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What is Bitcoin?

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

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Posted on 14 December 2017 | 7:03 pm

Woman busted sending thousands in bitcoin to ISIS - New York Post


New York Post

Woman busted sending thousands in bitcoin to ISIS
New York Post
A Long Island woman was busted sending tens of thousands of dollars worth of Bitcoins to ISIS fighters overseas — after swindling money from banks using bogus information. Zoobi Shahnaz, 27, of Brentwood allegedly then planned to flee the US for Syria ...
DOJ Alleges Bitcoin Involved in Attempted ISIS FundingCoinDesk
Long Island woman laundered money to ISIS through Bitcoin, prosecutors sayFox News
New York woman charged with sending $85000 in Bitcoin to support IsilTelegraph.co.uk
Daily Beast -NBC New York -New York Daily News
all 26 news articles »

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 5:03 pm

Senior VP Says eBay “Seriously Considering” Bitcoin Integration - Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)


Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)

Senior VP Says eBay “Seriously Considering” Bitcoin Integration
Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
Throughout the past 12 months, the stock price of Overstock has increased by over 130 percent, triggered by the company's involvement in various Bitcoin and Blockchain technology ventures. Several major conglomerates such as Japan's GMO have also ...

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 4:10 pm

DOJ Alleges Bitcoin Involved in Attempted ISIS Funding

Prosecutors have accused a New York woman of using credit cards to purchase bitcoin and then launder those funds to send money to ISIS.

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 3:20 pm

Garzik Forks UnitedBitcoin Away from "Maximalists" to Support Altcoin Communities

Garzik Forks UnitedBitcoin Away from "Maximalists" to Support Altcoin Communities

A new project called UnitedBitcoin (warning: the site autoplays audio) promises to add smart contract features using the UTXO model, support for the lightning network and SegWit, and eight-megabyte blocks. Headed up by Jeff Garzik, the lead developer behind the failed SegWit2x hard fork, along with Matthew Roszak and SongXiu Hua, this UnitedBitcoin (UB) hard fork will offer replay protection to prevent people from accidentally spending their coins on both the Bitcoin and the UnitedBitcoin blockchains.

Garzik told Bitcoin Magazine that “10% of the total worldwide SHA-256 hash power” has moved to the new UB network, with much of the support coming from China and older mining equipment that was no longer profitable due to the escalating difficulty in mining bitcoin. He noted that UB is already supported on the ZB and EXX exchanges.

The UB white paper outlines how lost bitcoins have created deflationary pressure that has pushed the price up. Because those bitcoins are out of circulation, the supply is further decreased. One of the issues that UB seeks to address is to find a purpose both for those lost bitcoins and for “inactive” wallets by creating a stable cryptocurrency linked to their addresses.

All active Bitcoin addresses will receive the same balance on the UB chain, much like previous forks. The balances of UB on inactive addresses, however, will be confiscated by the UB Foundation and used to “serve the community.”

Inactive addresses are defined in the white paper as “addresses without activity since block height #494000 (November 11, 2017) and as a result didn’t automatically receive UBTC during phase 1 of the asset allocation procedure.”

UB does not distinguish between an “inactive” address and one which is simply being used by a long-time "hodler."

“There is no difference. An inactive account is an inactive account,” said Garzik. “Like during [the] Ethereum new coin creation, you had to take a proactive step, otherwise you got zero [ether]. This is normal for new token creation — new chain, new ERC20, but different from all other Bitcoin Forks. We are trying to do something new and different.”

Anyone with a prior balance of 0.01 BTC in an “inactive” address at the time of the November 11 fork can still get UB tokens, so long as they are willing to take such a “proactive step”: that is, they make at least one transfer to their own Bitcoin address between Block 498,777 and Block 501,878 (December 12, 2017, to 12:00 GMT on January 3, 2018).

Only the original address can make the transfer to itself, and the receiving address must be used as one of the sending (input) addresses.

One privacy issue to consider is that in order to “proactively” claim BU tokens, the protocol forces users to reuse their Bitcoin addresses; this action puts privacy at risk and, unless it is done carefully, may link many of the users’ coins together.

It's a gold mine for blockchain deanonymization, merging up UTXOs and reusing addresses. Can't help but think such an artificial qualification is deliberate.

— Johnathan Corgan (@jmcorgan) December 13, 2017

User privacy protection is not the only part of the protocol that is drawing criticism, however.

“The code contains a god mode; it’s literally called that,” Blockchain developer Sjors Provoost said to Bitcoin Magazine. He said that it appears as if this “god mode” will create a multisignature address that belongs to a (yet-to-be-defined) UnitedBitcoin Foundation.

“Unlike previous airdrops, the initial coin distribution is not determined by a consensus rule,” he added. “This means that even if you were to run the full UB node software (which you should not), you will have no way of knowing for sure how many coins you get. Conversely, if you already had bitcoin, you won’t know how many of ‘your’ coins will be confiscated. You simply have to trust their promise to take and redistribute coins as their marketing promises.”

According to Provoost, the new consensus rule allows the owner of this foundation address to spend any UTXO they want. “These confiscations will be included in holy blocks, which can be created during the first 500 blocks after the fork. This is how they implement the redistribution as I just described, but they can do much more.”

Furthermore, Provoost is concerned about the quality of the code itself. “Garzik’s previous project SegWit2x tried to keep its changes relative to Core to a bare minimum. Although at the time of the planned fork their code base was about a year behind Bitcoin Core, it didn’t introduce many changes,” he pointed out.

“UnitedBitcoin on the other hand has introduced far more changes, making the task of tracking Bitcoin Core far more difficult. It’s not as many changes as Bitcoin Unlimited and Bitcoin Cash, and the problem is somewhat mitigated by them sunsetting the more complicated consensus changes like god mode. However, even the small change in SegWit2x had a widely publicized serious bug in it and there are rumors of more.”

What Happens to Those “Reclaimed” Tokens?

Garzik has plans to “build a better Tether” by using the UB reserve, funded by coins reclaimed from “inactive” addresses. According to the project, 70 percent of confiscated UB coins will be held as collateral to issue stable tokens pegged to a fiat currency.

“The UB reserve can be used as a backing asset for a stable, non-volatile currency,” said Garzik. “This is auditable and transparent and on the blockchain. It will be over-collateralized, 200–300% to maintain the stability even in the face of a volatile price of the reserve.”

The remaining 30 percent of the confiscated coins will support another new feature: owners of QTUM, H-shares and ether will receive a share of the remaining redistributed UB.  

UB is experimenting with a new model: engage multiple communities — ETH, Qtum — rather than following the tired model of rewarding Bitcoin maximalists with a coin they dislike and will just dump on day 1.

According to Garzik, the specific claim process for the redistribution of UB has yet to be determined. “The UB board is still being put in place — things are moving very fast — and this will include more specifics on governance and community allocations.”

The scheduled timeline of what has been released and what is coming breaks down as follows:

December 12, 2017:

Fork of Bitcoin to UnitedBitcoin (at block height #498,777) with support for:

  • Increased block size to 8 MB

  • SegWit support

  • Replay Protection

  • Asset Allocation

January 3, 2018:
  • End of Asset Allocation phase #2

  • Pegged currency based on color currency

February 28, 2018:
  • Launch of smart contract support

April 28, 2018:
  • Launch of lightning network support



The post Garzik Forks UnitedBitcoin Away from "Maximalists" to Support Altcoin Communities appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 2:57 pm

Goodbye Ethereum: Kik Plans to Move Its ICO Tokens to Stellar

Kik founder Ted Livingston announced on Wednesday that his company was moving its Kin token app from ethereum to Stellar.

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 2:00 pm

Malaysia's Central Bank Releases Draft Rules for Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Bank Negara Malaysia published draft guidelines for cryptocurrency exchanges to report their usage statistics to prevent illicit transactions.

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 1:00 pm

South Korea Moves to Regulate Domestic Bitcoin Trading, Exchanges

South Korea Moves to Regulate Domestic Bitcoin Trading, Exchanges

Since late November 2017, South Korea has looked to regulate cryptocurrency trading in domestic exchanges, including Bithumb, Coinone and Korbit,  The Korea Herald reports. Now, trying to tame the wave of wild cryptocurrency speculation in the country, South Korea is imposing trade bans for minors and looking for ways to impose taxes on investment returns.

South Korea is the world’s third largest market in bitcoin trading, after Japan and the U.S., and the largest exchange market for ether, accounting for more than 33 percent of its market share, according to a recent MIT Technology Review report. The country is also home to two of the top 15 global digital-currency exchanges (Bithumb and Coinone) and believed to have about one million registered daily traders in virtual currencies, which is equivalent to about one out of every 50 citizens.

This is worrying the South Korean government. In September 2017, the country’s Financial Services Commission (FSC) ordered a ban on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). In November 2017, the head of South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service said that the agency was monitoring cryptocurrency trading inside the country, and the country’s National Tax Agency revealed that it was considering a value-added tax, a capital gains tax or both on cryptocurrency trades. If the plan is implemented, South Korea will become one of the few countries to tax cryptocurrency-to-cash exchanges.

The government’s concern is also motivated by the risk of cyberattacks from the country’s rogue neighbor, North Korea. According to South Korea’s National Police Agency, North Korean hackers could be targeting South Korean bitcoin exchanges.

With these newest measures, North Korean banks that offer accounts for cryptocurrency trading will have to verify the identification of new account holders and prohibit minors from opening accounts. Woori Bank and Korea Development Bank will shut down virtual accounts offered to cryptocurrency exchanges before year-end, according to the banks.

The regulators will also bar financial institutions from investing in or obtaining cryptocurrencies, and is considering ways to oblige cryptocurrency exchange operators to verify users’ real names, strengthen storage security of encryption keys, and disclose purchase price and order volumes. The authorities will also take strong-handed punitive actions against the perpetrators of cryptocurrency-related scams.

In a press release, the government said that the new regulations were necessary “to prevent a general public without expertise from suffering losses by participating in virtual currency investments that have massive fluctuations.”

These issues were discussed on Wednesday, December 13, 2017, in a meeting presided over by Hong Nam-ki, minister of the Office for Government Policy coordination, and attended by officials from the ministries of justice, finance, and science and ICT, as well as from the Financial Services Commission, the Korea Communications Commission, the Fair Trade Commission and the National Tax Service.

While some news headlines are presenting this as a catastrophic development that will shut down the cryptocurrency industry in South Korea, the initiative of the South Korean authorities is in line with current trends toward stronger cryptocurrency regulations in China, Europe and the U.S.

“A right set of regulations will rather nurture the (virtual currency) market, and we would welcome that,” Bithumb representatives told Reuters, adding that such a code of conduct could add legitimacy to the market.

The post South Korea Moves to Regulate Domestic Bitcoin Trading, Exchanges appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 12:15 pm

Advertise with Anonymous Ads

Bitcoin is failing as a currency - Engadget


Engadget

Bitcoin is failing as a currency
Engadget
It's been a good year for bitcoin investors but a terrible one for those who hoped that the cryptocurrency would become the de facto tender for the internet. Satoshi Nakamoto, its creator, may be dismayed at what has become of the project, intended as ...
Why Bitcoin is Surging in the Countries Trying Hardest to Stop ItFortune
Is it Ever Too Late to Buy Bitcoin? $100 Then and NowCointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
Bitcoin's scaling problems mean it won't make it as a currencyWired.co.uk
Bitcoin News (press release)
all 20 news articles »

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 12:13 pm

Intel Sees Role for 'Blockchain Mining' in Genetic Sequencing

In a newly released patent application, Intel describes how it could run genetic sequencing operations on a blockchain.

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 12:00 pm

How to decide if bitcoin is safe for you to trade - Chicago Tribune


Chicago Tribune

How to decide if bitcoin is safe for you to trade
Chicago Tribune
If you buy an amount of Bitcoin that does not coincide with the price per coin, your ownership would be indicated in fractions of a Bitcoin or as one or more whole Bitcoins plus a fraction, Drake says. Where can you buy Bitcoin? Cryptocurrency ...
Goldman Wants a 100% Margin on Some Bitcoin Futures TradesBloomberg
Bitcoin-futures contracts create as many risks as they mitigateThe Economist
The State Of The Bitcoin ETF RaceSeeking Alpha
Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
all 47 news articles »

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 11:49 am

Regulator warns Bitcoin buyers: Be ready to lose all your money - BBC News


BBC News

Regulator warns Bitcoin buyers: Be ready to lose all your money
BBC News
The head of one of Britain's leading financial regulators has warned people to be ready to "lose all their money" if they invest in Bitcoin. Andrew Bailey, head of the Financial Conduct Authority, told the BBC that neither central banks nor the ...
UK finance watchdog head says no plans to push bitcoin regulationFinancial Times

all 4 news articles »

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 11:28 am

A Guide to the World Bitcoin Created - Scientific American


Money Magazine

A Guide to the World Bitcoin Created
Scientific American
Bitcoin. Cryptocurrencies. Smart contracts. Many people have now heard of the rapidly changing ecosystem of financial technology, but few have wrapped their heads around it. Hundreds of central banks and corporations are incubating a game-changing ...
Want to Invest In Bitcoin? Here's What You Need to KnowMoney Magazine
Commentary: Why Bitcoin Would Make a Great Holiday GiftFortune
Bitcoin fever exposes crypto-market frailtiesReuters
Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News) -CBS News -VICE -CoinMarketCap
all 410 news articles »

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 11:04 am

Denmark Could Tap Blockchain For Foreign Aid Delivery, Says Report

Denmark's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has released a new report on the applicability of blockchain to foreign aid.

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 11:00 am

Yellowing Paper: What's Delaying a Crucial Ethereum Update?

The paper that's meant to provide the rules for computers running ethereum's software is out of date, and agreeing an update may not be so easy.

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 10:00 am

Japan's GMO Internet Group Will Pay Thousands of Workers in Bitcoin

Japanese Firm GMO Will Pay Thousands of Workers in Bitcoin

Blockchain development companies and the cryptocurrency press have been paying their workers in cryptocurrencies for years, but one realizes that the times are truly changing when mainstream companies start paying their workers in bitcoin.

GMO Internet Group, a Japanese provider of a full spectrum of internet services for both the consumer and enterprise markets, is introducing a system for employees to receive part of their salary in bitcoin.

Headquartered in Tokyo, GMO Internet Group comprises more than 60 companies in 10 countries. In view of the group’s size and financial muscle, this initiative is likely to boost the mainstream adoption of the practice of paying salaries in cryptocurrencies.

The move is partly motivated by the desire to promote the adoption of Bitcoin, which is a strategic priority for GMO. In fact, the group is vigorously active in bitcoin trading and mining services, as well as mining hardware development. Therefore, anything that is good for Bitcoin is also good for GMO.

In May 2017, GMO launched a cryptocurrency exchange, initially dubbed Z.com Coin and later rebranded as GMO Coin, which features cryptocurrency FX and trading on both computers and smartphones. The exchange offers two types of services: cryptocurrency FX, which is an over-the-counter (OTC) bitcoin margin trading and cryptocurrency trading, which enables buying and selling of virtual currency in JPY in addition to basic features allowing customers to send and receive bitcoins.

In September 2017, GMO announced the upcoming launch of a new bitcoin mining business. “We will operate a next-generation mining center utilizing renewable energy and cutting-edge semiconductor chips in Northern Europe,” GMO stated, emphasizing that they will invest in R&D and manufacturing of hardware including the next-generation mining chip.

“We will use cutting-edge 7 nm process technology for chips to be used in the mining process, and jointly work on its research and development and manufacturing with our alliance partner having semiconductor design technology.” The mining business is scheduled to start in January 2018.

GMO expressed its belief that cryptocurrencies will develop into “new universal currencies” available to anyone from any country or region who wants to freely exchange value, “creating a new borderless economic zone.”

The option to receive part of the salary in bitcoin will initially only be available to employees of one GMO company — GMO Internet Co. Ltd. — starting in March 2018, but it will be gradually extended to more than 4,000 employees in other GMO companies based in Japan.

The minimum bitcoin payment will initially be 10,000 yen (~$88) and the upper limit will be 100,000 yen (~$881). Each salary payment in yen will be reduced by the amount of bitcoin paid, using the exchange rate at the GMO Coin exchange.

Mainichi Japan notes that Japan's labor code stipulates that businesses must pay employees in a recognized currency such as the yen, but, according to GMO, the move is in accordance with the law because any payments in bitcoin would be consensual, with a chosen amount to be deducted from paychecks and put toward purchasing bitcoin. The cryptocurrency is rising in popularity in Japan with an increasing number of retailers accepting it as a form of payment.

GMO Internet Group wants to contribute to the development of cryptocurrencies in the world by promoting cryptocurrency-related initiatives throughout the group. In particular, GMO wants to promote ownership of bitcoin among its employees — who can be the best evangelists for the group’s products and services related to the digital currency — to improve the employees’ exposure to and understanding of Bitcoin.

“Employers can now pay employees a portion of their net earnings in bitcoin by collaborating with niche payroll solution providers such as Bitwage, Wagepoint, or Bitpay, who manage the back-end mechanics, eliminate exposure to price volatility, and reduce compliance and governance risks,” noted Deloitte principal Eric Piscini.

A recent overview of cryptocurrency payroll processors and early adopting clients notes that offering salaries in bitcoin could make it easier for companies to retain and attract talent. Besides compensating current employees, “[cryptocurrencies] could help businesses more effectively tap into the open talent economy, where individual contributors may be drawn to business partners that offer payout features only cryptocurrency makes possible: fast peer-to-peer payments across country borders with minimal friction (or total freedom) from traditional banking systems,” said Piscini.

For now, the GMO press release is available only in Japanese.


The post Japan's GMO Internet Group Will Pay Thousands of Workers in Bitcoin appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 9:14 am

Gibraltar to Launch License Scheme for Blockchain Startups

Gibraltar will publish guidance explaining how to apply its new blockchain legislation to startups on Friday.

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 9:05 am

Up 50%: Ripple's XRP Sets Price Record Amid Overstretched Rally

Ripple's XRP cryptocurrency is scaling new heights today, but the rally looks overbought, according to price chart analysis.

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 8:10 am

First Came Bitcoin. Then Came Bitcoin Lenders - Fortune


Fortune

First Came Bitcoin. Then Came Bitcoin Lenders
Fortune
The woes of an early bitcoin investor. Until recently, people who paid virtually nothing for the virtual currency and watched it soar had only one way to enjoy their new wealth — sell. And many weren't ready. Lenders on the fringe of the financial ...

and more »

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 7:13 am

It's Time for Governments to Embrace Blockchain

Governments haven't typically been thought of as early blockchain adopters. That could soon change, writes IBM's Marie Wieck.

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 7:00 am

As bitcoin, other currencies soar, regulators urge caution - ABC News


As bitcoin, other currencies soar, regulators urge caution
ABC News
The public's interest in all things bitcoin and efforts by entrepreneurs to fund their businesses with digital currencies is starting to draw more attention from regulators. The head of the Securities and Exchange Commission this week warned investors ...

and more »

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 6:15 am

Bitcoin Looks Lower In Chase for 'Small Cap' Gains

Soon after an all-time-high above $17,630 on the CoinDesk's price index, bitcoin prices are starting to look towards sub-$16,000 levels.

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 6:00 am

Court Approves U.S. Extradition for Alleged BTC-e Operator

A Greek court has given the green light for the U.S. extradition of Alexander Vinnik, the alleged former operator of bitcoin exchange BTC-e.

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 5:15 am

Japanese Shipping Giant, IBM to Trial Blockchain in Cross-Border Trade

Japanese shipping firm Mitsui OSK Lines and partners including IBM are to undertake a blockchain trial aimed to streamline international trade flows.

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 4:00 am

Out With the Old? Blockchain Requires a New Regulatory Approach

What if an ICO is just an ICO? Eva Kaili argues regulations need more imaginative approaches to blockchain.

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 2:00 am

Walmart, JD.com Back Blockchain Food Tracking Effort in China

Retail giants Walmart and JD.com are among several companies backing a new blockchain effort in China focused on food safety and traceability.

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 10:00 pm

Plan B? Ethereum Innovators Are Reviving the Fight for Net Neutrality

Mesh networks could be finding new life among blockchain enthusiasts as the U.S. Federal Communications Commission gears up to repeal net neutrality.

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 7:05 pm

2018's Big Question: Can Bitcoin Forks Deliver Value?

Forking bitcoin was all the rage in 2017. In 2018, the question might be, what are we getting in return?

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 4:00 pm

Saudi, UAE Central Banks Team Up to Test Cryptocurrency

The central banks of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are reportedly testing a new cryptocurrency for cross-border payments.

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 3:15 pm

Bitcoin Price Analysis: Bitcoin Rests at Tipping Point Before Deciding Next Move

Bitcoin Price Analysis

Bitcoin prices have currently stalled out in the $16,000s as the market decides if it wants to continue the ravenous bull trend or go through a more corrective phase. In the last 30 days, the price of bitcoin has doubled — entering into what most traditional market analysts would deem “bubble territory.” Bitcoin’s growth has been so rapid, it has managed to break north out of a parabolic trend to form an even more aggressive parabolic shape known as a “hypodermic trend.” Let’s take a look at the macro view of bitcoin and see if this trend is sustainable or ripe for a correction:

Figure_1.JPGFigure 1: BTC-USD, 1-Day Candles, Macro Trend

The image above shows a multi-year, parabolic envelope that, until recently, has guided the bitcoin bull market. Within the parabolic envelope we see a strong linear channel (shown in purple) that has provided very strong support and resistance through much of the bitcoin price growth. At the end of November 2017, however, bitcoin price growth was so strong, it managed to break out of both the linear and parabolic trends and form a more aggressive price trend: a hypodermic trend.

Figure_2.JPGFigure 2: BTC-USD, 60-Minute Candles, Hypodermic Trendline

The solid red line represents an aggressive support line that has guided this new, aggressive price growth out of the parabolic envelope. As of the time of this article, I am monitoring a trading range very closely as it nears this hypodermic trend. A breakdown below this hypodermic trend represents a diminished trend of demand in the bitcoin market, and it could ultimately lead to a local top on for BTC-USD. Paired with this hypodermic breakdown is a breakdown of the trading range (shown in blue) that has a span of approximately $5,000. A breakdown of a trading range that large would have quite a meaningful market reaction and is likely to see a profound correction before bitcoin buyers step back in.

However, before we get all doomsday-esque, it’s important to remember that distribution phases and reaccumulation phases are quite similar in shape and are called “evil twins” of one another. It’s entirely possible we could see new all-time highs out of bitcoin but, given the weak and anemic follow-through of each all-time high breaching the trading range, I am inclined to lean less toward accumulation and more toward distribution.

As always, volume will be a huge indicator in this process; a great telltale that we are, in fact, in an accumulation phase will be volume growth coupled with price growth. If we begin to push new highs and we see a volume growth trend combined with it, there will be a great sigh of relief from traders as this pairing will indicate increasing demand and diminishing free-floating supply in the market.

Summary:

  1. The price of bitcoin has doubled in the last month.

  2. The price growth has been so aggressive that it has broken north of a parabolic trend it’s been well-confined within for 3 years.

  3. Bitcoin is at a crucial point as it currently decides whether it wants to move up or down in price.

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

The post Bitcoin Price Analysis: Bitcoin Rests at Tipping Point Before Deciding Next Move appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 2:38 pm

Fed Chair Yellen: Bitcoin Is a 'Highly Speculative Asset'

Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen called bitcoin a "highly speculative asset" during her final press conference today

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 2:00 pm

IcyWallet Offers a Cold Storage Bitcoin Wallet for the Visually Impaired

IcyWallet Offers a Cold Storage Bitcoin Wallet for the Visually Impaired

Safely storing cryptocurrency can be confusing, especially for newcomers to the space, but for people with visual impairments, finding an accessible option is especially challenging.

IcyWallet is a cold wallet with a difference: it is designed to make it as simple as possible for people with visual impairments to manage offline bitcoin storage.

The project got its start when Adam Newbold and his wife took a braille reading course as a learning activity. Shortly afterward, Newbold struck up a Reddit conversation with a blind Bitcoin enthusiast who expressed frustration with the lack of support for the blind community from Bitcoin software developers. None of the wallets worked correctly in his reader and he required help to perform any functions with bitcoin.

“I learned even more about practical accessibility issues and the real-world challenges that the blind encounter every day,” Newbold told Bitcoin Magazine. “This turned into a stronger personal interest that merged with my existing interest in Bitcoin when I realized that there are pretty big opportunities for improving the state of accessibility in Bitcoin software.”

He started a campaign in October 2017 to create a braille version of the original Bitcoin white paper. That campaign was successful and the document is now available for anyone wanting to get a copy.

That first success led Newbold to create the IcyWallet. His goal is to provide a 100 percent free and open source bitcoin hardware wallet for the blind. Work is currently underway with early milestones achieved, the progress of which is tracked on their website.

“One of the points you hear a lot about Bitcoin is that you can ‘be your own bank,’ which always sounds fun and empowering (and it is!),” said Newbold. “But it also means that you need to take responsibility for all of the things that banks do, like keeping your funds secure.”

He explained that even though today’s technology has solved a substantial number of issues that people with disabilities face, when it comes to bitcoin and security, there are still several missing pieces.

“There isn’t any kind of hardware wallet on the market today that’s fully accessible to people with blindness,” said Newbold, “and there are barriers to setting up secured, air-gapped solutions. This leaves people with blindness limited choices that all involve compromising security to some degree. With the IcyWallet, the private keys never leave the device.”

According to Newbold, here is how the device will work:

  • First, the transaction is generated on a (different) computer connected to the internet, so that the fee can be properly estimated;

  • Then, the transaction is signed by the IcyWallet device;

  • Finally, the transaction is broadcasted to the Bitcoin network back on the internet-connected device. This keeps the IcyWallet device completely offline, ensuring that the private keys are safe at all times.

Users simply plug in headphones and a keyboard or a refreshable braille display. The device boots directly into the wallet app with functional audio and braille support.

“Refreshable braille display support means that it will even support someone with deaf/blindness right out of the box,” said Newbold.

IcyWallet generates hierarchical deterministic wallets with mnemonic seeds for safe backup. The code is developed using the BitcoinJS library and is intended to be run on an “air-gapped” Raspberry Pi, though Newbold points out that, in theory, the software can run on other hardware.

Newbold has plans to make a demo video/audio track available soon, as well as an early release of the software (probably limited to wallet generation only) so that he can start to get more feedback and code suggestions that will improve the IcyWallet.

As Bitcoin in particular, and cryptocurrencies in general, see wider adoption, the implementation of greater accessibility systems will be important to their continued growth. IcyWallet is expected to launch at some point in 2018.



The post IcyWallet Offers a Cold Storage Bitcoin Wallet for the Visually Impaired appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 11:27 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crytek

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

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

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

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



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

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 10:23 am

Gifto’s Vision for the Virtual Gifting Economy

Gifto Thumb


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Inspiration Behind Gifto

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fostering a Global Gifting Economy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 9:24 am

Munchee ICO Halted by SEC for Securities Violations

Munchee ICO Halted by SEC for Securities Violations

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 11 December 2017 | 3:19 pm

Bitcoin Futures Are Here: The Story So Far

cboefutures.jpg

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

47c7ff34bce0ce6132eef3b1762bee2b.png

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

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

square cboe

Image Source: www.cboe.com

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

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

October 31

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

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

December 1, 2017

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

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

December 4

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

December 5

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

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

December 6

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

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

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

historical cboe

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

December 7

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

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

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

December 8

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

Conclusion

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

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

Posted on 11 December 2017 | 2:38 pm

Bitcoin tops $10,000 milestone

Posted on 29 November 2017 | 2:30 am

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

Posted on 12 June 2017 | 1:06 am

Consulting firm EY Switzerland accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 26 November 2016 | 12:47 am

Steam accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 29 April 2016 | 1:09 am

Major Magazine Publisher to Accept Bitcoin Payments

Posted on 18 December 2014 | 12:43 pm

Microsoft accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 11 December 2014 | 5:06 am

Mozilla accepting Bitcoin

Posted on 20 November 2014 | 1:55 pm

PayPal and Virtual Currency

Posted on 23 September 2014 | 9:52 pm

German Newspaper "taz" accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 22 July 2014 | 1:32 pm

airBaltic - World’s First Airline To Accept Bitcoin

Posted on 22 July 2014 | 11:03 am

December 14, 2017 -
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