitcoin, Merrill Lynch's commodity and derivatives strategist Francisco Blanch, has noted the similarities of digital currencies to gold but says it can take the next step up in money's evolution if issues on safety, liquidity and return ...
BofA Says Bitcoin Needs Acceptance to Thrive But That's UnlikelyBloomberg
Bank of America Analyst: Bank Acceptance a 'Crucial Hurdle' for BitcoinCoinDesk
Daily Roundup – July 24, 2017Crypto Insider (press release) (blog)

all 6 news articles »

Posted on 25 July 2017 | 6:43 am

Automaker Renault Trials Blockchain in Bid to Secure Car Repair Data

French automaker Renault has unveiled a new digitized car maintenance log prototype built using blockchain.

Source

Posted on 25 July 2017 | 6:30 am

GOLDMAN SACHS: Bitcoin may need 'another few swings' before making a run at record highs - Business Insider


Business Insider

GOLDMAN SACHS: Bitcoin may need 'another few swings' before making a run at record highs
Business Insider
Bitcoin is is trading down 4.7% at $2,623 a coin. Tuesday's selling comes after a strong day of gains on Monday as traders continue to jockey for position ahead of the August 1 decision on whether or not bitcoin will be split in two. According to Sheba ...
Bitcoin LIVE news: Cryptocurrency soars after fears of crash wobble marketExpress.co.uk

all 2 news articles »

Posted on 25 July 2017 | 5:13 am

Advertise with Anonymous Ads

There's a strange new twist in bitcoin's “civil war”—and a way to bet on the outcome - Quartz


Quartz

There's a strange new twist in bitcoin's “civil war”—and a way to bet on the outcome
Quartz
Just as the bitcoin world thought it was safe, a new threat to the cryptocurrency's stability has emerged. Last week, the price of bitcoin rallied near all-time highs as a proposal to increase its transaction capacity was backed by over 97% of the ...
Suspension Lifted: Japanese Exchanges and Merchants Resume Bitcoin ServicesBitcoin News (press release)
Bitcoin, Ethereum prices move lowerNasdaq
August 1 – rise or fall for Bitcoin?Times of Malta

all 9 news articles »

Posted on 25 July 2017 | 5:01 am

A Russian Airline Is Now Using Blockchain to Issue Tickets

A major Russian airline is reportedly using blockchain to issue tickets as part of a bid to streamline its back office processes.

Source

Posted on 25 July 2017 | 4:02 am

Bank of America Analyst: Bank Acceptance a 'Crucial Hurdle' for Bitcoin

A new report from US-based Bank of America Merrill Lynch argues that bitcoin will go mainstream once banks start accepting it.

Source

Posted on 25 July 2017 | 3:06 am

LedgerX Just Gave Us Another Way to Bet Against Bitcoin - Fortune


Fortune

LedgerX Just Gave Us Another Way to Bet Against Bitcoin
Fortune
The approval will also give buyers of Ethereum and Bitcoin several regulated ways to lower the risk on their existing cryptocurrency bets — which may be welcome or may increase their risk in the hopes of potentially outsized returns. That's possible ...
LedgerX Completes CFTC Process, Approved for Bitcoin OptionsCoinTelegraph
You may soon be able to trade options on bitcoin, ethereumCNBC
Bitcoin Options Exchange Wins Approval From CFTCWall Street Journal (subscription)
Bloomberg -Barron's -Bitcoin News (press release) -CFTC
all 34 news articles »

Posted on 25 July 2017 | 2:45 am

Bitcoin Investment Firm Launches Ethereum-Subscribed ICO Fund

The operators of a bitcoin hedge fund have launched a $5 million fund for investing in cryptocurrency tokens and initial coin offerings.

Source

Posted on 25 July 2017 | 12:31 am

'Unrealistic': BIP 91 Creator James Hilliard Has Choice Words for Segwit2x

The creative coder behind a clever way to enact SegWit doesn't believe a new proposal for the network is in its best interest.

Source

Posted on 24 July 2017 | 3:35 pm

Ether Price Analysis: Market Consolidation Provides Calm Before Next Breakout

Ether Price Analysis

Over the past few days, despite major swings throughout the crypto-market, ETH-USD finally appears to be displaying nice, reliable signs of market consolidation:

Figure_1 (1).jpgFigure 1: ETH-USD, 2-hr Candles, Bitfinex, Consolidation Pattern

Two key characteristics of market consolidation are decreasing volume over the course of a trend and decrease in price volatility. It should be noted that price consolidation can take many patterns and is not restricted to the convergent pattern (lower highs accompanied by higher lows) displayed above. For the sake of this article, we will focus on the convergent pattern displayed in our current market. To see the health of the overall market, let’s put this trend in the context of the weeks leading up to this pattern:

Figure_2 (1).jpgFigure 2: ETH-USD, 6-hr Candles, Bitfinex, Macro Fibonacci Retracement Values

Within the context of the macro trend, our consolidation pattern falls very neatly on the 60 percent Fibonacci Retracement values of the macro bull trend that brought us to our all-time high values. When looking at the health of this trend, the first thing that pops out is the large amount of supportive volume (shown in yellow) that has gone into shaping the current ETH-USD volume. The current volume trend far outweighs any of the previous volume trends throughout the life of the bear market and even throughout the life of the previous bull run that led to all-time high values.

If we zoom out even further, we can see our current volume is actually at the highest volume the market has seen since its last major consolidation period within the $40 values:

Figure_3 (1).jpgFigure 3: ETH-USD, 1-Day Candles, Log Scale, Bitfinex, Last Major Consolidation Period

The previous consolidation period (shown in yellow) resulted in a substantial Bull Pennant pattern that resulted in a bull run that doubled the market value of ETH-USD. Something interesting to note is our current consolidation pattern within the context of the entire market since the last consolidation pattern. If we look at the market moves post-consolidation as a massive bull run — which, technically, it is — we see ETH-USD is consolidating very nicely on the 50 percent Fibonacci Retracement values.

Although the price projections for our current consolidation period is substantially lower than the last major consolidation period, the important aspect to take away from Figure 3 is the magnitude of the volume the market has experienced over the past couple weeks. High volume leading into a consolidation period is a good sign that the market has found its bottom and is now gathering up support and investor confidence before a breakout.

There are two ways to view our current consolidation pattern:

  1. An agnostic (meaning it’s neither bullish-leaning nor bearish-leaning), symmetrical triangle;

  2. A Bull Pennant (a bullish continuation pattern).

For the sake of time, I won’t go into details regarding how to calculate the price targets of these patterns. Both symmetrical triangles and Bull Pennants are very commonly traded patterns and have a lot of literature to support their price targets. If this pattern turns out to be a symmetrical triangle and the consolidation breaks down, we can most likely expect a move down to the $180 range before any further upward movement is seen.

However, if this is a Bull Pennant, ETH-USD can most likely expect a ~$100 move upward, leading to a price target of approximately $330. It’s important to note that a price target of $330 would result in a 100 percent retracement since the beginning of our prior bear run. If the market breaks upward and we do see a $330 price target, a test of this 100 percent retracement value will be crucial to determine the future moves within the ETH-USD markets.

Summary:

  1. ETH-USD has spent days consolidating along $230.

  2. A breakout upward would most likely yield a $330 price target.

  3. A breakout downward would most likely yield a $180 price target.

Trading and investing in digital assets like bitcoin and ether is highly speculative and comes with many risks. This analysis is for informational purposes and should not be considered investment advice. Statements and financial information on Bitcoin Magazine and BTC Media related sites do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BTC Media and should not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation to buy, sell or hold. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

The post Ether Price Analysis: Market Consolidation Provides Calm Before Next Breakout appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 24 July 2017 | 2:17 pm

Bad Karma: Community Objects to “Opportunism” of Buddhism on the Blockchain

Lotos

Last week, startup company Lotos published its new project on Reddit aiming to create a decentralized religious community, supporting Buddhism and meditation, based on the Ethereum blockchain. According to the company’s white paper, the community’s structure will be segmented into three parts: “an off-blockchain software platform” connecting the teachers and the students; “an internal economy supported by ERC20 tokens purchased by subscription fees and a central banker smart contract;” and “a website and
database backend connected to the network with Swarm.”

The ERC20 compatible Karma (KRM) token will be used for on-platform exchanges and for crowdfunding the development of the platform. In addition to that, if users are able to grow the network, they will receive KRM as a reward.

The company believes they can create a blockchain-based community by combining science and religion in a radical way. There is even a statement from Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, included in the whitepaper:

“If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false… then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims.”

The Lotos community will be divided into two parts: students and teachers. Teachers will be either elected or assigned by the company’s owner. They offer religious services for the students including “facilitating student retention and progress,” creating content for the network and “recruiting” new students. The teachers will earn Karma tokens for their activities.

On the other hand, the students can freely register into the community, although, for a price. Lotos will allow students to join “temples” and classes but they have to pay KRM tokens to do so. Furthermore, there is “Karma-gated” content, which is only available if certain students pay a flat monthly subscription fee. Students can also earn KRM bonuses if they meditate, the more regular their activity is, the more bonuses they can earn, the whitepaper detailed.

When Lotos published its whitepaper in the Ethereum community on Reddit, they received hard criticism. Most of the users argue that Buddhism does not comply with materialism.

“I think ‘searching meaning beyond materialism’ and material ‘reward of spiritual practice’ don't mix together very well. Just a thought,” one user wrote.

“Dude what you are doing is not Buddhism it's Opportunism. Buddhism is about Simplicity, you are leading people into Complexity. Basically with your System people's Incentive to meditate IS TO MAKE MONEY (NOT LIBERATION),” another user wrote on Reddit.

Others in the community suspect that the whole project, which is planning to launch an ICO, is a scam or some sort of money grab.

“Here's the problem man: you are coming out with an ICO right at a time when the inherent corruption in ICOs is very much a public thing. I like the idea of a decentralized meditation app, I really do. However the fact that you are doing an ICO for ‘decentralized religion’ on something that isn't non-profit ESPECIALLY BUDDHISM screams scam, and I believe it is one. If this is really your passion to help people around the world learn to meditate and become spiritual, you wouldn't have a for-profit business model. Without a non-profit, you really don't have a leg to stand on when it comes to spirituality,” a user named “PJBRed27” said about the project.

Surprisingly, it seems the negative opinions on the project made Lotos change some of the concepts of the project:

“We are changing direction a bit now:

  1. Remove ICO mention from all marketing material / stop the crowd-fund campaign and work on building our community.

  2. Start playing the slow and steady ‘snowball going down a mountain’ game.

  3. Write blog posts at least once per week, each post highlights one of the community's biggest concerns with our project (like why we need ERC20 tokens).

  4. This also gives us time to find both blockchain and buddhist advisors.

  5. Move away from 'Buddhist’ to ‘Secular Meditation’.”

The post Bad Karma: Community Objects to “Opportunism” of Buddhism on the Blockchain appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 24 July 2017 | 2:14 pm

Mastercard and Cisco Join Enterprise Ethereum Alliance

Mastercard

The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) was recently joined by 34 new members, including Mastercard, Cisco, Scotiabank and the Government of Andhra Pradesh, bringing the total membership of the consortium to over 150 organizations.

On July 18, 2017, the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance published a press release claiming that — with the 34 new members and the total size of 150-plus participants — the EEA became “the world’s largest open-source blockchain initiative.” According to the consortium, which focuses on developments on the Ethereum blockchain, the newest members of EEA represent a “wide variety of business sectors, including technology, banking, government, healthcare, energy, pharmaceuticals, marketing, and insurance, as well as a number of fast-growing Ethereum startups.”

The main concept of the nonprofit is to “build, promote, and broadly support Ethereum-based technology best practices, open standards, and open source reference architectures.”

There was a bit of confusion in the Ethereum Reddit community since Mastercard was not listed among the new members in EEA’s press release. However, Andrew Keys, head of global business development at ConsenSys, cleared up the issue.

“Mastercard is indeed a new member of EEA. They asked not to be in the press release document but approved being on the EEA official website. They may be doing their own communications on this,” he wrote.

CEOs and representatives of many of the newly joined members of the EEA expressed their gratitude and commitment toward the project.

“As Fintech Valley Vizag in Andhra Pradesh aims to become a vital financial technology hub, it is working on adopting more robust systems that are cost-effective. With security issues all over the world, there is no doubt that blockchain technology is set to be the biggest disruptor not only in the financial world, but also [in] a number of online and offline sectors. We are keen on integrating blockchain technology into governance and look forward to our collaboration with Enterprise Ethereum Alliance and provide market access to the community,” J. A. Chowdary, special chief secretary and IT advisor to the chief minister at the Government of Andhra Pradesh (India), stated.

“OTP Bank keeps focusing on innovative technologies. Nowadays we think that the most valuable asset is the trust between the bank and the customers. Blockchain technology gives several advanced solutions in [the] security industry. OTP Bank has chosen Ethereum as a partner, because we consider it a state-of-the-art blockchain technology. Via joining the Ethereum community, OTP will be able [to] achieve its goals smoothly. Through the common standards and best practices evolving in Ethereum Enterprise Alliance, our IT systems will be more secure and highly developed,” László Popovics, head of IT innovations at OTP Bank — the leading bank in Hungary and one of the largest independent financial service providers in Central and Eastern Europe — wrote.

The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance was formed in late February by a group of financial institutions, blockchain startups and innovators. The consortium — with J.P. Morgan and Intel as the most prominent names among the founding members — aims to standardize blockchain tech for enterprise settings. At the time of the EEA’s launch, the participants created a reference architecture for their project, called “EntEth 1.0,” which has a stronger focus on privacy.

Excluding Mastercard from the list, the newest members of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance include:

2Advise; Amalto Technologies; Antibiotic Research UK (ANTRUK); Aquilon Energy Services, Inc.; ASSETH; BLOCKO Inc.; Bloq; Cisco Systems; Cybersoft Digital Services Corp.; Enter Corporation Co., Ltd.; Equities.com, Inc.; Finclusion Labs, Inc. (WeTrust.io); Government of Andhra Pradesh; HashCash Consultants; HEAL Alliance; iEx.ec; Lazarski University; Loyyal Corporation; MadHive; Mattr; NetObjex Inc.; OTP Bank Plc.; QIWI Blockchain Technologies LLC.; Revelry; RISKebiz; Scotiabank; Streami Inc.; Talkcrypto.org; Technical University of Munich; Texcent Asia Pte Ltd; TIS R&D Center, Inc.; TokenCard/Monolith; Ventured and Ypse IT Solutions.

The post Mastercard and Cisco Join Enterprise Ethereum Alliance appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 24 July 2017 | 2:06 pm

Colony Moves Organizations, Companies onto the Ethereum Blockchain

Colony

London-based startup Colony is building an infrastructure based on the Ethereum blockchain that aims to revamp the way organizations and companies work and collaborate, promising to make human resources and project management more open, fair and efficient.

Think of Colony as the merger of Trello and Upwork, but running on a blockchain. Colony essentially brings the organization and human capital together onto a decentralized and transparent platform, and adds a monetary system that rewards freelancers and contributors alike based on their contributions to the success of the organization.

“Colony brings about a new ‘Nature of the Firm’ by significantly reducing both the transaction costs of the market exchange mechanism for labor, and trust required for people to work together,” Jack du Rose, co-founder of Colony, told Bitcoin Magazine.

“We see Colony as infrastructure for the organizations of the future. We believe infrastructure should be reliable and impartial; one organization should not be reliant on the existence or permission of another to operate.”

Instead of being managed by fallible individuals, “colonies” running on the platform harness the wisdom of the crowd to make sure that things get done by the right people and at the right time.

Each colony has its own token that represents a share of the ownership of the organization. Smart contracts are programmed to distribute ownership tokens according to the value each individual contributes. Contributors can later trade their tokens on the open market for cash.

Colony also comes with a reputation system that allows people to review and grade others’ contributed work. This system allows companies to choose the best candidates while enabling freelancers and experts to build influence and demonstrate their skills.

Colony: The “People Layer for the Decentralized Protocol Stack”

While Colony is building a reference client for its platform, the team very much thinks of the Colony protocol as infrastructure upon which other developers will build applications.

The Colony protocol, which is built as open-source smart contracts on the Ethereum network, is designed to enable developers to integrate decentralized and self-regulating division of labor, decision-making and financial management into their applications.

Du Rose described it as “the people layer for the decentralized protocol stack” and said he expects many companies and products to be built based on the software.

In the future, he hopes to see the protocol being integrated into a variety of applications. It can be used, for instance, to form the basis of a decentralized ride-sharing service, to handle claims in an insurance decentralized app or to provide the framework by which a merchants' guild coordinates in a virtual world, he said.

Moving forward

Colony released its beta in February of this year. The Colony Beta allows teams to create their own “collaboration network” and combines task management with payments and tracking features.

These features include automated cryptocurrency payments; USD, GBP and EUR payments with Stripe; integrations with popular tools including Slack, Xero and GitHub; a reputation system and a voting system.

Du Rose said that the team’s immediate focus is to continue to build out the network and client library, and “get them in the hands of as many people as possible.”

He said that an ongoing part of Colony’s medium- and long-term goals is focused on polishing the platform and improving the software in order to increase blockchain adoption, “not just for developers building on top of the Colony Protocol, but for the Ethereum developer community as a whole.”

He continued, “We see many challenges to usability in [the] blockchain space, and we don’t believe we’re going to achieve mainstream adoption of blockchain technology until we are able to offer the same quality of experience as centralized services provide.”

Companies and organizations around the world are beginning to explore the use of blockchain technology in project management. Russian government–owned development bank Vnesheconombank (VEB) is reportedly looking to launch a prototype for such a platform.

Speaking to Sputnik at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in May, the bank's chairman, Sergey Gorkov, said:

“When we started to think about how to manage projects efficiently, we realized that there is no platform. Everything that we had became obsolete. We realized that the blockchain is a good fundamental and qualitative platform for the future. [...] We have established a qualification center and a pilot project was launched. We are launching the first prototype in terms of project management this fall.”

The post Colony Moves Organizations, Companies onto the Ethereum Blockchain appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 24 July 2017 | 2:00 pm

The Stage Is Set in Stanford for the Next Scaling Bitcoin Workshops

Scaling Bitcoin Stanford

The Scaling Bitcoin Workshops will land in Stanford come November.

Scaling Bitcoin, the conference where innovations like Segregated Witness and TumbleBit made their public “debut,” has quickly grown to become a central stage for Bitcoin’s global academic and engineering communities. After editions in Montreal, Hong Kong and Milan, Stanford University will host the fourth edition of the Scaling Bitcoin Workshops on the 4th and 5th of November of this year.

“We want to aid the technical consensus-building process, in a domain where performance and security are crucial trade-offs,” Ferdinando M. Ametrano, a Bitcoin and Blockchain Technology professor at Politecnico di Milano and Scaling Bitcoin Planning Committee member, told Bitcoin Magazine.

Born out of the early days of Bitcoin’s very public scaling debate, the first two Scaling Bitcoin conferences or “workshops” were organized shortly after one another in Montreal and Hong Kong in the second half of 2015. It was here that many developers actually met face to face for the first time, and the workshops resulted in the well-known scaling roadmap supported by the Bitcoin Core development team.

A third edition of Scaling Bitcoin was organised in Milan in October 2016. That time around, the workshops increased in scope from scaling-only to also include privacy and fungibility improvements, as well as broader technical development.

This line will be continued in Stanford, where the theme of the event has been dubbed “Scaling the Edge.” While the exact agenda is yet to be established by a dedicated committee, overlapping topics for the Stanford edition should once again include fungibility, and there should also be increased focus on simulations and tests.

Plus, as a relatively new topic of interest, Scaling Bitcoin Stanford will expand its scope once again: this time to also include game theory and governance of the technology.

“This has never gotten much of the spotlight at previous editions of Scaling Bitcoin. But recent events like BIP148, BIP91, user activated soft forks are proving that we are learning more and discovering how Bitcoin’s economic incentives are aligned,” Ametrano said. “Moving forward, we’d like to discuss what might be the process for protocol evolution.”

Notably, with the event taking place in early November, it looks like Scaling Bitcoin Stanford will once again take place against the backdrop of a looming contentious hard fork. Where the first two events were a direct response to Bitcoin XT and its hard fork proposal, BTC1 is scheduled to hard fork an increase in Bitcoin’s block weight limit by late November.

It, therefore, seems likely that this potential hard fork will be part of the discussion in Stanford in one way or another, Ametrano acknowledged.

“Block size proposals are included as topics of interest for Stanford. And of course a potential hard fork will be, implicitly or explicitly, part of the conference debate,” he said. “Looking ahead, many — probably most — agree some on-chain scaling will have to happen. But how and when requires unanimous agreement. Which brings us back to the topic of game theory and governance.”

Scaling Bitcoin is currently accepting technical proposals for improving Bitcoin performance including designs, experimental results and comparisons against other proposals. Submissions must be in by September 25th. Click here for more information.

The post The Stage Is Set in Stanford for the Next Scaling Bitcoin Workshops appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 24 July 2017 | 1:53 pm

Start Your Hedging: LedgerX to Begin Trading Cryptocurrency Derivatives

New York startup LedgerX has received approval from the CFTC to trade cryptocurrency derivatives to institutional investors.

Source

Posted on 24 July 2017 | 1:40 pm

Major Wall Street analyst: Here's what needs to happen for the bitcoin boom to keep going - CNBC


CNBC

Major Wall Street analyst: Here's what needs to happen for the bitcoin boom to keep going
CNBC
Bank of America Merrill Lynch is the latest major Wall Street firm to issue a report on bitcoin. Commodities and Derivatives Strategist Francisco Blanch looked at the history of currencies. Based on precedent, Blanch still sees a major hurdle for ...

Posted on 24 July 2017 | 1:01 pm

Winklevoss Backed Gemini Exchange to Begin Daily Ether Auctions

Digital currency exchange Gemini is set to begin hosting daily ether auctions on Friday.

Source

Posted on 24 July 2017 | 12:06 pm

New Hampshire's Bitcoin MSB Exemption Law Takes Effect Next Week

A regulatory exemption for digital currency traders in New Hampshire is set to take effect next week.

Source

Posted on 24 July 2017 | 10:36 am

US Government Funds Blockchain Key Management Tool With $794k Grant

A blockchain startup has received new funding from the US government to develop blockchain key management solutions.

Source

Posted on 24 July 2017 | 9:30 am

Belarus Central Bank Approves Blockchain Use For Bank Guarantees

The central bank of Belarus has cleared the way for domestic banks to use blockchain as part of their processes of transmitting bank guarantees.

Source

Posted on 24 July 2017 | 8:35 am

Hashed Health Blockchain Consortium Expands With New Member

A blockchain consortium focused on healthcare and led by startup Hashed Health has attracted a notable new member.

Source

Posted on 24 July 2017 | 5:00 am

Bitcoin Price Analysis: Recent Bull Run Calls for a Level Head

Bitcoin Price Analysis

Over the course of three days, BTC-USD managed to climb $1,100 in value — a near 60 percent growth. Shortly after reaching a local high in the mid $2,900s, it immediately retraced down to the mid $2,700s where, at the time of this article, it is currently sitting. Is this price growth sustainable? Is there more bull left in this rally? I’ll attempt to break down this recent market move from both sides of the fence and show why investors should or shouldn’t be wary of a move of this magnitude.  

Full disclosure: This analysis will not attempt to speculate on the value implications within this ongoing scaling debate. This will be an objective, raw analysis of the data at hand.

Figure_1.jpgFigure 1: BTC-USD, 12-hr Candles, Bitfinex, Macro Bull Run

If we put this entire bull run into perspective, we see that upon the completion of the Head and Shoulders Reversal Pattern, the market retraced down to the 50 percent Fibonacci Retracement values before ultimately bouncing and immediately climbing toward the previous all-time high.

At the moment, BTC-USD has yet to see any significant pullback from its latest move to justify any semblance of considerably strong support. The importance of establishing support levels is crucial for a sustained, healthy bull run. A support level sends out a signal to investors that basically says, “Hey, the market is not likely to drop below ‘x’ value — your risk is lowered by buying at ‘y’ price.”  

However, without these firm support levels, investors don’t know where the price currently stands in the grand scheme of the market. Thus, uncertainty can be injected into the market even in times of strong bull rallies. This uncertainty often leads to early profit taking, panic selling and long-position capitulation (also known as a “long squeeze”).

To play devil’s advocate, one can make an argument for a bullish continuation of yesterday’s massive bull run:

Figure_2.jpgFigure 2: BTC-USD, 30-min Candles, Bitfinex, Price Consolidation

If we take the current trend out of the context of the entire market, it would appear to display characteristics of a bullish continuation pattern known as a “Bull Pennant.” Bull Pennants are characterized by having lower highs, higher lows and decreasing volume along the length of the pennant. A pennant of this magnitude would have a price target somewhere around $3,400. (For the sake of time, I won’t explain why that’s the price target. You’ll just have to take my word for it.)  

However, when we put the Bull Pennant into the context of the entire market, we see signs of market divergence starting to form on the higher timescales:

Figure_3.jpgFigure 3: BTC-USD, 4-hr Candles, Bitfinex, Bearish Divergence

On the 4-hr MACD, we see bearish divergence during the market move to $2,900. Divergence is an indication that the market has begun to lose momentum and is likely to pull back before any more uptrending will continue.  

In regard to a bullish continuation of this rally, something to keep an eye out for are the tests of the key Fibonacci Retracement values shown in Figure 1. A retest and strong rejection of the Fibonacci lines will show strong market confidence in the eyes of investors who are currently sitting on the sidelines. Before any sustained, healthy uptrend resumes, the market will have to prove itself at the lower values to establish firm support.

During massive rallies it’s important to always keep in mind that large price movements often come with a large cost. It is still unclear what the immediate future of BTC-USD will be, but it’s important to remain levelheaded when entering trades and always look at the market objectively.  

Summary:

  1. Over three days, the BTC-USD market gained 60 percent in value.

  2. No firm support has been established to justify remaining at this price level.

  3. Because there is no firm support, volume is beginning to taper off while the market decides the next direction to head to next.

Trading and investing in digital assets like bitcoin and ether is highly speculative and comes with many risks. This analysis is for informational purposes and should not be considered investment advice. Statements and financial information on Bitcoin Magazine and BTC Media related sites do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BTC Media and should not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation to buy, sell or hold. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

The post Bitcoin Price Analysis: Recent Bull Run Calls for a Level Head appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 21 July 2017 | 1:09 pm

Op Ed: No Governance for Old Men: Coordinating Protocol Upgrades in the Future

Jon Matonis OP ED

Make no mistake. We are witnessing a high-stakes protocol standards battle play out in real time. And it is just as important as last century’s battle for the internet’s TCP standard. 

Current capacity constraints on the Bitcoin blockchain have brought us to this impasse.

The Bitcoin protocol, as the dominant value transfer “network effect” leader, battles against upstart cryptocurrency protocols like Ethereum and Monero. But it also battles with itself as divergent forces push for either on-chain scaling or off-chain scaling, hard fork or soft fork, SegWit transaction format or original transaction format.

The so-called nuclear option is a prolonged, contested hard fork of the Bitcoin blockchain because it risks splitting the network into two competing chains, which is to no one’s benefit. Therefore, it should be reserved as a planned formality or a last resort for extreme situations rather than a perpetual form of “live” dispute resolution.

With so much individual and institutional wealth essentially stored on the Bitcoin blockchain, it can be extremely disconcerting when others try to “fork” around with your money. Chronic forking is not synonymous with wealth management and prudent capital accumulation, which require stability and predictability. Importantly, smart contracts and non-monetary applications will also rely upon relative stability since the same native digital token also facilitates the proof-of-work security model.

This article will examine how open-source governance was designed to work within the Bitcoin protocol and how users, miners and developers are locked in a symbiotic dance when it comes to potential forks to the immutable consensus. Solutions will be proposed and analyzed that maintain the decentralized nature of the resulting code and the blockchain consensus, while still permitting sensible protocol upgrades. Governance is not only about the particular method of change-control management, but also about how the very method itself is subject to change.

kaboomLet’s not deploy the nuclear option for every protocol upgrade.

Open-Source Protocols and Bitcoin

Generally referred to as FOSS, or free and open-source software, this source code is openly shared so that people are encouraged to use the software and to voluntarily improve its design, resulting in decreasing software costs; increasing security and stability, and flexibility over hardware choice; and better privacy protection.

Open-source governance models, such as Linux and BitTorrent, are not new and they existed prior to the emergence of Bitcoin in early 2009; however, they have never before been so tightly intertwined with money itself. Indeed, as the largest distributed computing project in the world with self-adjusting computational power, Bitcoin may be the first crude instance of A.I. on the internet.

In “Who Controls the Blockchain?” Patrick Murck confirms that Bitcoin is functioning as designed:

As a blockchain community grows, it becomes increasingly more difficult for stakeholders to reach a consensus on changing network rules. This is by design, and reinforces the original principles of the blockchain’s creators. To change the rules is to split the network, creating a new blockchain and a new community. Blockchain networks resist political governance because they are governed by everyone who [participates] in them, and by no one in particular.

Murck continues:

Bitcoin’s ability to resist such populist campaigns demonstrates the success of the blockchain’s governance structure and shows that the ‘governance crisis’ is a false narrative.

Of course it’s a false narrative, and Murck is correct on this point. Bitcoin’s lack of political governance is Bitcoin’s governance model, and forking is a natural intended component of that. “Governance” may be the wrong word for it because we are actually talking about minimizing potential disruption.

Where Bitcoin differs from other open-source protocols is that two levels of forking exist. One level forks the open-source code (code fork), and another level forks the blockchain consensus (chain fork). Since there can only be one consensus per native digital token, chain splits are the natural result of this. The only way to avoid potential chain splits in the future is to restrict the change-control process to a single implementation, which is not very safe nor realistic.

“Collaborate or fork” has become the rallying cry for Bitcoin Core supporters. L.M. Goodman, author of “Tezos: A Self-Amending Crypto-Ledger Position Paper,” writes:

Core development teams are a potentially dangerous source of centralization.

When it comes to Bitcoin Core, the publicly shared code repository hosts the current reference implementation, and a small group of code committers (or maintainers) regulate any merges to the code. Even though other projects may be more open to criticism and newcomers, this general structure reminds me of a presiding council of elders.

Making hazy claims of a peer-review process or saying that committers are just passive maintainers merely creates the facade of decentralized code. The real peer-review process takes place on multiple community and technical forums, some of which are not even frequented by the developers and Bitcoin Core committers. 

The BIP (Bitcoin Improvement Proposal) process is sufficient and it’s working for those who choose to collaborate on Bitcoin Core. Similar to the RFC (Request for Comments) process at the IETF, BIP debates about a proposed implementation can provide technical documentation useful to developers. However, it is not working for many involved in Bitcoin protocol development due to the advantages of incumbency and the false appeal to authority with core developers. If Bitcoin Core no longer maintains the leading reference implementation for the Bitcoin protocol, it will be 100 percent due to this intransigence.

Sensitive to the criticisms of glorifying Bitcoin Core, Adam Back of Blockstream recently proposed an option to freeze the base-layer protocol, but at the moment that will only move all of the politics and game-playing to what exactly the base-layer freeze should look like. It is a nice idea for separating the protocol standard from a single reference implementation and for transitioning the Bitcoin protocol to an IETF-like structure, although it’s extremely premature for now. 

Therefore, by default, that leaves us with several alternative Bitcoin implementations in an environment of continual forking.

Even Satoshi Nakamoto was critical of multiple consensus implementations in 2010:

I don’t believe a second, compatible implementation of Bitcoin will ever be a good idea. So much of the design depends on all nodes getting exactly identical results in lockstep that a second implementation would be a menace to the network.

That prevailing standpoint, however, may be changing, which Aaron van Wirdum addresses in “The Long History and Disputed Desirability of Alternative Bitcoin Implementations.” Wirdum cites Eric Voskuil of libbitcoin, who argues that there should not be one particular implementation to define the Bitcoin protocol:

“All code that impacts consensus is part of consensus,” Voskuil told Bitcoin Magazine. “But when part of this code stops the network or does something not nice, it’s called a bug needing a fix, but that fix is a change to consensus. Since bugs are consensus, fixes are forks. As such, a single implementation gives far too much power to its developers. Shutting down the network while some star chamber works out a new consensus is downright authoritarian.”

Multiple alternative implementations of the Bitcoin protocol strengthen the network and help to prevent code centralization.

Politics of Blockchain Forking (or How UASF BIP 148 Will Fail)

Contentious hard forks and soft forks all come down to hashing power. You can phrase it differently and you can make believe that two-day zero-balance nodes have a fundamental say in the outcome, but you cannot alter that basic reality.

BIP 148 fork will undoubtedly need mining hash power to succeed or even to result in a minority chain. However, if Segregated Witness (SegWit) had sufficient miner support in the first place, the BIP 148 UASF itself would be unnecessary. So, in that respect, it will now proceed like a game of chicken waiting to see if miners support the fork attempt.

Mirroring aspects of mob rule, if the UASF approach works as a way to bring miners around to adopting SegWit, then the emboldened mob will deploy the tactic for numerous other protocol upgrades in the future. Consensus rules should not be easy to change and they should not be able to change through simple majority rule on nodes, economic or not. Eventually, these attempts will run headfirst into the wall of Nakamoto consensus

As far as the network is concerned, it’s like turning off the power to your node.

There is no room for majority rule in Bitcoin. Those who endorse the UASF approach and cleverly insert UASF tags in their social media handles are endorsing majority rule in Bitcoin. They are providing a stage for any random user group to push their warped agenda via tyranny of the nodes.

The prolific Jimmy Song says that having real skin in the game is what matters:

Bitcoin doesn’t care if you post arguments on Reddit. Bitcoin doesn’t care if you put something clever in your Twitter name. Bitcoin doesn’t care if you educate people, write articles, or make clever Twitter insults. Bitcoin doesn’t care about your wishes, your feelings or your arguments.

Let’s keep “majority rule” antics out of Bitcoin. There is no protocol condition that activates “if we are all united” and that is a good thing.

With enough hashing power, the mob-induced UASF BIP 148 will lead to a temporary chain split. However, the probability of a Bitcoin minority chain surviving for very long is extremely low due to the lengthy difficulty re-targeting period of 2,016 blocks. Unlike the Ethereum/Ethereum Classic fork, that is a long time for miners to invest in a chain of uncertainty.

Responding to a Reddit post for newbies who are scared of losing money around the 1st of August due to UASF, ArmchairCryptologist explains:

Your advice is sound, but realistically, the most likely scenario is that the UASF either wins or dies. If it gets less than ~12% of the hashrate, it will not be able to activate Segwit in time, and it will almost certainly die. If it gets less than ~20% I also wouldn’t be surprised to see active interference with orphaning to prevent transactions from being processed.

If on the other hand it gets more than ~40% of the hashrate, the chance for a reorg on the other chain is large enough that most miners will likely jump ship, and it will almost certainly win. At over ~20% block orphaning attacks won’t be effective, as it would split the majority chain hashrate and risk tipping the scale. Which means that the only situation where you will realistically have two working chains for an extended period is if you get between ~20% and ~40% of the hashrate for the UASF.

The collectivist UASF BIP 148 strategy will ultimately fail and that’s a good thing. It is driven primarily by those with very little at stake expecting the miners to stake everything by supporting a minority chain. Pretty soon, you run out of other people’s money. This commenter on Reddit understands:

The entire premise was that it was very cheap to switch, but very expensive to stay. That’s when I realized the folly of it all; [it’s] only cheap because they’re not staking anything. But someone has to stake something.

And that’s what is going to cause it to fail. That and the lack of replay protection. People like this guy flip it around and genuinely believe the mining problem will be solved by massively increased value. If they do somehow put enough pressure on exchanges that list UASF, despite the lack of replay protection, and if we take his logic a step further, UASFers are going to be pushing everyone to “buy, buy, buy” UASF and “sell, sell, sell” Legacy Coin. But without replay protection, they’re going to be obliterated by a few smart people who realize there are huge gains to be had.

Alphonse Pace has an excellent paper describing chain splits and their resolution. He walks us through compatible, incompatible and semi-compatible hard forks, arguing that users do have power if they truly reject a soft-fork rule change:

… users do have power — by invoking an incompatible hard fork. In this case, users will force the chain to split by introducing a new ruleset (which may include a proof-of-work change, but does not require one). This ensures users always have an escape from a miner-imposed ruleset that they reject. This way, if the economy and users truly reject a soft fork rule change, they always have the power to break away and reclaim the rules they wish. It may be inconvenient, but the same is true by any attack by the miners on users.

The Future of Coordinating Protocol Upgrades

What group determines the big decisions in Bitcoin’s direction? Ilogy doubts that it is the developers:

Theymos almost completely foresaw what is happening today. Why? Because Theymos has a deep understanding of Bitcoin and he was able to connect the dots and recognize that the logic of the system leads inevitably to this conclusion. Once we add to the equation the fact that restricting on-chain scaling was always going to be perceived by the ‘generators’ as something that ‘reduces profit,’ it should be clear that the logic of the system was intrinsically going to bring us to the point we find ourselves today.

Years later these two juggernauts of Bitcoin would find themselves on opposite ends of the debate. But what is interesting, what they both recognized, was that ultimately big decisions in Bitcoin’s direction would be determined by the powerful actors in the space, not by the average user and, more importantly, not by the developers. 

The developer role can be thought of as proposing a variety of software menu choices for the users, merchants and miners to accept and run. If a software upgrade or patch is deemed unacceptable, then developers must go back to work and adjust the BIP menu offering. Otherwise, mutiny becomes the only option for dissatisfied miners. 

In “Who Controls Bitcoin?” Daniel Krawisz says that the investors wield the most power, and because of that, miners follow investors. Therefore, the protocol upgrades likely to get adopted will be the ones that increase Bitcoin’s value as an investment, such as anonymity improvements being favored over attempts at making Bitcoin easier to regulate.

In the future, miner coordination via a Bitcoin DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) on the blockchain could be the key to smooth and uneventful forking. Self-governing ratification would allow diverse stakeholders to coordinate protocol upgrades on-chain, reducing the likelihood of software propagation battles that perpetually fork the codebase.

Attorney Adam Vaziri of Diacle supports a system of DAO voting by Bitcoin miners to remove the uncertainty around protocol upgrades. He readily admits that he has been inspired by Tezos and Decred.

Prediction markets have also been proposed as a method to gauge user and miner preferences through public forecasting, the theory being that these prediction markets would yield the fairest overall consensus for protocol upgrades prior to the actual fork.

The question remains: Is coin-based voting based on allocated hash power superior to the informal signaling method utilized today? Are prediction markets or futures markets a viable method to gauge consensus and determine critical protocol upgrades?

I’m not optimistic. On-chain voting and “intent” signaling are both non-binding expressions while prediction and futures markets can be easily gamed. Therefore, while Tezos and Decred represent admirable efforts in the quest for complete resilient decentralization, I do not think Bitcoin protocol upgrades of the future will be managed in this way.

The Bitcoin ecosystem doesn’t need to achieve a social consensus prior to making changes to the protocol. What has clearly emerged from the events of this summer is that Bitcoin has demonstrated an even stronger degree of immutability.

Bitcoin has shown every indication that it wants a degree of immutability beyond what any of us expected.

Btw Bitcoin is an AI, not a mkt https://t.co/OcQ9ID3aL6

— Pierre Rochard (@pierre_rochard) July 16, 2017

There is no failure of governance and there is no failure of the market. The non-authoritarian forces at play here are functioning exactly as they should. Protocol upgrades in a decentralized environment are an evolutionary process, and that process has matured to the current six stages of Bitcoin protocol upgrading, with some optional variances for BIP 91:

(a) BIP menu choices competing for mindshare, strategic appropriateness and technical rigor;

(b) Informal intent signaling based on miners inserting text into the coinbase for each block mined;

(c) Block signaling period where miners formally signal a designated “bit” trigger for BIP lock-in, based on “x” percent over a “y” number of blocks period;

(d) Block activation period after BIP lock-in, which sets a secondary period of “x” percent over a “y” number of blocks for activation;

(e) Primary difficulty adjustment period (2,016 blocks) where “x” percent of miners must signal for the upgrade to lock in;

(f) Secondary difficulty adjustment period (2,016 blocks) required for the protocol upgrade to activate on the network.

Conclusion

This would not be the first fork in Bitcoin and it won’t be the last. If we believe in the power of Nakamoto consensus and probabilistic security, then the secret to uneventful protocol upgrades is smoother and more reliable signaling by miners.

July has been a tough month for Bitcoin, but it has also been pivotal. Even though I doubt the probability of success for UASF BIP 148, some may say that the threat of the reckless UASF on August 1 played a role in the rapid timeline for SegWit2x/BIP 91, and I agree with that. Game theory is alive and well in Bitcoin.

The design of Nakamoto consensus provides the ultimate method for decentralized dispute resolution by placing that decision with the hashing power and the built-in incentives against 51 percent attacks. In fact, Tom Harding considers miners to be the only failsafe in Bitcoin:

Miners are the only failsafe when the fiat and altcoin incentives corrupt the dev machine.

— Tom Harding (@dgenr818) April 13, 2017

Nakamoto consensus for the win. See you in November.

The views expressed in this op ed are those of its author, Jon Matonis, and do not necessarily reflect those of Bitcoin Magazine or BTC Media.

The post Op Ed: No Governance for Old Men: Coordinating Protocol Upgrades in the Future appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 21 July 2017 | 6:43 am

BIP 91 Has Locked In. Here’s What That Means (and What It Does Not)

BIP91.jpg

It looks as if Bitcoin is getting Segregated Witness.

Bitcoin Improvement Proposal 91 (BIP 91) just locked in. Up to 90 percent of all hash power signaled support for this soft fork, which implies miners intend, in turn, to trigger Segregated Witness (SegWit) activation. By extension, this should make BIP 148 obsolete and August 1 a non-event.

But SegWit is not certain. In fact, on a technical level, SegWit is not any closer to activation at all.

BIP 91

Segregated Witness, defined by BIP 141, locks in if at least 95 percent of miners (by hash power) signal support for the upgrade within a two-week difficulty period. To do so, miners need to embed a piece of data called “bit 1” in the blocks they mine.

Importantly, this is technically the only way for SegWit to activate right now. And this threshold has not yet been met.

But there are alternative strategies to try and trigger this threshold “indirectly” — like BIP 91.

BIP 91 is a Bitcoin Improvement Proposal proposed by Bitmain Warranty engineer James Hilliard. It is compatible with the New York Agreement and backed by a number of Bitcoin companies and mining pools. It is also compatible with BIP 148, another strategy to trigger the BIP 141 threshold indirectly.

Miners have been signaling support for BIP 91 over the past couple of days through another piece of data, “bit 4.” Once 269 blocks within a 336-block window included bit 4, this BIP 91 soft fork locks in. This threshold was just met.

This means that after another 336 blocks, a little over two days from now, all BIP 91–compatible nodes will reject any block that doesn’t include bit 1.

As long as a majority of hash power enforces BIP 91, this majority should eventually control the longest valid chain according to all Bitcoin nodes. And as this chain consists of bit 1 SegWit-signaling blocks only, it would in turn lock in SegWit on all SegWit-ready nodes by mid-August. SegWit itself should then be live on the Bitcoin network after a two-week “grace period” by the end of that month.

If all goes well …

What Could Go Wrong?

Although well over 80 percent of hash power has signaled bit 4 for BIP 91 lock in, this doesn’t actually guarantee anything. Most importantly, it doesn’t in itself mean that these miners will signal bit 1 for SegWit.

Indeed, so far, most miners don’t. Currently, the proportion of miners signaling bit 1 is still far lower than BIP 91 activation would suggest. It is even lower than 50 percent.

Moreover, BIP 91 will probably be enforced by hardly any economically relevant nodes; that is, nodes operated by users that accept bitcoins as payment. Almost no Bitcoin users on the network recognize BIP 91 or its bit 4 signaling at all, and will therefore continue to accept blocks with or without bit 1.

BIP 91 will, instead, be enforced by hash power alone. This in turn means that a majority of miners (by hash power) could back out of BIP 91 with little more than reputational damage. They could continue to mine blocks that do not signal bit 1, even after BIP 91 activates in a few days. As long as these miners are in a majority, they will still control the longest valid chain: valid according to most miners, and valid to most users.

Furthermore, any minority of miners and the few nodes that do enforce the BIP 91 soft fork would then be forked off the Bitcoin network. In a few days from now, these miners would mine (on top of) blocks that almost only they themselves would care for, while most of the rest of the entire Bitcoin network would completely ignore them.

With this week’s bit 4 signaling, a majority of miners have effectively made a statement that they intend to start to activate the SegWit soft fork within a couple of days. But for now, that’s really all it is: a very public, blockchain-based statement of intent.

Actual SegWit activation should start next week, if miners stick to their stated intent.

The post BIP 91 Has Locked In. Here’s What That Means (and What It Does Not) appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 7:20 pm

CRYENGINE now accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 29 March 2017 | 1:24 am

Consulting firm EY Switzerland accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 26 November 2016 | 12:47 am

Bitcoin Trading Bots

There have been a wide variety of situations in which algorithmic trading programs have proven to be beneficial for investors. However, investors who only trade a cryptocurrency can also take advantage of bitcoin trading bots. Through bitcoin bot trading, traders can become more flexible and prompt, minimize errors and process information more rapidly. At this… Read More »

Posted on 8 November 2016 | 6:20 pm

Steam accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 29 April 2016 | 1:09 am

Major Magazine Publisher to Accept Bitcoin Payments

Posted on 18 December 2014 | 12:43 pm

Microsoft accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 11 December 2014 | 5:06 am

Mozilla accepting Bitcoin

Posted on 20 November 2014 | 1:55 pm

PayPal and Virtual Currency

Posted on 23 September 2014 | 9:52 pm

German Newspaper "taz" accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 22 July 2014 | 1:32 pm

airBaltic - World’s First Airline To Accept Bitcoin

Posted on 22 July 2014 | 11:03 am

Expedia to accept Bitcoin payments for hotel bookings

Posted on 12 June 2014 | 12:41 pm

Bitcoin Core version 0.9.1 released

Posted on 8 April 2014 | 4:27 pm

July 25, 2017 -
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