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Bitcoin’s Proof of Keys Day Begins With Industry-Wide Support

January 3, 2019 |

In addition to being Bitcoin’s 10th birthday, Jan. 3, 2019 will go down in history as being the crypto world’s inaugural Proof of Keys day. The initiative, conceived by Trace Meyer just weeks ago, has drawn broad support from cryptocurrency influencers and businesses. Over the past 24 hours, crypto companies have tweeted their encouragement for users to withdraw their funds from exchanges and other custodial wallets.

Also read: European Exchange to Offer Investing in Stocks With Cryptocurrencies

Proof of Keys Day Draws Strong Support From Crypto Companies

If Trace Meyer’s scheme is the success he hopes it to be, onchain activity will record a significant spike in the number of bitcoin transactions for Jan. 3, 2019, and on this day in each subsequent year too. While it is too soon to assess the efficacy of the grassroots movement to return ownership of crypto assets to users, there are signs that Proof of Keys has already been successful in raising awareness of the importance of self-custody.

Under the hashtag #notyourkeysnotyourbitcoin, Twitter users have been sharing their own experiences of reclaiming their crypto from third-party custodians, and encouraging others to do the same. While it was the cryptocurrency community who initiated the Proof of Keys proposal, crypto companies have now joined the chorus of support. Not surprisingly, projects whose business entails non-custodial storage solutions have been leading the choir, Blockchain and Keepkey among them.

Bitcoin’s Proof of Keys Day Begins With Industry-Wide Support

Exchange Customers Hit by Delayed Withdrawals

The need for self-sovereignty of crypto assets was demonstrated this week by the reticence of Hitbtc to facilitate withdrawals. A number of customers of the controversial exchange have reported lengthy delays in accessing their funds, leaving them unable to participate in Proof of Keys on the day itself. Several Hitbtc users were greeted by a message informing them that “Withdrawals are temporarily disabled on your account.”

Other exchanges have been more supportive Proof of Keys, including Swiss-based Lykke, which made the campaign the topic of its weekly discussion, as well as Ethfinex. If bitcoin is to enable millions of people to reclaim their financial sovereignty, it will require those who are already familiar with the technology to lead by example. Proof of Keys provides the perfect opportunity for bitcoiners to put their censorship-resistant money where their mouth is.

What are your thoughts on Proof of Keys day? Let us know in the comments section below.


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The post Bitcoin’s Proof of Keys Day Begins With Industry-Wide Support appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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10 Years Ago Bitcoin’s Genesis Block Changed the Course of History

January 3, 2019 |

10 Years Ago Bitcoin's Genesis Block Changed the Course of History

Over the last 12 hours, cryptocurrency supporters across the globe have been celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Bitcoin genesis block which was mined at approximately 18:15:05 UTC. Die-hard crypto enthusiasts believe the software released by the anonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto has forever changed the way people look at money, and that the technology’s effect on the global economy will transform the course of history.

Also read: 2018’s Top Cryptocurrencies Ranked by Github Activity

10 Years of Dust Sent to the Genesis Block’s Wishing Well

10 Years Ago Bitcoin's Genesis Block Changed the Course of HistoryOn Halloween 2008, an anonymous developer named Satoshi Nakamoto announced a paper called Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System. Two months later, on Jan. 3, 2009, the network officially launched when Nakamoto mined block 0, bringing the Bitcoin blockchain into life. The genesis block is special for a few reasons as it has characteristics that the thousands of subsequent mined blocks do not. For instance, the genesis block is hardcoded into a great majority of software clients that use the chain for reference and for infrastructure.

Furthermore, at the time of creation, block rewards gave miners 50 BTC, but the genesis block is an unspendable sum that will forever contain those 50 coins. To this day nobody knows whether Satoshi made these coins unspendable for any specific reason. Over the years, many fans have also sent funds to the genesis address, and at the time of publication, there’s a total of 66.9 BTC sitting there. Scrolling through the list of dust transactions sent to the genesis address, one can find messages to Satoshi asking the creator for coins, as many of the senders hoped the creator would send additional funds back to them.

10 Years Ago Bitcoin's Genesis Block Changed the Course of History
The original cover from The Times on Jan. 3, 2009.

Like the Beatles, Satoshi Left a Backward Message in Block 0

Another interesting fact about the genesis block is that many historians believe it was mined with a Windows-powered PC. Bitcoin version 0.1, the first original implementation, is written in the coding language C++ and was a Windows GUI application at first. This means the first block Satoshi mined was processed solely with a PC’s CPU. People mined BTC this way for two years after block 0 was created.

10 Years Ago Bitcoin's Genesis Block Changed the Course of History
Satoshi’s message located in block 0.

The genesis block’s hash has two additional leading hex zeroes which are not seen in block creation today (except for the infamous 21e800 hash on June 19, 2018). The content of the ‘input’ in a generated bitcoin block contains what’s called a ‘coinbase parameter,’ which in the genesis block’s case is recognized as one of the most fascinating examples of hardcoded text stored inside the chain.     

The coinbase parameter for block 0 states:  

The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks

There are many theories to why Satoshi created this text, the prevailing one being that it was a philosophical message in response to 2008’s economic crisis and the subsequent bank bailouts. In addition to the coinbase parameter, when someone decrypts the hexadecimal format, the message also shows the “Chancellor bailout” text written backward. With Satoshi mining bitcoin with his CPU, it took six days to find block 1 on January 9 after the genesis block’s creation, and some people consider this day to be Bitcoin’s birthday as well. Some bitcoiners also assume Satoshi took a break in between mining blocks 0-1, in order for the timeline to represent the Bible’s Genesis story where God’s creation of the earth took seven days.  

Hal Finney, Cryptographers, Internet Geeks, Anarchists, Tech Entrepreneurs, Venture Capitalists, and Grandma

Three days later, Satoshi sent the first transaction to the developer Hal Finney who decided to run the software and accepted 10 BTC from the creator. In fact, Finney was running the Bitcoin protocol on his computer the day after block 1 was mined on January 10 and tweeted about the software that day. However, even though Finney was the first known or identified bitcoin recipient, Satoshi sent coins to quite a few people on that same day. The creator also chose to send coins from block 9, as opposed to sending funds from blocks 1-8 for another unknown reason. On March 19, 2013, Finney explained how he got excited about the protocol after it was released by the anonymous inventor.         

“When Satoshi announced the first release of the software, I grabbed it right away — I think I was the first person besides Satoshi to run bitcoin,” explained Finney’s recollection of the events. “I mined block 70-something, and I was the recipient of the first bitcoin transaction when Satoshi sent ten coins to me as a test — I carried on an email conversation with Satoshi over the next few days, mostly me reporting bugs and him fixing them,” the cryptographer added.

10 Years Ago Bitcoin's Genesis Block Changed the Course of History
Seven days after the creation of the Genesis block, Hal Finney tweeted that he was running the Bitcoin software.

The creation of Bitcoin’s Genesis block and the beginning stages of the network slowly started to gather more supporters as time progressed. To this day, we don’t know what happened to Satoshi when the creator left the scene in 2010, by which point he is credited with having mined close to 1 million bitcoins. Since then, the establishment has scorned the technology year after year, while Bitcoin has steadily gained traction. Meanwhile, large swathes of geeks and political idealists started to believe the protocol would revolutionize the entire monetary system on a global level. For six years after block 0 was mined, the financial elites called cryptocurrencies crap before attempting to commercialize them in 2015.

10 Years Ago Bitcoin's Genesis Block Changed the Course of History
Bitmex sponsored a thank you message to Satoshi for The Times’ January 3rd, 2019 front page. Included on the front page is the hash of Bitcoin block 554,509 in which Bitmain’s Jihan Wu and the mining pool BTC.com added the message “Thanks Satoshi” in the coinbase parameter.

Hard Money and the 21 Million Deliverable Pieces of Subjective Value

Satoshi’s software is more than just a fundamental breakthrough in computer science; the technology is also a peer-to-peer, open, secure, censorship-resistant, and the most deliverable type of money ever created. Since the creation of the genesis block 10 years ago today, the technological innovation has allowed for a pure form of voluntary free market exchange. Transactions between global individuals are conducted in a permissionless manner across hundreds of invisible borders without the need for any pre-existing trust. The innovation Satoshi gave to the world in 2008 is the current monetary system’s black swan, equipped with a positive feedback loop. Its ability to survive 10 turbulent and testing years is surely an event worth celebrating.

What do you think about the 10-year anniversary of the genesis block and Satoshi Nakamoto’s infamous creation? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Images via Shutterstock, The Times, Twitter, Brave the World, and Pixabay.


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Here’s How the World Will Commemorate Bitcoin’s 10th Anniversary on Jan. 3

December 28, 2018 |

Here’s How the World Will Commemorate Bitcoin’s 10th Anniversary on Jan. 3

Bitcoin’s 10th anniversary will fall on Jan. 3. As a decentralized currency that belongs to everyone and no one, there is no official way to commemorate its 10th birthday. From wallet manufacturers to developers, every ecosystem participant will have their own suggestions as to how bitcoiners should mark the historic occasion.

Also read: Support Grows for Bitcoin Proof of Keys on Jan. 3

Unofficial Ways to Celebrate Bitcoin’s Unofficial Birthday

Here’s How the World Will Commemorate Bitcoin’s 10th Anniversary on Jan. 3It’s human nature to see significance in numbers. That’s why the crypto community lost its mind over a block hash containing 18 consecutive zeros earlier this year, and it’s also why there will be great fanfare over Bitcoin’s 10th birthday, despite the fact that numerically speaking, 10 is no more significant than any other integer.

It’s fitting that the cryptosphere can’t even agree on the official date of Bitcoin’s birthday, which could fall on Jan. 3, when Satoshi mined the genesis block, or on Oct. 31, when he published his whitepaper. For those who believe it to be the former (or simply want an excuse to celebrate Bitcoin’s birthday twice a year), there’s no shortage of ways to mark Jan. 3. Here’s how various ecosystem participants will be celebrating the event.

Merchants and Manufacturers

Vendors would predictably like you to celebrate Bitcoin’s 10th by buying memorabilia. We’ve covered much of this stuff already, including an expensive watch, an expensive clock, and a reasonably priced hardware wallet. For those too penurious or too cynical to rinse $ 4,000 on a Bitcoin timepiece, there are more affordable souvenirs available; a t-shirt or framed print should suffice.

Here’s How the World Will Commemorate Bitcoin’s 10th Anniversary on Jan. 3

Mainstream Media

Mainstream media have gotten cryptocurrency wrong for a decade, and they’re not going to break the habit of Bitcoin’s lifetime on its 10th. Expect buttloads of verbose hit pieces masquerading as thought pieces pondering “What has Bitcoin actually achieved?” By the time they finally get it, it’ll be too late. Meanwhile, don’t give the media the rage clicks they crave. If you really want to read about Bitcoin’s decade in review, there’ll be plenty of cryptocurrency publications, news.Bitcoin.com included, on hand to do the honors.

Here’s How the World Will Commemorate Bitcoin’s 10th Anniversary on Jan. 3
Mainstream media: still struggling to understand Bitcoin

Bitcoin Users

On Jan. 3, a significant number of bitcoin users will be busy withdrawing their cryptocurrency from exchanges and storing it on non-custodial wallets. The move will be initiated as part of Proof of Keys, a scheme designed to return ownership of bitcoin from third parties to individuals, where the digital coins were always meant to reside.

Here’s How the World Will Commemorate Bitcoin’s 10th Anniversary on Jan. 3

Bitcoin Developers

Expect to see plenty of geeky tweets from prominent Bitcoin developers on Jan. 3 that draw upon the rich trove of data at their disposal. A handful of devs have been working on the cryptocurrency’s code since the early days, and thus Bitcoin’s 10th will also be an opportunity for self-reflection. There are no longer service medals to be earned for making code commits to Bitcoin Core or Bitcoin Cash — merely the satisfaction that comes from knowing you’ve played a small part in optimizing Satoshi’s creation for the next wave of users.

Bitcoin Businesses

Here’s How the World Will Commemorate Bitcoin’s 10th Anniversary on Jan. 3Exchanges, wallet developers, P2P platforms and other crypto businesses will be celebrating Bitcoin’s 10th in their own way; expect to see discounts, zero-fee trading and other offers to mark the occasion, plus a whole lot of Bitcoin trivia shared on social media.

While there’s no obligation to celebrate Bitcoin’s birthday (as a permissionless creation, that’s one of its charms), many of those who’ve come to know and love the cryptocurrency over the last 10 years will take a moment to toast this milestone. Whether that means raising a glass, buying bitcoin, or withdrawing coins to a non-custodial wallet, there are numerous ways to observe Bitcoin’s most symbolically significant birthday yet. The next time an anniversary as widely celebrated arrives will likely fall on Jan. 3, 2059, when Bitcoin turns 50. Here’s to the next 40 years.

How will you celebrate Bitcoin’s 10th birthday? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Google Inc.


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The post Here’s How the World Will Commemorate Bitcoin’s 10th Anniversary on Jan. 3 appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Bitcoin History Part 4: Casascius Creates Physical Bitcoins

December 12, 2018 |

Bitcoin was born as a wholly digital currency, and it might have remained that way had it not been for the efforts of an early adopter from Utah. His name was Mike Caldwell, but on the Bitcointalk forum, he was better known as Casascius. The physical bitcoin creator took a digital phenomenon and converted into physical matter. For the first time in history, bitcoins were tactile.

Also read: Bitcoin History Part 3: Turning on the Faucet

Why a Physical Bitcoin?

Bitcoin History Part 4: Casascius Creates Physical Bitcoins“Why a physical bitcoin?” That was the question with which Bitcointalk forum regular Casascius titled his thread on Sep. 6, 2011. Hours earlier, he’d posted a separate thread announcing the launch of the first physical bitcoins. In many respects, his creations looked and felt just like conventional coins, and back then were worth scarcely more. In fact, with the first batch that Casascius released, the cost of postage alone was set at 1 BTC, while each 1 BTC coin was priced at 1.25 BTC to cover production costs.

“One side has a hologram,” explained Casascius. “Underneath the hologram layer is a private key. The first 8 characters of the bitcoin address appears on each coin.” “These look awesome,” replied forum user ‘the joint,’ “but why would you buy this given the current state of the Bitcoin market/economy? This might be nice as an investment if there was a good indicator that your investment would give you any kind of return.” When he wrote these words, 1 BTC was trading for $ 6.86.

The 1,000 BTC Physical Coin

So successful were the Casascius physical coins that the 1 BTC batch was followed by 10, 25, 100, and even 1,000 BTC editions. At bitcoin’s peak, around this time last year, that holographic 1,000 BTC coin would have been worth around $ 20 million. Mike Caldwell sold his Casascius physical coins until late 2013, by which point close to 28,000 coins had been minted. Almost half of those coins have now been redeemed, but over 47,000 BTC remains unclaimed at this time, waiting until the owners can bring themselves to peel off the holographic layer and redeem them using the private key.

Bitcoin History Part 4: Casascius Creates Physical Bitcoins
Redeemed Casascius coins over time

“Now we can cross out the line in the first sentence of the [Bitcointalk forum] FAQ, which is that “a bitcoin is not tangible,” wrote Casascius, upon announcing his invention. “The fact that a bitcoin is no longer invisible, I think, is huge in and of itself.” He wasn’t wrong. While BTC has remained a primarily digital currency, today physical bitcoins exist in many forms including paper wallets, commemorative coins, and limited edition trinkets. Simply through engraving, printing, or etching the public and private keys to a bitcoin address, and obfuscating the latter, anything can be turned into a physical bitcoin and used to hold any amount of BTC or BCH.

Casascius started out as just another arcane pseudonym on an obscure digital currency enthusiasts’ forum. Today, his moniker stands synonymous with the birth of physical bitcoins.

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


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Four Ways to Commemorate Bitcoin’s 10th Anniversary

December 1, 2018 |

Four Ways to Commemorate Bitcoin’s 10th Anniversary

On Jan. 3, 2019, cryptocurrency proponents the world over will commemorate Bitcoin’s 10th anniversary. While some will raise a glass to Satoshi’s decade-old accomplishment, others may choose to mark the occasion by acquiring a piece of memorabilia. Predictably, there is no shortage of companies lining up to hawk commemorative bitcoin baubles. Also read: Sirin Labs Launches Blockchain-Centric ‘Finney’ Smartphone

Bitcoin Is Nearly 10 Again

Bitcoin is so special it gets two birthdays a year. The first of these falls on Oct. 31, the date when Satoshi published his whitepaper, and the second occurs on Jan 3, the date he mined the genesis block that kick-started the Bitcoin network. It is this latter date that most people have settled on as Bitcoin’s unofficial birthday, and thus its 10-year anniversary on Jan. 3, 2019, promises to be extra special. A number of companies have cynically crafted items that purport to mark the landmark occasion. Whether these goods are deemed tacky or tasteful is for the beholder to decide. As we warned back in September, when first reporting on this trend, “Brace yourselves. Bitcoin cash-ins are coming.”

Four Ways to Commemorate Bitcoin’s 10th Anniversary
Hublot’s luxury Bitcoin watch

The Bitcoin Anniversary Watch

Hublot’s Big Bang Blockchain timepiece is limited to just 210 units, the pre-sale for which is oversubscribed. This is despite each watch retailing for $ 25,000 or its bitcoin equivalent. The bear market clearly hasn’t ruined the last of crypto’s super-rich, who still have spare coins to throw down on a watch designed to commemorate Satoshi’s “epochal invention including the fact that only 21 million bitcoins will ever exist in this world.” It’s a convenient way to make mega bucks off a phenomenon your company had absolutely nothing to do with. Still, the Meca-10 P2P watch is a fine-looking piece of wrist candy, it must be said.

The Bitcoin Anniversary Wallet

Ledger’s limited edition Nano, released to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Bitcoin whitepaper, is both beautiful and practical. It’s probably closer to the spirit of Bitcoin than any of the other products listed here, containing a miniature edition of Satoshi’s whitepaper. There’s also a Sgt. Pepper’s outer box, based on the Beatles’ seminal album, with a lineup of figures from the history of cryptography including Alan Turing and Ada Lovelace. The device retailed for a cent under $ 100 upon its launch, but as a genuinely limited edition release, you’ll struggle to get your hands on one now. Four Ways to Commemorate Bitcoin’s 10th Anniversary

The Bitcoin Anniversary Clock

Timekeeping is an integral part of the Bitcoin protocol, with the word “time” appearing no less than 24 times in Satoshi’s whitepaper. That may account for why so many Bitcoin anniversary products are horological in nature. The Block Clock may look rudimentary, with its circuit board design, but it’s packing some nifty features, including cryptocurrency exchange prices and blockchain data pertaining to block height, merkel root and suchlike. Four Ways to Commemorate Bitcoin’s 10th Anniversary Just 500 units of the electro-mechanical Block Clock will be manufactured, but at $ 4,999, it’s hard to shake the nagging realization that for the same money you could buy one unreasonably cheap BTC, at current prices, and still have change left over. Which brings us to the last commemorative item on our list: If you really want to celebrate Bitcoin’s 10th anniversary in a manner that will give you cause to still be still toasting it 10 years from now, the best thing you can do is to buy bitcoin. Whatever your flavor, be it BTC or BCH, nothing shows your belief in the house that Satoshi built more than buying, saving and spending bitcoin. How will you commemorate Bitcoin’s 10th anniversary? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Can Clues to Bitcoin’s Earliest Mysteries Be Found in a Cryopreserved Brain?

October 9, 2018 |

Can Clues to Bitcoin's Earliest Mysteries Be Found in This Cryopreserved Brain?

There has been some speculation over the years about whether the late software developer, Hal Finney, was actually Satoshi Nakamoto. Some people wonder if he had any connection to the 700,000 bitcoins mined back in the earliest days of the protocol. Finney was an Extropian, or a person who believes in the philosophy of futurism and life extension. In fact, the developer arranged to have himself cryopreserved in the hope that someday scientists might figure out a way to revive his brain and answer some of the questions surrounding Bitcoin’s early days.

Also Read: Bitcoin Personalities: ArtForz and the GPU Arms Race

Finney the Frozen Crypto-Genius

Back when the Bitcoin software was first launched, Finney — a well-known PGP Corp. developer and computer scientist — received the very first bitcoin transaction. He also helped Satoshi get the network up and running during Bitcoin’s first year. The programmer worked with the creator and other software developers up until he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Some people believe Finney may have been the creator of Bitcoin himself, by simply pretending to be Satoshi on the side.

For instance, back in 2014, Andy Greenberg, a well-known tech journalist for Wired, wrote a story on why he believed Finney may have been Nakamoto, or was at least a person with significant ties to the inventor of Bitcoin. Other people believe in the “Satoshi Nakamoto group theory,” as they claim that the extensive knowledge Finney had about the some of the earliest coins that were mined suggests that Satoshi was actually more than one individual. But more interestingly, in the future there is a chance scientists could discover bitcoin keys in Finney’s cryopreserved “brain wallet.”

The Solidification of Body and Mind

Finney and his wife Fran embraced the tenets of futurism and were known to follow the beliefs of Extropians. The philosophy of Extropy is an ideology that some people follow because they are confident society will continuously improve through advances in science and technology. Some individuals who follow this philosophy imagine that humans may eventually attain immortality by reviving their brains after death. According to Greenberg, Finney and his spouse both signed up to cryopreserve themselves long before he passed away.

Can Clues to Bitcoin's Earliest Mysteries Be Found in This Cryopreserved Brain?
Finney and his wife both signed up to cryopreserve themselves years before his death.

On Aug. 28, 2014, not long after Finney passed away, his body was brought to the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, a well-known cryonics facility. His bodily fluids were drained and filled with a substance called M-22. The cryoprotectant mixture leads to a glasslike solidification process that has been used to preserve embryos, sperm and blastocysts for years.

According to Greenberg, Finney’s body was cooled to -320 F (-195.6 C) and then stored in an aluminum vat full of liquid nitrogen. After they completed the cryoprotective perfusion process, the Alcor Foundation stated that Finney would be kept in “long-term storage, where he (would be) cared for until the day when repair and revival may be possible.” Finney was Alcor’s 128th patient and his cryogenic process was paid for “through a combination of life insurance and bitcoins donated by admirers,” the firm has said.

Finney was the 128th person to be cryopreserved at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation. The company says that its services typically cost about $ 155,000.

 Unlocking the ‘Brain Wallet’

Finney chose to preserve his mind because he believed that reviving a brain was merely a long-term engineering problem that simply had yet to be solved, just like fixing code. With cryogenics, there is the possibility that the crypto-genius could come back decades from now and reveal some of the secrets of the Bitcoin network’s nascent code. Finney’s brain could hold clues about the fortune of Satoshi and the earliest bitcoins that were mined. Futurists and believers in the philosophy of cryopreservation may be considered faith-based zealots, but cryogenics relies on the fact that technology gets better over time.

Can Clues to Bitcoin's Earliest Mysteries Be Found in This Cryopreserved Brain?
Cryogenics has become more popular over the years, as some people believe the prospect of immortality could become possible in the future due to technological advances.

Through the scientific process of cryopreservation, future generations may be able to unlock Finney’s “brain wallet.” The Alcor Foundation and cryogenic scientists say that long-term memories are encoded in the brain and can endure a great deal of “physical and chemical changes” over time. The cryonics facility has said that the team uses a well-known biological research process that has indicated that memories may be retained following the process of cryopreservation. Alcor’s research also suggests that the facility’s biological experiments have indicated a type of odorant imprinting, which is a form of long-term memory in the human brain.

Bitcoin enthusiasts have long joked about the cryopreservation of Finney and the possibility that frozen bitcoin keys have been locked in a solidified state in his brain. But in truth, we simply don’t know if Finney’s choice to utilize cryonics after his death will ever unlock any of the most enduring mysteries of Bitcoin. It is safe to say, however, that the hunt for the enigmatic Satoshi has contributed to a number of unfathomable theories.

What do you think about Hal Finney and his decision to use cryogenics to preserve his mind? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comment section below.


Images via Pixabay, Shutterstock, and Makespace.


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The Daily: Fake Volume, Tether Troubles, Bitcoin’s “Inevitable” Mass Adoption

October 1, 2018 |

The Daily: Fake Volume, Tether Troubles, Bitcoin’s “Inevitable” Mass Adoption

Rumors, allegations, and assertions can all be found in today’s news roundup. Specifically, we have rumors of impending trouble with Tether, allegations of another Chinese exchange conjuring up fake volume, and assertions that Bitcoin and blockchain’s mass adoption is “inevitable”. We’ll reveal who made that bold claim, as well as substantiating the others, in this episode of The Daily.

Also read: A Guide to Building Your Own Crypto Mining Rig

Magical Chinese Trading Volume

The Daily: Fake Volume, Tether Troubles, Bitcoin’s “Inevitable” Mass Adoption
CER alleges several Chinese exchanges to be producing magical trading volume

Like a dog worrying a bone, Crypto Exchange Ranks (CER) has been toiling away at uncovering fake trading volume for months. Much of the suspicious activity it’s unearthed during the course of its meticulous and granular investigation has originated in the East. Its latest target is ZB.com, a Chinese exchange that appears in Coinmarketcap’s top five by reported volume, placing it above the likes of Bithumb and Bitfinex. CER is having none of that, and has torn ZB.com’s claim to shreds in its usual dogged manner.

“While analyzing ZB.com, we found definite patterns of unnatural and obviously artificial trade volume performance on 10 out of the top-20 most-traded exchange’s pairs,” reports CER. “Furthermore, we discovered that 4 dash pairs volume on this exchange totaled more than $ 288m, accounting for 24.58% of the exchange’s total 24h volume and for 80.56% of all dash traded on all exchanges. All of this directly points to the fact that trade volume manipulations are taking place on ZB.com.” The full report is pretty damning.

Maltese Prime Minister: Global Bitcoin and Blockchain Adoption “Inevitable”

Maltese PM Joseph Muscat is known for his pro-crypto stance, having welcomed major players from the burgeoning cryptoconomy to his island state with open arms. In a recent address to the United Nations General Assembly, the Prime Minister preached ebulliently, espousing his belief that Bitcoin and blockchain will inevitably enjoy mass adoption. “I passionately believe [the] technology revolutionizes and improves systems,” said Muscat. “This is why in Malta, we have launched ourselves as the blockchain island…the first jurisdiction worldwide to regulate this new technology that previously existed in a legal vacuum. Blockchain makes cryptocurrencies [the] inevitable future of money.”

Tether’s Bank in Trouble?

The Daily: Fake Volume, Tether Troubles, Bitcoin’s “Inevitable” Mass AdoptionNoble, the Puerto Rico-based bank whose most famous crypto customer is Tether, could be in trouble. It has been reported that the bank has cash flow problems and, if it can’t find a backer, may be forced to wind up operations. Where this would leave Tether, and the customer assets it presumably has stored in the bank is unclear. The story, while unverified, comes from Modern Consensus, a site which broke the story of the Circle-Poloniex takeover weeks before anyone else, and thus has some credibility.

Modern Consensus also reports a figure at a “major trading crypto desk” as claiming that an entity has been trying to offload “tens of millions of tethers” but failed to find a buyer. While publicly all signs point to Tether losing its grip on the stablecoin market, it remains top dog in terms of trading. Despite several exchanges announcing that they are phasing out the controversial stablecoin, volume has remained steady at over $ 3 billion a day, 30x more than its closest competitor, Trueusd.

The Daily: Fake Volume, Tether Troubles, Bitcoin’s “Inevitable” Mass Adoption
Solid: the new web decentralization project from Tim Berners-Lee

The Web’s Creator Wants to Decentralize It

If decentralization is a meme, it’s one that’s spread so far and wide that even the web’s creator is jumping on the bandwagon. On Saturday, Tim Berners-Lee revealed Inrupt, a project he has been developing in stealth for the past nine months. It aims to remove power from the web monopolies by returning data to its owners and allowing them to assign it to platforms on a permissioned basis only. Solid is the name of the platform Berners-Lee is developing in which each user’s data is contained in a “pod”. He said defiantly: “We are not talking to Facebook and Google about whether or not to introduce a complete change where all their business models are completely upended overnight. We are not asking their permission.”

“It’s time to reset the balance of power on the web and reignite its true potential,” proclaims Inrupt.

What are your thoughts on today’s news tidbits as featured in The Daily? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and Inrupt.


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Bitcoin News

Bitcoins For Secured Loans – Indian Industry Still Doubtful

September 25, 2018 |

Bitcoins For Secured Loans – Indian Industry, Still Doubtful

Secured loans in the digital lending space are witnessing a lot of innovations. But thinking of cryptocurrencies as collateral forms for these loans is still a big question, one full of regulatory and practical concerns.

Also read: Japanese Corporation Begins Offering Loans Secured by Cryptocurrency

Loans Secured Against Bitcoins

If there is anything that has undergone a change, thanks to digital players in the BFSI space in India, it is – everything. Just pick lending and you can see how big data, social media weight, machine learning, etc. have made KYC (Know Your Customer) and credit-checks different. Add to that the use of APIs (Application Program Interfaces) and virtual elements for fast disbursement, and one can see why speed and ease are making digital loans stand apart.

Bitcoins For Secured Loans – Indian Industry Still Doubtful

So why not use cryptocurrency instead of gold or property to cushion a secured loan? Truly ‘digitize’ a loan? News.Bitcoin.com surveyed players in the industry, and there responses can be categorized as skeptical.

Abhi Upadhyay, a professional in the mobile lending space, dismisses the hope. “Traditional financial institutions like banks are never going to come close to accept cryptocurrency as security.”

But this ‘traditional’ legacy is exactly where and why challengers have started to win. Digital lenders have compellingly questioned deep-rooted processes and red tape in the lending industry in India by experimenting a lot, such as with the use of social media instead of old-school documentation for KYC and credibility checks. So why not bitcoin?

Regulation, Regulation, Regulation

Manav Jeet, Founder and CEO of Rubique, a prominent fintech player in the digital space, says the use of cryptocurrency as a collateral in the case of secured loans is a long shot. The biggest difference is the amount of regulation India posits in comparison to other regions. “We are the best regulated markets, and even in terms of awareness only a tiny portion of Indian population is using cryptocurrency. It will take a lot of time for us to get to the stage where we can imagine this form being used in secured loans,” Manav Jeet insisted.

Bitcoins For Secured Loans – Indian Industry, Still Doubtful

For Piyush Kabra, VP, Finance at Lendingkart, warns the practical problems around encashing bitcoins and registration, again thanks to regulatory reasons, would be factorsas to why cryptocurrency will not work against a loan – not yet, at least.

The use of cryptocurrency in secured loans is a possibility if you ask Saurabh Shankar, head of marketing at Paysense, another digital lending disruptor in India, with data science behind its intent of serving mall-ticket loan segments as well. But he explains how collateral works. “It is an additional security measure for us when we lend to a customer. Any other form of collateral can be used as security for sure, so why not bitcoin? But the current regulatory environment is not exactly an incentive to consider such options. This may also need additional work. Crypto-to-crypto lending may not be too tricky but crypto-to-fiat would be a whole new space to reckon.”

Crypto and Loans – Not Mixing Yet

India is a changing market, but one that is still under-served when it comes to instant, flexible, and small loans for the middle class. Estimates show how digitized customer journeys chop the cost of processing to about 33% of the original cost. Plus, servicing costs is almost 1/10th that of physical channels when we look at digital channels. That’s not impossible to achieve when a player banks on technology to break the loan chain and to disaggregate lumps of delays that weigh down a usual lending process. Using behavioral analytics, cash flows, social media signals, and peer reports instead of legacy underwriting processes or income-tax returns – this is what many smart digital lenders started doing early on.

We are staring at a global fintech software and services sector of $ 45 billion by 2020 (from what NASSCOM reckons). Interestingly, India has exhibited the second highest fintech adoption rate (59% while the global average is 33%) as per the EY Fintech adoption index.

Bitcoins For Secured Loans – Indian Industry, Still Doubtful

Globally, players like Biterest, Coinloan and Abic have started offering such loans that are secured against bitcoin. There we can see advantages like variety, speed, automation and no limits. It matters when there is no need of liquidation of an asset to get money out of it (the reason people use fixed deposits in secured loans). Then, there is the side of significant appreciation of value over time (which can be higher than loan interest). Also, concerns around forked cryptocurrencies have been addressed by many such players. After all, fungibility, preservation potential, and liquidity are true tests when it comes to how people think of money.

Yet, talk of cryptocurrency’s use in the BFSI space is full of hesitation and confusion, even for disruptors. Responses from other players like Innoviti and Capital Float could not be elicited. But as Saurabh pins it, conceptually the idea is not bad but the practical side here revolves around regulations and actual ease.

What do you think about the idea of bitcoins for secured loans? Let us know in the comment section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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The Daily: Rethinking Bitcoin’s Market Cap, ICOs Printing Money

September 24, 2018 |

The Daily: Rethinking Bitcoin’s Market Cap, ICOs Printing Money

Welcome to a new week crammed with new ways of thinking about Bitcoin and its fellow cryptocurrencies. To kick things off, today’s edition of The Daily details three big-hitting topics: Is it time to find a more accurate metric than market cap for measuring cryptocurrencies? Why are venture capital funds so enamored with stablecoins right now? And what’s the deal with ICOs covertly minting tokens to inflate their own supply?

Also read: Longhash Launches Bitcoin Tracker to Find ‘Dirty Money’

A16z Crypto Snaps Up 6% of MKR

Stablecoins are all the rage right now, especially if you’re a venture capital firm seeking an up-and-coming crypto project to back. A16z Crypto has just acquired 6% of the MKR token supply for $ 15 million, which will give it a stake in the DAI stablecoin issued by Makerdao from both a financial and a governance perspective. The dedicated crypto fund created by Andreessen Horowitz will lend its support to the Makerdao foundation for the next three years, and provide expertise on adoption and regulatory matters.

The Daily: Rethinking Bitcoin’s Market Cap, ICOs Printing Money

“As a first mover and innovator in stablecoins, Makerdao represents a very compelling opportunity in the crypto space,” said A16z Crypto’s general partner Katie Haun. “Makerdao’s technology, ecosystem and talent have put theory into action to deliver a decentralized stablecoin that we believe will help drive the future of the crypto economy.” Ms Haun’s role in leading the Silk Road prosecution, while with the US Department of Justice, has stuck in the craw of some bitcoiners, who believe the conviction of Ross Ulbricht to be excessive and unjust. Since entering the crypto space full-time, however, the Andreessen Horowitz and A16z Crypto partner has become an advocate for the cryptocurrencies first pioneered on early BTC-friendly sites like Silk Road.

Nic Carter: Replace Market Cap With “Realized Cap”

At the Baltic Honeybadger conference in Latvia this week, a number of well-known figures from the Bitcoin world have delivered keynote addresses, among them Castle Island Ventures’ Nic Carter. In “Bitcoin as a novel economic institution” he advocates for changing the way we calculate the market capitalization of cryptocurrencies. It’s long been acknowledged that multiplying the number of coins minted by their market price is a crude reckoner, but in the absence of a more accurate but simple metric, it’s stuck. This has led to such anomalies, as Nic Carter points out, as Bitcoin Private having a $ 2 billion market cap upon launch, despite the fact that the vast majority of coins were never claimed by BTC and ZCL holders.

The Daily: Rethinking Bitcoin’s Market Cap, ICOs Printing Money
BTCP’s market cap shown in blue, with its realized cap in grey.

The alternative model Nic Carter proposes, “realized cap” is more accurate, but may struggle to gain widespread adoption due to being more complex. It involves calculating the aggregate value of UTXOs priced on their value when they last moved i.e. if a whale-sized wallet of 10,000 BTC hasn’t seen any activity since 2011, those BTC are valued at the price they were at the time, rather than using 2018 valuations. The net result of all this would mean BTC’s market cap being cut from $ 110 billion to around $ 88 billion. While Nic Carter’s model is unlikely to replace standard market cap any time soon, the existence of new systems for valuing crypto networks can only be a good thing, and “realized cap” may yet earn its place on cryptocurrency tracker sites.

The Daily: Rethinking Bitcoin’s Market Cap, ICOs Printing Money
As this chart by Antoine Le Calvez shows, many bitcoins haven’t moved in years.

Edenchain Enrages Investors After Covertly Increasing Its Supply

The Daily: Rethinking Bitcoin’s Market Cap, ICOs Printing MoneyAs evidence of market cap manipulation, consider the case of Edenchain, one of the few oversubscribed token sales to have emerged this quarter, which has run into controversy. The project had already been dogged with problems over allegations of major investors, including Ian Balina, receiving preferential discounts and engaging in pooling, a practice which is generally frowned upon.

It has now been revealed that Edenchain has covertly increased its circulating supply by 150 million tokens – an increase of around 40% – after completing its crowdsale. The tokens were released because the project succeeded in raising more funds from “strategic investors”. Edenchain has now published a post detailing its revised circulating supply. Its unfortunate choice of a whale as the accompanying featured image has further bolstered the suspicion that crypto whales are being favored over ordinary retail investors who got in early but have since been squeezed out.

What are your thoughts on today’s news tidbits as featured in The Daily? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Nic Carter, Antoine Le Calvez.


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Art Exhibition in France to Celebrate Bitcoin’s Tenth Birthday

September 19, 2018 |

Art Exhibition in France to Celebrate Bitcoin's Tenth Birthday

A group of artists hailing from across the globe will congregate in France to showcase an exhibition celebrating the upcoming tenth anniversary of Bitcoin. The art will be available for purchase using several different cryptocurrencies.

Also Read: 8 Surprising Findings from New York’s Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative

International Artists Congregate in France to Celebrate Upcoming Tenth Anniversary of Bitcoin

Art Exhibition in France to Celebrate Bitcoin's Tenth BirthdayArt(r)evolution, an exhibition celebrating Bitcoin’s upcoming double-figure birthday, will see “international artists from various horizons [exhibiting] their works around the theme of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies” in Paris, France.

According to the exhibition’s website, “The exhibition will show the potential of cryptocurrencies through symbolism and practice,” and “will illustrate the genesis of this digital revolution.”

The exhibition is open to the public and will take place from the 28th of September until the 5th of October.

BTC to Be Hidden in Certain Artworks

The works exhibited will be available for purchase using BTC, ETH, XMR, or LTC. The exhibition’s website states that “[BTC] will be hidden in some works and certificates of authenticity registered in the [BTC] blockchain will also be issued to buyers.”

Art Exhibition in France to Celebrate Bitcoin's Tenth BirthdayThe exhibition’s organizer, French artist Pascal Boyart, stated: “We had the idea to organize an exhibition in Paris to show possible use cases of cryptocurrencies and connect the international crypto-friendly artists.”

Brian O’Hagen, marketing manager of exhibition sponsor Coinhouse, added: “France, through Paris, is well positioned to become the capital of this new artistic movement between art and crypto. Crypto Art redefines the way an artist can engage his audience. The advent of cryptocurrencies is not just a monetary revolution, it’s also a cultural revolution.”

Exhibition to Explore Decentralization and the Art Industry

Art Exhibition in France to Celebrate Bitcoin's Tenth BirthdayAccording to the exhibition’s website, it seeks to provide “a unique opportunity to decode the potential upheavals that cryptocurrency and blockchain can cause in the world of art.” The themes explored include whether “selling works without intermediaries [is] now possible” and if cryptocurrencies comprise a vehicle for “freeing yourself from the art market and banking system.”

The artists featured at the exhibition will include Pascal Boyart, Andy Bauch, Coin Artist, Josephine Bellini, Nanu Berks, Bern Mark, Yosh, Saint Phalle Yom, Choq, Youl, and Ilies Issiakhem.

Do you think that cryptocurrencies will significantly disrupt the art industry? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock


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