Friday, August 15, 2014

BitBeat: Blockchain Hits Two Million Wallets Amid Strong Interest in Bitcoin / PAUL VIGNA and MICHAEL J. CASEY

- Blockchain has doubled its wallet base in just seven months, the company announced this morning. It crossed the two million mark on Monday, twice the one million wallets it had in January, and it makes the company the first to achieve that mark. It also shows that, despite the dearth of big headline stories this year, interest in bitcoin continues to grow rapidly.

It’s certainly growing faster than the company anticipated. “The one thing that we’ve seen about projections is that growth usually exceed our projections,” Peter Smith, Blockchain’s chief operating officer, said in an interview with MoneyBeat Monday. Mr. Smith said the company hit the two million mark about two months earlier than they’d expected. - READ MORE:

Buying Gold with Bitcoin in Singapore at BullionStar’s Storefront / DAVID MOSKOWITZ / AUGUST 12, 2014

David visits BullionStar’s storefront in Clark Quay Singapore to purchase some gold with Bitcoin.

According to CEO Torgny Persson, Singapore has no reporting requirements for the purchase of tax exempt bullion sold at their store. - READ MORE:

Buying Gold with Bitcoin in Singapore at BullionStar's Storefront

A Crypto Currency Backed By Gold? How Retail Gold Investors Can Benefit From Bitcoin’s Technology

Deutsch: Goldbarren mit einem Gewicht von 12,5 kg. Goldbarren dieser Größe befinden sich meist nur im Besitz von Zentralbanken Polski: Sztabka złota ważąca 12,5 kg. Własność Narodowego Banku Polskiego. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) / Edmund Ingham / 8/11/2014 @ 8:02AM

If you were to ask most investment professionals to explain the difference between bitcoin, lowercase, and Bitcoin, upper case, they would probably stare at you blankly.

But for Jan Skoyles, recently promoted from Head of Research to CEO at The Real Asset Company, who provide a platform for retail investors to gain access to the gold bullion markets, the distinction is the basis for a new kind of wealth-management that provides an alternative to the regulated financial services industry.

Bitcoin, upper case, refers to the technology behind the online currency, the fabled “block chain”, rather than the currency itself (bitcoin, lower case), and there are distinct advantages for an investor in the way the technology was built by the mythical Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s creator.

The block chain is the public ledger where every bitcoin transaction, however large or small, is recorded; it is updated by so called “miners”, who process transactions at high speed and are rewarded for their efforts with freshly mined bitcoins. - READ MORE:

Bitcoin brings hope to Africa: an interview with Alakanani Itireleng

Add caption / Mark Norton / 8/10/14 “Bitcoin is not political,” a growing number of people are saying as it grows in popular usage. Initially, Bitcoin found a home among the libertarian crowd because of its decentralized nature and the more people begin using the currency, the libertarian fervor wanes. Ultimately this is a good thing since if Bitcoin is to succeed, it’s going to need to be used by people of with a wide diversity of political thought.

But that doesn’t mean that Bitcoin is not political. It’s political at its heart. It’s just that its politics are harder to pigeonhole than with a simple term like ‘libertarian.’ Bitcoin was not born out of a vacuum, but out of the abuses of power in our governmental and financial systems that rig the game in favor of the well-off and leave the rest of us wondering how to get by. Bitcoin returns some of the flexibility and privacy to our finances that we used to have before the government and banks ratcheted up demands on our information and banks began to impose high fees and penalties in accordance with labyrinthine rules only an accountant could understand.

According to this report, Chase bank has even started requiring people to prove where they got money they are depositing in order, as they say, to impede illegal activity. Any time controls like this are put into place, we are told that they are for our protection, minor inconveniences to impede criminal activity. It also gives them incredible power and incredible opportunity for abuse. And, unfortunately, the people running the government and the banks are merely human. They are tempted by power and control, they are motivated by fear and prejudice. It’s the tendency of governments to exceed their mandate and it’s the responsibility of the people to make sure that they do not. With the rise of the internet, it’s gotten harder and harder to contest that power. Bitcoin, among other decentralizing technologies, gives us the potential to counter that power.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Europe’s Bitcoin Entrepreneurs Winning Investor Seal Of Approval

European bitcoin business is growing (Photo credit: zcopley) / Alison Coleman / 8/03/2014 @ 11:18AM The collapse of digital currency exchange Mt Gox earlier this year may have cast major doubts over the future of bitcoin, but the industry has continued to evolve at pace, and investment in bitcoin companies appears to show no signs of slowing.

In the second quarter of this year bitcoin start-ups raised over $76.8 million; not far short of the $85 million raised in the whole of 2013 While VC investment in bitcoin is far higher in the US than in Europe – $200 million compared with around $10 million in the last year – thanks to innovation within the most active continental countries, cumulatively, these now represent around 25% of the global bitcoin network.

A number of successful bitcoin companies have already emerged from Europe, including Stockholm-based KnC, Finland’s, the Dutch BitFury, and, launched in the UK.

Europe is also home to several well established bitcoin clusters, the largest based in London and Amsterdam, as well as Berlin, Zurich and Paris, where Europe’s first bitcoin centre, La Maison du Bitcoin, was recently opened by entrepreneurs Thomas France and Eric Larchevêque. - READ MORE:

Does Bitcoin Need Its Own Silicon Valley? / Carrie Kirby / August 3, 2014 at 13:45 BST When Steve Jobs was a boy, he looked up the name “William Hewlett” in his local phone book and was able to reach the founder of Hewlett-Packard at home. The elder technologist offered the future Apple Computer founder advice, some free components and a summer job.

Anecdotes like that make it clear how geographical proximity can help one wave of innovation set up the next. Even now, when it’s unlikely any young entrepreneur will be able to find Mark Zuckerberg in the Palo Alto phone book, hopefuls with ideas still flock to the stretch of towns flanking the San Francisco Bay. The accelerators are there, as are the venture capitalists’ offices, the networking events and the pool of engineers.

Would bitcoin benefit from geographic concentration as much as the tech industry has? Silicon Valley veteran and investor Marc Andreessen raised the idea in a recent article titled “What It Will Take to Create the Next Great Silicon Valleys, Plural”.

“Imagine a Bitcoin Valley, for instance, where some country fully legalizes cryptocurrencies for all financial functions.” - READ MORE:

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

CryptoKids: Altcoins, Apps And Authors Aim To Bring Bitcoin To Children / Anthony Cuthbertson / 7/29/2014 @ 9:30AM

Cryptocurrency is child’s play, at least that’s what a new wave of educational programs, apps and even kid-friendly cryptocurrencies would suggest.

While most adults may still be baffled by bitcoin and bemused by blockchains, a new generation is being introduced to this alternative form of finance by advocates aiming to bring about a “digital currency revolution”. Their belief is that our current financial system can be overthrown by those who don’t even yet have bank accounts.

The latest initiative comes in the form of ‘The Bitcoin Alphabet – For Kids and Everyone Else’, a recently launched app that sets out the A to Z of bitcoin through a mixture of illustrations and text explaining everything from ‘altcoin’ to ‘zero-confirmation transactions’.

The author of the app, Chris Bozak, came up with the idea in the belief that cryptocurrency is a “wonderfully inevitable rabbit hole” that will force the world to re-learn everything that is currently known about money. - READ MORE

Apple Allows the World’s Most Popular Bitcoin Wallet Back Into Its Store

Add caption
Ariel Zambelich/WIRED | / KLINT FINLEY / 07.28.14 7:11 PM

It looks like Apple has finally changed its stance on bitcoin.

Six months after Apple removed Blockchain from its online App Store—effectively preventing people from using the popular bitcoin wallet app on the iPhone and the iPad—the tech giant has now allowed the app back into the store. “This seems to be the first strong and real sign they are ready to accommodate future digital currency development,” the makers of Blockchain said a statement, referring to Apple. “It goes a long way to legitimizing bitcoin and now provides hundreds of millions of iOS users access to bitcoin applications.”

The news arrived on the heels of Apple approving a newer wallet app called Coinpocket for inclusion in the App Store, and for Blockchain CEO Nicolas Cary, this proves that Coinpocket is no fluke. That’s a big deal for the world of bitcoin, a currency that exists only on the internet, independent of governments and free from the control of big banks. The currency entered the consciousness of the general public last year—in a very big way—but has since struggled to significantly expand its reach, due to various setbacks. Maybe the iPhone and the iPad can help restart its engines.

BitBeat: New York Getting Tough On Bitcoin; Ecuador Getting Tougher

Megan Miller | / PAUL VIGNA and MICHAEL J. CASEY / Jul 28, 2014 2:02 pm ET

The public-comment period for Ben Lawsky’s bitlicense proposal opened on Wednesday, and the initial comment from the bitcoin faithful seems to be: too much proposal, not enough time.

“We’re getting the sense that people are concerned about the extent of these regulations,” Jim Harper, global policy counsel for the Bitcoin Foundation, told MoneyBeat. “It’s a really big thing the DFS has proposed to do here.”

The major sticking point for those opposed appears to be the degree to which the bitlicense will stifle innovation, he said. Many are arguing the requirements for obtaining one of the licenses will apparently be too onerous for small start-ups, codifying in effect only larger players. It could lead to a dynamic Mr. Harper said he’s heard discussed: “geofencing,” in effect start-ups would use filters to keep out any New York IP addresses.

Mr. Lawsky has held, most recently in a reddit thread he started earlier this month, that “we have sought to strike an appropriate balance that helps protect consumers and root out illegal activity – without stifling beneficial innovation.”

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The dollar’s 70-year dominance is coming to an end / Liam Halligan / 5:30PM BST 19 Jul 2014

Within a decade, greenback’s could be replaced as the world’s reserve currency

In early July 1944, delegates from 44 countries gathered at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. A three-week summit took place, at which a new system was agreed to regulate the international monetary and financial order after the Second World War.

The US was already the world’s commercial powerhouse, having eclipsed the British Empire several decades earlier. America was also on course to be among the victors of “Europe’s conflict”, even though its economy was largely unscathed by war. As such, Bretton Woods was US-dominated and produced a settlement largely on US terms.

Seventy years ago this week, that fateful summit ended. Its close marked the moment the dollar’s unquestionable supremacy was secured. Since then, global commerce has been conducted largely in dollars and leading economies have held the greenback as their primary reserve currency.

The same system remains intact today, with the lion’s share of commercial settlements worldwide still clearing the US banking system – even if the parties involved have nothing to do with the States.

The dollar’s hegemony continues to be cemented, meanwhile, by the operations of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Founded at Bretton Woods, they’re both Washington based, of course, and controlled by America, despite some Francophone window-dressing. - READ MORE:

Chinese Bitcoiner Makes Physical Bitcoins In Pure Gold

Chinese Bitcoiner Makes Physical Bitcoins In Pure Gold / Eric Mu / 7/21/2014 @ 5:57AM

Back in early December last year, we heard that people in the Channel Island of Alderney had been working on the idea of producing physical Bitcoins, as part of their grander plan to reinvent the British crown dependency as a global hub of digital currency. Since then, things have been rather quiet with no follow-up since the initial report.

Obviously, Alderney’s residents weren’t the only ones working on the idea, and now it appears they may have lost the race to some Chinese guy who had just put the idea into execution. - READ MORE:

BitXatm to Launch 1,000 Bitcoin ATMs in US

BitXatm to Launch 1,000 Bitcoin ATMs in US / Pete Rizzo / July 20, 2014 at 19:25 BST

Germany-based digital currency bitcoin ATM and point-of-sale (POS) solution provider BitXatm has announced a new partnership that will find the company shipping 1,000 units to the US in a bid to build the country’s largest bitcoin ATM network.

For the initiative, BitXatm will partner with Los Angeles-based CryptVision, a startup that itself is seeking to build the largest network of bitcoin ATMs around the globe. As part of the deal, CryptVision will become the exclusive provider of BitXatms in the US and Canada.

Sergey Yesayan, president of CryptVision, framed the move as one that will find the new company moving quickly to gain a foothold in the bitcoin market, saying - READ MORE:

Report: Mobile Industry Should Embrace Bitcoin or Get Left Behind / Nermin Hajdarbegovic / July 18, 2014 at 10:52 BST

Mobile operators need to prepare for the shift to digital currencies if they want to remain competitive. That is the takeaway from a report published by European consultancy firm Reply, which also urges the mobile industry to avoid past mistakes.

The report, titled ‘Embracing Bitcoin: Why Mobile Operators Should Prepare for the Digital Currency Shift’, examines the benefits and pitfalls associated with digital currencies, and makes the case that this rapidly advancing technology is already hitting the mainstream in some respects:

“It is now benefiting from a surge of interest, investment and acceptance, with ca. $300m being invested in Bitcoin-related start-ups and high-profile names such as Richard Branson and the Winklevoss twins championing the digital currency movement, and more and more online and physical stores accepting the currency via services such as Bitpay, a service analogous to Paypal.˝ - READ MORE:

“Bitcoin and Fiat Money will be jointly used well into the Future” – Jase Leung, CEO Bitcoinnect / Allen Scott / 2014-07-18 10:35 AM

CoinTelegraph had the chance to interview Jase Leung, CEO of Bitcoinnect based out of Hong Kong. Their two-way Bitcoin ATM is the first machine that provides real-time purchases and sales of digital currencies in the region.

Their Bitcoin vending machines are currently operating in locations across Hong Kong and Macau. And given China’s stance on digital currencies, we were interested in getting a first-hand perspective on how a Bitcoin company maneuvers in such a regulatory gray area and gauging the demand for physical points of exchange in China.

Cointelegraph: Can you tell me about Bitcoinnect and why did you decide to start your company? What do you hope to achieve in the short term?

iOS 8 Touch ID Bitcoin Wallet Demo

Jase Leung: Bitcoinnect is a HK-based Limited company established by a group of young entrepreneurs. We believe, without a doubt, that Bitcoin will be the currency of the future. Our company and our machine are named “Bitcoinnect” — Bitcoinnect aims to connect people around the globe through the usage of Bitcoin. The story of creation behind Bitcoinnect is one born out of the difficulty we experienced in getting our first coins.

In the earlier days, when there were not so many online trading platforms and Bitcoin vending kiosks, it was a big hassle to start trading Bitcoin. First, we needed to register a trading account online. Then we had to get the account verified. Finally, we had to deposit fiat to the account via bank.

It took us a week to get the account straightened out. Meanwhile, the Bitcoin price had already doubled. We had lost the investment opportunity because of all the paperwork and time involved in connecting our bank to the traditional online trading platform.

Teaching children the A to Z of bitcoin? There’s an app for that

Two pages from iPad app The Bitcoin Alphabet. / Stuart Dredge / 17 July 2014 10.23 BST

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are still a mystery to most adults, so teaching children how they work may seem a strange ambition.

Nevertheless, that’s the aim of a new app, The Bitcoin Alphabet – for Kids and Everyone Else, released for Apple’s iPad tablet this week by author Chris Bozak and publisher iKandy.

The app is a mixture of illustrations and text explanations in plain English, and as its title makes clear, it has an eye on parents who don’t know their blockchains from their hash rates, as well as their children.

It’s a no-frills affair, without the voice narration or interactivity that have become standard features in book-apps for children. On the plus side, it does have a jazzy soundtrack.


Bitcoin vault Elliptic secures £1.2m backing / 2:26PM BST 16 Jul 2014

There are now over 13m Bitcoins in circulation Photo: Reuters

Elliptic, the UK-based insured Bitcoin storage service, has raised £1.2m in seed funding from Octopus, marking the UK’s first major venture investment into the cryptocurrency.
Octopus Capital, the venture fund, has led a £1.2m investment into Bitcoin vault Elliptic, in a deal that add Elliptics further credibility to the digital currency.

Launched just six months ago, Elliptic stores cryptographic “keys” on offline servers for a raft of institutional clients, including hedge funds, law firms and the newly regulated Global Advisors Bitcoin Investment Fund, a Jersey-based organisation that allows insurers and pension funds to invest in Bitcoin. - READ MORE: