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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 23 February 2018 | 2:35 pm

What Is Bitcoin And Why Are The Price Of GPUs So High? - GameSpot


GameSpot

What Is Bitcoin And Why Are The Price Of GPUs So High?
GameSpot
You might be aware that GPU prices have skyrocketed in recent months. This is due in large part to the rise of cryptocurrencies, to which there are many. Bitcoin is the first and most popular one, but what is Bitcoin? We're here to demystify the topic ...
Bitcoin, Ethereum, other cryptocurrency: Five positive factors for 2018CNBC
Learn how to make smart investments in Bitcoin for less than $5 per coursePopular Science
These Cryptocurrencies May Beat Bitcoin in the Coming MonthsFortune
Investopedia (blog) -BGR -Deutsche Welle
all 93 news articles »

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 1:53 pm

Elon Musk Just Revealed the Surprising Amount of Bitcoin He Owns - Money Magazine


Money Magazine

Elon Musk Just Revealed the Surprising Amount of Bitcoin He Owns
Money Magazine
Entrepreneur and engineer Elon Musk — man whose name is synonymous with boundary-pushing companies like Tesla and SpaceX — just revealed how much Bitcoin he owns. And it's not a lot. “I literally own zero cryptocurrency, apart from .25 BTC that a ...
Elon Musk just revealed how much bitcoin he owns—and it's surprisingly littleCNBC

all 2 news articles »

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 1:36 pm

Bank of America Now Considers Crypto a Business Risk

The bank warns its investors that cryptocurrencies could hamper its ability to comply with anti-money-laundering regulations, among other dangers.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 1:05 pm

Austria Planning New Regulations for Cryptocurrency, ICOs

Austria is drawing up cryptocurrency regulations, using as a model existing rules for the trading of gold and derivatives.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 12:00 pm

Ethereum Governance 'Not That Bad' Says Buterin Amid Fund Debate

During an ethereum core developer meeting Friday, Vitalik Buterin argued the protocol's governance isn't functioning poorly, it's just misunderstood.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 11:00 am

Bitcoin Is Dropping, and Experts Can't Agree Why - Inverse


Inverse

Bitcoin Is Dropping, and Experts Can't Agree Why
Inverse
“$10,000 is a plateau for Bitcoin only as long as profit-taking continues,” Trevor Gerszt, CEO of crypto investment service CoinIRA, tells Inverse. “Investors who bought the dip nearly doubled their money when Bitcoin got close to $12,000, so a little ...

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 10:46 am

Jeffrey Gundlach says if you want to know where stocks are going next, watch bitcoin - CNBC


Barron's

Jeffrey Gundlach says if you want to know where stocks are going next, watch bitcoin
CNBC
Want to know where stocks are going next? Jeffrey Gundlach says take a look at bitcoin. "Strangely, bitcoin seems to be the poster child for social mood and market mood," Gundlach, founder of DoubleLine Capital, told CNBC's "Halftime Report" on Friday ...
Bond King: Follow Bitcoin for Stock DirectionBarron's
Gundlach says bitcoin is 'poster child' for stock market's moodMarketWatch

all 10 news articles »

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 10:44 am

Secretive Chinese bitcoin mining company may have made as much money as Nvidia last year - CNBC


CNBC

Secretive Chinese bitcoin mining company may have made as much money as Nvidia last year
CNBC
A secretive Chinese start-up called Bitmain that dominates the bitcoin "mining" industry likely made as much as chipmaker Nvidia did last year, Bernstein analysts estimate. Based on conservative estimates of gross margin of 75 percent and operating ...

and more »

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 9:57 am

Georgia Becomes Latest State to Consider Bitcoin for Tax Payments - CoinDesk


CoinDesk

Georgia Becomes Latest State to Consider Bitcoin for Tax Payments
CoinDesk
Two state senators in Georgia have proposed a bill that would allow citizens to pay their tax obligations in bitcoin, marking the second such legislative effort of its kind to emerge this year. Public records show that the measure submitted on Feb. 21 ...

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 8:50 am

Georgia Becomes Latest State to Consider Bitcoin for Tax Payments

Two state senators in Georgia have proposed a new bill that would allow citizens to pay their tax obligations in bitcoin.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 8:45 am

Menendez Hints At US Action on Venezuela's Controversial Crypto

A U.S. senator who has previously spoken out against Venezuela's newly launched "petro" cryptocurrency isn't done with the issue.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 8:05 am

Bitcoin bounces but gains could be limited - MarketWatch


MarketWatch

Bitcoin bounces but gains could be limited
MarketWatch
After a two-day selloff, major cryptocurrencies saw moderate gains Friday as they looked to claw back losses in what's been a tumultuous week for crypto investors. The 48-hour slide saw the No. 1 digital currency, bitcoin BTCUSD, -0.04% lose as much as ...

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 7:10 am

Nano Goes Giga in Down Week for Crypto Prices

The majority of the top 25 cryptocurrencies are reporting losses on a weekly basis, but the nano token has bucked the trend.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 7:00 am

How To Avoid Crypto, Bitcoin `Pump and Dump' Scams - Forbes


Forbes

How To Avoid Crypto, Bitcoin `Pump and Dump' Scams
Forbes
It was only a matter of time. Traditional swindlers have discovered cryptocurrencies. They are using their old techniques to fleece new investors. The most recent warning comes from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity ...

and more »

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 6:53 am

High Stakes: Ethereum's Fight Over Lost Funds Explained

Ethereum is facing what might be its biggest tech crisis in some time, with developers split over whether software changes should recover lost funds.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 6:30 am

Bitcoin Is Back Over $10K, But Rally Looks Weak - CoinDesk


CoinDesk

Bitcoin Is Back Over $10K, But Rally Looks Weak
CoinDesk
Bitcoin is witnessing a minor corrective rally Friday, but the bulls may have a tough time regaining control, the technical charts suggest. CoinDesk's Bitcoin Price Index (BPI) fell to $9,592.96 at 01:59 UTC - the lowest level for one week. As of ...

and more »

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 3:58 am

Bitcoin Is Back Over $10K, But Rally Looks Weak

Bitcoin is witnessing a minor corrective rally today, but longer-term gains may be elusive, according to price chart analysis.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 3:45 am

SEC Advocacy Director Says Crypto Investors Shouldn't 'Flip A Coin'

A new SEC blog post advises potential cryptocurrency investors to do their research prior to buying a token.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 12:00 am

Report: Mutual Funds Could Save Billions With Blockchain

Shifting to a distributed, blockchain-based infrastructure could bring huge financial benefits to the asset management industry, research indicates.

Posted on 22 February 2018 | 10:00 pm

Turkish Lawmaker Proposes National Cryptocurrency

Politicians in Turkey are reportedly eyeing on launching the country's proprietary cryptocurrency. 

Posted on 22 February 2018 | 8:20 pm

Bitcoin Fees Drop: Why It Happened And What It Means

Not so long ago bitcoin's transaction fees were over $20, but now they're down to around $3 again. CoinDesk explores why.

Posted on 22 February 2018 | 6:30 pm

French Regulator Says No to Online Crypto Derivatives Ads

France's market regulator says crypto derivatives fall under MiFID II regulation and that they should not be electronically marketed.

Posted on 22 February 2018 | 4:10 pm

Tezos Foundation Reorganizes, Gevers Steps Down

Tezos Foundation Reorganizes, Gevers Steps Down

After months of infighting between the organizers of Tezos, a blockchain project currently in development, and the Tezos Foundation, a Swiss nonprofit that controls the project’s pursestrings, the two remaining original members of the Foundation have “voluntarily” resigned. This means that since December, the entire three-person board has been replaced.

According to an announcement by the Tezos Foundation, Johann Gevers, the former president of the Foundation, has stepped down and will be replaced by Ryan Jesperson, a Tezos project contributor.

Diego Olivier Fernandez Pons also stepped down and will be replaced by Michel Mauny, a senior researcher at Inria, the French company that developed OCaml, the programming language Tezos is written in.  

Another board member, Guido Schmitz-Krummacher, resigned in December “because he was frustrated with the infighting, which was consuming a lot of his time,” according to Reuters. He was replaced by Lars Haussmann, head of accounting firm Haussmann Treuhand AG, on January 31, 2018.

Infighting

Tezos, a blockchain project aiming to compete with the likes Ethereum and Cardano, was co-founded by Kathleen and Arthur Breitman. In an uncapped initial coin offering (ICO) put forth as a “fundraiser,” the project raised $232 million worth of bitcoin and ether in July 2017. Those funds, which ballooned in value to around $1 billion due to this year’s rally in cryptocurrencies, were put in the control of the Tezos Foundation.

The Breitmans, who retain ownership of the Tezos code through Dynamic Ledger Solutions, a Delaware-based company, have been fighting to get rid of Gevers since October. At that time, the Breitmans’ lawyer sent a 46-page letter to the two other members of the Foundation (Schmitz-Krummacher and Fernandez Pons, at the time), accusing Gevers of “self-dealing, self-promotion and conflicts of interest” and calling for his prompt dismissal.

According to reports, the dispute originated a month before, when Gevers drew up a compensation package for himself, which the Breitmans claimed was excessive and not properly disclosed. It’s likely that the event also acted as a signal to the Breitmans that in setting up the Tezos Foundation, an organization that was supposed to operate completely independently of Dynamic Ledger Solutions, they had put too much control in the hands of too few people.

On October 18, 2017, in a blog post, Arthur Breitman proposed a solution to the power struggle, which involved setting up Tezos AG, a subsidiary of the Foundation that would have its own budget and allow Dynamic Ledger Solutions to operate with less oversight. The Breitmans also proposed increasing the number of people on the Tezos Foundation board from three to seven.

Since October, Gevers had kept relatively silent on the matter until January 28, 2018, when he published a blog post (archived) outlining steps for how the Foundation would push forward with the launch of the platform. (He later deleted the post.)

“I am glad to announce that the Foundation has regained access to banking services, which  —  due to the controversy surrounding the Tezos project  —  had been suspended since October 2017,” he wrote. “This allows us to continue with our top priority, which is to build an operational team that can execute the Foundation’s mission.”

In another interesting turn of events, a few days later, in an attempt to overthrow the Tezos Foundation, community members backing the Breitmans launched an alternative Swiss foundation dubbed “T2.” Wall Street Journal reporter Paul Vigna described the move as “not unlike shareholders in a corporation proposing a new board of directors because they like the CEO more than the board.”

Listed among T2’s seven founding members were Jesperson and Mauny and Olaf-Carlson Wee, CEO of cryptocurrency investment fund Polychain Capital, an early Tezos backer.

Lawsuits

The infighting, in addition to delays in the launch of the network and a holdup on funds, led to other complications. Since October, at least four class-action suits have been filed against Tezos on behalf of contributors accusing the project of selling securities.

When the project was launched, the Breitmans portrayed the tokens as a donation to the project, but some contributors believed they were investing in a cryptocurrency that would go up in value like bitcoin. Those contributors were given vouchers for tezzies, the native token that will operate on the Tezos platform once it launches; but until the project launches, they are unable to redeem their tokens.

The changeover in board members of the Tezos Foundation may be a sign that good news is on the horizon. At the recent Cyber Days conference at the UCLA Blockchain Lab, Kathleen Breitman hinted the platform would be launching in a few weeks.  

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 22 February 2018 | 2:53 pm

Venezuela's President Orders Companies to Accept Petro

Venezuela officially has its own cryptocurrency – and its president wants some of the country's state-owned businesses to use it.

Posted on 22 February 2018 | 2:45 pm

Kavita Gupta on Lubin, Buterin and Entrepreneurship in the Blockchain Space

Feature Interview With Kavita Gupta of ConsenSys Ventures

When ConsenSys, a Brooklyn, New York–based firm that builds decentralized applications and blockchain ecosystem tools on Ethereum, launched a $50 million venture arm, it turned to Kavita Gupta to run it. Working closely with Joe Lubin, the founder of ConsenSys and one of the early founders of Ethereum, Gupta began spearheading efforts to fund early stage Ethereum-based startups through ConsenSys’ rapidly growing network.

A native of India, Gupta received the UN Social Finance Innovator Award in 2015. She has done work at the World Bank, leading the organization’s youth innovation fund. Gupta also has vast experience in the investment world, with stints at high profile firms like McKinsey, HSBC and International Finance Corporation.

Following the recent Cyber Day event she presented on the campus U.C.L.A, Bitcoin Magazine spoke to Gupta about her journey in working with ConsenSys Ventures.

On Working With Joe Lubin and Vitalik Buterin

A few years ago, Gupta had the good fortune of meeting ConsenSys founder Joe Lubin at a very small luncheon organized by the World Bank. “We had a three-hour conversation and I was a convert. Over the ensuing months, we kept brainstorming ideas about investments in the blockchain space. Hearing about Ethereum got me super excited!”

Since joining the team as the head of ConsenSys Ventures, Gupta’s respect for Lubin has continued to grow. “He’s extremely visionary. As you know, Ethereum is a huge ecosystem and, even though ConsenSys is at the epicenter of it, there are a lot of other players taking things in various directions. So I admire Joe’s patience and faith, specifically his ability to work tirelessly each day with a smile on his face in a now 600+ person company with locales in 28 countries.”

Gupta admits to having been a bit intimidated the first time she met Ethereum founder and mastermind, Vitalik Buterin, but was quickly won over. “Somehow I had it in my head that I shouldn’t approach him and that if I didn’t have a deep Ethereum coding background I’d look stupid. I kept saying to myself, he’ll think I’m just fluff. But to my surprise he gave me two hours of his time when I first met with him in China.

“He’s a very simple, very humble, very sweet, super genius guy. While others have their opinions about him, the Vitalik I know has a very, very high emotional intelligence. I really deeply respect him. Our entire team respects him.”

Gupta has had some experience interacting with infamous, groundbreaking men in the technology space.

“I attended MIT when Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz [were starting] Facebook while at Harvard. Many of us kept bumping into the two of them, which gave us the opportunity to express what we liked or didn’t like about the Facebook wall. We could easily reach them and talk to them as though they were a friend. I feel like working with Joe and Vitalik is kind of like this: two people you can just walk up to and say, ‘I have a question.’”  

Advice for New Entrepreneurs in the Space

She chuckled loudly when asked about whether there are any misconceptions she hears from startup leaders when meeting them for the first time: “They often start out with, ‘Ahh, I’m doing a project on blockchain so my valuation should be $50 million dollars.’ I’m like, no, dude.”

For Gupta, it is important that entrepreneurs start with a solid product first. “Frankly, it’s sad to see even smart entrepreneurs focus their first six months on selling tokens rather than actually building a product. In my opinion, these startups don’t need $50 million to build a product. And for the life of me, I have no clue as to who all of these people are that are investing $50 million in these types of projects with little knowledge of or ever having met the founder.”

Her advice to new startups entering into the Ethereum blockchain space is to read and research voraciously. “There is amazing material out there. You don’t have to be a genius. You don’t have to come from a technology background. Just read online. There are many amazing Reddit threads if you have questions. There are so many meetups. ConsenSys does educational meetups and university programs everywhere. So just make it a priority to go and hang out and capitalize on these opportunities. Find people to exchange cards with and then go and have coffee together. That’s where all of the magic happens.”  

Find people to exchange cards with and then go and have coffee together. That’s where all of the magic happens.

Coming from an engineering background at MIT as well as from an investment background, Gupta seems to have found her niche.

“Honestly, I’m kind of like a kid in the candy store. For me personally, the work that I’m currently engaged in is the best I could have even asked for.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 22 February 2018 | 2:27 pm

The Next Petro? Iranian Minister Reveals Cryptocurrency Plans

Iran's central bank is developing a cryptocurrency, though it has no plans to embrace bitcoin.

Posted on 22 February 2018 | 1:15 pm

Venezuela’s On-and-Off Love Affair With Cryptocurrency Mining: It’s Complicated

Venezuela’s On-and-Off Love Affair With Cryptocurrency Mining: It’s Complicated

If you want to see first hand how cryptocurrency functions in a market outside of speculative investing, right now, Venezuela is an interesting place to look.

“Venezuela could become a case study repeated all over the world under certain conditions,” said Jeffrey A. Tucker, editorial director of the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), in correspondence with Bitcoin Magazine. “Crypto is there as the escape hatch, the way out, a tool of emancipation. If you have a power source, you can mine. If you need to save or trade or move your wealth, crypto is there for you.”

Crisis-Catalyzed Currency

Venezuela has been in economic recession for more than a decade. As a result, the government has maintained strict control over its currency, the Venezuelan bolivar (VEF), since 2003.

Venezuela’s most abundant resource is oil. It is the fifth largest oil exporting country in the world, with the largest reserves of non-conventional oil (extra-heavy crude) in the world. Ultimately, it is oil which has catalyzed Venezuela’s cryptocurrency boom.

Falling oil prices since 2014 have spurred the country’s current economic depression. The government’s response has been to increase state control over the economy at the expense of the private sector. In 2017, inflation of the Venezuelan bolivar (VEF) exceeded 650 percent. As the exchange rate continued to tumble, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) contracted 12 percent by the end of 2017.

“Many people are leaving Venezuela. The country doesn’t have enough money to provide food, medicine and other necessities for its people,” a Venezuelan programmer aware of cryptocurrency mining procedures in Venezuela told Bitcoin Magazine in an interview, under condition of anonymity.

Power to Mine

In this economically desperate climate, cryptocurrency has found one of its most sustaining use cases as an immutable store of value and currency for individuals who cannot trust their own government. The last two years have seen an enormous spike in cryptocurrency earning and mining, most notably for bitcoin.

Because the Venezuelan government subsidizes electricity past the point of negligibility, the country has become a geopolitical hotspot for mining. Antminer S9s are the most popular computer used to mine bitcoin in Venezuela. They cost about $3,000 each (plus shipping) and usually come from China by way of a covert middle country.

According to our source’s approximation, “Having three S9 miners is about 30 cents a month to pay for electricity. Three devices would be one bitcoin-ish in 10 months.”  The beginning price for mining has made it an effective way to supplement income, with two to three devices per household, though many have scaled their operations to the point where they are able to independently support themselves.

“There must be tens of thousands of people mining in Venezuela,” said Randy Brito, founder of the non-profit website BitcoinVenezuela.com. “People that are earning cryptos, either mining or working, usually use them to buy abroad — they buy food, medicine, car parts, other machinery parts; but the most common thing people buy are foreign currencies in other platforms where they can load cards that they can use to buy on Amazon and other stores that only accept cards and not cryptos directly.”

In Venezuela, bitcoin is the most commonly mined cryptocurrency because it was the first, and it is still currently the most widely used. LocalBitcoins has also given bitcoin the advantage in Venezuela because it does not trade other cryptocurrencies; it is able to operate more safely than other local exchanges because it’s not based within the country.

However, Brito also admitted that Ethereum, Litecoin, Dash and Bitcoin Cash as well as other altcoins are being used more and more often.

According to our anonymous source, there are two main problems with mining cryptocurrency in Venezuela: In a country where the national currency has essentially no value, people are willing to get currency with value at the cost of committing violent crimes; and the government is not on your side.

2017: A Year of Contradiction

2017 was a particularly confusing and uneasy time to mine cryptocurrency in Venezuela. The year began with a government authority crackdown on large scale cryptocurrency mining operations.

Miners were jailed for a laundry list of crimes: "the legitimacy of capital, illicit enrichment, computer crimes, financing of terrorism, exchange fraud and damage to the national electricity system."

By October 2017, authorities were even cracking down on small “household” mining operations. The congruity in all of these raids is that arrested miners could almost always get out of jail through bribes or fines, but they could never get their equipment back.

Brito doesn’t live in Venezuela anymore, but, as a self-described “anarchocapitalist” and libertarian, he is still very critical of its government.

Most of the big mining farms with thousands of ASICs or rigs are run by people close to the government, those that are not and are caught with several devices, end up being raided and the devices subtracted. Regular people buy the devices with foreign currency they have saved or they acquire in the free (black) market, or buy them from others that import them using bolivars inside the country.

“Defaulted-Promise” Coins

On December 3, 2017, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced that the Venezuelan government would create its own official cryptocurrency called the Petro. He then went on to highlight the benefits of cryptocurrency mining, introducing a representative from the newly formed National Association of Cryptocurrency Miners.

Less than two weeks later, however, police raids on cryptocurrency mining operations proceeded as though it were still as illegal as ever.

“We are building the Blockchain Observatory for the possibility of a registry for all those who are exercising digital mining in Venezuela. We want to know who they are, we want to know where they are, we want to know what equipment they are using. We want to move toward the regularization of digital mining in Venezuela,” announced the recently appointed superintendent of cryptocurrency, Carlos Vargas, in December 2017.

In January 2018, the Venezuelan government opened online registration for those interested in mining cryptocurrency legally. While Petro is clearly the main focus, authorities have said that those involved in the program can mine other cryptocurrencies so long as they are approved by the state.

There is very limited third-party confidence in the Petro’s success. While some cryptocurrency champions might say, “Wait, a decentralized token representing a finite oil supply could be very interesting, if done right,” most remain skeptical.

“It [Petro] is backed by nothing but the promise of a government that have already defaulted,” said Brito.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 22 February 2018 | 10:21 am

Government of Spain Considers Blockchain-Friendly Regulations

Government of Spain Considers Blockchain-Friendly Regulations

The government of Spain is preparing blockchain-friendly legislation including possible tax breaks to attract companies in the emerging blockchain technology sector, Bloomberg Politics reports.

“We hope to get the legislation ready this year,” said MP Teodoro Garcia Egea, who is preparing a comprehensive cryptocurrency-related bill. “We want to set up Europe’s safest framework to invest in ICOs.”

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and token sales are one of the latest blockchain-related hot trends and have permitted several companies to raise tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars in a short space of time, bypassing the need for prior regulatory approval.

ICOs can be very appealing to speculators because the value of a successful token can rise spectacularly, but regulatory agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the U.S., are beginning to clamp down on token sales, claiming that crypto-tokens are equivalent to company shares traded on the stock market. According to the SEC, some ICOs are essentially Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), and should be subject to similar regulations for the protection of investors.

At the same time, too much regulation could stifle innovation and push promising blockchain-based firms to relocate to less restrictive jurisdictions offshore. According to Garcia Egea and the Popular Party, the ruling political party of Spain to which the lawmaker belongs, it’s in Spain’s interest to attract and keep those firms, and, therefore, the country should adopt a blockchain-friendly regulatory approach.

Garcia Egea added that the bill in preparation was inspired by existing blockchain-friendly regulatory frameworks such as those that enable the Crypto Valley in Switzerland. It could include ways to attract investment in blockchain technologies, such as a threshold below which a cryptocurrency investment wouldn’t need to be reported to the regulator, and specific regulations to make it attractive for entrepreneurs to use a blockchain to carry out initial coin offerings, or ICOs, as a financing tool.

As shown by a series of recent posts (in Spanish) published in his personal website, Garcia Egea wants to introduce a whole range of emerging technologies in the Spanish economy, including digital administration, cybersecurity, 3D printing and blockchain technology.

For example, Garcia Egea supports the Alastria consortium focused on the establishment of a semi-public, permissioned national blockchain infrastructure and digital identity system.

“Smart contracts, ensuring the traceability and unchangeability of specific information, raising funds through ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings), etc. is possible through this new network [Alastria],” said Garcia Egea (translated by this writer).

“The time has come to establish a legal framework for individuals and firms to execute [smart-contract based] financial transactions in a protected and secure way, using the best available technology,” added Garcia Egea. “This will not only provide legal security to financial investments done through this channel, but it will also place Spain in a privileged position to attract capital, talent and future-oriented projects, and an ecosystem upon which to build the future of the internet of value.”

It seems likely that, if Garcia Egea and the Popular Party manage to convert their vision into law, Spain could become one of the few crypto-havens in the Eurozone, which could result in many innovative technology developers and ICO operators relocating to Spain.

Find out more about cryptocurrency regulation around the world in our feature, Cryptocurrency Regulation in 2018: Where the World Stands Now.



This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 22 February 2018 | 9:38 am

Korean Regulator Tips Cryptocurrency Prospects Back Toward “Normalization”

Korean Regulator Tips Cryptocurrency Prospects Back Toward “Normalization”

On February 20, 2018, investors saw signs of yet another directional shift in South Korea’s regulatory stance on cryptocurrencies. According to Reuters, Choe Heung-sik, the governor of South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), told reporters, “The whole world is now framing the outline (for cryptocurrency) and therefore (the government) should rather work more on normalization than increasing regulation.”

The head of the FSS has wrestled with cryptocurrency regulation and the lack of legislation on the industry for some time. He stated in November 2017 that “supervision [of cryptocurrency exchanges] will come only after the legal recognition of digital tokens as legitimate currency.”

Choe also warned of a bitcoin bubble in December 2017 that paired with another warning that month, when he stated, “All we can do is to warn people as we don’t see virtual currencies as actual types of currency, meaning that we cannot step up regulation for now.”

The FSS, which has been spearheading the government’s regulation of cryptocurrency trading as part of a larger task force, has had an uphill battle in the face of Korean officials’ variable attitudes to the burgeoning industry. While the FSS-led taskforce set the nation’s first official rules around cryptocurrency trading on December 13, 2017, uncertainty around issues of taxation and regulation of the exchanges remained.

January brought even less certainty to the peninsula as South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges were raided by police and tax agencies on January 10, 2018, kicking off a week of contradiction by top Korean officials that precipitated a market-wide meltdown known as “Red Tuesday” on January 16, 2018.

Choe then had to state at a parliamentary hearing on January 19, 2018, that one FSS employee was being investigated “on suspicion that he or she traded a digital currency” ahead of the government’s announcement of toughening its stance on cryptocurrency trading. At the same hearing, the Office for Government Policy Coordination also disclosed a probe into two officials for alleged profiteering on government information after the events of Red Tuesday.

Korean officials rounded off the month of January by announcing on January 23, 2018, that anonymous accounts would be banned from trading cryptocurrencies as of January 30, 2018.

Merely three weeks after the ban on anonymous accounts took effect, Choe seemed to suggest rosier regulatory prospects for the cryptocurrency industry. These statements of normalization came only days after the sudden death of Jung Ki-joon on February 18, 2018. Jung, a 52-year-old man who led economic policy for the Office for Government Policy Coordination and was instrumental in spearheading the January crackdown, died of “unknown” causes in his home, though initial reports suggested that he’d had a heart attack.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 21 February 2018 | 3:41 pm

Venezuela Launches “Petros” Cryptocurrency Amid Growing Skepticism

Venezuela Launches “Petros” Cryptocurrency Amid Growing Skepticism

With crushing debt and a starving population, the Maduro government in Venezuela is launching what it says is the world's first sovereign cryptocurrency.

The cryptocurrency is designed to bypass U.S. government sanctions against the socialist regime. The “Petros” cryptocurrency will have an initial value tied to the price of a barrel of Venezuelan crude oil in mid-January, which was $60 per barrel, with a target of 100 million Petros to be sold.

The U.S. Treasury Department warned that the move may violate last year’s sanctions, while Venezuelan opposition leaders say the sale constitutes an illegal issuing of debt.

After the first day of trading, President Maduro claimed to have raised $735 million. State officials are claiming a 5x increase in traffic to the website, but some critics, including Venezuelan product designer and cryptocurrency writer Alejandro Machado, are skeptical.

In speaking with Bitcoin Magazine, Machado commented that he was unable to find any transactions on the blockchain regarding Petros and, while the token was originally slated to be released on the Ethereum network, it since has transitioned to NEM.

“The government hasn't confirmed that this is the address, but they confirmed they're using NEM, and it's the only mosaic matching the Petro description,” Machado said. “The mosaic's metadata also uses similar phrasing to the white paper.”

Machado has been writing about the upcoming Petros since early December 2017, remarking, “Many think it’s yet another episode of empty propaganda, but I profoundly disagree: chavismo is facing the existential danger of running out of funds, and they’re betting heavily on the Petro.”

His skepticism about the plan runs deep: “No doubt aware of their terrible track record, the government is incentivizing participation in the private sale by offering a 60% discount. What company in the world would sell 38 million units of a product for less than half their market value? A company that doesn’t intend to ship you the product after you buy, of course.”

With $150 billion in foreign debt, quadruple-digit inflation, the collapse of their oil output, and crushing sanctions by the U.S. and the EU, the Venezuelan government has become increasingly creative in ways to generate revenue. Petros represent nothing more than a promise against the 300 million barrels of oil that Venezuela believes they can recover but have yet to pull from the ground. There is an additional problem that U.S.-based investors purchasing the Petros would be in violation of American sanctions and could find themselves in trouble with Uncle Sam.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 21 February 2018 | 11:25 am

SegWit is Coming to Coinbase and Bitfinex’s Bitcoin Exchanges

SegWit is Coming to Coinbase and Bitfinex’s Bitcoin Exchanges

Today, two of the world’s largest cryptocurrency investment platforms, Coinbase and Bitfinex, both announced that they were adopting support for Segregated Witness (SegWit) protocols for bitcoin (BTC) traded on their exchanges.

In its announcement, Bitfinex stated, “The SegWit implementation means Bitfinex users can benefit from lower BTC withdrawal fees (approximately 15 percent) and improved processing times on transactions across the Bitcoin network.” The exchange did make clear that the support for bitcoin deposits and withdrawals using pay-to-script-hash (P2SH) SegWit addresses were the only ones thus far slated for bitcoin and not applicable to bitcoin cash (BCH).

Coinbase, on the other hand, tweeted that it had finished testing for SegWit for Bitcoin. It will phase in the launch, with the goal of “targeting a 100% launch to all customers by mid next week.” Coinbase affirmed its plan for a 2018 SegWit implementation on December 15, 2017 and seemingly delivered on the SegWit statements it made on February 13, 2018.

Reasons for the support of using SegWit addresses are clear.  Prior to the activation of the Segregated Witness soft fork in August 2017, there were concerns about the scalability and malleability of Bitcoin due to the size limit of the blocks and a potential manipulation of the transaction ID. These concerns had been a source of debate for years until the “soft fork” allowed for protocol upgrades to the software.

While many hard and soft wallets already adopted support for SegWit protocols, the move by both companies is huge given the volume of bitcoin traded on each platform. At the time of this writing, both Bitfinex and Coinbase’s exchange, GDAX, accounted for nearly one tenth of global bitcoin trades over the previous 24 hours. This number underestimates the impact on BTC trading volume as it does not include Coinbase’s wallet platform. Both Bitfinex and GDAX are ranked as top 10 exchanges in the world by trading volume, at 5th and 8th, respectively.

The positive news for both exchanges comes at a time of mounting pressure from the public. Coinbase has faced community backlash on higher Bitcoin transaction fees, customers’ inability to withdraw funds to PayPal accounts and credit cards being disabled as a payment method for U.S. customers.

Bitfinex’s announcement comes on the heels of a tumultuous end to 2017 and a rough start to 2018, inclusive of new account registration issues, a CFTC subpoena and firing of auditor Friedman LLP.

With the announcements of SegWit adoption for Bitcoin, it seems that Coinbase has addressed a major issue for its consumer base, and Bitfinex has been able to release some much-needed positive news for its customers amidst its recent controversies.

For more information on Segregated Witness, check out our earlier articles on Bitcoin Magazine.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 20 February 2018 | 3:26 pm

Bitcoin tops $10,000 milestone

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Bitcoin price climbs over $4,000

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Consulting firm EY Switzerland accepts Bitcoin

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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 »

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Advertise with Anonymous Ads

Microsoft accepts Bitcoin

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PayPal and Virtual Currency

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Wikimedia Foundation Now Accepts Bitcoin

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German Newspaper "taz" accepts Bitcoin

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airBaltic - World’s First Airline To Accept Bitcoin

Posted on 22 July 2014 | 11:03 am

February 23, 2018 -
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