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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

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Posted on 13 December 2017 | 10:54 am

Bitcoin fever exposes crypto-market frailties - Reuters


Reuters

Bitcoin fever exposes crypto-market frailties
Reuters
Daniel Masters, founder of Global Advisors Bitcoin Investment Fund, worries the exchanges would struggle to cope if there were a sudden rush for the exit. “The ability of these platforms to handle volume is yet to be tested properly,” he said. “What ...
Bitcoin Exchange Says Platform Restored After Hack AttemptBloomberg

all 24 news articles »

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 8:49 am

Here Come the Bogus Bitcoin Scare Tactics - CoinDesk


CoinDesk

Here Come the Bogus Bitcoin Scare Tactics
CoinDesk
Unfortunately, these same people have never looked up the definition of "Ponzi scheme" or "fraud" because, even if bitcoin will fail or result in investors losing all their money, it does not meet the definition of either a Ponzi scheme or a fraud. Ely ...

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 8:07 am

How to give the gift of bitcoin this holiday season - Quartz


Quartz

How to give the gift of bitcoin this holiday season
Quartz
While some holiday shoppers might be ogling the Nintendo Switch or that perfect pair of jeans, savvy folk like you and I understand that deep down your friends and family are secretly hoping to unwrap the gift of a speculative, volatile investment ...

and more »

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 8:01 am

Here Come the Bogus Bitcoin Scare Tactics

Fear, uncertainty and doubt are dominating the media, but Overstock's Steve Hopkins suggests talking points to counter the scaremongering.

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 8:00 am

Bitcoin Price Dilemma: Bull and Bear Paths in Play - Coindesk (press release) (blog)


Coindesk (press release) (blog)

Bitcoin Price Dilemma: Bull and Bear Paths in Play
Coindesk (press release) (blog)
Fresh off all-time highs, bitcoin is trading sideways and showing signs of bull exhaustion. As per CoinDesk's Bitcoin Price Index (BPI), the world's largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization is trading at roughly $16,850. But despite the high ...

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 7:03 am

Bitcoin Price Dilemma: Bull and Bear Paths in Play

Bitcoin may be at all-time highs, but it's also at a potentially key crossroads for its price, chart data shows.

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 7:00 am

Uncle Sam's Surprise: Tax Reform to Impact Crypto Investors

New provisions in the upcoming tax reform bill could have several significant repercussions on crypto holders this tax season.

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 6:15 am

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$750: The Ether Price Freight Train Has a New Target

The price of ether, ethereum's native token, hit a new all-time high of $686 today, and the price chart analysis suggests the rally could continue.

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 5:45 am

Facebook Messenger VP Joins Coinbase's Board of Directors

David Marcus, vice president of messaging products at Facebook and ex-PayPal president, has joined the board of directors at Coinbase.

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 4:20 am

Bitcoin Is History's Biggest Bubble, Turkey's Simsek Says - Bloomberg


Bloomberg

Bitcoin Is History's Biggest Bubble, Turkey's Simsek Says
Bloomberg
Speculation on Bitcoin has turned the cryptocurrency into “the biggest bubble in finance history,” Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said in comments on Twitter on Wednesday. Simsek, Turkey's chief economic policymaker and a former ...

and more »

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 2:50 am

Vanguard Taps Symbiont's Private Blockchain for Index Fund Data

The partners say the blockchain technology speeds up data delivery from the index provider, removes the need for manual intervention and lowers risk.

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 2:45 am

Bitcoin Has Gone Mainstream. That's a Big Deal

While we're still a long way from mass adoption, this is a moment of global awareness and dialogue that is opening up a wide array of possibilities.

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 2:00 am

Blockchain Startup LO3 Partners With Power Exchange

Linking local microgrids to wholesale markets will enable consumers to buy and sell surplus energy from neighbors or faraway strangers, the firms say.

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 12:00 am

Scratch That: CryptoKitties Isn't Quite Ethereum's Vision for Apps

Ethereum's biggest success story isn't showcasing the full benefits of the platform, at least that's what its critics allege.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 10:01 pm

Victory Lap? 2017 Was Bitcoin's Backwards Year

2017 was another bad year in bitcoin in the eyes of long-time industry observer Jim Harper, but he sees a silver lining at the end of the story.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 7:45 pm

Bitcoin Futures Codes: How to Read Them And What They Mean

So you want to trade bitcoin futures? First, learn the Chicago exchanges' highly counterintuitive naming system for monthly contracts.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 5:00 pm

What Is Litecoin, and Why Is It Beating Bitcoin This Year? - Fortune


Fortune

What Is Litecoin, and Why Is It Beating Bitcoin This Year?
Fortune
With digital currency Bitcoin taking the spotlight in 2017, it's hard to remember the other cryptocurrencies that have been growing in its shadow. An increasingly-prominent example: Litecoin. The fourth largest digital currency by market capitalization ...
Bitcoin Can't Stop Breaking ThingsBitcoin News (press release)
Bitcoin Rally Boosts Smaller Cryptos Litecoin, Ether to RecordsBloomberg
Move over, bitcoin. Here comes litecoinCNNMoney
The Merkle -Ars Technica -CoinMarketCap -CoinMarketCap
all 185 news articles »

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 4:02 pm

Fake News? Former New Zealand Prime Minister Denies Investing in Bitcoin

Former New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said he did not advise people to invest in bitcoin, as was stated in a post pretending to be the NZ Herald.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 3:20 pm

I Was Wrong About Bitcoin. Here's Why. - The New York Times - New York Times


New York Times

I Was Wrong About Bitcoin. Here's Why. - The New York Times
New York Times
Our columnist predicted in 2013 that Bitcoin, then a new digital currency, would soon die. He points to five assumptions he got wrong.
Is it too late to buy Bitcoin?Popular Science
Bitcoin Regrets: How Much $100 Would Be Worth Today if You Invested EarlierFortune
Bitcoin Bursary in Bulgarian UniversityCointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
WIRED -Money Magazine -Ars Technica
all 1,042 news articles »

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 2:33 pm

Crowdfunding Giant Indiegogo Opens to ICOs

Indiegogo is getting into the initial coin offering (ICO) game, seeking to become the "go-to" platform for the emerging market.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 1:40 pm

Mt Gox Creditors Want Bitcoin Exchange Taken Out of Bankruptcy

A group of creditors of the defunct bitcoin exchange Mt Gox has filed a new court petition in an effort to prevent a possible billion-dollar payout to its CEO.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 1:15 pm

Trump Signs Defense Bill Authorizing Blockchain Study

President Donald Trump has signed a $700 billion military spending bill that includes a mandate for a blockchain cybersecurity research study.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 11:40 am

Bitcoin Bulls Face 'Alt' Competition in Push to $20k

The price of bitcoin may be at all-time highs, but a wave of new investors could quickly tilt the market dynamic, analysis suggests.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 11:30 am

Coinbase Halts Litecoin, Ether Trades as Prices Spike

Digital currency startup Coinbase says it has paused trading for litecoin and ethereum.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 10:40 am

New In-Game Cryptocurrency Systems Let You Buy Assets in the Virtual Reality World

New In-Game Cryptocurrency Systems Let You Buy Assets in the Virtual World

High Fidelity is announcing the launch of Avatar Island, a VR domain where High Fidelity users can purchase items for their avatars, all contributed by digital artists from around the world.

High Fidelity is a next-generation platform for Virtual Reality (VR) worlds developed by Philip Rosedale, the creator of the once very popular Second Life. In September 2017, the company announced that it was developing a blockchain for intellectual property protection and an in-game cryptocurrency .

“I’ve been looking at blockchain technology since Second Life, as the Linden dollar was one of the first digital goods currencies,” said Rosedale. “At the time that Bitcoin came out, I was thinking a lot about how we could generalize what we did at Second Life. I didn’t have all of the ideas, but in the last few quarters we have been building the backend system to make all of this work.”

Different sorts of VR items, such as custom wearables for avatars (which were and still are very successful in the Second Life marketplace) will be sold and bought in Avatar Island through a new cryptocurrency running on a blockchain, which will also track the history and ownership of each item.

“[This] is the first beta release of the commerce system, which is a cryptocurrency-based content protection and payment system,” said Rosedale in the High Fidelity forum. “[Behind]  the scenes, the currency is actually stored on a ‘blockchain’ very similar to Bitcoin but supporting a higher transaction rate and lower fees. This blockchain also stores the PoP [Proof of Provenance] information for digital goods, meaning that both your currency and your digital property will exist in a public database and cannot be altered.”

Contrary to Second Life, where the only option available to external operators was to host their VR worlds on servers operated by Second Life developer Linden Lab, High Fidelity allows developers to host VR worlds independently. In November 2017, High Fidelity released an update that allows developers to rapidly deploy High Fidelity VR domains to the cloud, in collaboration with DigitalOcean. The distributed nature of the upcoming High Fidelity VR network calls for full interoperability between different servers, including network-wide recognition of ownership rights.

High Fidelity’s Digital Asset Registry (DAR), is a decentralized, publicly auditable ledger that serves as a record of transactions made by High Fidelity users. Each item is uniquely identified with a digital fingerprint (a hash algorithm) and can be purchased using High Fidelity’s blockchain-based cryptocurrency, the High Fidelity Coin (HFC). The DAR includes tamper-proof PoP services for any asset’s chain of ownership, its characteristics and its entire history, from certification onward.

This approach is designed to solve the theft and counterfeiting problems that plagued Second Life. At the apex of Rosedale’s first VR world’s popularity, thousands of independent developers around the world made a living designing and selling virtual items, and the need for more solid anti-piracy measures was widely felt.

According to High Fidelity, the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains have limited throughput (transactions per second) and high transaction fees, which makes them unsuitable for HFC. Therefore, Rosedale’s team opted for a new, public but “permissioned” blockchain.

In a promotional video that predicts a booming future for the VR sector, with a billion users, 50 million servers and a trillion dollar economy, Rosedale explains the design and implementation criteria for High Fidelity’s blockchain.

“As of today, the blockchain is one node using the [Elements] codebase from Blockstream,” said Rosedale. “We’re going to federate it to a managed group of blocksigners and also provide a block explorer and a full read-only node as well, so that we have many backups of the blockchain. This is similar to the [DPoS] (Delegated Proof of Stake) model being used by [EOS] and others for upcoming public blockchains.”

For now, the High Fidelity Commerce system is in closed beta, and High Fidelity is giving HFCs to anyone interested in participating in the beta. Eventually, HFC will be traded on public exchanges like other cryptocurrencies.

“In the coming weeks and months, we will be attaching the HFC blockchain in several ways to the major cryptocurrency networks to enable you to freely trade HFC for other currencies like Bitcoin or Ether, or to use exchange markets to convert it back to real-world currency if you like,” said Rosedale. Considering high price volatility as a roadblock, High Fidelity will try and stabilize the value of HFC at 100 HFC = $1 USD.

Before getting too excited and rushing to buy HFC, it’s worth bearing in mind that Second Life never achieved mass-market appeal, and that could become the fate of High Fidelity as well. However, it can be argued that Second Life was launched too early, and modern VR interfaces, like the headsets and hand controllers developed by Facebook’s Oculus VR, could be the game changer that will permit High Fidelity to succeed where Second Life failed. As always, time will tell.

Crytek

Another VR game developer and technology provider, Crytek, is announcing a partnership with cryptocurrency startup Crycash to create a new cryptocurrency for gamers. Crytek is the maker of the high-performance game development platform CryEngine and publisher of many highly realistic VR games that are popular among hardcore gamers.

“The Crycash ecosystem solves two problems at once: it gives gamers a way to monetize game time by completing in-game tasks, set by game developers, while providing developers with decentralized sales options for games and other virtual items,” said Crycash CEO Wachtang Budagaschwili. “Crycash will consist of four major components: Plink, a communications app for gamers and Crycash wallet; an advertising platform; an eSports platform for gaming tournaments and other events; and a virtual asset marketplace.”

“We see a lot of potential in the Crycash concept, and we were impressed by the Crycash team’s innovative approach to creating practical products and tools for gamers,” said Crytek Managing Director Faruk Yerli.

Crycash will hold a token sale from December 12, 2017, to January 15, 2018, and add Crycash payment options to games from Crytek and other developers.



The post New In-Game Cryptocurrency Systems Let You Buy Assets in the Virtual Reality World appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 10:23 am

Gifto’s Vision for the Virtual Gifting Economy

Gifto Thumb


The digital age has changed many things about the way we work, play, think and live. And one key element of this is the act of giving.

In the online community, it’s hard to think of a more natural display of positive interaction than the act of giving virtual gifts.  In today’s digital age, giving has taken on a whole new meaning as growing numbers of transactions and exchanges occur online. 

At the nexus of this movement is a project called Gifto, a virtual gifting protocol for content creators and their fans throughout the world. 

Gifto seeks to forever change the way we give gifts through the use of smart contracts that facilitate customized, fun virtual gifts to be sent via the Ethereum blockchain, across all content platforms including Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. Gifto achieves this through a decentralized, user-driven model which rewards quality content generation, while fostering a richer set of connections between content creators and their audiences.

The brains behind this idea, Andy Tian, is the co-founder and CEO of Asia Innovations Group (AIG), which is the leading mobile interactive entertainment group in Asia. Headquartered in Hong Kong, AIG operates a suite of mobile, social and online entertainment products for users worldwide. 

Launched in May 2016, AIG’s flagship, live-streaming product, Uplive, is already available in more than 100 countries. The app enables anyone around the world to broadcast and view real-time video streams via their smartphones.  It currently has 20 million users and 60,000 broadcasters worldwide, with a projected revenue of more than $100 million from virtual gifting in 2017 alone. With Gifto, AIG is decentralizing its successful virtual gifting model to all content creators, regardless of whether they are on Uplive or not.

Uplive is one of the top five streaming apps in the world. It is the culmination of AIG’s many years of experience and tech development in gaming, social media and video. And Gifto is the culmination of Uplive’s experiences.

The Chinese live streaming market was valued at $5 billion in 2017, according to a forecast by Credit Suisse. Tian sees a golden opportunity with Gifto to replicate this incredibly successful model in international markets across any content platform through its universal protocol.

The Inspiration Behind Gifto

Gifto sprang from Tian’s personal interest in the question of how to apply game mechanics to any and all things that people engage with.

Born in China before moving to New York at age 10, Tian ran Google’s mobile business in China, during which he introduced Android to the China market. He then started one of the earliest social gaming companies in the world, XPD Media, which was later sold to Zynga to become Zynga China. After leaving Zynga, he co-founded AIG, which now has over 300 staff members located around the world, from Casablanca to Tokyo. 

Tian said that Gifto arose from conversations with both broadcasters and users of the Uplive community platform. That dialogue reinforced the notion that only the top 10 percent of all online influencers these days are able to effectively monetize their work. 

“What about the 90 percent of content creators who have 100,000 fans?” he asked. “Or only 50,000 fans? They can’t monetize at all based on the traditional ad/sponsorship model that’s currently in place.” 

One challenge on the Uplive platform was how to calculate the amount of revenue share a broadcaster has across all of Uplive. 

“We currently have a centralized system that does calculations and verification, a common practice among any centralized, consumer-based service,” Tian said. “But when a number of my investors and friends introduced me to smart contracts, that was a game changer. By integrating these contracts into the virtual gift itself, a transaction could automatically be executed, allowing for the instant delivery of revenue share to gift creators and producers.” 

This was a major development with respect to Uplive, where more than 25 million virtual gifts are sent every month.

“With blockchain, we can transparently, quickly and accurately execute payments so that our creators don’t have to wait 30 days or more to receive their share of the gift proceeds,” Tian said. “They can gain revenues directly from their fans.” 

Tian extols the idea of a crypto token that has a common value regardless of which country it is sent to or received from. 

“We currently have users paying us from 50-plus countries, with 30-plus payment providers worldwide,” he said. “With fiat, we have experienced lots of credit card fraud issues like cancelled transactions among other problems associated with this form of money on an international scale. Cryptocurrency can solve that. Not having to convert between different currency types will be a big win for our users.” 

In addition, Gifto can be used universally by any platform, not just Uplive, said Tian.

“The Gifto protocol will be available to any content creator on virtually any platform, including YouTube, Facebook and Instagram,” he said. “For the first time ever, content creators on these platforms won’t be constrained to the advertising-only model that generates very little revenue for the creators without millions of followers. Now, anyone will be able to accept virtual gifts through the Gifto platform and generate meaningful income from their content, directly from their fanbase.”   

Fostering a Global Gifting Economy

The concept of virtual gifts sent from fans to broadcasters is what drives Gifto. It allows creators to produce and place virtual gifts on a blockchain as a virtual asset and set their own pricing and value. Each created gift would have its own unique nature and character, adding the all-important element of fun to the whole gifting process. Broadcasters could then be digitally compensated regardless of the number of fans they have. 

Gifto’s public token sale on the Ethereum blockchain will begin on December 14, 2017. Thirty percent of the tokens, called “Gifto,” will be sold at that time subject to a $30 million hard cap. The campaign will adhere to a strict “know-your-customer” process, excluding citizens from China, the U.S., and Vietnam, based on legal regulations in those countries. 

Tian said the journey to exploring an initial coin offering (ICO) started early in 2017, when his company began examining the utility of blockchain technology as a solution to requests for new features from Uplive’s broadcasters and user base.  He said that monies garnered will be used for product development and engineering, marketing and market adoption, user acquisition and operations.

“We believe that we’ll be the highest revenue consumer company in Asia to launch a token offering,” Tian said. “Blockchain technology, in our opinion, is an awesome application and solution to decentralize everything and we want to advance this thinking.”

Tian’s ultimate goal is to make blockchain useful to mass-market consumers who don’t necessarily understand what the technology is, but can still enjoy the benefits of decentralization.

“It’s all about empowering the everyday people,” he concluded. “Content creators with a small, loyal fanbase now have a fun way to connect with their fans and make it easy for them to contribute.” 

The post Gifto’s Vision for the Virtual Gifting Economy appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 9:24 am

CFTC Chair: Cryptocurrencies 'Unlike Any Commodity' Agency Has Seen

Cryptocurrencies have proven to be a unique challenge for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the agency's chairman has said.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 9:20 am

Munchee ICO Halted by SEC for Securities Violations

Munchee ICO Halted by SEC for Securities Violations

On December 11, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC) issued a cease-and-desist to California-based Munchee Inc. to stop their ICO and return the funds that had been collected.

Munchee had been seeking $15 million in capital to improve their existing mobile app and create a restaurant review ecosystem that they described as being “Yelp meets Instagram” in their Bitcointalk announcement. The problem arose when Munchee emphasized that it would take steps to create a secondary market for the tokens as an investment vehicle, leading investors to have a reasonable belief that their tokens would rise in value, long in advance of the utility of the token being made available.

In the SEC announcement, Stephanie Avakian, co-director of the SEC Enforcement Division, said, “We will continue to scrutinize the market vigilantly for improper offerings that seek to sell securities to the general public without the required registration or exemption. In deciding not to impose a penalty, the Commission recognized that the company stopped the ICO quickly, immediately returned the proceeds before issuing tokens, and cooperated with the investigation.”

In the SEC complaint, the commission argued that the MUN tokens were considered securities because “they were investment contracts” and were deemed a security regardless of their utility at the time of the sale. Munchee consented to the SEC’s order without admitting to, or denying, the findings.

The action is significant as it shows the willingness of the SEC to step in and take action. It also illustrates a willingness on the part of the SEC to work with companies that are cooperative when they run afoul of the regulations.

The post Munchee ICO Halted by SEC for Securities Violations appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 11 December 2017 | 3:19 pm

Bitcoin Futures Are Here: The Story So Far

cboefutures.jpg

The week ahead will give better future indication of Bitcoin derivatives products as yesterday at 6 p.m. EST, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) allowed bitcoin futures to begin trading under the symbol “XBT.” Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) is set to allow futures trading in the cryptocurrency of their own accord on December 18, 2017. Bitcoin futures were up over 20 percent leading into the U.S. market open. Current appetite for the futures contracts seems to show a stronger preference for near-term bitcoin futures priced above the current spot rate. According to the CBOE twitter feed, over 800 contracts were traded in the first two hours.

47c7ff34bce0ce6132eef3b1762bee2b.png

Image source: CBOE delayed quotes dashboard as of 3:53 PM. EST

At least one outage plagued the CBOE in early trading, including two minutes of downtime from 8:31 p.m. EST to 8:33 p.m. EST, while the CBOE stated at 11:34 p.m. EST that there would be a 5-minute hiatus if the front month (January expiration) rose above 30 percent.

square cboe

Image Source: www.cboe.com

These deliberate halts in trading are known as “circuit breakers” and are meant to protect the market from unmanageable volatility.

While we wait to see how futures trading unfolds in the U.S. markets today, here are some of the notable events that got us into a world of bitcoin futures.

October 31

The CME Group gave bitcoin investors around the world a bit of a Halloween treat when they announced plans to allow bitcoin futures to be traded on their exchange. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s announcement notably coincided with the anniversary of the publication of Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakomoto’s original 2008 white paper on the cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts took this as a signal of mainstream acceptance of the asset class, and bitcoin closed the day (according to historical data provided by www.coinmarketcap.com) at $6,468.40. When futures trading opened last night, bitcoin was trading at $14,901.70.

December 1, 2017

Regulators gave bitcoin futures the green light for the CME Group as well as for self-certification by the CBOE Futures Exchange (CFE) as well as for the Cantor Exchange’s new contract for bitcoin binary options. The exchanges assured the CFTC that the new products were compliant with the self-certification process rules, and the CFTC refrained from halting the self-certification. CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo stated in a press release:  

Bitcoin, a virtual currency, is a commodity unlike any the Commission has dealt with in the past…[a]s a result, we have had extensive discussions with the exchanges regarding the proposed contracts, and CME, CFE and Cantor have agreed to significant enhancements to protect customers and maintain orderly markets.

December 4

The CBOE announced it would launch futures trading in bitcoin under the symbol “XBT” on Sunday night, December 10, 2017, at 6 p.m. EST. This move was seen as a manoever to beat the earlier announcement from the competing CME that they would allow futures trading in bitcoin beginning December 18, 2017. Not surprisingly, the CBOE’s usage of the exchange platform Gemini, owned by the Winklevoss twins, may allow the newly minted “Bitcoin Billionaires” to further capitalize on the successes of the cryptocurrencies.

December 5

A Natixis Investment Managers Survey of 500 global investors managing more than $19 trillion of assets has found that “nearly two-thirds [of survey participants] said Bitcoin was in a bubble, and this was a month before the cryptocurrency surged above $10,000 last week.”

Also bearish on bitcoin was Stephen Roach, a Yale University economist who told CNBC’s “The Rundown” that exchange legitimization makes bitcoin “somewhat dangerous [for investors],” citing a “lack of intrinsic underlying economic value to the concept.”

December 6

S3 Partners, a data research and analytics firm, sent this note to investors on GBTC ETF, the only ETF which trades bitcoin. In the note, Managing Director of Predictive Analytics at S3, Ihor Dusaniwsky, suggested that bitcoin as an asset would be “ripe for a pullback once the CBOE futures contracts go live” but also cautioned that the fees for shorting the GBTC ETF will be extremely high. While futures contracts would enable easier and safer access to both long and short positions, Dusaniwsky noted, futures trading would also carry premium costs for all GBTC ETF investors, stating:

Long GBTC holders may feel the pain of its 53% asset premium shrinking, while short sellers will probably be incurring a 50%+ stock borrow fee — both sides will be paying a premium in order to ride the Bitcoin rollercoaster once the CBOE futures start trading.

Also on December 6, 2017, trading volume for BTC nearly doubled from 6.9 billion to 12.7 billion and crosses the 10 billion volume threshold for the first time since Bitcoin crossed $10,000 (November 28, 2017). Whether this run up was related to the prospect of bitcoin futures or just normal market machinations is unclear.

historical cboe

Screenshot of historical data from Coinmarketcap.com (link above)

December 7

The Futures Industry Association, an industry organization whose primary members consist of the largest clearing houses and clearing firms for futures in the world, published an open letter it had sent to the CFTC chairman on December 6, 2017, decrying the lack of “a healthy dialogue between regulators, exchanges, clearing houses and the clearing firms who will be absorbing the risk of these volatile, emerging instruments during a default.” This is in spite of the fact that the letter also admits that, “Under law, exchanges may self-certify a product for trading by the close of business one day and then list the product for trading the next day.This process does not require CFTC approval or input…”

Also on December 7, in a joint interview with former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, stated that, “We’ll [Goldman Sachs] see. If it works out and it gets more established and it trades like a store value and it doesn't move up and down 20% and there's liquidity in it, we’ll get to it.”

That same interview includes the suggestion that, according to an unnamed source with knowledge of Goldman Sachs plans, the investment bank plans to help clear bitcoin futures contracts for certain clients when the derivatives go live and that “the decision to clear client trades will be made on a case-by-case basis.” Goldman Sachs “will act in an agency capacity” and “won’t serve as a market-maker or build inventory in the derivatives.”

December 8

As the normal trading week came to an end, Coinbase and its exchange platform GDAX sent a reminder from Coinbase CEO, Brian Armstrong, to its users via blog and email to “invest responsibly,” also noting that “there may be downtime which can impact your ability to trade.” While seemingly innocuous, it appears the Coinbase team was preparing for a surge in trading volume that would crash its platform. At 10 p.m. on December 10, 2017, Coinbase tweeted that it would be offline for one hour of scheduled maintenance to “help to prevent slow performance and login issues during larger traffic surges.”

Conclusion

The market on Bitcoin Futures is open for business. After 14 hours of premarket bitcoin futures and a full day of trading from both European and U.S. investors, “XBT” seems to be functioning as planned. While spectators of the past week have foretold of everything from rosy outlooks to apocryphal warnings, we, at least for the moment, seem to be on a path toward embracing cryptocurrency futures as a new wave of derivatives.

The post Bitcoin Futures Are Here: The Story So Far appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 11 December 2017 | 2:38 pm

U.S. Senate Mulls Reporting Requirements for Cryptocurrencies

USSenateBill

American Bitcoin holders may soon have to report their holding to the United States government.

First introduced on May 25, 2015, by Sen. Chuck Grassley [R-IA], Senate Bill S.1241, the
“Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Counterfeiting Act of 2017,” can have serious implications for those involved in the cryptocurrency space. The hearing for S.1241 was held with virtually no public notice on November 28, 2017; the full two-hour hearing can be viewed here.

Currently, the definition of “financial institution” includes banks, trust companies, credit unions, currency exchanges and the like. But according to Section 5312(a) of title 31, the new bill would amend the definition of “financial institution” to include “an issuer, redeemer, or cashier of prepaid access devices, digital currency, or any digital exchanger or tumbler of digital currency.” 

This is most specifically embedded in Section 13:

senatebilltextscreen.png

Sen. Dianne Feinstein [D-CA] said in her opening remarks of the hearing, “The bill criminalizes intentionally concealing ownership or control of a bank account.” Although, during the hearing, no further clarifications were given as to the effects this would have on the cryptocurrency community, based on the amended definition of “financial institution,” it would seem that the bill would criminalize anyone intentionally concealing ownership or control of a digital currency or exchange account. While there is no finalized bill yet, the implication would be that cryptocurrency holders need to fill in federal registration forms for tax disclosure, quarterly reporting and more.

Notably, while the purpose of the bill and hearing had to do with adding digital currencies and exchanges to the definition of financial institutions, there was almost no discussion on the topic other than briefly in reference to drug cartels using them to launder money. For example, nowhere in the testimony by Coinbase board of directors member Kathryn Haun Rodriguez does she mention digital currencies or exchanges, and at no time was she asked any questions about them.

Unsurprisingly, the bill is receiving pushback from some cryptocurrency holders. Activists on Reddit have started a social media campaign in opposition to the bill, and are suggesting others to tweet: “@senjudiciary that #Bitcoiners are not #Crooks Remove #DigitalCurrencies from Section 13 of S1241.” Others are contacting their senators directly.

The post U.S. Senate Mulls Reporting Requirements for Cryptocurrencies appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 8 December 2017 | 3:23 pm

Op-ed: Bitcoin Is Not a Bubble; It's in an S-Curve and It's Just Getting Started

Op-ed: Bitcoin Is Not a Bubble; It's in an S-Curve and It's Just Getting Started

One of the most intriguing stories underpinning the recent rise of bitcoin prices is how financial institutions will interact with the currency.

The upcoming CBOE futures market is going to open the door for Wall Street giants to participate in the market. That could spell moon or doom for bitcoin, and everyone is speculating on what may happen next.

It is this Wall Street/BTC interaction (phenomenon) that may be driving the unbelievable price spike of the past few days — at least partially.

On the macro scale, however, we may be witnessing a more grand pattern forming; a price-correlated S-curve.

The S-curve is the classic adoption curve applied to the advent of new technologies. As a percentage of the population, adoption looks like a lag phase where the technology is utilized by the innovators of said technology, followed by an early adoption phase led by people who often take risks in order to be the first movers in a space. After the early adopter phase (~16% of the population is now participating), there comes a great “tipping point” where the wide use of the technology seems inevitable. The tipping point gives rise to the “Early Majority” joining in on the fun, followed by the late majority and, finally, the holdouts who allow the top of the S to asymptotically approach total adoption. The curve, as a factor of time and adoption, looks sort of like the following:

Screen_Shot_2017-12-08_at_9.56.44_AM.png

This curve correlates nicely with adoption of some of the greatest technological innovations in our recent history:

Screen_Shot_2017-12-08_at_9.57.15_AM.png

Some important things to note is that this is just U.S. adoption. Much of the world lagged behind the U.S. in the consumer appliance boom of the 1900s. All of these curves, however steep, do follow the same S-curve trend fairly nicely.

So what could that mean for bitcoin? It’s difficult to choose a metric to define bitcoin adoption, and, in fact, there are disputes about if one metric accurately captures it. However, for simplicity I’ll highlight Google searches for bitcoin and Coinbase user count as microcosms of the global adoption trend.

google search

Screen_Shot_2017-12-08_at_9.58.02_AM.png(from CNBC)

This seems to show a very similar pattern to what could be the transitional phase between “innovators” and “Early Adopters.” Just to harken back to the earlier statement though — it’s very difficult to put a number on bitcoin adoption.

So why is this remarkable? Bitcoin may be the first “buyable” S-curve. Because this is a capped-supply currency, more users adopting and using it necessitates an increase in price. Whether that correlation is even reflective of the current price action is a practically unanswerable question, and the obvious leaning would be towards there being a speculative additional value. However, with an increase in adoption, there seems to be a floor rising up to catch whatever “bubble burst” might occur, if and when it happens.

I'm starting to take the controversial position that I'm less looking at a financial market chart and more looking at a graph for adoption rates. $BTC pic.twitter.com/RmGFyCdwan

— Parabolic Trav (@parabolictrav) December 3, 2017

“Eternal September” is the phrase used to describe September of 1993, when widespread internet adoption began to look inevitable. It occured after AOL began a mailing campaign offering free trials of its internet service, leading to an influx of internet users that has since never ended. Hence “Eternal September.”

Always thought it would take another bubble for the #crypto equivalent, but this might be the start of #Bitcoin Eternal September https://t.co/95PaF9ZYD7

— David Bailey (@DavidFBailey) December 6, 2017

To compare bitcoin’s adoption to its complement — the internet — this may very well be the “Eternal September” episode for bitcoin.

If the S-curve adoption theory applies to bitcoin, then buckle up. I won’t pretend to be able to predict a spot price, but I will say I think we may be sitting close to another order of magnitude this time next year.

See y’all on the moon.

Corollary: Bulls sound smart in bull markets. We may look back and laugh at this thought, or it may hold true for years to come. Time will tell. ‘Til then, buy bitcoin.

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 Op-ed: Bitcoin Is Not a Bubble; It's in an S-Curve and It's Just Getting Started appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 8 December 2017 | 11:09 am

New Bitcoin Mining Centers Set to Increase North American Market Position

New Bitcoin Mining Centers Set to Increase North American Market Position

While China continues to dominate the bitcoin mining market, North America has now gained another significant player who can help decentralize mining power. Hut 8 Mining Corp (Hut 8) and the Bitfury Group (Bitfury) have announced a partnership that will create North America’s largest bitcoin mining center, located primarily in Alberta, Canada.

“We are excited to partner with Hut 8 to expand our activities in the strategic North America market,” said Bitfury CEO, Valery Vavilov, in a statement. “We believe there is a tremendous opportunity to establish North America as one of the most important cryptocurrency mining hubs in the world.”

Known for manufacturing their own Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) chips, Bitfury is the world’s largest bitcoin mining company outside of China. Their custom hardware and software solutions eliminate the reliance on any third parties, which lowers costs and improves efficiency. Their BlockBox AC datacenter product allows for significantly shorter setup time to establish a commercial bitcoin mining center.

Hut 8 is a bitcoin mining company that will provide shareholders access to the price appreciation of bitcoin. Once the partnership is finalized, Hut 8 will control what they believe to be the largest cryptocurrency mining farm in North America: Hut 8 will gain immediate control over 22 bitcoin mining datacenters spread across Alberta.

The expectation is for Hut 8 to be listed on the Canadian stock exchange during Q1 of 2018 and increasing control over an additional 35 datacenters. Hut 8 anticipates that through a combination of existing Bitfury sites and new installations, they will scale to 60 or more datacenters during 2018.

The datacenters will be comprised of Bitfury’s containerized bitcoin mining units called Blockboxes, containing Bitfury’s 16nm ASIC chip, which they claim is one of the most efficient on the market. Bitfury will be providing the infrastructure for the partnership via the aforementioned assets and Hut 8 will own and operate the centers.

On December 4, 2017, Hut 8 is made available an approximate 13,200,000 shares on a private placement basis through GMP Securities L.P., worth approximately $25.7 million ($33 million CAD); the proceeds of which will be applied towards the initial acquisitions described above.

Also making moves in the North American mining market, Giga Watt has been promoting its own modular datacenter design called “Giga Pods.” While Giga Watt doesn’t have custom hardware solutions, they do allow for new entrants to buy and run their own hosted mining rig and potentially make money. It will be interesting to watch the development of these companies in North America over the course of 2018.

The post New Bitcoin Mining Centers Set to Increase North American Market Position appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 7 December 2017 | 2:22 pm

Bitcoin price climbs over $4,000

Posted on 14 August 2017 | 1:16 am

Bitcoin reaches new all-time high: $3,000

Posted on 12 June 2017 | 1:06 am

CRYENGINE now accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 29 March 2017 | 1:24 am

Consulting firm EY Switzerland accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 26 November 2016 | 12:47 am

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

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

Wikimedia Foundation Now Accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 30 July 2014 | 3:14 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

December 13, 2017 -
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