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Bitcoin Cash Innovation Accelerates With Cashscript High-Level Language

August 25, 2019 |

Bitcoin Cash Innovation Accelerates With the High-Level Language Cashscript

Software developers Rosco Kalis and Gabriel Cardona have been steadily working on Cashscript, a high-level programming language for Bitcoin Cash. When the language is tied to certain opcodes, specific schemes can be built that allow for autonomous and decision-based transactions. While testing Cashscript’s capabilities, the two engineers recently deployed an oracle, forfeits, an onchain wager, and a recurring payments contract.

Also read: Send Token Payouts With Ease Using Bitcoin.com’s SLP Dividend Calculator

BCH Developers Are Innovating With Cashscript

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) development is in full swing and over the last six months the tempo has really started to pick up. Things like the Simple Ledger Protocol, Schnorr signatures, opcodes, Cashshuffle, the programming language Spedn, and token dividend payments have galvanized the network’s versatility. Another project that’s seeing steady development is Cashscript, a high-level language for BCH created by the software developer Rosco Kalis.

News.Bitcoin.com reported on Cashscript in May, when Kalis discussed the number of innovative concepts that can stem from using Cashscript. The main focus for Cashscript developers is to make it easier for other engineers to plug a Cashscript contract into any web application. “For this workflow as well as the syntax of the language we took a lot of inspiration from Ethereum’s Solidity language and Web3.js / Truffle libraries,” Kalis told our newsdesk at the time.

Bitcoin Cash Innovation Accelerates With Cashscript High-Level Language

Since then, Kalis and other developers like Gabriel Cardona, the creator of Bitbox, have been eagerly showing the BCH community what Cashscript is capable of doing. “Cashscript is a paradigm shift in expressiveness for BCH contracts,” Cardona explained this week while highlighting a bunch of experiments. For instance, Cardona showed the BCH community on Twitter how the Mecenas contract was replicated in Cashscript. Mecenas was a contract developed by Karol Trzeszczkowski that allows for recurring BCH payments. After redesigning the covenant-based smart contract solution in Cashscript, the developer asserted that “Large contracts like this is where Cashscript really shines.” On August 24, Cardona also tweeted that last year in Milan at the Satoshi’s Vision Conference, BCH engineer Awemany revealed a solution to the zero-confirmation problem by using a concept called “Zero-Confirmation Forfeits.” So the developer decided to replicate the zero-confirmation forfeit idea using the Cashscript language.

Bitcoin Cash Innovation Accelerates With Cashscript High-Level Language
Are you a developer looking to build on Bitcoin Cash? Head over to our Bitcoin Developer page where you can get Bitcoin Cash developer guides and start using the Bitbox, SLP, Cashscript, and Badger Wallet SDKs.

BCH Supports Hodling Better Than BTC

While showing the ported Cashscript examples on Twitter, Cardona also tipped his hat to developers who helped initiate these ideas like Tendo Pein, Karol Trzeszczkowski, Rosco Kalis, Emil Oldenburg, Chris Pacia, and Tobias Ruck. The next day on August 25, Cardona showed the public a wager contract from Emil Oldenburgs’s onchain bet example from “Taking OP_Checkdatasig out for a test drive.” The new wager contract was written in Cashscript, which executes an onchain bet between two parties and can only be settled by block height and price signed by an oracle. “Noncustodial financial services are about to change everything,” Cardona exclaimed. In another example, Kalis and Cardona produced an oracle using Cashscript and OP_Checkdatasig. The contract forces holding onto the asset until a certain price target has been reached. The “Hodl-Vault” contract specifications state:

A minimum block is provided to ensure that oracle price entries from before this block are disregarded: When the BCH price was $ 1,000 in the past, an oracle entry with the old block number and price can not be used. Instead, a message with a block number and price from after the minBlock needs to be passed. This contract serves as a simple example of OP_Checkdatasig-based contracts.

After the contract was created, Spedn creator Tendo Pein tweeted: “BCH supports hodling better than BTC.” “Anything BTC can do, BCH can do better,” Cardona replied. On the Reddit forum r/btc, BCH supporters welcomed the innovation stemming from the Cashscript language. Cashscript can allow for many types of autonomous and decision-based transactions like oracles, zero-conf forfeits, digital good purchases via PGP signature, Pay to ID, cold wallet timeout, enforced multi-signature signing order, stablecoins, covenants, secure multi-party computation, blind escrows and spending constraints. “[It’s] going to be exciting to see what people can come up with using these new features,” one BCH supporter said after reading about the innovations Cashscript could prime in the future.

Oracles and Decision-Based Transactions Without the Need for a Custodian’s Decision

One of the biggest conversations stemming from the r/btc post about Cashscript was the use of oracles. Many cryptocurrency enthusiasts and blockchain developers believe that the BCH blockchain could provide verifiable multi-sourced facts, so people can use a trustless oracle for better decisions. Oracles are neutral by design and can allow the BCH chain to verify enough valid data to prove something is true or false, which then would essentially trigger decision-based transactions based on the outcome.

Since ancient times, humans have used oracles to make hard decisions, execute bets and wagers, and provide validated reports. The opcode OP_Checkdatasig has brought the idea of blockchain oracle concepts using the BCH chain to the forefront. The opcode can check the validation of certain signatures, and return two different outcomes in an autonomous fashion. This means BCH-powered oracles can provide a definitive outcome for things like sporting events, election results, and prediction markets. But it would do so in a way that removes the need for a third party or custodian’s decision.

Developers have already proven these types of decision-based transactions can work without changing the current BCH rule set. People have built onchain wagers, oracles, digital currency inheritance schemes and even a game of onchain chess. It’s still very early, but Cashscript is maturing fast and BCH developers can utilize the language right now to execute these types of decision-based transactions into their workflow. As Cardona highlighted earlier this week, noncustodial financial services will decimate the current way we deal with money. Innovations like OP_Checkdatasig, Cashscript, Spedn, and Schnorr help to realize this goal.

What do you think about the Cashscript language and developers creating unique types of decision-based transactions with Cashscript and OP_Checkdatasig? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Jamie Redman, Github, Cashscript, and Twitter.


Are you a Bitcoin developer? You can create your own Bitcoin Cash app with the Bitbox and Badger Wallet SDKs, get started with BCH tokens through the SLP SDK, and build your knowledge base with our Bitcoin Cash developer guides.

The post Bitcoin Cash Innovation Accelerates With Cashscript High-Level Language appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Bitcoin History Part 16: The First Mt. Gox Hack

August 25, 2019 |

Bitcoin History Part 16: The First Mt. Gox Hack

No one remembers the first Mt. Gox hack. It was a small sum, even by 2011’s standards, and the exchange reimbursed all users. The incident was to prove significant, however, for it set in motion a string of attacks on other bitcoin platforms that began the very next day. By the time the dust had settled six weeks later, four separate thefts had occurred, culminating in the loss of more than 178,000 bitcoins.

Also read: Bitcoin History Part 15: Silk Road Is Born

The First Bitcoin Exchange Hack

Summer 2011 was a heady time for the internet. Twitter was still good, deplatforming had yet to become a thing, and free speech was taken for granted. Back then, you could say what you liked, how you liked, to whoever you liked, and if that person didn’t like it, they could turn off their computer and go for a long walk in the sunshine, which solved the problem. Anyone with any sense wasn’t walking anywhere in mid-2011, however, because everything that mattered was happening on the internet, and it was riveting.

Bitcoin History Part 16: The First Mt. Gox Hack

For purveyors of the illicit, the insurrectionary, and the innovative, June 2011 might just go down as the most exciting month on the internet yet. It began with Gawker blowing Silk Road wide open on June 1, and would culminate, on June 25, with hacker group Lulzsec releasing its last data dump, comprising millions of passwords and sensitive data from scores of corporations. Sandwiched in between all this chaos were two noteworthy bitcoin hacks that weren’t of Lulzsec’s doing. The first, on June 19, was the first exchange hack in Bitcoin history, with the second occurring a day later as a direct result of this incursion.

Mt. Gox Gets Goxxed

Before Mt. Gox became so synonymous with failure as to spawn a verb describing the act of getting rekt, it was a successful exchange that was at the heart of everything that was happening in Bitcoin. It was to suffer its first hack, however, a little over a year into its life as a bitcoin exchange, and just three months after Mark Karpeles had taken over its operations. The incident occurred as a result of this ownership change, which entitled the former owner to a share of revenue, and with the administrator access to audit their earnings.

Bitcoin History Part 16: The First Mt. Gox Hack

On June 19, someone hacked into the admin account and generated vast amounts of BTC on the Gox orderbook. Doing so drove the price of BTC from dollars all the way down to a cent. The hackers then bought the cheap BTC with their own accounts and withdrew their cheaply gotten gains. They weren’t the only ones to profit from the BTC flash sale going on, with other Mt. Gox users making the most of the opportunity.

‘I’m Kevin, Here’s My Side’

In an account of how they capitalized on the mishap, Bitcointalk user “toasty” wrote on June 20, 2011: “I’m Kevin and I’m the guy who bought 259,684 BTC for under $ 3,000 yesterday. I really wanted to keep this as quiet as possible, but I don’t feel I can anymore. Here’s my side of what happened.” He went on:

“I was watching, like many of you, a gigantic sell order burning through the bids. Mt Gox doesn’t execute trades very quickly, so we were watching this huge order slowly eat up every buy order on the books. The price started at around $ 17.50, and within minutes was below $ 10. At this point, I realized this wasn’t merely a large seller willing to accept some losses. This was someone attempting to crash the market by selling a huge percentage of the market’s total bitcoins at once.”

Despite the exchange “running slower than molasses at the time,” toasty eventually “got a buy order in, offering to buy as many bitcoins as I could for $ 0.0101. The site stopped responding completely for a while, probably from so many people hitting refresh to see what was going on. When I got back in, I saw in my account:

06/19/11 17:51 Bought BTC 259684.77 for 0.0101

“I had just purchased over 250,000 bitcoins for $ 2613. At the trading price immediately before this large sell order happened, that number would have been worth nearly $ 5 million. After I regained my breath, I tried to figure out what to do.”

Two Strikes in Two Days

Despite withdrawal limits that were meant to be in place, both toasty and the real hacker managed to withdraw significant quantities of coins – toasty alone made off with 643 BTC. There followed an intense debate on the Bitcointalk forum about who was to blame for the theft, and whether toasty was entitled to his bargain bitcoins. The value of the 2,643 BTC Gox lost in the hack was valued at $ 47,000 at the time, and the exchange made full restitution to users who lost funds in the incident. It was powerless, though, to prevent a second hack which occurred within 24 hours of the breach.

On June 20, 2011, as toasty was confessing to his opportunistic trade and pondering what to do with his riches, the Bitcoin community was rocked by a second strike. Users of wallet service Mybitcoin.com reported that their accounts had been breached and their BTC stolen. It quickly became clear that the Mt. Gox database had been accessed during the hack, and that identical passwords and usernames on Mybitcoin had been plundered.

The pseudonymous operator of Mybitcoin acknowledged: “We’ve concluded that around 1% of the users on the leaked Mtgox password file had their Bitcoins stolen on MyBitcoin.” In total, 4,019 BTC worth $ 72,000 were stolen, with Mybitcoin covering their losses.

Bitcoin History Part 16: The First Mt. Gox Hack

The Summer of Lulz

June 2011 was a dramatic month, as the world began awakening to Bitcoin, set to a montage of Lulzsec hacks complete with heavy trolling of the three-letter agencies that were on their tail. The action didn’t let up either, for the next month there was more drama in these intersecting worlds (Lulzsec accepted donations in BTC, and were as enamored with bitcoin as many bitcoiners were with them). On July 18, the Anonymous-affiliated group exited retirement to hack the website of British newspaper The Sun, planting a fake story that owner Rupert Murdoch had died after ingesting palladium.

On July 26, Polish exchange Bitomat lost its wallet file containing 17,000 BTC. Three days later, Mybitcoin, the wallet service that had been breached along with Mt. Gox in June, exit scammed with 154,406 BTC, only half of which were ever recovered. To cover its 17,000 BTC losses, meanwhile, Bitomat was put up for sale, and in August 2011 a buyer was found: Mark Karpeles. The Mt. Gox CEO agreed to cover its debt, and welcomed Bitomat’s users to his Tokyo-based exchange. The deed was performed partly to restore faith in the still fragile Bitcoin ecosystem. Subsequent bitcoin hacks involving Mt. Gox would prove larger and harder for its CEO to absorb, but all that was still years away.

Bitcoin History is a multipart series from news.Bitcoin.com charting pivotal moments in the evolution of the world’s first cryptocurrency. Read part 15 here.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post Bitcoin History Part 16: The First Mt. Gox Hack appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

The White House Just Blamed Bitcoin for America’s Opiate Crisis

August 24, 2019 |

The White House Just Blamed Bitcoin for America's Opiate Crisis

The opioid epidemic is the new devil Bitcoin is being blamed for inflaming, to be added to the already long list of heinous crimes crypto is supposedly responsible for, like terrorism, money laundering, and trafficking. While it’s painfully clear that the U.S. dollar is a much more common tool for these unethical and illicit activities, that doesn’t stop the powers that be from continuing their propagandistic assault on financial freedom — ignoring their own central role in creating these massive problems, by pumping up the artificial monopolies that peddle them, and outlawing less dangerous and non-addictive solutions.

Also Read: Doing What You Want With Your Money Is a Fundamental Right

It’s That Evil Internet Money to Blame

In new advisories issued by Whitehouse.gov entitled: “White House Announces Actions to Crack Down on Trafficking of Fentanyl and Synthetic Opioids and Better Position Private Sector to Protect the Homeland,” the U.S. government has named a new enemy in America’s deadly opioid crisis: Bitcoin. Among culprit cryptos named as aiding in trafficking of Fentanyl are BTC, BCH, ETH, and XMR. For those in the know, this is a little more than darkly ironic, as the U.S. government’s systematic U.S. dollar finance of big pharmaceutical companies, and combined violent prohibition of safe alternatives like cannabis, dwarf any paltry contribution crypto might be making.

The White House Just Blamed Bitcoin for America's Opiate Crisis

America’s Opioid Crisis

Opioids — being basically heroin in a pill — are highly addictive. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) itself, Fentanyl is “80-100 times stronger than morphine.” With the wild financial success of oxycodone (commonly known by the trade name Oxycontin) and other opioids in the 90’s, big pharma began seeing big dollar signs. After an industry and government-wide push to address chronic pain, and a new Joint Commission initiative which now recognized pain as the “5th vital sign” (basically conditioning patients to take meds for any and every discomfort and nagging pain) opiate use exploded.

Prescriptions for opioid analgesics skyrocketed by 104%, from 43.8 million in 2000 to 89.2 million in 2010. In 2016, more than 289 million prescriptions were filled. According to a Surgeon General’s Report released the same year:

Over-prescription of powerful opioid pain relievers beginning in the 1990s led to a rapid escalation of use and misuse…This led to a resurgence of heroin use, as some users transitioned to using this cheaper street cousin of expensive prescription
opioids. As a result, the number of people dying from opioid overdoses soared—increasing nearly four-fold between 1999 and 2014.

Fentanyl and its analogues, the central theme of the recent White House advisories, are currently causing the most deaths where opioids are concerned. Chinese drug kingpins and crypto are being blamed, but the government conveniently ignores its own central role in the chemical devastation of tens of thousands of lives.

The White House Just Blamed Bitcoin for America's Opiate Crisis

In 2017, over 72,000 died of overdose, and most of these were opioid-related. While the numbers of prescriptions are finally leveling off, the U.S. government’s recent statements painting crypto as a key culprit are laughable, spurious, and telling. As U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and John Kennedy (R-LA) recently expressed in a letter to the DEA:

We have previously shared our deep concern that, between 1993 and 2015, DEA allowed aggregate production quotas for oxycodone to increase 39-fold, hydrocodone to increase 12-fold, hydromorphone to increase 23-fold, and fentanyl to increase 25-fold.

The senators go on to state that “the pharmaceutical industry flooded every corner of the country with 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pills between 2006 and 2012—egregious volumes of painkiller production that was undertaken with DEA approval and awareness.”

The White House Just Blamed Bitcoin for America's Opiate Crisis

Taking Aim at Crypto

The “Money” section of the four-part advisory details how criminals use “convertible virtual currency” (CVC) to facilitate trafficking of illicit substances:

Foreign representatives will instruct the U.S.-based individual to send payments through CVC, such as bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum, or monero.

The document goes on to state: “Additionally, U.S.-based individuals may find fentanyl dealers on Darknet markets and contact Darknet vendors located worldwide, including in the United States.” Advising financial institutions on methods for discovering and reporting business transaction red flags, things like use of Virtual Privacy Networks (VPN), inability to determine the source of funds, sending “low-dollar money transfers to an individual in China for no apparent legitimate purpose,” and association with a pharmaceutical company are listed.

Information “particularly helpful to law enforcement” is identified as crypto wallet addresses, account info, tx IDs, tx history, login/IP info, “mobile device information,” and “information obtained from analysis of the customer’s public, online profile and
communications.” The report also details, in a footnote:

Tumbling or mixing involves the use of mechanisms to break the connection between an address sending CVC and the addresses receiving
CVC.

While the crypto crowd is put under the hot lights of sloppy state scrutiny once again, now being blamed for Fentanyl abuse and Chinese drug lords — who simply fulfilled a demand for a ferociously successful black market the U.S. government itself created, anyway — level-headed, statistical assessment puts the propaganda straight to bed.

The White House Just Blamed Bitcoin for America's Opiate Crisis
The most dangerous thing about this plant, Cannabis, is that the government will try to destroy the lives of those who use it without their permission.

Math Doesn’t Lie, and Violence Isn’t Safety

As news.bitcoin.com reported last month, when it comes to the currency most overwhelmingly used to facilitate illicit transactions like Fentanyl trafficking, the USD remains the preferred money of criminals by leaps and bounds. This is irrelevant, though, according to many crypto enthusiasts and free market advocates, because any tool anywhere can be used unethically. This doesn’t make the tool bad, but the actor.

With only $ 72 billion (erring on the side of extreme caution) of the estimated $ 400 billion annual market volume for illegal drugs being bitcoin-related, the point is moot, even by statist standards. Still, those tragically affected by the opioid epidemic have a more pointed bone to pick.

When safe alternatives to highly addictive substances like Fentanyl are naturally, readily available, and dirt cheap, there can be only one reason the powers that be would seek to destroy families, incomes, and literal lives to stop people from possessing them: control. So while the gutters are strewn with mountains of cold corpses from an opiate cash cow, and innocent men and women are locked in cages for trying to save their lives, or the lives of their children with a plant, it’s hard to imagine any sane person believing the White House talking heads. They may feign concern and cry crocodile tears for the plague they willingly created, blaming a non-violent, decentralized money for the damage, but to believe that line of blather one would have to be very drugged up, indeed.

What are your thoughts on the White House advisory? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, fair use.


Did you know you can buy and sell BCH privately using our noncustodial, peer-to-peer Local Bitcoin Cash trading platform? The Local.Bitcoin.com marketplace has thousands of participants from all around the world trading BCH right now. And if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store your coins, you can download one from us here.

The post The White House Just Blamed Bitcoin for America’s Opiate Crisis appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

The New Bitcoin Banks Are Here

August 23, 2019 |

The New Bitcoin Banks Are Here

A new age of banking is imminent. Legacy models will be forced to follow suit or become obsolete in the eyes of value holders worldwide, as new bitcoin and crypto services take over, seeking to implement blockchain systems with an eye on convenience and financial inclusion. Announcements of stablecoins and exchange services from giants Binance, Coinbase, and others, signal the age of the ‘Bitcoin Bank’ is just beginning. Whether this shift brings about the immense positive change it promises, or simply becomes a new centrally regulated banking system with competing digital monies, the transition is nevertheless underway.

Also Read: The World Bank’s Blockchain Bond Is Just a Fancy Way of Selling Debt

Overview of Trends

On a global scale, a few basic trends are emerging rapidly where crypto exchanges and banking are concerned. The proliferation of crypto/fiat on and off-ramps, ever wider arrays of crypto financial services, and development of competing stablecoins are being witnessed more than ever. Major players seek to secure market capitalization in the context of security-oriented, compliance-based crypto competition which fosters financial inclusion.

The New Bitcoin Banks Are Here

Binance Announces New Stablecoin Project

On Monday, Binance announced “plans to initiate an open blockchain project, Venus, an initiative to develop localized stablecoins and digital assets pegged to fiat currencies across the globe.” The $ 1 billion+ daily trading volume behemoth is supporting over 150 cryptocurrencies and already actively involved in stablecoin development “including a BTC-pegged stablecoin (BTCB) and the Binance BGBP Stable Coin (BGBP) pegged to the British Pound.”

The Chinese version of the announcement stressed the need to embrace change, and for groups like itself and Libra to be developed in an “orderly manner” under regulatory guidelines. The announcement goes on to suggest three specific courses of action including government establishing the strategic position of blockchain and stablecoin enterprise in the financial sector, establishing regulatory sandbox mechanisms, and the allowance of private enterprise creation of stablecoins and cross-border payment settlement systems.

Coinbase Acquires Xapo

Another giant in the industry serving as a significant crypto on-ramp since 2012, is Coinbase, whose custody business has recently acquired crypto asset storage group Xapo’s Institutional Custody Business. In an announcement on August 16, Coinbase detailed: “Through the acquisition of Xapo’s institutional businesses, we’re now proud to act not only as the gateway for millions of people to cryptocurrency, but also as the world’s largest and most trusted steward of digital assets.”

The New Bitcoin Banks Are Here
Coinbase Assets Under Custody (AUC) growth chart. Source: https://blog.coinbase.com

Coinbase currently provides crypto services supporting 42 countries worldwide, with over 20 million customers globally. The group’s main service is facilitating the buying and selling of bitcoin via bank account, credit and debit card. Like Binance, Coinbase has its own stablecoin, USD coin (USDC). The overarching selling point of all of stablecoins across the industry is strikingly similar: a focus on convenience and reliability. As Coinbase claims, emphasizing financial inclusion:

Unlike regular US dollars, USD Coin doesn’t require a bank account. It doesn’t require that you live in a particular geography. And you can send USD Coin around the world at an extremely low cost in just a few minutes. This opens a lot of possibilities.

Huobi Global

Headquartered in Singapore, the Chinese exchange Huobi was forced to adapt via unorthodox means due to encroaching Chinese regulatory restraints in 2017. The exchange is currently doing a daily volume of over $ 1.1 billion and serves as an active hub for crypto and fiat trading, with leveraged spot trading, fiat withdrawals, and the HUSD stablecoin being key selling points. Multisig cold wallets with “24/7 security monitoring” and a “Dedicated 20,000 BTC Security Reserve Fund,” enable users to store funds. Like Binance and Coinbase, Huobi is exemplary of crypto exchanges now moving out of mere trading to offering what are basically crypto banking services to their users.

The New Bitcoin Banks Are Here
After a $ 534 million NEM hack in January, 2018, Tokyo finance giant Monex acquired the exchange, soon after announcing submission of an application to join the Libra Association, as well.

Coincheck and Bitcoin Suisse

Allowing users to earn interest via crypto lending, payment of utility bills, and business payment services, Japan’s Coincheck was acquired by mainstream Tokyo brokerage firm Monex Group in April, 2018, for $ 33.6 million. In the wake of a $ 534 million NEM heist in January, 2018, and ensuing regulatory overhaul, the exchange has once again become profitable, according to Monex. Monex Managing Director and Chairman Oki Matsumoto recently created even more of a stir when he announced that Monex had applied to join the Libra Association, expressing emphatic interest in the project. The Libra announcement solidified the growing impressions of many that a global synergy toward bitcoin banking is indeed developing more rapidly than ever across the industry.

Other major players include groups like Bitcoin Suisse, founded in 2013 and marketed by the company as “Switzerland’s oldest, regulated, professional company for crypto-financial services.” Bitcoin Suisse offers trading and brokerage, storage, collateralized lending, staking, and the Cryptofranc (XCHF) stablecoin. As an amusing aside, a recent publicity stunt brought the group even more attention, finding them conducting the “highest bitcoin trade ever publicly recorded” on the wind-whipped, snowy summit of Breithorn, Switzerland, at 4,164 meters above sea level.

The New Bitcoin Banks Are Here
Exchange.bitcoin.com will launch on Sept. 2, 2019.

Bitcoin.com

Bitcoin.com’s upcoming exchange (to launch September 2) viewed in combination with the already available non-KYC, P2P local.bitcoin.com trading platform are aiming for mass onboarding of crypto users seeking banking-type services through Exchange.bitcoin.com, while simultaneously providing a clear route for private, permissionless exchange of crypto via the P2P platform.

The exchange is set to offer features such as crypto/fiat on and off-ramps, security via “2FA, IP whitelisting, cold storage,” dozens of trading pairs against BCH, and an SLP token exchange. Bitcoin.com is conscious of financial inclusion as well, including financial sovereignty as the critical element of transaction. As the developer site states:

Money is critical to the Human Condition. Bitcoin Cash and Blockchain technology enable financial sovereignty in a way which is unique in history…As a developer you can make it [Bitcoin Cash] available to all people, whatever their age, gender, nationality or financial status.

A New Era in Banking

As the trend toward a new generation of Bitcoin Banks continues to evolve, market demand is likely to force legacy institutions to adapt or die, and inspire renewed focus industry-wide on convenience and transparency. As evidenced by cases like 87-year-old private bank Maerki Bauman in Switzerland, which has seen revived interest after hinting at crypto offerings, the new paradigm is one which is digital asset-friendly.

With major crypto service providers and exchanges taking unique roles in their offerings to the market, currency competition among stablecoins is – at least to some degree – now being encouraged. It will no doubt be evident in years to come which Bitcoin Banks are serious about financial inclusion and bringing about a true revolution in the banking industry, and the unfolding promises to be an exciting spectacle.

What are your thoughts on the new Bitcoin Banks? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, fair use.


Did you know you can buy and sell BCH privately using our noncustodial, peer-to-peer Local Bitcoin Cash trading platform? The Local.Bitcoin.com marketplace has thousands of participants from all around the world trading BCH right now. And if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store your coins, you can download one from us here.

The post The New Bitcoin Banks Are Here appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

How to Create Non-Fungible Assets and Collectible Tokens With Bitcoin Cash

August 22, 2019 |

On August 21, James Cramer, the developer behind the Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP), announced the launch of the Electron Cash SLP version 3.5. The latest release allows people to create a new type of SLP token called NFT1, a non-fungible token that can be grouped together by a single ID. The advanced form of SLP token creation allows people to use the system to create unique assets like gaming items, collectibles, and digital media rights.

Also read: Social Network Memo Adds Decentralized SLP Token Exchange

How to Create an NFT1 Type SLP Token Using the Electron Cash Wallet

The Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP) is celebrating its first anniversary. Since then there’s been a token explosion as thousands of unique coins have been created using the SLP system. The majority of SLP tokens have been a ‘type1’ token which defines a common list of rules for SLP-based tokens to follow within the larger Bitcoin Cash ecosystem. At the end of June, SLP engineers James Cramer and Jonald Fyookball published a new specification by extending the SLP token type 1 standard. The new type of token is called NFT1 which allows people to create non-fungible tokens that are grouped together by a single ID. The documentation on Github explains that having the ability to group non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in a provable manner opens many doors. Similarly to the ERC721 protocol, NFT1s can extend token creation to things like rare collectibles, digital media rights, raffles, tickets, and blockchain extensible games.

How to Create Non-Fungible Assets and Collectible Tokens With Bitcoin Cash
Download the Electron Cash SLP version 3.5 for NFT1 functionality.

Just like our prior SLP reviews in the past, news.Bitcoin.com has tested the new NFT1 standard using the Electron Cash SLP wallet. The following walkthrough was written to provide an insight into the basics of NFT1 creation. The first thing you need to do is download the latest SLP Electron Cash wallet version 3.5, as any wallet below this release will not mint NFT1s. The download takes less than a minute, depending on internet speeds, as the program takes about 30MB of space. The Electron Cash SLP 3.5 release is available for Linux, MacOS, and Windows. Electron Cash (EC) patrons will notice the newly released SLP version has the same logo as the EC wallet with Cashshuffle, except it’s green rather than blue.

How to Create Non-Fungible Assets and Collectible Tokens With Bitcoin Cash

After the download is complete, you need to open the program and create a new wallet or import existing funds into the wallet if it’s your first time using the EC program. If you were already using an older version of EC then your existing wallet’s history will be available in the new version after the upgrade completes. If it’s the first time you are creating an SLP token, you need to know that a small fraction of BCH is needed to act as ‘gas’ for the new token’s genesis transaction and further sending.

The Parent Toilet Paper Token and Subsequent Children 2PLY and 1PLY

Once there’s a small fraction of BCH in the wallet, you can then proceed to customize a new SLP NFT1 type token. After the wallet is open, simply press the “SLP tokens” tab and at the bottom of the window you will see another tab that says “Create new token.” Pressing this will open a new window, which allows you to create your first custom NFT1 type token. The first thing I did was create a token with an NFT1 parent called “Toilet Paper Token – Ultra Soft” with a ticker called TPT.

How to Create Non-Fungible Assets and Collectible Tokens With Bitcoin Cash
An NFT1 parent must be created first and in order to create an NFT1 child you need to spend a quantity greater than 0 parent NFT1 in a new genesis transaction.

A parent token allows for the creation of non-fungible tokens called children, which essentially means the parent’s token ID keeps them all together as a family. My Toilet Paper Token – Ultra Soft is the token parent and I created 2,000 of them tethered to a URL called papertoilet.com. After the parent is created in order to create an NFT1 child, you need to spend a quantity greater than 0 parent NFT1 in a new genesis transaction. From here, simply right-click the parent token and select “Create new NFT.”

How to Create Non-Fungible Assets and Collectible Tokens With Bitcoin Cash
Right-click the token parent and select “Create new NFT” to create subsequent children.

Doing this will create subsequent children NFTs that will be tethered to the same group ID as the parent token. So with my 2,000 TPT example (2,000 is the number of sheets in most ultra-soft rolls), I created two children called 2PLY and 1PLY. The EC wallet will require you to spend a fraction greater than 0 parent NFT1 by creating a genesis transaction for you and after that completes you can proceed to create subsequent children. Children don’t have to have the same name or same ticker, and can have a different document or URL upload tied to them as well.

How to Create Non-Fungible Assets and Collectible Tokens With Bitcoin Cash
The wallet will automatically tether child tokens to the same group ID number as the parent.

As long as the group ID is the same for child tokens as they are for the parents, you or anyone with a block explorer can tell they are related by the group ID. Of course, the creation of the 2,000 TPT, 2PLY, and 1PLY shows the very basics of how to work with the new SLP token standard. Blockchain explorers like Bitcoin.com’s BCH Block Explorer and the transaction explorer Simpleledger.info can verify whether the token is a type 1 SLP token or an NFT1 parent or child.

How to Create Non-Fungible Assets and Collectible Tokens With Bitcoin Cash
The 2PLY child NFT1 token according to Bitcoin.com’s Block Explorer.

Nonfungible Sets of Grouped Tokens Open the Doors to a Whole New Environment

Anyone can take the NFT1 SLP token concepts further by attaching digitized assets like images or game items to these unique types of nonfungible tokens. Similarly to the Rare Pepe card game created by Counterparty or the Crypto Kitties project on Ethereum, people can use the new NFT1 standard for a slew of fun and rare collectibles. Currently, due to the nascent stages of NFT1s created in this manner, creators will need to be aware of wallets that only have the SLP send feature. If a wallet doesn’t ensure that the tokens spent are using the same token type field, then spending a child with a client like this could result in burning non-fungible tokens unintentionally. This means third party wallets will have to meet these requirements in order to be compatible with NFT1 type tokens. It may not be an issue for a game like an environment where the tokens are meant to stay within the platform, but the NFT1 ecosystem can be far more robust with wallets that support NFT1s.

How to Create Non-Fungible Assets and Collectible Tokens With Bitcoin Cash
The new Simple Ledger Protocol NFT1 standard allows for the creation of collectibles like Rare Pepe cards.

Creating an NFT1 SLP token really doesn’t take much time at all and is just as quick as creating standard type 1 SLP coins. Developers will have to figure out ways to tie metadata (SVG images, GIFs, extensible game code) in order to build truly unique things with these tokens. SLP developers are already in the midst of discussing the best way to tether images to tokens. However, the NFT1 tokens don’t even need to be visually aesthetic, as NFT1s can also represent numbered data like raffles, lotteries, digital rights, and event tickets as well.

How to Create Non-Fungible Assets and Collectible Tokens With Bitcoin Cash
NFT1s can also power raffle tickets, lotteries, event tickets, and media rights.

Moreover, the new EC SLP version 3.5 has faster token validation with an SLP graph search. “Graph Search can be enabled through a new Tokens tab in the network dialog,” SLP engineer James Cramer explained during the new wallet launch. “This new module downloads validation sets in large batches from SLPDB, instead of crawling back towards Genesis blindly making many network requests.” Additionally, thanks to EC developer Calin Culianu, there’s a new parallelized SLP validator that runs a new thread for each token ID. “Both speed and stability of token validation were improved thanks to Calin,” Cramer concluded.

The BCH community was pleased with the new release and the sky’s the limit for ideas that can stem from these types of non-fungible, grouped tokens. The project’s announcement was welcomed on Twitter and Reddit and the token explorer Simpleledger.info shows that BCH participants are already creating unique NFT1s on the chain. It will be interesting to see what transpires from this new token standard in time.

What do you think about the newly released Electron Cash SLP 3.5 version and the ability to create NFT1s with ease? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Simple Ledger Protocol, Bitcoin.com’s Blockchain Explorer, Rarepepewallet.com, and the Electron Cash Wallet.


Do you want to dig deeper into Bitcoin Cash and the Simple Ledger Protocol Universe? Head to our Blockchain Explorer to view specific BCH and SLP transactions, addresses, and blocks.

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Bitcoin Maximalists Embrace Ethereum After Receiving an Offer They Can’t Refuse

August 22, 2019 |

Bitcoin Maximalists Embrace Ethereum After Receiving an Offer They Can’t Refuse

A group of hardcore bitcoin maximalists have heroically overcome their hatred for Ethereum after receiving ERC20 shares in crypto exchange INX worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. The staunch BTC loyalists, led by Blockstream CTO Samson Mow, have agreed to support a project built on Ethereum, despite all the mean things they’ve said about it. The news has provoked intense debate within the crypto space, however, with some cynics arguing that the maximalists are only in it for the money.

Also read: The World Bank’s Blockchain Bond Is Just a Fancy Way of Selling Debt

Mow Money, Mo’ Problems

As CTO of Bitcoin development company Blockstream, Samson Mow’s primary duty is to keep block sizes small to peddle his firm’s scaling solutions to the problem it engineered. High fees don’t generally concern bitcoin maximalists such as Mow, who have no interest in using BTC for its intended purpose, instead preferring to lock it away in a vault and never look at it again. It’s a policy that, for all its flaws, has helped to make Mow and his cronies extremely wealthy, and Blockstream an extremely influential Bitcoin company.

Bitcoin Maximalists Embrace Ethereum After Receiving an Offer They Can’t Refuse

The significant success of Mow’s primary business, however, has caused a paradox: to launch one of his secondary ventures, a crypto exchange in which he has invested $ 100K, it will be necessary to utilize a network with low fees. Bitcoin is out of the question for the aforementioned reasons, while Ethereum should also be a non-starter due to a number of immutable statements Mow has made about the rival network, calling it “the most impractical thing in existence,” a “science fair projectand “centralized AF.” The Blockstream bigshot also wrote “I wish ill on Ethereum” which “has no future.”

Bitcoin Maximalists Embrace Ethereum After Receiving an Offer They Can’t Refuse
Samson Mow, at the same time as he was investing in a financial-based Ethereum platform.

On the surface, these damning remarks would appear to preclude Mow from accepting 100,000 ERC20 tokens to serve on the advisory board of INX Limited. To do so would be at odds with everything he has ever fought for, and could be interpreted as the actions of a man with no spine or standards. On closer inspection, however, it becomes evident that Samson Mow is not the flip-flopping fool that many have taken him for. Rather, his actions are those of a true bitcoin maximalist, whose sole motivation for accepting Ethereum tokens is to demonstrate the superiority of BTC.

Bitcoin Maximalists Embrace Ethereum After Receiving an Offer They Can’t Refuse

Bitcoin Maximalists Embrace Ethereum After Receiving an Offer They Can’t Refuse

Samson Mow Plays 4D Chess

Samson Mow, together with fellow maximalist Jameson Lopp, and a handful of other close collaborators including Riccardo Spagni and Charlie Lee, will have a significant stake in the venture, which will see 130 million shares issued as ERC20 tokens. All of the project’s early investors will be remunerated in Ethereum tokens, as detailed in an SEC filing unveiled this week. “Ethereum” and “ERC20” appear over 100 times in the document, attesting to the pivotal role that will be played by the network maligned by Blockstream’s Mow et al. Notably, the IPO filing expounds at length on Ethereum’s gas fees, which are multiples lower than their BTC equivalent.

Bitcoin Maximalists Embrace Ethereum After Receiving an Offer They Can’t Refuse

Bitcoin Maximalists Embrace Ethereum After Receiving an Offer They Can’t Refuse
Spagni defends his INX investment.

Despite Mow’s previously scathing comments about Ethereum, his decision to accept $ 100,000 of ERC20s is probably born not out of avarice, but from a principled desire to prove that only Bitcoin is immutable. Everything else in this world – including the Ethereum blockchain and even Mow’s own words – is reversible, and subject to being rolled back when there is a financial incentive to do so.

It is to Samson Mow’s credit that, after years of badmouthing Ethereum, he has eaten his words to prove the inviolability of BTC alone. When Mow’s stake in INX became public this week, bitcoiners were swift to label him an unprincipled hypocrite. It turns out he was playing 4D chess all along.

What are your thoughts on Samson Mow’s sudden change of heart? Has Mow now made a greater contribution to Bitcoin than Satoshi Nakamoto? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

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The Most Important Aspect of Bitcoin Is the Separation of Money and State

August 19, 2019 |

Many cryptocurrency supporters believe the technology allows for the separation of money and state in a manner that’s never been seen before. Governments inflict two forms of robbery against nonviolent citizens by forcing them to pay taxes while also stealing from them silently through inflation. Now there’s a wide array of digital currencies competing in different ways to help remove the parasitic behavior perpetrated by the oligarchy.

Also read: Bitcoin History Part 15: Silk Road Is Born

The Monetary System Designed by Oligarchs Penalizes the People

Most everyone lives under government rule and they are compelled to pay taxes and use the legal tender by order of their rulers. In most countries, everyone who has a job must contribute a portion of their earnings to the government. For instance, a portion of payroll taxes in the U.S. goes toward safety net concepts like Medicare and Social Security. 70% of an American’s income tax goes toward national defense, health care security programs, interest on the national debt, education, energy, and agriculture. A quarter of the funds go directly to the military and the average American family paid $ 12,000 in income tax in 2018. There are roughly 80 million households which means the U.S. government pulls in close to a trillion dollars annually from income taxes alone. That’s not counting state-funded lottery, road tolls, sales tax, capital gains, building taxes, business tariffs, property levies, and more.

The Most Important Aspect of Bitcoin Is the Separation of Money and State
The state has been pillaging and stealing from the general public for centuries.

Despite the fact that most of the safety nets and health care systems are in shambles, roads are filled with potholes, bridges are failing, and the education system is failing, the only thing that continues to grow is the U.S. is the military. Oddly enough, people still believe these fools know what they are doing. Not only has the national defense budget grown absurd in America, but the evolution of for-profit-prisons and the expansion of the police state has amplified significantly. Since 1776 the U.S. has been at war 226 out of 243 years or 93% of the country’s lifetime and American citizens have paid for every last minute. Governments have also created a monetary system meant to enrich the representatives and their close friends. Meanwhile, the money system is manipulated and inflated so badly year after year, the nation’s citizens are forced to accept more taxes. The fraudulent monetary system pressures them into believing they need more benefits.

The Most Important Aspect of Bitcoin Is the Separation of Money and State
Many are tired of paying for endless wars. With alternative currencies like bitcoin, people don’t have to contribute.

Cryptocurrency Solutions Are Tools for Increasing Freedom

There are many countries with different rules of law, taxation, and methods of managing the fiat currency governments produce and most of them are very similar. Meaning when someone says “If you don’t like it here, why don’t you just leave?” that really only gives them the choice to be ruled under another oppressive system. So if leaving isn’t so easy, there must be a way to circumvent the system where governments have control of our money but we must pay off their debts. The U.S. was founded by principles against taxation but the biggest foundation was the separation of church and state. For centuries humans have been forced to participate in the monetary system controlled by politicians and the world’s elite. But in 2009, the year the Bitcoin network went online, the monetary game changed and people now have the tools in cryptocurrency to disregard the rule of central money management.

The Most Important Aspect of Bitcoin Is the Separation of Money and State
“We will not find a solution to political problems in cryptography, but we can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom for several years. Governments are good at cutting off the heads of a centrally controlled networks like Napster, but pure P2P networks like Gnutella and Tor seem to be holding their own,” – Satoshi Nakamoto.

In the summer of 2015, Shapeshift CEO Erik Voorhees explained how we all learned 100 years ago about the separation of church and state. Voorhees detailed that at the time humans realized the practice was immoral and he believes that with the state currently having control over money the system today is just as rotten to the core. “[The state] could tell you what to worship and how, when and why — Somehow, society realized perhaps that was unethical – that we shouldn’t permit control of something so personal and important to your life to be controlled by the state,” Voorhees told a crowd in Dallas that year. The Shapeshift executive added:

Money is absolutely as fundamental to our lives as religion, and for many people, it is far more fundamental to their lives as religion. It affects how your life unfolds. The choices that you make about money dictate the ramifications of your life and those around you. And so, to have an institution like money so controlled by a central entity — by a monopoly — is absurd. It is immoral. We should get rid of it.”

The Most Important Aspect of Bitcoin Is the Separation of Money and State
“The root problem with conventional currency is all the trust that’s required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust. Banks must be trusted to hold our money and transfer it electronically, but they lend it out in waves of credit bubbles with barely a fraction in reserve. We have to trust them with our privacy, trust them not to let identity thieves drain our accounts,” – Satoshi Nakamoto.

Bitcoin and a slew of other cryptocurrencies offer people a monetary system where there is no intermediary to trust, no middleman, and no state or corporate entity stopping you from transacting on a decentralized network. Instead of using fiat money which is predicated by force and violence, individuals and organizations can voluntarily choose to use a system that is transparent, permissionless, censorship-resistant, reliable, fast and empowering. Bitcoin maximalists will tell you that BTC is simply the only way to bypass the state’s manipulated monetary system, but right now there’s a wide variety of digital assets that can help achieve that.

Alternative means of circumventing the state like using precious metals can be difficult because the government has deep hands in these markets. Cryptocurrencies offer a high rate of portability and a way to hide money from agents trying to steal someone’s hard-earned wealth. With a cryptocurrency like bitcoin cash (BCH) for example, it’s possible to send funds across any border permissionlessly. An individual cannot hide a million dollars’ worth of gold, but can easily hide a small piece of steel with mnemonic phrase words etched into it and take things even further by memorizing the seed phrase. Agents cannot steal from your brain.

The Most Important Aspect of Bitcoin Is the Separation of Money and State
Edward Snowden’s tweet on the subject back in 2016.

Like Many Ideas Before It, There’s Still a Chance That Bitcoin Could Fall Short of a Revolution

Cryptocurrencies are clearly tools that can be used to circumvent the state and these digital instruments could bring forth a new era of free markets. Despite the crypto enthusiasts who embrace the state daily and are literally begging for the institutionalization of Bitcoin, there are still thousands of individuals who participate in the crypto industry to promote the separation of money and state indefinitely. These people believe cryptocurrencies can empower the general population and not a group of oligarchs sitting on the hill. Libertarians and agorist philosophers who love cryptocurrencies don’t care about Bitcoin ETFs, Bakkt, and acceptance from congressional leaders. They care about separating the monetary system from the violent monopoly that steals from society every single day. In the summer of 2015, the founder of Defense Distributed, Cody Wilson, highlighted why cryptocurrencies like bitcoin could fall short of a revolution and fall victim to the same system we have today.

“Without a big expression of intentionality to what is considered not the polite things to do with Bitcoin — specifically money laundering, specifically private access to your coin, holding your own keys — without projects that express these principles, you have nothing of what you want with a revolution,” Wilson emphasized. “This leaves me to proclaim that most people involved with Bitcoin were not serious about that in the first place.”

The Most Important Aspect of Bitcoin Is the Separation of Money and State

Today ManyCryptocurrencies Offer a Road That Leads to Greater Freedom

There are now multiple avenues available for cryptocurrency users to circumvent the state’s control over money. Despite all the arguments and infighting within the cryptocurrency community, these roads toward freedom of choice are still wide open. If you find the idea of separation of money and state appealing but are relatively new to cryptocurrencies, it is well worth taking the time to read more into the subject to learn how you can wield these tools against the nation state for your advantage. If you’d like to participate in the counter-economy, you can also purchase digital currencies from trusted platforms as well as in-person using noncustodial, peer-to-peer marketplaces.

What do you think about how cryptocurrencies have opened the path toward separating money from the state? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

OP-ed Disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any information in this Op-ed article.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Twitter, Voluntary Exchange FB Page, Bitcoin Not Bombs, and Jamie Redman.


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Bitcoin History Part 15: Silk Road Is Born

August 18, 2019 |

Plea Bargain Shows Silk Road 2 Admin Will Likely See No Prison Time

Silk Road launched in February 2011 as the darknet’s first bitcoin-based marketplace. Within four months, it would be the darknet’s most notorious site whose reputation extended all the way to the U.S. Senate. The origins of the drugs marketplace can be traced back further, however, to a philosophical thread on the Bitcointalk forum. It was only later that the significance of this thread would be fully appreciated.

Also read: Bitcoin History Part 14: The 1,000 BTC Poker Game

‘A Heroin Store’

“As a Libertarian, the thing I love most about the Bitcoin project is the chance that it could be truly disruptive,” wrote early Bitcointalk user ‘teppy.’ It was June 2010, and Bitcoin was still very much in its infancy, with its potential use cases still being figured out. “I think that drug prohibition is one of the most socially harmful things that the US has ever done, and so I would like to do a thought experiment about how a heroin store might operate, accepting Bitcoins, and ending drug prohibition in the process,” continued teppy, before outlining his idea for how such a venture would operate.

The proposal was cautiously welcomed, with some users highlighting the hazards (“US government has endless resources and nothing to stop them from doing things they’re not supposed to … I think if it’s high profile enough you would still get busted somehow, something you didn’t think of”) and others elaborating on how it might work.

Bitcoin History Part 15: Silk Road Is Born

Although the thread was provocatively titled “A Heroin Store,” one user suggested a marijuana store would be preferable because “the risk of getting caught is much more calculable. Your clients are much trustworthier, and your competitioners are not as dangerous.”

A Framework for Silk Road

Although they couldn’t have known, the participants in the thread were brainstorming what would become Silk Road. From the use of Tor to the way packages could be shipped, it was all laid out. It is unclear if the discussion directly inspired Dread Pirate Roberts, or merely crystallized an idea he already had forming, but within two months of the thread appearing, he had begun work on Silk Road. On Jan. 29, 2011, user “altoid” posted a since-deleted response in the heroin store thread that read:

What an awesome thread! You guys have a ton of great ideas. Has anyone seen Silk Road yet? It’s kind of like an anonymous amazon.com. I don’t think they have heroin on there, but they are selling other stuff. They basically use bitcoin and tor to broker anonymous transactions. It’s at http://tydgccykixpbu6uz.onion. Those not familiar with Tor can go to silkroad420.wordpress.com for instructions on how to access the .onion site. Let me know what you guys think.

“So here we go, first Bitcoin drug store,” replied one user. “We’re going into deep water faster than i thought then. I wonder how long will it take for govs to start investigating Bitcoin.” Five months would prove to be the answer, after a Gawker article blew it wide open. Adrian Chen’s article would go on to accrue 3 million reads and spark a DEA investigation into Silk Road.

Bitcoin History Part 15: Silk Road Is Born

Lost Innocence

In early 2011, however, the world at large knew nothing about Silk Road, which was still the preserve of a few libertarians and free-thinkers on an obscure forum dedicated to magical internet money. On March 1, 2011, new user “silkroad” started a thread to promote the anonymous marketplace. The site had only been running for three weeks but “I am very pleased with the results,” they remarked. “There are several sellers and buyers finding mutually agreeable prices, and as of today, 28 transactions have been made!”

In time, those numbers would swell to thousands a day, with the site eventually racking up 1.2 million transactions. The community spirit that characterized the Bitcointalk forum in those early days was readily apparent, as users filled the thread with suggestions on how Silk Road could be improved.

Meanwhile, in the original heroin store thread, one user wrote a prediction on March 24, 2011 that would prove prescient: “Everything … is easily traceable. Using normal mail, there is 99,9% probability you will be caught sooner or later. Actually, anything physical (leaving physical traces) or involving third person is easily traceable, because you only need to find weak link in the chain to find the seller. People are usually the weakest links.” He finished:

I hope silkroad realizes this, because if he doesn’t … sooner or later he will be caught.

Bitcoin History is a multipart series from news.Bitcoin.com charting pivotal moments in the evolution of the world’s first cryptocurrency. Read part 14 here.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


You can now easily buy bitcoin with a credit card. Visit our Purchase Bitcoin page where you can buy BCH and BTC securely, and keep your coins secure by storing them in our free bitcoin mobile wallet.

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How Coinbase Quietly Became the World’s Biggest Bitcoin Bank

August 16, 2019 |

How Coinbase Quietly Became the World’s Biggest Bitcoin Bank

On August 15, the San Francisco-based digital currency exchange Coinbase announced that it had acquired the cryptocurrency custody service Xapo’s institutional branch. The business move puts Coinbase in the limelight, making it the largest custodial service for digital assets worldwide, with more than $ 7 billion under custody.

Also Read: Hong Kong Protest Leader Hopes to Incite Run on Chinese Banks

Coinbase Acquires Xapo’s Institutional Arm and Now Commands $ 7 Billion Worth of Digital Assets

As early as 2010, Bitcoin supporters such as Hal Finney predicted that someday most BTC transactions would occur between massive bitcoin-backed banks. Finney believed that if a digital currency like bitcoin was to gain mass adoption, the network would not be able to include every single financial transaction in the world. The renowned cryptographer said that large bitcoin-backed banks would fill the void and “work like banks did before the nationalization of currency.” Fast forward to today, where firms like Coinbase are holding massive amounts of digital assets in custody. On Thursday, the California exchange announced that it had acquired Xapo’s institutional crypto operation and established itself as one of the largest crypto custodians worldwide. Coinbase published a blog post in regard to the acquisition and stated:

In just over one year since launch, Coinbase Custody has grown to over $ 7 billion in Assets Under Custody (AUC) stored on behalf of more than 120 clients in 14 different countries, making it the largest, most globally recognized and most trusted institutional custodian in the world.

How Coinbase Quietly Became the World’s Biggest Bitcoin Bank

Coinbase Growth Since 2012: $ 8 Billion Valuation, $ 600 Million in Annual Revenue

Coinbase has come a long way since Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam started the company back in 2012. That year Coinbase allowed users to buy and sell BTC using a bank transfer and quickly became one of the biggest BTC providers next to Mt. Gox. Throughout 2012 and 2013, investors and venture capitalists started seeing potential in Armstrong and Ehrsam’s company and began to invest. The founders participated in a Y Combinator startup incubator, received $ 5 million from Fred Wilson in May 2013, and $ 25 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures (USV), and Ribbit Capital in December 2013. By 2014, Coinbase users grew to more than one million accounts and the assets under the company’s control continued to grow exponentially from there. The cryptocurrency community really took notice of how large Coinbase had grown two years later, when in February 2016, Brian Armstrong told the public that “[Coinbase is] now storing about 10% of all bitcoin in circulation.”

How Coinbase Quietly Became the World’s Biggest Bitcoin Bank
In February 2016, Coinbase claimed to store 10% of all BTC in existence.

Coinbase is now valued at over $ 8 billion, after closing a funding round in 2018 for $ 300 million to “accelerate the adoption of cryptocurrencies and digital assets.” In 2019, despite stiff competition, the San Francisco tech company has estimated revenue between $ 569-650 million. Binance comes close to Coinbase, with The Block reporting in February that the exchange pulled in $ 446 million in profits. Kraken captures $ 150 million annually, Bitstamp $ 17M, Bitfinex $ 10M, and Itbit $ 4M in revenue. Coinbase has around 800 employees and the firm has made roughly 10 acquisitions since 2012. The company acquired startups like Blockr, Earn.com, Cipher, Digital Wealth, Keystone Capital, Blockspring, and now Xapo’s institutional arm. Coinbase has also made various equity investments like the recent cryptocurrency derivatives exchange Blade as well as acquiring Horizon Games, Textile, Near, and Dharma.

In 2017 Speculators Estimated Xapo Held $ 10 Billion Worth of Bitcoin With Keys Spread Across 5 Continents and a Swiss Military Bunker

Xapo started its business similarly to Coinbase, but did not offer its bitcoin wallet and cold storage vault services until March 2014. The Hong Kong-based company was founded by Wences Casares and Federico Murrone and quickly became a well-known crypto brand. In 2015, the company moved its headquarters to Zug and two years later the firm was granted a European e-money license in Gibraltar. That year, during the all-time highs of 2017, it was estimated that Xapo’s Swiss bitcoin vaults held billions of dollars’ worth of digital assets. Quartz columnist Joon Ian Wong reported on Xapo’s vault in Attinghausen, Switzerland when he visited the facility. The security was extreme and resembled a James Bond movie, Wong noted during his visit.

“[Xapo] won’t tell me how much bitcoin is stored in the vault, but he says he sometimes takes customers with “millions” of dollars worth of the cryptocurrency stored with Xapo to tour the vault,” the reporter wrote in October 2017.

Despite the company not disclosing how many coins are held in the Swiss vault, estimates from Bloomberg in the spring of 2018 said Xapo held more than $ 10 billion. By the summer of 2018, Xapo Inc. received the sixth Bitlicense and was approved to operate in the state of New York as a regulated Bitcoin business.

Over the last two years, Xapo has made around $ 4.2 million in revenue annually. Additionally, Xapo employs around 52 people and the company has raised a total of $ 40 million since its inception in 2014. Reports stemming from Xapo’s vault in Switzerland have made speculators believe the company’s institutional vault still has a massive amount of digital wealth under its wing. Moreover, during Wong’s visit to the vault three years ago, Xapo told him the vault operators can never unwind. “This is not a race. It is a chess game. You have to think about the opponent’s next movement. You can never relax,” the Xapo executive detailed.

Members of the Crypto Community Discuss the Current Custodial Trend

Coinbase and Xapo have scared some cryptocurrency advocates who think that storing a vast array of coins in custodial services might not be a good idea. Digital currency pundit Jill Carlson tweeted: “The Xapo [and] Coinbase collaboration has me asking: ‘What happens if someday one entity just custodies all 21 million bitcoins? Aren’t we just recreating the same, broken financial system?’” Edge Wallet founder Paul Puey responded by saying: “You need more than just the option too. You need a majority of crypto held in noncustodial solutions. Otherwise, we run the risk of losing the ability to transfer funds without a third-party.” Puey continued:

Bitcoin then just becomes an overleveraged asset class like a gold ETF.

Using a cringe-face emoji, Monero developer Riccardo Spagni jokingly wrote: “A few months back a VC told me that ‘custody is the most exciting space in the ecosystem right now.’” The Block writer Frank Chaparro (Fintech Frank) said that no smart asset manager would custody all of their coins with one provider. “There is a need for multiple custodians – we see this even in the so-called broker financial system,” Chaparro insisted. However, Coinshares executive Meltem Demirors revealed that she believes “everyone custodies their coins with one provider.” “Did you know that everyone in the U.S. custodies their share certificates with one entity – the DTCC?” Demirors wrote.

How Coinbase Quietly Became the World’s Biggest Bitcoin Bank
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Mega Bitcoin Banks Issuing Their Own Digital Bucks and Verifiable Proof-of-Reserves

The mega crypto bank discussion has many crypto enthusiasts wondering if the massive amount of digital currency custodianship is good for the environment. Coinmetrics executive Nic Carter sarcastically explained that he’s “waiting for a major custodian/exchange to implement proof of reserves” with a picture of a rotting skeleton next to a computer. It’s a stark cry from Hal Finney’s 2010 prediction, when he said that megabanks would be “the ultimate fate of Bitcoin.” “Most Bitcoin transactions will occur between banks, to settle net transfers,” Finney detailed. He also said that these banks would use the BTC to be “high-powered money,” which would serve as a reserve. Then these Bitcoin-backed banks could “issue their own digital cash,” Finney emphasized.

How Coinbase Quietly Became the World’s Biggest Bitcoin Bank

We have seen Hal’s prediction already start to occur within the cryptocurrency industry as large exchanges, which have silently become the largest crypto banks in the world, are starting to mint their own digital assets. Binance has created binancecoin (BNB), which holds the sixth largest crypto valuation out of more than 2,000 digital asset markets. Coinbase and Circle Financial have the Centre foundation, which controls the regulated stablecoin USDC. With a transparent blockchain system, a true “proof-of-reserves” type of scheme could transpire, unless people decide to trust these companies like the financial institutions today. If the community simply trusts these mega crypto banks without verification, then unsustainable banking techniques like fractional reserves could proliferate unchecked.

How Coinbase Quietly Became the World’s Biggest Bitcoin Bank

The way things are moving, with the recent Coinbase acquisition of Xapo and digital currency exchange providers becoming far bigger than traditional institutions, it begs the question: are mega bitcoin banks the shape of cryptocurrency custody to come? It may not be the future we chose, but it’s the one that’s fast becoming a reality.

What do you think about the Coinbase acquisition of Xapo? Do you think that custodial services will dominate the crypto industry? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Coinbase, Xapo, Pixabay, Twitter, Centre, Circle, Jamie Redman, and Wiki Commons.


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Samsung Adds Bitcoin Support to Its Blockchain Keystore

August 15, 2019 |

Tech Giant Samsung Adds Bitcoin Support to the Blockchain Keystore

On August 13, Samsung, the South Korean multinational conglomerate, published the company’s new Blockchain Keystore SDK for developers and the latest release supports Bitcoin Core (BTC). The version follows Samsung’s previous Keystore release which only supported ETH and the ERC20 standard.

Also Read: Exploring the SLP Token Universe Built on the Bitcoin Cash Chain

Samsung Quietly Adds BTC Support to Its Blockchain Keystore

Cryptocurrency advocates were pleased to notice that Samsung (OTCMKTS: SSNLF) had finally added BTC support to the company’s Blockchain Keystore software development kit (SDK). The news came on Tuesday, August 13, when Samsung published the SDK with release notes, API reference, and programming guide. The reference to BTC can be found in a table that mentions “Cryptocurrency Specification,” “Cryptocurrency Limits,” and “Transaction Type Limits.” The cryptocurrency limits section notes that there’s a limit of 21,000,000 BTC or 2,100,000,000,000,000 satoshis. Transaction type limits include P2PKH (Pay To Public Key Hash), P2PK (Pay To Public Key), P2SH (Pay To Script Hash), and P2WPKH (Pay To Witness Public Key Hash). The transaction type limits are meant to require a sender to supply a valid signature within a wallet application that utilizes the Samsung Blockchain Keystore.

Samsung Adds Bitcoin Support to Its Blockchain Keystore
The Samsung Blockchain Keystore specs

The new Samsung BTC support can only be accessed by app makers and developers right now and only residents from South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the U.S., Germany, Canada, and the U.K. can use the Samsung Blockchain Keystore. Interestingly, the tech giant added support for the Klaytn blockchain as well. This means developers using the Note10s, Galaxy S10, S10e, S10+, S10 5G can use ETH, any ERC20, BTC, and KLAY tokens. Samsung says there are two benefits to integrating the Samsung Blockchain Keystore SDK into an Android application:

  1. Developers can use Samsung Blockchain Keystore API to request the Samsung Blockchain Keystore to sign a cryptocurrency transaction.
  2. Developers can link a user’s Blockchain address like a user’s account. With the address returned from Samsung Blockchain Keystore, developers can check and show users how much cryptocurrency balance is in the account as well as view the transaction history.
Samsung Adds Bitcoin Support to Its Blockchain Keystore
The Samsung Blockchain Keystore specs. Did you know Bitcoin.com also has blockchain developer tools and SDKs for the Bitcoin Cash network? This includes Bitbox SDK, Badger SDK, SLP support, Cashscript, and much more. Check out Developer.Bitcoin.com today.

Software engineers who use the Samsung Keystore SDK are able to leverage many features that are commonly used in applications like noncustodial lite wallets. For instance, the Keystore will generate a cryptocurrency’s keypair (public & private key) on the device itself, while also storing the keys in a secure environment within the mobile device. “[Samsung] does not rely on other network or a third party to generate these keys,” the Keystore 1.1.0 version SDK specification reads. All the mnemonic words (seed phrase words) are compatible with the BIP-39 standard allowing users to deploy the recovery phrase on another device if the phone was ever lost or stolen. However, sending a signed transaction is out of Samsung’s scope, the company explains, and engineers who want to send signed transactions need to rely on their own nodes or a public node.

Opening the Door for Bitcoin Cash Support and the Race to Lead Blockchain Development Within the Smartphone Industry

With BTC being added to the Samsung Keystore, the cryptocurrency spec opens the door for similar networks like Bitcoin Cash. BCH also uses transaction types like P2PKH and P2PK and has a hard cap of 21,000,000 BCH or 2,100,000,000,000,000 satoshis. In the Keystore specs, Samsung notes “We plan to support more cryptocurrencies and expand supported regions in the near future.” People who want to test the Keystore functionality cannot simply download the application from the Galaxy store as Samsung’s blockchain SDK is preloaded on selected devices only. Software developers can test the Keystore application by using Samsung’s Remote Test Lab, which is located in the Samsung Developers Site.

Samsung Adds Bitcoin Support to Its Blockchain Keystore
Apple published the Cryptokit with iOS 13 last June.

Posts on social media and Reddit forums show that crypto advocates appreciate Samsung finally adding BTC to the Keystore. Currently, there are 17 cryptocurrency-related applications that can be used with the select Samsung phones and the Keystore. This includes decentralized applications (dapps) such as Enjin, Cryptokitties, Coinduck, and Cosmee. Samsung’s dapp store also recently gained two new dapps in the form of Mars and Jupiter, developed by fellow South Korean tech company Trustverse.

There have been unconfirmed rumors that eventually Samsung Pay will sync with the Keystore wallet so people can pay for goods and services with digital assets. The recent BTC support from Samsung follows the released Cryptokit for iOS 13 from the company’s California-based rival Apple. The Cryptokit from Apple gives speculators reason to believe that the Cupertino tech giant will release its own in-house crypto wallet system. Similar to Samsung’s Keystore SDK, the Apple Cryptokit provides three specific attributes:

  1. Compute and compare cryptographically secure digests.
  2. Use public-key cryptography to create and evaluate digital signatures, and to perform a key exchange. In addition to working with keys stored in memory, you can also use private keys stored in and managed by the Secure Enclave.
  3. Generate symmetric keys, and use them in operations like message authentication and encryption.

Apple and Samsung entering the cryptocurrency industry by silently releasing software development kits shows that mobile phones that have blockchain capabilities and offer cryptocurrency solutions are here to stay. The mobile phone giants are neck and neck in terms of sales, and adding cryptocurrency features may give them an edge among the lucrative tech- and crypto-savvy demographic.

Samsung Adds Bitcoin Support to Its Blockchain Keystore
In May 2018, Huawei added pre-installed Btc.com wallets to the company’s mobile phones.

The Chinese communications technology company Huawei already beat Samsung and Apple to the punch by selling phones pre-installed with Btc.com’s cryptocurrency wallet in May 2018. Even the phone manufacturer Oppos is on the heels of these three tech giants with its system that could help a peer-to-peer network of cryptocurrency node operators validate transactions in regions with poor internet services.

Samsung Adds Bitcoin Support to Its Blockchain Keystore
Oppos Mesh Talk could allow for cryptocurrency transactions being sent without Wifi, cellular data, and Bluetooth.

According to reports, Oppo’s Mesh Talk system could allow phones to exchange blockchain key data without using Wifi, Bluetooth, or cellular data within a radius of three kilometers. With all of the blockchain-related developments from Huawei, Samsung, Apple, and Oppos smartphones, it’s safe to assume that the mobile giants are well aware that cryptocurrencies are here to stay.

What do you think about Samsung adding BTC support to the company’s in-house Blockchain Keystore? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Samsung, Wiki Commons, Huawei, Apple, Oppos, and Pixabay.


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The post Samsung Adds Bitcoin Support to Its Blockchain Keystore appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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