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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.

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Posted on 17 November 2017 | 10:51 pm

Gox ICO? CEO Karpeles Floats Token Sale to Revive Bitcoin Exchange

A Mt Gox initial coin offering (ICO)? It's not that much of a far-fetched idea, according to the defunct bitcoin exchange's controversial CEO.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 3:10 pm

Now the SegWit2x Hard Fork Has Really Failed to Activate

The SegWit2x Hard Fork Has Now Really Failed to Activate

In case there were any remaining doubts, it now seems clear that the SegWit2x hard fork will not happen.

The SegWit2x project, a product of the New York Agreement signed onto by a long list of companies and miners in May, had scheduled a hard fork to double Bitcoin’s block weight limit today. And while the controversial effort was suspended by leaders of the project last week, this would not have stopped anyone else from proceeding with it. Companies like Coinbase were indeed taking into account that the SegWit2x hard fork could still happen.

The Fork That Wasn’t

SegWit2x nodes — most notably btc1 — were programmed to fork away from the Bitcoin blockchain this afternoon (UTC) to create the SegWit2x blockchain and a new currency, often referred to as B2X. However, not a single SegWit2x block has been mined since fork point, nor is there any indication that this is likely to happen. For all intents and purposes, there is no SegWit2x — nor a B2X.

Further, software bugs in the btc1 codebase made all btc1 implementations grind to a halt even before it reached the expected fork point. While Bitcoin and SegWit2x nodes were widely expected to share a single blockchain up until block 494783 and then to go their own ways at block 494784, btc1 nodes never made it past block 494782.

This is mainly because the first block on the SegWit2x chain was required to have a “base block” larger than one megabyte. This is how the chain would diverge from the original Bitcoin protocol. But due to what is referred to as an “off-by-one error,” SegWit2x blocks started to reject smaller-than-one-megabyte blocks one block too soon — at block 494,783 instead of 494,784.

Moreover, another btc1 bug prevented miners from mining a big enough block when it was needed. So even if some miners did want to proceed with the fork, they accidentally wouldn’t have done so — at least not automatically. Miners would instead have had to manually configure their block weight settings, but it’s unlikely they knew about this step. Btc1 maintainer Jeff Garzik (while also denying there was a problem) has since released a patch to resolve this issue.

But judging by the absence of any SegWit2x blocks, the patch hasn’t made a difference, most likely because few, if any, miners were interested in mining on the SegWit2x chain in the first place.

NO2X?

Despite the seeming failure of SegWit2x to take off in any way, it should be noted that there is technically no way to declare a fork like SegWit2x officially “dead” or “failed.”

While unlikely, it’s always possible that the SegWit2x hard fork could proceed at some point in the future. In fact, there is no way to tell whether the SegWit2x chain is currently being mined with a little bit of hash power right now, and it is strictly impossible to foresee whether it will be mined later on. Perhaps a SegWit2x block will be found a day from now, a week from now or even ten years from now, at which point SegWit2x and B2X will technically come into existence.

However, since the SegWit2x chain did not include a mining difficulty reset, it will be as hard to mine a B2X block as it currently is to mine a BTC block. Meanwhile, market support for B2X appears to be extremely low, with B2X futures trading below 2 percent of BTC. So even if miners decide to mine B2X blocks, they’d almost certainly be earning far less than they would by mining BTC. Or, more accurately, they’d spend more on electricity bills than they’d be able to earn by mining B2X. The financial incentive to mine the SegWit2x chain just isn’t there.

Alternatively, SegWit2x could see a bit of a rebirth in the form of “BitcoinX” (BTX). This project, supposedly started by disappointed SegWit2x supporters, will take a snapshot of bitcoin balances at block height 494,783 and start a SegWit2x-like altcoin that offers all BTC holders the equivalent amount in BTX. Though, while this coin is arguably more viable than B2X thanks to a mining difficulty reset and more, it really is a new coin — arguably even more so than B2X would have been.

The post Now the SegWit2x Hard Fork Has Really Failed to Activate appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 2:54 pm

UBS CIO: We Aren't Getting Involved With Bitcoin

UBS chief investment officer Mark Haefele says the world's largest money manager will not include bitcoin investments.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 2:00 pm

Why Bitcoin Is Super Hot in Zimbabwe - Inc.com


Inc.com

Why Bitcoin Is Super Hot in Zimbabwe
Inc.com
As the political turmoil in Zimbabwe has increased, so has the price of bitcoin. This week, at the same time military leaders were placing longtime president Robert Mugabe under house arrest, rising demand pushed the cost of one bitcoin in the African ...
Is This The One Caveat That Could Slay Bitcoin?Seeking Alpha
Bitcoin Might Make the Professional Gambler RichThe Merkle
Zimbabwe's instability had a bizarre side-effect: the nation's bitcoin market went bonkersBusiness Insider

all 7 news articles »

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 1:35 pm

Crypto Trading and Traditional Assets: New Options for Investors

cryptotrading.jpg

While trading of crypto-assets is booming, some investors are looking for options to trade traditional assets like stocks via cryptocurrencies. Three new operators are among those developing trading platforms to meet this need, with blockchain-based tokens pegged to the underlying assets.

Ankorus

Ankorus is establishing a platform that will permit trading traditional assets, including stocks, bonds, futures, options, gold, silver, commodities, ETFs, FX and bitcoin futures with cryptocurrency.

“Ankorus will establish an online exchange populated by any financial asset currently available worldwide,” reads the Ankorus white paper. “Various auditing measures will be taken to establish transparency, and customers will be able to validate that tokenised assets are fully backed and held by Ankorus.”

To enable cryptocurrency holders to buy real-world financial assets, Ankorus will create and allocate tokens that are exactly value-pegged to the underlying assets in exchange for cryptocurrency.

Ankorus will hold its “fundraising contribution” or “Token Generation Event” (TGE) between November 25 and December 25. The ANK token will be distributed to contributors during the TGE.

“The ANK is a utility token, used for commissions, for datafeeds, professional technical charting software, webinars, financial education materials and also membership for those who wish,” Ankorus CEO John Cruz told Bitcoin Magazine. “The ANK token will be allocated during our TGE and later listed on exchanges, beginning with EtherDelta. It is an ERC20 token.”

Another token, the Anchor Token, will be the asset value-pegged token, separately created to tokenize specific securities using a yet-to-be-determined technology.

“Anchor Tokens will come later, after we receive the requisite regulatory approval,” said Cruz. “Anchor Tokens will be created for our customers when they wish to tokenize specific assets. For example, if a customer wishes to purchase and tokenize Apple stock, we create an Apple Anchor Token (known as AAPL.A) or simply credit the customer with them if we created one earlier.”

One of the most interesting asset classes that Ankorus is targeting is that of traditional financial instruments based on cryptocurrencies, such as futures and derivatives. A few weeks ago Bitcoin Magazine reported that CME Group, one of the world’s largest derivatives exchanges, will launch a bitcoin futures product before the end of Q4 2017. In a video, Cruz explains why he considers CME bitcoin futures as a breakthrough that could soon push bitcoin’s price up to $50,000, and expresses confidence in Ankorus’s ability to offer CME bitcoin futures trading soon.

It’s worth noting that Ankorus’s offering can be seen as the reverse of CME bitcoin futures: while CME will offer a traditional financial instrument tied to cryptocurrencies to investors that prefer not to hold and trade cryptocurrencies directly, Ankorus wants to make CME bitcoin futures and other traditional financial instruments available to cryptocurrency holders.

One is left to wonder how Ankorus will navigate the compliance minefield, which has blocked similar initiatives before. The Ankorus team insists that they will be totally SEC-compliant and follow all KYC (Know Your Customer), AML (Anti-Money Laundering) and CTF (Counter-Terrorist Financing) regulations. According to the white paper, Ankorus intends to become a fully registered broker-dealer, acquire membership on a large and reputable exchange, follow best practices for insurance and auditing on a regular basis, and establish a compliant trading platform that will bridge the crypto and finance worlds.

“By becoming a broker-dealer entity, we will get SEC blessing,” said Cruz. “Everyone else is trying to tokenize assets by not being a broker-dealer entity; this is where they run into trouble with the SEC.”

“Within the team we have experience of complying with different market regulators’ KYC, AML and CTF requirements for an FX remittance company,” Ankorus COO Haldane Marnoch told Bitcoin Magazine. “PEP [Politically Exposed Persons] lists are vetted and we check against a suite of sanctions lists too. Documents supplied by our customers for proof of identity or proof of address expire and need to be renewed on a regular basis. Source of funds also needs to be proven for larger transactions.

“Our team is familiar with all the provisions required for operating across multiple jurisdictions,” continued Marnoch. “We’ll use as our primary reference the standards set by the SEC and the CFTC, but naturally we’ll be implementing processes to comply with each and every market we trade in, for instance the FCA in the U.K.”

“We will become a division of a Futures Commissions Merchant (FCM), expected early March, and will be able to fill orders for CME bitcoin futures at that time,” added Cruz.

LAToken and Jibrel Network

LAToken (LAT), which recently raised $19.6 million in a token sale, wants to broaden the use of cryptocurrencies in the real economy and allow cryptocurrency holders to diversify their portfolio by getting access to tokens linked to the price of real assets.

The LAT platform is already operational: asset tokens can be created, listed for sale and traded on the LAT platform. At this time, tokens linked to the price of stocks (e.g., Apple, Amazon, Tesla), commodities (oil, gold, silver) and real estate are already being traded on the LAT platform. Tokens linked to artwork are soon to follow.

According to the white paper, the LAT platform provides cryptocurrency holders with transparent price discovery and diversification across multiple asset classes, allowing for the creation or listing of third-party asset tokens compliant with LAToken disclosure and legal structure rules.

Jibrel Network wants to provide currencies, equities, commodities and other financial assets and instruments as standard ERC20 tokens on the Ethereum blockchain.

Jibrel Network’s draft white paper explains that the platform will support tokens, dubbed Crypto Depository Receipts (CryDRs), which represent ownership of an underlying traditional asset held by Jibrel. On release, Jibrel will support six fiat currencies (USD, CNY, EUR, GBP, RUB, AED) and two money-market instruments.

In the future, Jibrel plans offer CryDRs pegged to a wide range of currencies, commodities, securities and derivatives. The project will hold a token pre-sale between November 27 and January 27.

Both LAToken and Jibrel Network expect to be fully compliant with applicable regulations, including KYC/AML rules, and apply for relevant licenses where needed. Full compliance may prevent the companies from targeting customers in certain jurisdictions. For example, the Jibrel token sale will not be available to U.S., Chinese and Singaporean residents.

The post Crypto Trading and Traditional Assets: New Options for Investors appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 1:34 pm

Blockchain Coalition Seeks to Make Bitcoin Welcome in Wyoming

wyomingbc.jpg

A group of people are on a mission to bring Bitcoin back to the state of Wyoming after unfriendly laws made it impossible to transact with cryptocurrencies there more than two years ago.

The Wyoming Blockchain Coalition announced its formation this week. Its volunteer members aim to create a legal and regulatory environment in the state that welcomes cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology companies with open arms.

Among the group’s advisors are Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock — Byrne lives in Utah but has been a Bitcoin advocate for years — a former Wyoming governor, and two deans and a computer science department head from the University of Wyoming.

Outdated Laws

Bitcoin used to be welcome in Wyoming. But a 2015 interpretation of the Wyoming Money Transmitters Act (which the state passed in 2003, years before Bitcoin even existed) by the Wyoming Division of Banking made it impractical for cryptocurrency exchanges to operate in the state.

Cryptocurrencies are not specifically included on the list of “permissible investments” within the Act, as stocks or securities would be. As a result, after learning it would have to put up huge financial backing to stay in operation in the state, Coinbase suspended its operations in Wyoming indefinitely in June 2015.   

But a lot of people think the law doesn’t make sense. They see cryptocurrency as the future, and they think Wyoming would benefit from being more progressive.

Caitlin Long is one of those people. Now living in New York, where she serves as chairman and president at smart contracts platform company Symbiont, Long grew up in Laramie, Wyoming.

Over the summer, she wanted to give back to her alma mater. But when she went to personally fund an endowment for female engineers at the University of Wyoming, she found out the school was unable to accept her bitcoin as an appreciated asset.  

Fortunately, Long was able to find a charity outside of Wyoming that could legally liquidate the bitcoin and send it to the university through a donor-advised fund.

“They still got the cash, but it prompted a lot of discussion internally in the university about ‘what just happened here?’” Long told Bitcoin Magazine.

Long would not disclose how much she donated, but typically, donations to an endowment are $50,000 and up.

“When universities have donors that are interested in donating properties, they usually try to find ways to accept the properties,” she said.  

The event prompted a lot of discussion among some of the people within the university and eventually led to the formation of a coalition aimed at educating about and advocating for the adoption of blockchain technology in the state.  

Long offered up her services as an advisor member. “I’m in the business,” she said. “So I volunteered to help with both the bitcoin and the blockchain education efforts.”

No Time to Lose

The coalition is moving quickly. Within a week, the group formed an LLC, sent out a press release stating its goals and launched a website. “This is very, very new, and it is happening in real time,” said Long.

They have good reason to make haste. The new legislative session begins in February. If the coalition wants to push through a bill that will get digital currencies recognized as a “permissible investment” under the Wyoming Money Transmitters Act, they will need to move quickly.

Currently the group is working on legislative language with local attorneys and legislators. Next, they need to educate the citizens of Wyoming and the legislators about the benefits of Bitcoin and blockchain technologies. Some of that will involve webinars and live events, as as well as organizing a dinner in Cheyenne during the legislative session.  

Last year, a similar regulatory effort, Wyoming House Bill 26, did not pass, but that was due to lack of knowledge and some “unrelated political feuds,” Robert Jennings, another one of the group’s advisor members, told Bitcoin Magazine.

This time around, he thinks “blockchain [technology] and cryptocurrency will stand on its own merits.”

Jennings added, “There is already a groundswell of support in the state due to the rise in popularity of Bitcoin.”

But, he cautioned, it will require “an extensive education campaign, which is why we formed the Wyoming Blockchain Coalition.”

The post Blockchain Coalition Seeks to Make Bitcoin Welcome in Wyoming appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 1:28 pm

Ethereum Could Soon Launch Its First Casper Testnet

An experimental consensus algorithm that's long been proposed as a pillar of the ethereum protocol could soon see its first testing.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 11:45 am

Meet some people getting rich from bitcoin - Yahoo Finance


Yahoo Finance

Meet some people getting rich from bitcoin
Yahoo Finance
For Eddy Zillan's bar mitzvah in 2012, his parents gave him $5,000 to start an investment fund. They expected him to start dabbling in stocks. Instead, he began buying cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum. Eddy saved up another $7,000 from ...

and more »

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 11:19 am

No Fork, No Fire: Segwit2x Nodes Stall Running Abandoned Bitcoin Code

The Segwit2x bitcoin fork may have been formally called off, but as many as 150 nodes still running its code have stopped accepting transaction blocks

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 10:45 am

Internet Archive Adds Bitcoin Cash, Zcash to Donation Options

The Internet Archive, host of the Wayback Machine, has announced it now supports donations in bitcoin cash and zcash.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 9:45 am

ECB Council Member: Central Banks Considering Crypto Regulation

The European Central Bank's Ewald Nowotny has said that China's recent crackdown has brought new focus on cryptocurrency regulations.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 8:30 am

Ripple Makes a Splash: XRP Price Looks Up on Amex News

Positive news flow for Ripple seems to be boosting price, while the technical analysis also favors the bulls.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 7:30 am

Mike and Nathaniel's Week in Tech: Everybody Loves Bitcoin - New York Times


New York Times

Mike and Nathaniel's Week in Tech: Everybody Loves Bitcoin
New York Times
Farhad is off this week, so Nathaniel Popper, a Times tech and finance reporter, is filling in for him. Want this newsletter in your inbox? Sign up here. Mike: Why, hello there, new newsletter partner! It's everyone's favorite Bitcoin reporter ...

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 7:00 am

Square shares rise after Evercore ISI says bitcoin test is innovative, upgrades stock - CNBC


CNBC

Square shares rise after Evercore ISI says bitcoin test is innovative, upgrades stock
CNBC
Evercore ISI upgrades Square to outperform, highlighting the company's bitcoin testing as a potential revenue source down the road. Analyst Rayna Kumar also underscores Square's new technologies like Square Register, saying the new products should ...

and more »

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 6:56 am

The World's Biggest Wealth Manager Won't Touch Bitcoin - Bloomberg


Bloomberg

The World's Biggest Wealth Manager Won't Touch Bitcoin
Bloomberg
While skeptics have called bitcoin's rapid advance a bubble, it has become too big an asset for many financial firms to ignore. Bitcoin has gained 17 percent this week, touching a high of $7,997.17 during Asia hours before moving lower in late trading.

and more »

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 6:32 am

Up and Away? Bitcoin Price Eyes $8,000 Or Higher

Bitcoin has staged a remarkable "V" shaped recovery from the last week's lows near $5,500, and may be looking at new highs ahead.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 5:30 am

Friends Don't Let Friends Do Bad Crypto

Our duty to users doesn't end when they leave our site or app. Behaviors learned from us guide interactions with other services, writes Dan Elitzer.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 4:30 am

Over 20 Banks Join Singapore-Hong Kong Blockchain Trade Network

A number of banks have joined the recently announced blockchain-based trade network pilot jointly set up by Hong Kong and Singapore.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 3:20 am

Bitcoin Barreled Near $8000, $10000 By Year End? - Forbes


Forbes

Bitcoin Barreled Near $8000, $10000 By Year End?
Forbes
I cover commodities, FX, equities in developing & emerging markets. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. The cryptocurrency king Bitcoin smashed another record and grabbed investors' attention again. It appears that there is nothing ...

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 3:10 am

The Beginning? Tezos Could Open Doors for ICO Litigation

Class-action litigators in the U.S. appear to be positioning for a potential pop in the hot initial coin offering market.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 2:00 am

Nasdaq Explores Storing Asset Data on Blockchain

Stock exchange operator Nasdaq filed a patent outlining how to store asset ownership data on a blockchain.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 1:10 am

Bitcoin Is the New Crisis Currency - Bloomberg


Bloomberg

Bitcoin Is the New Crisis Currency
Bloomberg
Zimbabwe, where the price of bitcoin spiked to double the international rate after this week's military takeover, shows Jamie Dimon, Axel Weber and other cryptocurrency skeptics where the real-world use of bitcoin, and possibly its future, lies. It's ...

and more »

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 12:11 am

Europe's Executive Arm Issues Report on Blockchain For Education

EU Commission has released a report titled 'Blockchain in Education' that explains on potentials of the nascent technology in the education industry.

Posted on 16 November 2017 | 9:00 pm

Mimblewimble Just Launched Its First Testnet

An experimental blockchain boasting an innovative array of potential features is now entering a new phase of testing.

Posted on 16 November 2017 | 6:35 pm

The Lightning Network Now Supports Transactions Across Blockchains

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Although still in testing phase, the lightning network can now be used to send transactions across different blockchains. The Lightning Labs development team successfully swapped testnet bitcoin for testnet litecoin through a lightning channel this week: ownership of the coins changed hands, while no transaction was recorded on either blockchain.

“Previous atomic swaps that I have done were on-chain, and had the on-chain limitations of slow [transactions] and high transaction fees,” Litecoin creator Charlie Lee told Bitcoin Magazine, referring to an older trick to exchange different types of coins trustlessly. “Off-chain atomic swaps are significantly better. They are instant, [have] low fees, and better protect one’s privacy.”

The successful test paves the way for trustless cryptocurrency exchanges, near-seamless multi-coin payment processors and more.

Bitcoin and Litecoin

The lightning network is the highly anticipated second-layer payment network to be deployed on top of Bitcoin. And as an open protocol, it’s relatively easy to deploy lightning network support for other cryptocurrencies that are forked from Bitcoin’s codebase — like Litecoin.

Interestingly, if the lightning network runs on different blockchains, these chains can effectively be linked together. If one or several peers on the network are willing to take one type of coin and forward another, it’s possible to send bitcoins on one end of a channel that will end up as the equivalent in litecoin on the other end.

In a Medium post published in the first week of 2017, Lee explained that this potential to create these kinds of “bridges” between cryptocurrencies made him throw his weight behind the Segregated Witness (SegWit) soft forks on both Litecoin and Bitcoin.

When SegWit activated on Litecoin last spring, Lee’s vision came one step closer to reality. Because the soft fork had not yet activated on Bitcoin at that time, Lightning Labs decided to add Litecoin support to their LND lightning network implementation. Thus, by the time SegWit activated on Bitcoin last summer, LND was already compatible with both chains.

The testnet versions of these two blockchains are now made interoperable through the lightning network for the first time, allowing users to swap one type of coin for the other.

“The primary advantages over previous solutions are speed, cost and privacy,” Lightning Labs developer Conner Fromknecht told Bitcoin Magazine. “Transfers are more or less instant, and don’t require the cost of an on-chain transaction. Additionally, in the cooperative case, the transactions are never broadcast, and leave no trace on the blockchain, offering privacy benefits. And with any luck, these privacy benefits will only continue to improve.”

The Test (and the Potential)

This week’s specific test was done on a local machine, on which Fromknecht himself created two nodes: “Alice” and “Bob.” These two nodes were modified to be able to monitor both the Bitcoin and Litecoin testnets. Fromknecht then created a single lightning channel that sent testnet litecoin from Alice to Bob and testnet bitcoin back from Bob to Alice at a fixed exchange rate. While still all in an experimental setting, the test was successful; Lightning Labs today published a blog post and a video detailing the results.

In addition to offering a faster, cheaper and more private solution to exchanging coins, the successful test paves the way toward a whole new range of possibilities in the context of the lightning network. For example, peers on the network could eventually act as cryptocurrency exchanges, competing with one another to offer the best exchange rates.

“Arguably the most important benefit of Lightning swaps is the ability to efficiently exchange different currencies without a custodian,” Fromknecht said. “Our ecosystem heavily depends on exchanges to fulfill this role today, but Lightning swaps offer users a choice to get the best of both worlds — instant exchanges without relinquishing control of your money.”

Similarly, such exchangers could act as payment processors: it would be much easier for users to spend litecoin at merchants that only accept bitcoin (or vice versa). And it’s even conceivable that bitcoin-to-bitcoin payments over the lightning network will route via Litecoin hubs, if that’s the cheapest way to get funds from A to B.

For Lee, at least, this is not as unlikely as it sounds, and the successful tests mark another step toward his vision for the lightning network on Litecoin and Bitcoin.

“The Litecoin team is excited to work with Lightning Labs to explore the true potential of instant cross-chain atomic swaps,” he concluded.

For a more in-depth technical explanation of these kinds of atomic swaps, see our previous article “Atomic Scaps: How the Lightning Network Extends to Altcoins” or the blog post and video published by Lightning Labs today.

The post The Lightning Network Now Supports Transactions Across Blockchains appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 16 November 2017 | 3:48 pm

Dell Subsidiary Considers Blockchain Use in Data Transfers

In a new patent application, Dell subsidiary VMWare outlines how it could integrate a blockchain into a proposed cloud-based data transfer service.

Posted on 16 November 2017 | 1:45 pm

A Beginner’s Guide to Claiming Your Bitcoin Gold (and Selling It)

Claim your Bitcoin Gold

This is a re-write of “A Beginner’s Guide to Claiming Your ‘Bitcoin Cash’ (and Selling It)”. Please note: Everything in this article is just advice based on our best understanding of the current situation.

Bitcoin Gold (also referred to as Bgold, and trading under the ticker BTG) launched November 12, 2017. Since the Bitcoin blockchain technically forked on Bitcoin block 491407, anyone who held bitcoin (BTC) on October 24, 2017 should have an equivalent amount of BTG attributed to their Bitcoin private keys.

In our beginner’s guide to surviving the Bgold and SegWit2x forks, we explained how to secure your private keys so you could be sure to access your BTG and B2X. The B2X fork has since been suspended by the leaders of that project, however, and it currently seems very unlikely to happen in any serious way.

As such, this follow-up article explains how you can claim (and potentially use) your BTG — only your BTG.

Be Careful

Good news: Bitcoin Gold enforces strong replay protection. This means you can’t accidentally spend your BTC when you mean to spend BTG or vice versa.

As such, if you don’t care about BTG at all right now, you don’t need to do a thing. You can just keep using bitcoin as you always have. If you ever change your mind (and don’t lose your Bitcoin private keys in the meantime), you can still claim your BTG at any point in the future.

Likewise, if you want to hold onto your BTG long term, you also don’t need to do anything right now. You can keep using BTC as if nothing happened; just make sure to never lose your private keys.

(In both these cases, however, it could come in handy to keep a record of the Bitcoin addresses that stored your bitcoins at the time of the split. This is not strictly necessary, but your future self may thank you if you do it. You should be able to find this information in your wallet of choice, though where you find it may differ a little bit from wallet to wallet. Alternatively, you could move all your coins to a new address. If you then look up all your transactions since October 25, 2017, and note which addresses spent coins since that date, you know which addresses held coins at the time of the split.)

Now let’s assume you do care about BTG right now, at least enough to want to sell your share. (1 BTG is trading around 0.02 BTC at the time of writing of this article, so you could earn a 2 percent “dividend” on your BTC if you decide to sell.)

If you followed the advice outlined in our beginner’s guide, the good news is that you should be in full control of your Bitcoin private keys. This means you now hold BTC as well as BTG.

The bad news is that it’s not necessarily easy or safe to claim your BTG. If you’re using insecure (or even malicious) software, you may accidentally expose your private keys. And because these are the same private keys that secure your BTC, this exposure could lead to your BTC being stolen. You stand to lose much more from losing your BTC than you stand to gain from selling your BTG.

Therefore, you are going to want to take your time and make sure you understand what you are doing well enough to do it without exposing your private keys. Your BTG isn’t going anywhere.

Accessing Your Coins

In our beginner’s guide to surviving the Bgold (and SegWit2x) forks, we explained how to secure your private keys and recommended different wallet options. Here, you can find, per option, how to access your BTG.

Note that while it’s not strictly necessary in all cases, it’s probably best to first move your bitcoins (BTC) to a new address, or even a whole new wallet with a new seed, before you even touch your BTG. This way you don’t add any security risks, while it’s potentially also a bit better for privacy. (More on this below.)

Update: It was pointed out to us that the Coinomi wallet is now closed source. This means that you should definitely follow the suggested advice, and first move your BTC to a new address or a whole new wallet with a new seed before inserting your private keys into the Coinomi wallet!

Paper Wallet

The first recommendation in our beginner’s guide to surviving the Bgold (and SegWit2x) forks was to use a paper wallet. This advice was given in the context of storing your coins long term in particular. But if you want to access your BTG, you can, of course, do this right away.

However, the point of a paper wallet really is that your private keys are not stored in any device that could be hacked. Therefore, if you’re going to upload your private key into a Bitcoin Gold wallet, you should definitely create a whole new paper wallet with a new private key for your bitcoin (BTC). It’s probably best to then first sweep your private keys with a Bitcoin (BTC) wallet, and then send the coins to this new paper wallet for BTC.

Electrum and Coinomi are two wallets that allow you to sweep Bitcoin private keys. Look for the “sweep” option in the menus of these wallets; that’s where you can scan the QR-code displayed on your paper wallet. (Alternatively, you could type in the private key.) Once you’ve done this, send the bitcoins to the new paper wallet.

Once your bitcoins are stored safely on the new paper wallet (ideally after at least one confirmation), the old paper wallet still holds the BTG.

Now, the same trick must be repeated to access your BTG. Electrum does not support BTG, but Coinomi does. Coinomi also published a blog post explaining exactly how to access your BTG. This includes instructions for paper wallets.

Regular Wallet

Our second recommendation was to use a regular wallet, as listed on bitcoin.org.

How to access your BTG if you were using a regular wallet differs from one wallet to the next. But in most cases, Coinomi is once again the best wallet to import your keys into. While originally written for Bitcoin Cash, this Coinomi blog post explains exactly how to make that switch for a number of wallets. (Just mentally replace “BCH” for “BTG” wherever relevant.)

Full Node Wallet

Our third recommendation was to use a full node wallet, like Bitcoin Core or Bitcoin Knots.

These wallets store your private keys in a dedicated folder on your computer. You can make a backup of this folder using the menu in your wallet and select "Backup wallet." Once you’ve done this, you should be able to import this backup into the Bitcoin Gold full node, Bitcoin Gold Core.

But once again, it’s a lot easier (and possibly even safer) to export your private keys from your Bitcoin full node and import them into the Coinomi mobile wallet. While originally written for Bitcoin Cash, this Coinomi blog post explains how to do that for BTG as well. (Just mentally replace “BCH” for “BTG” wherever relevant.)

Hardware Wallet

We also recommended using a hardware wallet to keep your private keys secure — though we also noted that these wallets don’t necessarily make it easy to access your BTG.

Indeed, at the time of writing, no hardware wallet has enabled access to BTG. However, Ledger and Trezor have published blog posts indicating that they will be working on it. If you use either of these wallets, keep an eye out for announcements on their social media or blogs. Digital Bitbox and Keep Key have also published blog posts on the Bgold fork, suggesting they might support it; but they don’t support it yet. Keep an eye on their social media and blog to see if that changes.

Other (Non-bitcoin.org) Wallets, Exchanges, etc.

If you did not follow our advice and instead stored your BTC in any other wallet, or on an exchange, or anywhere else, you may or may not still be able to claim your BTG. In this case, you’ll have to figure out for yourself whether this is the case or not, and how to do so. This Coinomi blog post may, once again, be of help for some wallets. (Just mentally replace “BCH” for “BTG” wherever relevant.)

Using (or Selling) Your BTG

Once you have claimed your BTG, you can use it however you please. Just like any other altcoin, you could, for example, sell it for BTC or perhaps spend it somewhere if it’s accepted for payment, etc.

If you decide to sell your BTG, there are a number of exchanges where you can do this. The Bitcoin Gold website lists most of them here. (Which of these you decide to trust is up to you; we’re not giving any particular advice.)

But there are three more factors to keep in mind before doing so.

The first factor is privacy. Your public keys (which are linked to your BTC and BTG addresses) are identical for BTC and BTG. This means that whenever you spend your BTG (for example, to send them to an exchange), you do not only reveal your BTG addresses but also your BTC addresses. This can, in turn, reveal a lot about your current holdings as well as your past and future transactions and can even, by extension, reveal other data about people or entities you transact with. Make sure you are comfortable with giving up this privacy if you are going to send your BTG to an exchange or anywhere else.

The second factor is mostly theoretical at this point but worth a quick mention nonetheless:  security. By revealing your public key when spending BTG, you strip away one layer of cryptographic security, even for your BTC addresses. This doesn’t mean that your BTC are insecure right now, but there is an increased chance that your BTC won’t be secure at some point in the (far) future when this particular cryptographic standard is weakened. It is, therefore, best to move your BTC to a new address, at least some time within the next couple of years.

The third factor was already mentioned but bears repeating: If you’re using insecure software to claim your BTG, your BTC may be at risk. It’s probably best to move your BTC to a new address or even a whole new wallet with a new wallet seed before you even start meddling with BTG — regardless of which wallet you were using. That way, if you do mess up with insecure BTG software, you shouldn't lose your BTC.

So, to Recap …

1. You don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to, and there is no rush. If your private keys are secure, your BTG is secure.

2. If you want to use your BTG in any way, it's probably best to first move your BTC to a whole new address that you control, or even to a whole new wallet generated from a new seed. (But don’t lose your old private keys or seed: These still hold your BTG!)

3. Once you know what you’re doing, upload your private keys into a Bitcoin Gold wallet, like Coinomi. Then you can keep it, spend it, perhaps send it to an exchange to sell or whatever it is you want to do with your “free money.”

The post A Beginner’s Guide to Claiming Your Bitcoin Gold (and Selling It) appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 16 November 2017 | 1:15 pm

Survey: Bitcoin Investors Won't Sell Until Price Nears $200k

New survey data highlights the ideological – and economic – factors driving some investors to purchase bitcoin.

Posted on 16 November 2017 | 11:20 am

New “Semi-Decentralized” Cryptocurrency Exchange Navigates Murky Compliance Waters

New “Semi-Decentralized” Cryptocurrency Exchange Navigates Murky Compliance Waters

Tetra, a new entrant in the cryptocurrency exchange sector, describes itself as a semi-decentralized, peer-to-peer exchange with an emphasis on security and usability: “Tetra will help create the next wave of cryptocoin adoption which will benefit all cryptocurrency users from investors to traders to businesses.”

The term “peer-to-peer exchange” tends to suggest the idea of a strong emphasis on privacy and anonymity, as well as a certain level of disdain for Know-Your-Customer (KYC) rules, meddling regulators and authorities. According to Tetra’s blog post announcement, however, it appears that its approach is at odds with this philosophy:

Tetra understands the importance of practices like KYC and has devoted the resources necessary to implement these processes properly. Users will be able to trade safely with the comfort of knowing that due diligence has been enacted to protect them from potential repercussions.

“You may have heard the terrifying accounts of people receiving prison sentences for trading cryptocurrencies on peer-to-peer exchanges,” adds the main Tetra website. “With Tetra, that is a thing of the past. Route your payments through our fully compliant banking network for a legally sound trading process. We're relieving traders of the burden of obtaining expensive licenses and adhering to cumbersome regulations in order to allow people to focus on what matters: their trades.”

While this sounds appealing to compliance-conscious cryptocurrency users and traders, the self-description of Tetra as a “semi-decentralized P2P” raises questions. In a Reddit discussion, a Tetra representative admits that Tetra is a centralized service, but states that the exchange operates using a decentralized transaction model so that the operators never have control over users’ coins directly, and thus hackers do not have access to users’ coins.

In communication with Bitcoin Magazine, Patrick O'Brien and CTO of Tetra Exchange, confirmed this practice.

"Tetra is called a semi-decentralized exchange because Tetra customers maintain control over their own private keys. Customer funds are never stored on our centralized servers, users store their funds in their own client-side wallets which are built into the Tetra software, and transact through our system by utilizing the Bitcoin network's multi-signature transaction architecture.”

He explained that Tetra is described as a peer-to-peer exchange because users are trading with other individuals, and not with Tetra or against a Tetra orderbook as they would in a traditional exchange.

“To elaborate further, this means that when customers are interested in making escrow payments they will participate in a multi-signature transaction, with the third party and ourselves as signing authorities,” continued O'Brien.

“In the event of a dispute we can co-operate with either side to move the funds where they need to go, and in the event of a successful transaction both sides can agree to release the funds. All of this is accomplished without us ever having direct control over the flow of money as would be the case in a traditional exchange.”

International Compliance Issues

Based in British Columbia, Canada, Tetra plans to operate globally with no restrictions, unless forced to by law. When a Reddit user suggested that Tetra is advising traders to flaunt U.S. money transmission laws, the Tetra representative answered that the exchange is not “ignoring U.S. laws and pretending it's Canadian law while intending to operate in the U.S.”

He added that the exchange takes compliance very seriously and stated that Tetra is circling back to their lawyers for advice.

However, as the Reddit thread continues to point out, there still remains a number of compliance and personal privacy concerns related to the company’s KYC measures that U.S. users should be especially wary of, depending on the particular state requirements where they live.

Some states are stricter than others, too. Always [know] one's own jurisdictional rules/laws and not rely on what is "too good to be true." - coin_trader_LBC

User Experience and Security

Leaving aside the P2P interpretation and the potential compliance minefield, it’s worth noting that Tetra emphasizes easy usability and security as strong competitive advantages in the cryptocurrency exchange market.

“[The] Tetra app and web platform will create a simple experience for users,” reads the announcement, adding that users won’t need to know about public key cryptography and smart contracts. “This approach will enable a new generation of users to enter the cryptocurrency space and with that bring new investors, new clients for dapps and crypto-based businesses, and in general make a great stride towards mainstream adoption that will enable the positioning of cryptocurrencies as true world-currencies.”

The Tetra platform uses multisig escrow and intends to automate all aspects of the trading process to provide “incredibly secure and worry-free trading” with 2-of-2 and 2-of-3 P2SH multi-signature transactions, smart contracts and encryption of all communications.

Of course, Tetra is hardly the only exchange to focus on easy usability and security, and, in fact similar measures are adopted by many exchanges today. What really seems to differentiate Tetra from many other exchanges is the fact that Tetra is explicitly targeting professional traders and cryptocurrency trading businesses that need to streamline multiple trades, by offering an easy user experience to their customers and presenting themselves as fully compliant with regulations.

"The goal here is to facilitate the growth of fiat to crypto on-ramps and off-ramps, and we do this by encouraging people to operate trading businesses on our platform," O'Brien told Bitcoin Magazine.

“The features outlined so far culminate to satisfy business needs; by ensuring customers have a completely secure, legally safe, and easy to use platform Tetra will allow businesses to thrive in an otherwise hostile environment,” concludes the announcement.

The first public release of the Tetra platform and apps, currently available to alpha testers, will support Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Dash. Other cryptocurrencies that support multisig transactions are planned for the future. The platform will begin its roll out in the U.S., Canada and Australia.

To professional traders and businesses, Tetra offers a paid service dubbed Tetra Prime, with support for online and “brick-and-mortar” business storefronts, as well as trade matching and analytics to optimize trading profiles.

The post New “Semi-Decentralized” Cryptocurrency Exchange Navigates Murky Compliance Waters appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 15 November 2017 | 11:39 am

Kaspersky Lab and Parity Technologies Launch Blockchain-Based Voting System

Kaspersky Lab and Parity Technologies Launch Blockchain-Based Voting System

Cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab unveiled Polys, a secure online voting system based on blockchain technology and backed with transparent crypto algorithms, at the company’s annual Cybersecurity Weekend event in Dublin.

“[Online] voting imposes extremely stringent requirements on the security of every aspect of voting,” notes the Polys website. “We believe that the blockchain technology is the missing link in the architecture of a viable online voting system.”

“In our Kaspersky Lab Business Incubator we’re supporting both internal and external teams in developing bright ideas and technologies, which can be implemented in various areas where safety and security are important,” said Vartan Minasyan, Head of Investment and Innovation at Kaspersky Lab.

“One such area is online voting and, when exploring the possible implementations of blockchain in particular, our team realized that this technology combined with the company’s cybersecurity expertise could solve key problems related to the privacy, transparency and security of online voting. We’re excited that we have been able to create a suitable environment for this internal innovation.”

Kaspersky Lab released a beta version of Polys, intended to get early feedback and iteratively develop an operational voting system that, according to the company, “will change the way people vote.”

At the moment, Polys offers a free web-based dashboard to create an online vote with two options: majority vote, in which the option that gets the majority of votes wins, and cumulative vote, in which the voter has multiple votes that can be given to a single option or divided among several options. Cumulative voting is often used, for example, for committee elections where voters can support more than one candidate.

Once a vote has been created on the Polys dashboard, the administrators can choose how to accept votes. Currently supported options are email, unique codes, and public voting. In email voting, Polys sends an email to each voter with a secure voting link. In public voting, the voting link is open to everyone who can view it. A combination of online and offline voting can be implemented with secure codes, generated by Polys and sent to users in electronic or printed format, which enable users to vote using either personal devices or public computers in voting kiosks.

Polys will support a desktop app to create a vote and a mobile app to actually vote. Besides the free dashboard, Polys offers a paid version that supports white-labeling, re-branding and integration options.

According to Kaspersky Lab, a robust voting system should ensure voter anonymity, provide protection against trash votes, vote trafficking and voter coercion, and enable voters to check that their votes have been recorded in the blockchain. It’s also important to encrypt the voting results recorded in the blockchain, otherwise intermediate results could become available before voting ends, which is often against the law.

For now, votes can’t be changed by Polys or by the voters, but a Polys white paper suggests countering the threats of vote trafficking and coerced voting by enabling voters to change their votes without limitation.

The source code of Polys, based on Ethereum smart contracts, will be made available on GitHub. Cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab is leading Polys’s security development;  Parity Technologies, a company specialized in blockchain and peer-to-peer software for the decentralized web, will support the project’s blockchain development.

“Parity Technologies is excited to be involved with Polys as their platform of choice for such an innovative project,” said Jutta Steiner, co-founder of Parity Technologies. “Blockchain [technology] is increasingly being implemented by a vast number of industries, and we believe that decentralizing the voting procedure will ensure a fair process and create a high level of trust in the system.”

Kaspersky Lab proposes two typical use cases for Polys: early-adopting environments such as universities, where students and faculty will be able to informally vote for classes and student councils, and tech-oriented “future cities” that need new solutions for conducting formal elections with speed, reliability and trust.

It seems likely that blockchain-based online voting systems, including but not limited to Polys, will first find operational applications for informal, non-binding consultative voting in academia and similar environments. It’s worth noting that Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs), which can often be considered as demonstrators of future governance methods, have built-in voting systems based on blockchain technology, often implemented with Ethereum smart contracts.

Therefore, it seems plausible that blockchain-based voting could move to the “real” world of cities and governments. Once blockchain-based voting systems are able to demonstrate watertight security, they could address the challenge of counting errors and fraud in elections. It’s also worth noting that, while blockchain voting has its delays and costs, it could be much faster and cheaper than traditional voting systems. Blockchain voting could enable governments to implement direct democracy with frequent consultations on a wide range of political and social issues.

The post Kaspersky Lab and Parity Technologies Launch Blockchain-Based Voting System appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 14 November 2017 | 12:57 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

Steam accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 29 April 2016 | 1:09 am

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

Expedia to accept Bitcoin payments for hotel bookings

Posted on 12 June 2014 | 12:41 pm

November 17, 2017 -
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