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What is Bitcoin?

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

Bitcoin Latest News

What is Bitcoin United and Should you Trust it? - The Merkle


The Merkle

What is Bitcoin United and Should you Trust it?
The Merkle
In the digital world, it can be difficult to distinguish between what is real and fake. A new post on Huffington Post talks about Bitcoin united as a solution to end all forks. This post makes some very bold claims regarding faster transactions and ...

Posted on 23 July 2017 | 11:09 am

Overstock Executive: It's Crazy That Retailers Still Don't Accept Bitcoin - CryptoCoinsNews


Overstock Executive: It's Crazy That Retailers Still Don't Accept Bitcoin
CryptoCoinsNews
Recently, as reported by CCN, Morgan Stanley published a report that showed that out of the top 500 online retailers, only three accept bitcoin, down from five in 2016. The report outlined a few motives that led to the decline, including a rise in ...

Posted on 23 July 2017 | 8:29 am

What Coinbase's Cuba Problem Says About the Bitcoin Business

As travelers to Cuba can attest, an unfortunate reality of cryptocurrency services today is the poor customer support.

Source

Posted on 23 July 2017 | 6:40 am

Between a Rock and a Hard Fork: Jeff Garzik's Plan to Avoid a Bitcoin Split

Perhaps no coder is more at the center of bitcoin's raging scaling debate more than Jeff Garzik – here he talks about the network's future.

Source

Posted on 22 July 2017 | 2:05 pm

Bitcoin surges as miners avert split for now - MarketWatch


MarketWatch

Bitcoin surges as miners avert split for now
MarketWatch
Bitcoin prices surged this week as an overwhelming majority of miners, the computer operators who maintain its network, backed a software upgrade that will boost the speed of processing transactions, likely averting a split that could have resulted in ...

Posted on 22 July 2017 | 10:50 am

Life in Crypto Time

Trading expert Tim Enneking compares the crypto asset space with the early days of the internet, where time just seemed to fly faster.

Source

Posted on 22 July 2017 | 1:12 am

Bitcoin Averts Split Into Two Currencies - Fortune


Fortune

Bitcoin Averts Split Into Two Currencies
Fortune
Bitcoin's miners have signaled their support for the so-called Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) 91, avoiding a split of bitcoin into two blockchains. The miners represent a network of computer operators who secure the blockchain or a public ledger of ...
Bitcoin is booming because a split in the cryptocurrency has been narrowly avertedQuartz
Bitcoin Soars as Upgrade Backers Hoist Beers to ArmisticeBloomberg
Bitcoin swings as civil war loomsBBC News
CoinTelegraph -CoinDesk -Mashable -Coin Dance
all 119 news articles »

Posted on 21 July 2017 | 4:52 pm

Understanding Bitcoin's Scaling Debate: Politics Comes First

Cato Institute's Jim Harper argues that, since the scaling debate is so political, the community has something to learn from Washington, D.C.

Source

Posted on 21 July 2017 | 3:20 pm

Bitcoin Price Analysis: Recent Bull Run Calls for a Level Head

Bitcoin Price Analysis

Over the course of three days, BTC-USD managed to climb $1,100 in value — a near 60 percent growth. Shortly after reaching a local high in the mid $2,900s, it immediately retraced down to the mid $2,700s where, at the time of this article, it is currently sitting. Is this price growth sustainable? Is there more bull left in this rally? I’ll attempt to break down this recent market move from both sides of the fence and show why investors should or shouldn’t be wary of a move of this magnitude.  

Full disclosure: This analysis will not attempt to speculate on the value implications within this ongoing scaling debate. This will be an objective, raw analysis of the data at hand.

Figure_1.jpgFigure 1: BTC-USD, 12-hr Candles, Bitfinex, Macro Bull Run

If we put this entire bull run into perspective, we see that upon the completion of the Head and Shoulders Reversal Pattern, the market retraced down to the 50 percent Fibonacci Retracement values before ultimately bouncing and immediately climbing toward the previous all-time high.

At the moment, BTC-USD has yet to see any significant pullback from its latest move to justify any semblance of considerably strong support. The importance of establishing support levels is crucial for a sustained, healthy bull run. A support level sends out a signal to investors that basically says, “Hey, the market is not likely to drop below ‘x’ value — your risk is lowered by buying at ‘y’ price.”  

However, without these firm support levels, investors don’t know where the price currently stands in the grand scheme of the market. Thus, uncertainty can be injected into the market even in times of strong bull rallies. This uncertainty often leads to early profit taking, panic selling and long-position capitulation (also known as a “long squeeze”).

To play devil’s advocate, one can make an argument for a bullish continuation of yesterday’s massive bull run:

Figure_2.jpgFigure 2: BTC-USD, 30-min Candles, Bitfinex, Price Consolidation

If we take the current trend out of the context of the entire market, it would appear to display characteristics of a bullish continuation pattern known as a “Bull Pennant.” Bull Pennants are characterized by having lower highs, higher lows and decreasing volume along the length of the pennant. A pennant of this magnitude would have a price target somewhere around $3,400. (For the sake of time, I won’t explain why that’s the price target. You’ll just have to take my word for it.)  

However, when we put the Bull Pennant into the context of the entire market, we see signs of market divergence starting to form on the higher timescales:

Figure_3.jpgFigure 3: BTC-USD, 4-hr Candles, Bitfinex, Bearish Divergence

On the 4-hr MACD, we see bearish divergence during the market move to $2,900. Divergence is an indication that the market has begun to lose momentum and is likely to pull back before any more uptrending will continue.  

In regard to a bullish continuation of this rally, something to keep an eye out for are the tests of the key Fibonacci Retracement values shown in Figure 1. A retest and strong rejection of the Fibonacci lines will show strong market confidence in the eyes of investors who are currently sitting on the sidelines. Before any sustained, healthy uptrend resumes, the market will have to prove itself at the lower values to establish firm support.

During massive rallies it’s important to always keep in mind that large price movements often come with a large cost. It is still unclear what the immediate future of BTC-USD will be, but it’s important to remain levelheaded when entering trades and always look at the market objectively.  

Summary:

  1. Over three days, the BTC-USD market gained 60 percent in value.

  2. No firm support has been established to justify remaining at this price level.

  3. Because there is no firm support, volume is beginning to taper off while the market decides the next direction to head to next.

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: Recent Bull Run Calls for a Level Head appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 21 July 2017 | 1:09 pm

NRI Subsidiary Launches Blockchain Technology Assessment Service

A subsidiary of global consulting firm NRI has announced the launch of a new blockchain system assessment service.

Source

Posted on 21 July 2017 | 10:45 am

Blockchain Startup Billon Nets €2 Million From EU Research Fund

A U.K. blockchain startup has received a notable grant to continue its work with the technology.

Source

Posted on 21 July 2017 | 9:10 am

Crypto Asset Class Clears $90 Billion as Bitcoin Price Spikes

The total value of all cryptocurrencies rose on Friday, crossing $90bn for the first time in weeks.

Source

Posted on 21 July 2017 | 7:45 am

Utility Settlement Coin Creator to Open-Source Modular Blockchain Software

The secretive firm behind the Utility Settlement Coin project has told CoinDesk of plans to roll-out new open-source offerings.

Source

Posted on 21 July 2017 | 7:00 am

ECB President: Cryptocurrency Price Boom Having Limited Effect on Economy

The president of the European Union's central bank has issued new remarks that touch on the rising price of cryptocurrencies.

Source

Posted on 21 July 2017 | 6:15 am

Trust Your Odometer? Blockchain Test Aims to Turn Tide on Car Tampering

If you've ever bought a used car you'll understand why BigchainDB has developed a platform that tracks vehicle history on a blockchain.

Source

Posted on 21 July 2017 | 5:30 am

Arrested Hacker Claims $30 Million Bitcoin Theft – But Offers Little Proof

A Pennsylvania resident is claiming to have stolen millions in bitcoin, though he's offered police little in the way of evidence.

Source

Posted on 21 July 2017 | 4:00 am

Bitcoin price nears record high after scaling debate 'milestone' - CNBC


CNBC

Bitcoin price nears record high after scaling debate 'milestone'
CNBC
Some in the bitcoin space said there are more hurdles to jump over yet in the scaling debate.

and more »

Posted on 21 July 2017 | 1:28 am

BIP 91 Has Locked In. Here’s What That Means (and What It Does Not)

BIP91.jpg

It looks as if Bitcoin is getting Segregated Witness.

Bitcoin Improvement Proposal 91 (BIP 91) just locked in. Up to 90 percent of all hash power signaled support for this soft fork, which implies miners intend, in turn, to trigger Segregated Witness (SegWit) activation. By extension, this should make BIP 148 obsolete and August 1 a non-event.

But SegWit is not certain. In fact, on a technical level, SegWit is not any closer to activation at all.

BIP 91

Segregated Witness, defined by BIP 141, locks in if at least 95 percent of miners (by hash power) signal support for the upgrade within a two-week difficulty period. To do so, miners need to embed a piece of data called “bit 1” in the blocks they mine.

Importantly, this is technically the only way for SegWit to activate right now. And this threshold has not yet been met.

But there are alternative strategies to try and trigger this threshold “indirectly” — like BIP 91.

BIP 91 is a Bitcoin Improvement Proposal proposed by Bitmain Warranty engineer James Hilliard. It is compatible with the New York Agreement and backed by a number of Bitcoin companies and mining pools. It is also compatible with BIP 148, another strategy to trigger the BIP 141 threshold indirectly.

Miners have been signaling support for BIP 91 over the past couple of days through another piece of data, “bit 4.” Once 269 blocks within a 336-block window included bit 4, this BIP 91 soft fork locks in. This threshold was just met.

This means that after another 336 blocks, a little over two days from now, all BIP 91–compatible nodes will reject any block that doesn’t include bit 1.

As long as a majority of hash power enforces BIP 91, this majority should eventually control the longest valid chain according to all Bitcoin nodes. And as this chain consists of bit 1 SegWit-signaling blocks only, it would in turn lock in SegWit on all SegWit-ready nodes by mid-August. SegWit itself should then be live on the Bitcoin network after a two-week “grace period” by the end of that month.

If all goes well …

What Could Go Wrong?

Although well over 80 percent of hash power has signaled bit 4 for BIP 91 lock in, this doesn’t actually guarantee anything. Most importantly, it doesn’t in itself mean that these miners will signal bit 1 for SegWit.

Indeed, so far, most miners don’t. Currently, the proportion of miners signaling bit 1 is still far lower than BIP 91 activation would suggest. It is even lower than 50 percent.

Moreover, BIP 91 will probably be enforced by hardly any economically relevant nodes; that is, nodes operated by users that accept bitcoins as payment. Almost no Bitcoin users on the network recognize BIP 91 or its bit 4 signaling at all, and will therefore continue to accept blocks with or without bit 1.

BIP 91 will, instead, be enforced by hash power alone. This in turn means that a majority of miners (by hash power) could back out of BIP 91 with little more than reputational damage. They could continue to mine blocks that do not signal bit 1, even after BIP 91 activates in a few days. As long as these miners are in a majority, they will still control the longest valid chain: valid according to most miners, and valid to most users.

Furthermore, any minority of miners and the few nodes that do enforce the BIP 91 soft fork would then be forked off the Bitcoin network. In a few days from now, these miners would mine (on top of) blocks that almost only they themselves would care for, while most of the rest of the entire Bitcoin network would completely ignore them.

With this week’s bit 4 signaling, a majority of miners have effectively made a statement that they intend to start to activate the SegWit soft fork within a couple of days. But for now, that’s really all it is: a very public, blockchain-based statement of intent.

Actual SegWit activation should start next week, if miners stick to their stated intent.

The post BIP 91 Has Locked In. Here’s What That Means (and What It Does Not) appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 7:20 pm

BIP 91 Locks In: What This Means for Bitcoin and Why It's Not Scaled Yet

BIP 91 has locked in. Before you celebrate, here's what you need to know about what's happening with bitcoin's code.

Source

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 6:18 pm

Bitcoin Price Surges to One-Month High as Tech Outlook Improves

The price of bitcoin was up on Thursday, driven to a one-month high on optimism that the network's technology could soon upgrade.

Source

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 2:28 pm

Garza Pleads Guilty: GAW Miners CEO Cops to $9 Million Fraud

A notorious cryptocurrency executive plead guilty to a count of wire fraud on Thursday. He now faces up to 20 years in prison.

Source

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 1:20 pm

Hansa Market Taken Down in Global Law Enforcement Operation

Hansa Market Taken Down in Global Law Enforcement Operation

After darknet market AlphaBay went offline on July 4, many of its users migrated to Hansa Market — and played right into the hands of an “Operation Bayonet,” a coordinated international law enforcement action. Today, both the U.S. Department of Justice and the Europol published press releases stating that Hansa Market has also been shut down.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the action was led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), with law enforcement authorities in Thailand, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and the Europol participating in the operation. Bayonet’s focus was takedown of both Hansa Market and AlphaBay in the course of the same multi-agency investigation.

“This is an outstanding success by authorities in Europe and the U.S. The capability of drug traffickers and other serious criminals around the world has taken a serious hit today after a highly sophisticated joint action in multiple countries. By acting together on a global basis the law enforcement community has sent a clear message that we have the means to identify criminality and strike back, even in areas of the Dark Web. There are more of these operations to come,” Rob Wainwright, the executive director of Europol, said today at a joint press conference with the U.S. Attorney General, the acting FBI director and the deputy director of the DEA in Washington, D.C.

According to Europol’s press release, the European agency provided Dutch authorities with an investigation lead on the Hansa Market in 2016. Europol allegedly acquired the information with the help of Bitdefender, an internet security company advising Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3). Investigators managed to locate the infrastructure of the darknet marketplace in the Netherlands, which resulted in the arrest of two administrators of the site in Germany. Hansa’s servers were seized in the Netherlands, Germany and Lithuania.

Furthermore, Dutch law enforcement acquired information on “high value targets and delivery addresses for a large number of orders.” With the help of Europol, the Dutch National Police collected information on approximately 10,000 foreign addresses of Hansa Market customers. In a covert action, Dutch law enforcement took control of Hansa a month ago, allowing investigators to monitor and gain information on the users of the marketplace without their knowledge.

Casting a Wider Net

It seems authorities planned their actions carefully since Hansa was already under their control when AlphaBay went offline on July 4. Europol stated that the Dutch National Police “could identify and disrupt the regular criminal activity on Hansa but then also sweep up all those new users displaced from AlphaBay who were looking for a new trading platform.”

“The Dutch National Police have located Hansa Market and taken over control of this marketplace since June 20, 2017. We have modified the source code, which allowed us to capture passwords, PGP-encrypted order information, IP-Addresses, Bitcoins and other relevant information that may help law enforcement agencies worldwide to identify users of this marketplace. For more information about this operation, please consult our hidden service at http://politiepcvh42eav.onion,” Dutch authorities wrote on the seized Hansa website.

In total, 38,000 transactions were identified by Europol, who then alerted other agencies in 600 cases. Furthermore, Europol stated they have prepared “intelligence packages” to be sent out to “law enforcement partners across 37 countries, spawning many follow-up investigations across Europe and beyond.”

AlphaBay went offline on July 4. At the time, many users suspected it was an exit scam. Authorities announced the arrest of the Alexandre Cazes, 26, the alleged administrator of the website, who was later found dead in his cell in Thailand. On the day of Cazes’s arrest, law enforcement took down servers of the dark web marketplace in Canada, the Netherlands and Thailand.

Darknet marketplaces have generated massive police heat after dangerous synthetic drugs, such as fentanyl — the substance at the heart of drug epidemics in multiple countries, including Canada and the United States — were constantly offered for sale on the websites. The statements of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions during the joint press release in Washington, D.C., confirm this assumption.

“Among other challenges, our great country is currently in the midst of the deadliest drug crisis in our history. One American now dies of a drug overdose every 11 minutes and more than 2 million Americans are addicted to prescription painkillers. Every day, as a result of drug abuse, American families are being bankrupted, friendships broken and promising lives cut short,” he said.

“As of earlier this year, 122 vendors advertised fentanyl and 238 advertised heroin, and we know of several Americans who were killed by drugs sold on AlphaBay.”

Sessions asserted that his department’s work is not yet finished and issued a warning to people still ready to engage in illegal activity on the dark web. “We will continue to find, arrest, prosecute, convict and incarcerate criminals, drug traffickers and their enablers, wherever they are. The dark net is not a place to hide. We will use every tool we have to stop criminals from exploiting vulnerable people and sending so many Americans to an early grave.”

The post Hansa Market Taken Down in Global Law Enforcement Operation appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 12:57 pm

Parity Wallet Hacker Cashes out $90,000 in Stolen Ether

Perpetrators who exploited a flaw in a popular ethereum wallet software yesterday have taken steps to sell their stolen funds.

Source

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 11:55 am

Ripple Reports Uptick in Investor XRP Interest as Sales Triple in Q2

A new report from Ripple suggests institutional investors are increasingly interested in its native cryptocurrency.

Source

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 9:45 am

What's an ICO? 'Big 4' Consulting Firms Are Getting the Question

Major consulting firms are reporting that interest in blockchain is fast expanding beyond distributed ledgers to include more experimental ICOs.

Source

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 8:00 am

Supercluster Funding Bid Could Supercharge Blockchain Development in Canada

Supercluster Funding Bid Could Supercharge Blockchain Technology in Canada

Four organizations in Canada’s blockchain tech sector are going all out this week to submit their application letter to the federal Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) before the July 21 deadline to be considered for funding under the government’s new Innovation Superclusters Initiative.

A representative for Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains told Bitcoin Magazine that “the Innovation Superclusters Initiative will invest nearly $1 billion to strengthen up to five of Canada's most promising clusters,”  and confirmed that “federal contributions to selected superclusters will have to be matched with private sector investment for maximum impact.”

The Blockchain Research Institute (BRI), ColliderX, the Blockchain Association of Canada (BAC) and the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) have teamed up to apply for some of the $950 million offered by the Canadian government for the best bids in future technologies that the government says will create “Silicon Valley-style hubs of industry key to future growth and jobs.”

ColliderX aims to accelerate core technical R&D at levels that will support innovation in Canada and position the sector as a tech leader overseas. BRI contributes the business-level use cases, setting the agenda for strategy leaders. BAC is a major advocacy organization, and ICTC is a long-time, established industry player, well known to high-tech businesses in Canada.

Blockchain Association of Canada: Call to Action

Kyle Kemper, Executive Director of the Blockchain Association of Canada, is working on the supercluster application letter of intent and told us the only thing they’re short of is time to get their application in to the ministry.

He pointed out that it is imperative that blockchain companies and organizations express their support for and commitment to the bid before the application deadline.

“This supercluster initiative is an opportunity to take blockchain technology mainstream and for Canada to take a lead role,” Kemper told Bitcoin Magazine. “In the bid process we are receiving unanimous support from public, private, academic, philanthropic and non-profit organizations.”

If the group manages to secure $50 million in funding commitments from these organizations as part of a successful bid, the federal government will match the next $50 million for each supercluster. The commitments and matched funds will be spread over 5 years, according to the proposal.

Blockchain Research Institute: No Room for Complacency

Don Tapscott, Executive Director of the BRI, notes that many of the other bids like AI, machine learning, the Internet of Things and Quantum are all dependent on blockchain technology as a foundation.

“The blockchain supercluster proposal is late to the table in part because this extraordinary technology is just becoming mainstream,” Tapscott told Bitcoin Magazine. “But it’s no less important than any of the others. In fact, it’s foundational to everything else.”

In a report called The Blockchain Corridor: Building an Innovation Economy in the 2nd Era of the Internet, Don and Alex Tapscott lay out a blueprint for a blockchain tech supercluster and Centre of Excellence in the already highly active “corridor” between Toronto and Waterloo, Ontario.

The report says:

“We cannot afford to be complacent, nor is time on our side. Canada’s leading position in the Blockchain Revolution could quickly evaporate as other hotbeds around the world, such as Berlin, Singapore, Shanghai, Tokyo, Sydney, London and New York (to say nothing of Silicon Valley) race ahead. The time to act is now.”

According to the report, the corridor could collectively generate around 170,000 new jobs and around $17 billion in GDP by the year 2025.

Tapscott added:

“Blockchain represents nothing less than the second era of the Internet. The first was based in Silicon Valley. As we show in the Blockchain Corridor Report, the second could be based in Canada.

“I’m convinced that we can find $50 million from the private sector for this initiative. So I sure hope that governments will ensure we have a seat at the table going forward to make our case.”

ColliderX: The Underdog Challenge

Bid partner ColliderX is a new non-profit social enterprise working to promote and develop R&D initiatives in the Canadian blockchain tech sector.

ColliderX founder and CEO Iliana Oris Valiente notes that the four bid partner organizations complement each other to create a dynamic supercluster.

“Being considered by ISED to move on to the next stage of the selection process will be a win for the blockchain industry as it will signal Canada's support of this ecosystem,” Valiente said to Bitcoin Magazine.

“We're certainly the underdog in this scenario but are promoting a truly new industry, rather than continued investments in areas that are already more established.”

Information and Communications Technology Council

ICTC is an established industry player that brings a wealth of experience in economic development activities and will be involved in bridging the gap between the blockchain industry and a wider segment of the business and political community.

Namir Anani, President & CEO of ICTC, believes that competition to win supercluster funding will be tough but notes that small- and medium-sized entreprises (like most blockchain startups) represent the large majority of Canada's competitive businesses.

Anani says they will make the point that blockchain technology is a cross-industry enabler and a key catalyst for heightening small business growth and competitiveness in Canada.

Anani told Bitcoin Magazine:

“The global blockchain market is growing at a staggering CAGR [Compound Annual Growth Rate] of 58.7 percent, according to Transparency Market Research. Capitalizing on this fast growth market is key for Canada's economy and employment potential going forward.

“As Canada continues to expand its trade agreements in an increasingly global market, such as with the newly ratified Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreements (CETA), blockchain is a pivotal trade enabler for fast-tracking Canada's place in the global economy.”

Making the Deadline

Valiente is confident that crowdfunding will bring in the needed amounts. To date, she has raised $2 million in pledges on behalf of ColliderX, which will be rolled into the supercluster. 

Anani is also confident the private sector will come forward and is passionate about selling the supercluster bid.

“Blockchain has the potential of reshaping all aspects of the global economy in the next number of years, building Canada’s comparative advantage in this space is paramount going forward. The Blockchain Supercluster is a powerful pan-Canadian collaboration that will unleash cross-industry innovations, new economic opportunities and employment prospects for Canadians.”

Kemper reiterated the need for industry support in order for the initiative to succeed. “I urge all organizations that support Blockchain technology and organizations looking to better understand the potential to go to blockchainsc.ca, fill out a letter of commitment and share this news to rally more people to the cause by 12:00 EST on Friday, July 21.”

Thus far, C4 and the Institute on Governance are among those supporting the bid as sponsors.

The group has until December 31, 2017, to raise the remaining supercluster-specific private-sector funding.

The post Supercluster Funding Bid Could Supercharge Blockchain Development in Canada appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 19 July 2017 | 11:00 am

The Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. Is Half Full Node, Half Work of Art

The Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. Is Half Full Node and Half Work of Art

Bitcoin is a decentralized system of digital cash in which users don’t need to trust anyone else with their money; however, the full benefits of this technology are only seen when users operate a full node on the network. The vast majority of Bitcoin users do not operate their own full nodes, but one man is trying to change that with a piece of hardware he calls the Bitcoin Block Clock Jr.

There are many good reasons for individual Bitcoiners to operate a full node. Full nodes are responsible for validating transactions and blocks on the Bitcoin network. Only by running full nodes can users know with full certainty that they received a valid payment. Additionally, the more users that run full nodes, the more decentralized the Bitcoin network is, making it harder to shut down or corrupt.

And as Sia Co-Founder David Vorick pointed out in a talk at this year’s MIT Bitcoin Expo, those who do not operate their own full nodes do not get a say in the matter when hard forks are deployed on the network. “If you’re not running a full node … your opinion on whether or not you like a hard fork is less relevant because, ultimately, if you’re not validating the rules and someone gives you a transaction following a different rule set, you don’t have a way to detect that,” he explained.

Running a full node, however, has been a rather expensive proposition. As a result, larger, economically invested entities that are better able to support full nodes have had more of a say.

According to Vorick, users can be dragged along with miners and large businesses if the cost of running a full node is too high: “If full nodes are expensive to run, only people who are capable of running nodes really have any say in what happens in a contentious upgrade.”

Matthew Zipkin is the man behind the Bitcoin Block Clock. A sound engineer by trade, he has been working in his spare time on creating full nodes that are both affordable and fun to use. During a recent discussion with Bitcoin Magazine, Zipkin revealed his desire to create a piece of hardware for operating a low-cost Bitcoin full node that isn’t boring.

A Bitcoin Full Node That Isn’t Boring

When commenting on his reasoning for creating the Bitcoin Block Clock, Zipkin pointed to the full node devices made by Bitnodes before they were acquired by 21.

“I always wanted one, but they disappeared when they got bought out, so I decided to build my own,” said Zipkin.

While there are other full node options out there, such as Bitseed, Zipkin wanted to make something that was more than a piece of computer hardware that would sit on the floor next to a router. Zipkin wanted to turn a Bitcoin full node into a work of art, and that’s exactly what he did.

Zipkin built the first version of the Bitcoin Block Clock last year, and it was on display at the SF Bitcoin Meetup’s “Proof of Art” event in May of 2016. After receiving positive feedback at the event and on Reddit, Zipkin decided to make a smaller version of the full node hardware to sell.

The Bitcoin Block Clock included a screen that displayed various live information about the Bitcoin network. Zipkin put the original version of the Bitcoin Block Clock for sale on OpenBazaar and Purse.io, but it hasn’t sold.

“I priced it pretty high because it’s art and I love it and kind of want to keep it,” explained Zipkin. “So of course it still has not sold.”

Creating the Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. With Bcoin

In an effort to create a version of the Bitcoin Block Clock that could be produced at a lower price, Zipkin turned to Raspberry Pi Zero and Bcoin, which is an implementation of the Bitcoin protocol written in Node.js.

“I discovered Bcoin was super easy to install and use, and the codebase was easier for me to review because it’s in Javascript instead of C++, and was built from scratch by a small group of developers (basically just two guys), so everything is really well labeled and consistent,” explained Zipkin.

Of course, the problem with using SPV mode is that it’s not a full node and the device won’t receive all of the information related to a new Bitcoin block as it’s mined on the network. Zipkin opted for the pruned full node option in Bcoin in an effort to lower the system resources required to operate the node on Raspberry Pi Zero.

“With pruning, I get all the fun block details I wanted to display,” said Zipkin. “I even submitted a pull request (which got merged!) to Bcoin to make my application work even easier.”

Zipkin described the LED displays on the Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. as follows:

“The Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. has two LED rings. The outer ring of 24 LEDs indicates recent blocks. Each LED represents 2 minutes, and they “tick” clockwise around the ring. The color of the LED is determined by the block’s version (BIP 9 version bits combined with keywords from the Coinbase scriptSig like “/EXTBLK” or “/EB1/AD6/”). The inner 16-LED ring indicates the progress of the current difficulty period (2,016 blocks, or about two weeks). It starts blue and gradually turns more and more red as the meter fills up. The tiny little display screen indicates some details about the latest block: height, size, version (and extra scriptSig version) and the adjustment period progress. I added a little web interface so I could turn the lights off at night without having to SSH into the Pi every time.”

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An Economical Way to Contribute to the Network

While Zipkin noted that the original Bitcoin Block Clock displays much more information and also comes with full wallet functionality, he also pointed out that the latest model proves that Bitcoin users only need about $20 to run their own full nodes (at least in pruned mode).

Having said that, Zipkin admitted that the Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. can struggle to keep up with the network at times.

“Bcoin plus my Python script and all the GPIO display output just barely hangs in there on this tiny underpowered computer,” said Zipkin. “The Python script has a method to restart Bcoin when it crashes and monitor it as it catches up to the network.”

All of the technical details of the Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. are open source and can be found on GitHub.

Zipkin has now placed the Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. for sale on OpenBazaar and Purse.io.

The post The Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. Is Half Full Node, Half Work of Art appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 18 July 2017 | 3:17 pm

This New Tool Can Help Bitcoin Users Deal With Stuck Transactions

This New Tool Can Help Bitcoin Users Deal With Stuck Transactions

Samourai Wallet is becoming increasingly popular as a wallet that focuses on privacy and security for its users above all else, but a recent tool released by this wallet’s team of developers has a focus on user experience. The new app, called Bitcoin Afterburner, allows users of many different bitcoin wallets to boost transactions that have become stuck due to low fees.

The app works for transactions that have been sent or received, and it is compatible with all BIP 39 and BIP 44 wallets. Examples of compatible wallets include Mycelium, Blockchain.info, Airbitz and Electrum.

To get more details about Bitcoin Afterburner and the concept of fee bumping in general, Bitcoin Magazine reached out to the anonymous CEO of Samourai Wallet.

“Afterburner is one more example of how we are experimenting and developing ways of monetizing our business without resorting to accepting fiat or exposing our users to harmful KYC/AML collection,” said the CEO.

Samourai Wallet monetizes the Bitcoin Afterburner app by adding a $5.99 fee for helping users with their stuck transactions. This fee is added to the child-pays-for-parent (CPFP) transaction that is used to bump the user’s bitcoin transaction fee. CPFP is a process by which the recipient of a transaction can spend the inputs of an unconfirmed transaction by using them in a new transaction that has a higher fee (and incentivizes miners to mine both transactions at once).

The full question and answer session with the CEO of Samourai Wallet can be read below.


Bitcoin Magazine: Will fee bumping eventually become the norm on Bitcoin?

Samourai Wallet: We believe that over time as legitimate transactions start to fill block space, and a fee market begins to mature, wallets that have implemented sophisticated fee management mechanisms such as fee bumping will provide their users with the most competitive transaction fees and confirmation times. The tech is there today, the challenge — and it isn't a small challenge — is entirely UX. We're working on this today while others are playing catch-up.

BM: Could you compare and contrast this app with the transaction accelerators offered by ViaBTC and BTC.com?

SW: The difference between the miner operated TX Accelerators is that Afterburner is not an off-chain 1-to-1 with a specific miner. Instead, Afterburner broadcasts a bitcoin transaction to all miners using the standard bitcoin p2p network. All the miners on the network compete for the new transaction with the higher fee, meaning it often works much quicker than the miner operated TX Accelerators. Afterburner was very much a defensive response to the miners who have been blocking SegWit activation and broadcasting empty blocks, some of those same miners are the ones who run the TX Accelerators.

BM: Is Bitcoin Afterburner getting much use so far?

SW: Afterburner has a good number of installs, but not many paid 'Boosts.' A few days after we released Afterburner the transaction backlog that was driving up fees and confirmation times completely dried up. The fees required for next block confirmation dropped from 300 sat/b to 25 sat/b. Once the mempool gets saturated again, we will have a much better idea of the potential utility of the app.

BM: Why do you think more wallet providers don’t offer this sort of service?

SW: Many wallet providers — inexplicably the most well-funded ones are the most guilty — haven't invested any time into proper fee estimation and management until very recently. A misguided industry-driven quest to make the bitcoin wallet for “grandma” resulted in an unusable bitcoin wallet for actual users. Samourai has focused from inception on actual bitcoin users first.

BM: Do you think this sort of fee bumping will eventually be free? Does Samourai Wallet offer fee bumping like this natively or do they need to use this separate app?

SW: Samourai Wallet provides the exact same functionality as Afterburner natively. Afterburner was designed to allow users of any other BIP 44 HD wallet to boost their stuck transaction using CPFP (Child-Pays-for-Parent) under the hood. Hopefully they move over to Samourai Wallet if they are satisfied with the service. In addition to CPFP-based boosting more advanced users may opt-in to RBF-based boosting which is also available in the wallet. Both options are available to Samourai Wallet users free of charge.

The post This New Tool Can Help Bitcoin Users Deal With Stuck Transactions appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 18 July 2017 | 9:48 am

Ether Price Analysis: Are We Heading to $100 Support Level?

Ether Price Analysis

As anticipated in the last ETH-USD price analysis, ETH-USD found a new low yesterday as the market continued its downward path within a cryptomarket-wide bear run. After making a Double Bottom a couple of weeks ago, ETH-USD has made a vicious run for lower prices. The figure below shows the Fibonacci Retracement values for our current, post-Double-Bottom-Reversal:

Post_DB_Reversal_Fib_jpeg.jpgFigure 1: ETH-USD, 2HR Candles, Gemini, Fibonacci Retracement Values

At the time of this article, ETH-USD is testing the first Fibonacci Retracement value at 23%. Before continuing to lower lows, it is very common to see retests of previous, significant support levels to establish the strength in the trend. The figure above shows the retracement path of the current bear run we are seeing. Before continuing to lower lows, the market likes to establish lines that were previously support values, and turn them into resistance lines:

Fib_Retest_jpeg.jpgFigure 2: ETH-USD, 2HR Candles, Gemini, Fibonacci Retracement Retests

Whether or not we make any significant upward progress with this bounce from the bottom remains to be seen. However, we have some indicators that will give us some insight into the health of this move:

1HR_Divergence_jpeg.jpgFigure 3: ETH-USD, 1HR Candles, Gemini, 1HR MACD Divergence

Looking at the 1HR MACD, one of the first things that pops out is the strong divergence the market is currently seeing. Divergence occurs when the price makes a new high, but the MACD fails to accompany the high with a new high on the MACD histogram. This is usually an indication of momentum loss and can often lead traders to begin the process of position exit and entry. In our case, we are currently testing two significant levels of support:

  1. The 23% retracement (mentioned above);

  2. The values that established the ETH-USD market’s previous low.

At the moment, the ETH-USD markets are at the mercy of whatever BTC-USD decides to do. Given that the entire cryptomarket is experiencing a very strong bear market, any noteworthy upward price movement must be well established with plenty of consistent volume. A failure to breach these values will almost certainly lead to a retest of our current low before any further upward progress can be seen. If our current low is broken, we can expect the next significant level of support to lie in the low $100 range:

Next_line_of_support_jpeg.jpgFigure 4: ETH-USD, 12HR Candles, Gemini, Next Line of Support

Summary:

  1. ETH-USD continues to make new lows as it begins to retest old support lines,

  2. Before any significant positive price movement is seen, more buy volume needs to flow into the market to establish firm support. Otherwise, we will continue to descend.

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 Ether Price Analysis: Are We Heading to $100 Support Level? appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 17 July 2017 | 4:23 pm

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

Posted on 12 June 2017 | 1:06 am

CRYENGINE now accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 29 March 2017 | 1:24 am

Consulting firm EY Switzerland accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 26 November 2016 | 12:47 am

Bitcoin Trading Bots

There have been a wide variety of situations in which algorithmic trading programs have proven to be beneficial for investors. However, investors who only trade a cryptocurrency can also take advantage of bitcoin trading bots. Through bitcoin bot trading, traders can become more flexible and prompt, minimize errors and process information more rapidly. At this… Read More »

Posted on 8 November 2016 | 6:20 pm

Steam accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 29 April 2016 | 1:09 am

Microsoft accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 11 December 2014 | 5:06 am

PayPal and Virtual Currency

Posted on 23 September 2014 | 9:52 pm

Wikimedia Foundation Now Accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 30 July 2014 | 3:14 pm

German Newspaper "taz" accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 22 July 2014 | 1:32 pm

airBaltic - World’s First Airline To Accept Bitcoin

Posted on 22 July 2014 | 11:03 am

July 23, 2017 -
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