Friday, August 9, 2013

BtcTrip has a new business account and plans to launch three new services

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August 6, 2013 by Maria Santos. BtcTrip, the online platform that allows you to buy plane tickets with your Bitcoins, is preparing to launch three new services. Bitcoin Examiner talked with the CEO Martin Fernandez and he told us that the startup “is moving to the next level” by developing the programs “Rent a Car & Hotel”, “BtcTrip Miles and Points” and ”BtcTrip Surfing”.

While the first service is pretty self-explanatory, allowing users to rent cars and book hotels with Bitcoins, “BtcTrip Miles and Points” will offer discounts and free air tickets to regular clients. Finally, the program “BtcTrip Surfing” will be aimed to the community that usually travels to attend international events like ecological meeting, social forums, alternative entertainment, raves, spiritual journeys, world cups, hack and tech conferences and also… Bitcoin evens, of course.

As stated by the company’s CEO, “the future of BtcTrip lies in offering experiences and building the community of Bitcoiners who travel. We are working on a global events schedule where Bitcoiners can travel, get together and pay using Bitcoin. We want to be more than a website to book your flight, hotel and a car”. - Read more here:

Coinbase implements zero-fee microtransactions off the block chain

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Published On August 7, 2013 at 15:59 BST | By David Gilson. Coinbase, the bitcoin wallet and exchange payment processor, has announced that it will begin processing off-block chain microtransactions. These transactions will be free for users, and once a user has accumulated 0.01 BTC they can withdraw funds, which then incurs the normal block chain fees.

The new microtransactions are handled internally at Coinbase and are instant. For instance, you can even send a unit as small as a Satoshi (0.00000001 BTC).

This will be a useful feature for Coinbase users because while miner’s fees are relatively low for most transactions, they become significant with very small transactions. Therefore in the case of bitcoin dust, the transactions are proportionately high. Indeed, the way in which bitcoin users can avoid fees rules out sending microtransactions with the 0.01 BTC limit. - Read more here:

John Stossel - Currency Devaluation and the Bitcoin

Economists Ben Powell (Texas Tech) and Jeffrey Tucker (Laissez-faire Books) discuss the clever methods politicians have used to devalue money instead of making citizens pay more tax up front.

John Stossel - Currency Devaluation and the Bitcoin

Could mobile payment Lemon Network be fruitful for bitcoin?

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Published On August 7, 2013 at 17:38 BST | By Danny Bradbury. A new network designed to manage payment credentials could provide a useful backdoor to bitcoin adoption in the future. Lemon Network promises to make mobile payments easier, without tying users to a particular payment processor.

The system emerged from Lemon Wallet, a popular mobile app for the Android and iOS platforms. It was a simple but powerful concept: instead of carrying your various credit, debit, and loyalty cards in your wallet, scan them, and put them on your phone. You can then use your credit cards easily (as long as you don’t try to swipe them). It also featured premium services, such as the ability to monitor payment card accounts for fraud, and cancel cards with a single tap.

The app garnered millions of users – a million signed up within the first four months of its October 2011 launch, and it now has over three million. It added receipt scanning, and an update that helped to categorize and filter spending.

Now, company CEO Wences Casares is turning the app into the front end for a payment network that can work with different payment processors – and he wants to enable bitcoin as part of it. - Read more here:

Bitcoin Startup ArtaBit Working On Cheaper Alternative To Western Union

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By Morgen Peck Posted 7 Aug 2013 | 13:30 GMT. Every summer job I ever held before I turned twenty was in or around a kitchen. I did it all—scrubbed dishes, garnished dishes, grilled, baked, waited and frialated. And during that time, I worked closely with many Central and South Americans, all of whom shared one thing in common. Every week or every month, they all sent a fraction of their wages back to the families they had left behind. Some dared to send cash in the mail, but most passed it through a money transfer service like MoneyGram or Western Union. Economists package all these messy human details into one clean phrase: remittance market. It's the business that makes money by moving money and, as is usually the case, the middleman walks away with a plate full of trimmings.

When I first learned about Bitcoin, my mind immediately jumped back into the kitchen. If only these people knew that there was a global currency out there that they could transfer over the internet for free, I thought. And, if only Bitcoiners would take more notice of this market, perhaps they could somehow make it cheaper for people send their money home, while still turning a profit.

Now, it finally seems to be happening. ArtaBit, a currency exchange that operates exclusively in the Indonesian market is looking for ways to offer remittance services to its customers. Ayoub Naciri, one of the co-founders of ArtaBit, presented his proposal to an auditorium full of prospective investors last month at the Ultra Light Startups pitching event in New York City. I caught up with him to ask how it would work. - Read more here:

BitWall Aims to Tear Down a Pricing Barrier in Micropayments

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AUG 6, 2013 4:00am ET. BitWall, a Bitcoin content monetization startup, will launch this month to allow people to sell low-value digital content, putting one of the digital currency's favored use cases to the test.

"For years now, people have been calling for micropayments to be a catalyst for digital content monetization," says Alex Meliones, chief creative and marketing officer at BitWall. "We're trying to use micropayments through Bitcoin to allow publishers to monetize their digital content, either stuff that was free to begin with or behind a paywall."

She started BitWall with her brother, Nic Meliones, who was once part of the New Graduate Development Program at Visa. Although he resigned from the 18-month rotational program before completing it, he moved to different roles at Visa, including sales, global brand and marketing and analytics.

Micropayments have been a tricky idea online since consumers typically use cards to pay for digital content. Because transaction pricing makes it more expensive to accept multiple small payments than to accept a larger payment, companies either set up subscription services or aggregate smaller payments onto one receipt. For example, Apple aggregates sales when it sells 99-cent iTunes songs and other digital content. - Read more here:

ASICMiner USB Bitcoin Miner Price Drops 80% to 0.175 BTC

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Aug 2, 2013 Posted By Phillip Archer. On May 4th, Friedcat, CEO of ASICMiner, announced the worlds first ASIC USB bitcoin miner: operating at 300 MH/s for 1.99 BTC. As he refined the hardware, he was able to increase performance to 336 MH/s before shipping in early June. The price was then lowered to 0.89 BTC on June 25th for bulk orders over 1,000 units. An organizer of previous bulk orders has announced an 8 day window to place orders for 0.175 BTC each. This order is only open to previous customersand will entail 0.1 BTC going towards the USB miners while 0.075 BTC is paid towards management and shipping fees. There is some risk involved in this order since it will not be using an escrow service, unlike previous arrangements. Since the announcement yesterday 500 units of the 1,000 unit minimum have already been ordered so it seems likely that the 1,000 unit minimum will quickly be filled. - Read more here:

Avalon might be getting a $200 million investment and 20nm technology to become the leader of the mining market

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August 4, 2013 by Maria Santos. There might be a major deal being made in the Bitcoin ecosystem in the next few days: a deal that mixes the names of BitSynCom LLC’s founder, Yifu Guo, and a Swiss private equity fund, which is allegedly about to invest $200 million to ensure the brand Avalon emerges as the leader in the mining technology race.

Bitcoin Examiner has been gathering rumors around the web and was informed by an anonymous source about this highly secretive meeting, which is set to occur this Monday or Tuesday (August 5 or 6).

Let’s go back in time, when it all started. Yifu Guo was part of a team based in Beijing (China), called Gridchip. This group developed the first ASIC Bitcoin miner at 110nm. A second chip at 55nm was also designed, but the team fell apart after that. At the time, Yifu Guo had to get a new foundry to turn his chip design project into reality. This was when he attracted the attention of a low-key Zurich-based private equity fund, which name we can’t reveal or we would be exposing our source.

However, the name of the umbrella fund for this project is The Phoenix Fund/Phoenix Emerging Markets. A quick online search showed us the connection between this fund and Andrew Laurus, who according to his Twitter account is “Emerging Markets Manager for Private Equity Fund”, with his location divided between Zurich (Switzerland) and London (UK). He was connected to Lehman, as a Senior Government Bond Executive, and is currently ”taking time off for Bitcoin Mining project”, like he reveals in Twitter. Never heard of him? Well, people like the famous entrepreneur Kim Dotcom or the economist and economical advisor to the UK Liberal Democratic Party Fred Harrison already have, since they follow him on Twitter. Read more here:

Bitfury 400 GH/s Bitcoin Mining Rig Hits US Shores

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Aug 2, 2013 Posted By Phillip Archer. After almost a full year of development and one month of delays, BitFury’s ASIC bitcoin mining prototype has begun hashing at 400 GH/s. Application specific integrated circuits (ASIC) are customized chips that perform bitcoin mining calculations. While there have been a couple companies releasing ASIC miners (Avalon, ASICMiner, Butterfly Labs), there is significant room for improvement within the technology itself. With hundreds of units expected to land in Europe and the Americas this month, Bitfury products represent the most advanced chips to hit mass production and will significantly change the bitcoin mining landscape.

BItfury ASIC chips use a 55nm process and are sold running at an estimated 1.56 GH/s per chip, with demonstrated performance up to 2.7 GH/s. Although they are clocked slower than Butterfly Lab’s 4 GH/s chips, they will run 4x more efficiently at 0.8 Watts/Ghps. Power efficiency will be a deciding factor in a bitcoin miner’s longevity as profitability narrows with increasing difficulty. - Read more here:

Billionaire Investor and Samsung Lead CPU Architect Bet On Bitcoin Mining

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Aug 5, 2013 Posted By Jeff Schvey.

Samsung Lead CPU Architect To Head Cointerra

Cointerra recently announced their entrance into ASIC bitcoin mining with 28nm chips. Application specific integrated circuits (ASIC) are customized components that perform the calculations necessary for bitcoin mining. The team is lead by Ravi Iyengar, previously the Lead CPU Architect at Samsung where he helped design chips for compact mobile devices such as the Galaxy S4. Iyengar has also previously worked at industry giants Qualcomm and NVIDIA. He is joined by Chief Architect Dr. David Tannenbaum, a principal engineer at NVIDIA, and VP of Engineering Jim O’Connor who brings previous experience from an array of firms including Nortel and General Electric.

Two of the big three bitcoin ASIC companies, Avalon and ASICMiner, have been producing chips using 110 nm processes while Butterfly Labs opted to use 65nm. Smaller processes allow for higher performing chips but add complexity and cost to the designs. Although specs will not be publicly released for another few weeks, Iyengar is confident their product will lead the market, with in $/GH in the single digits and power efficiency 10x better than existing products. Cointerra will face off with KNCMiner who promised September delivery with their 28nm miners, meaning KNC is expected to have a working prototype soon.

Cointerra raised a $1.5M round from angel investors to fund development costs, but will need to sell pre-orders in order to fund production costs. They plan on starting pre-orders by the end of the month, with production scheduled for December. Some notable investors include economist Tuur Demeester, author of the Dutch investment newsletter MacroTrends, as well as Joeri Cornelissens. - Read more here:

Raspberry Pi-powered briefcase converts loose change into bitcoin

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Published On August 8, 2013 at 11:24 BST | By David Gilson. Hackers at the Defcon hacker conference in Las Vegas were recently seen offering bitcoin for sale via a robotic briefcase. People could simply walk up and put their loose change into the coin slot and in return they received a QR code printed on till receipt paper that they could use to redeem their bitcoins.

The hacker minding the briefcase, going by the name Garbage, spoke to The Verge and told them that the bitcoin-serving briefcase had been made to increase awareness of bitcoin. The briefcase itself reportedly cost $250 to build and was driven by a Raspberry Pi computer, with a mobile 4G modem, and was powered from a mains socket on the outside of one of the convention buildings. - Read more here:

Marco Santori says that “Bitcoin is a currency” judicial decision can be used “as a very broad precedent”

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August 8, 2013 by Maria Santos. If anything good has come out of the Ponzi scheme set up by Trendon Shavers – more known in the cryptocurrency world as ‘pirateat40′ – is the decision of a Texas judge, who has recently ruled that “Bitcoin is a currency or form of money”, meaning that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) can go ahead and sue the suspect.

You can check the document signed by the North-American magistrate here. In this memorandum, judge Amos L. Mazzant makes an analysis of the case regarding the Bitcoin Savings and Trust (BTCST), a “business” founded and operated by Shavers.

The suspect offered and sold Bitcoin-denominated investments through the platform, managing to gather at least 700,000 BTC, a value that is equivalent to almost $63 million at today’s prices. The suspicions were obvious, but the SEC was waiting for a judicial opinion on the matter. Finally, the judge released the following opinion:

It is clear that Bitcoin can be used as money. It can be used to purchase goods or services, and as Shavers stated, used to pay for individual living expenses. The only limitation of Bitcoin is that it is limited to those places that accept it as currency. However, it can also be exchanged for conventional currencies, such as the U.S. dollar, Euro, Yen, and Yuan. Therefore, Bitcoin is a currency or form of money, and investors wishing to invest in BTCST provided an investment of money.

Bitcoin Examiner spoke with Marco Santori, chairman of the Regulatory Affairs Committee at the Bitcoin Foundation, about this issue. “It is important to distinguish between the statement ‘Bitcoin is money’ and ‘Bitcoin can be used as money’. I don’t think it is controversial to say that ‘Bitcoin can be used as money’. People use Bitcoins in place of money all the time. I think that this limited, functional statement is obvious”, the attorney said. - Read more here: