Led 16

Mark Cuban: Buy Dallas Mavericks Tickets ‘Next Season’ With Bitcoin

· January 16, 2018 · 7:30 am

Billionaire Bitcoin skeptic-turned-bull Mark Cuban has said his Dallas Mavericks basketball team will accept Bitcoin “next season.”


Cuban Turns On To Bitcoin Acceptance

In comments on Twitter following publication of team line-ups, Cuban, who as recently as June last year called Bitcoin a “bubble,” confirmed fans would be able to purchase tickets with Bitcoin later in 2018.

The move is milestone for both US basketball and Bitcoin acceptance in sport, Cuban having warmed to Bitcoin considerably over the last six months.

“It is interesting because there are a lot of assets which their value is just based on supply and demand,” he told Bloomberg in an October interview, during which he confirmed he had invested.

Most stocks, there is no intrinsic value because you have no true ownership rights and no voting rights. You just have the ability to buy and sell those stocks. Bitcoin is the same thing. Its value is based on supply demand. I have bought some through an ETN based on a Swedish exchange.

Previously, in an apparent publicity stunt, the billionaire had purchased $20 worth of BTC in order to demonstrate its price would soon correct from highs of the time of around $2800.

Following In Footsteps Of Denmark’s Bitcoin Hockey Team

Outside the US, Denmark made an even more conspicuous gesture last month when an ownership change of a major league hockey club resulted in Bitcoin all but taking over.

Bitcoin Suisse’s three-year tenure means that Rungsted Seier Capital’s home stadium will now go by the name Bitcoin Arena, while the team’s top player will receive his salary in BTC, official announcements stated at the time.

The move “(paves) the way for others in- and outside of the world of professional sports to do the same,” an release added.

Cuban meanwhile remains tight-lipped on what motivated him to launch Bitcoin ticket sales in the short-term.

What do you think about Mark Cuban’s decision to accept Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Thrillbender.com, Twitter

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Led 15

South Korea Won’t Ban Bitcoin Trading as Price Chart Turns Bullish

· January 15, 2018 · 7:00 am

Bitcoin pundits are forecasting a fresh bull run as news from South Korea and the cryptocurrency’s price turn markets increasingly optimistic.


Seoul To Regulate After ‘Sufficient Consultation’

After the South Korean justice minister caused “confusion and anger” last week by saying the government would ban cryptocurrency exchanges, local news media report, the latest statements from Seoul indicate a significant U-turn.

“The proposed shutdown of exchanges that the justice minister recently mentioned is one of the measures suggested by the justice ministry to curb speculation,” Yonhap News Agency quotes a statement from the Government Office of Policy Coordination today.

A governmentwide decision will be made in the future after sufficient consultation and coordination of opinions.

Politicians had previously sought to impose strict controls on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading activities within a seemingly very short timeframe.

South Korean Prime Minister Warns Youth That Bitcoin is a Gateway to Illegal Activities

In December, new laws were passed which would have significantly limited exchange activities from as early as January 20.

After mass public uproar and most recently accusations lawmakers were “ridiculing the Korean people,” the outlook for cryptocurrency regulation in South Korea has suddenly begun to look notably more constructive.

“Monday’s announcement suggests that a shutdown is not likely in the near future,” Yonhap concludes.

Bitcoin 50-Day Moving Average Dip Excites Investors

Across global markets, Bitcoin prices are already reacting in kind to the new hope, with one analyst noting Monday’s dip below the 50-day moving average is characteristic of an impending move upwards.

Korea had been the most active trading community in the world for Bitcoin, its influence still conspicuous; a petition even calling for senior ministers to be fired over legislation mismanagement accrued over 130,000 signatures in days, Bitcoinist reported last week.

Meanwhile, details of the style of regulation that could take hold in the coming months remain sketchy.

Across the water in Japan, a more advanced model of permissioned exchange trading appears to be delivering positive economic results. Analysts have even said that Bitcoin investors alone could already be contributing as much as 0.3% to the country’s GDP.

What do you think about the latest developments from South Korea and their impact on Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

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Led 14

Pay Up or Else! Indiana Hospital Latest Victim of Ransomware Attack

· January 14, 2018 · 7:15 am

Hancock Regional Hospital in Indiana is the latest victim of a ransomware attack by hackers who are demanding a payment in bitcoins.


Technology is definitely a two-edged blade. The lightning-fast speed offered by the internet allows for people to connect instantly with each other from all over the world. Movies can be streamed, video conferences attended, and online games played due to the innovations made in tech over the last twenty years. On the flip side, such connectivity also allows criminals to target individuals and businesses from anywhere in the world just by the use of some malicious code. The latest example of this is a hospital in Indiana that has suffered a ransomware attack.

Hospital Held Hostage

Hackers making ransomware attacks are becoming increasingly commonplace. Sadly, even hospitals are now being targeted by criminals. Hancock Regional Hospital, located in Indiana, revealed that they had been attacked last Thursday evening.

Hospital employees were aware of the attack immediately. However, hackers were able to affect the hospital’s internal operating systems, email system, and electronic health records. Hospital officials stress that no patient information was compromised. The hackers demanded a sum of bitcoins to release the systems, but the hospital has refused to pay. (The total amount of the demanded ransom has not been released.)

Using Pen and Paper

The hospital initially had an IT incident response company look into the matter, but it turns out the attack was beyond their scope. Now the FBI has been called in.

Fortunately, the hospital is still able to function despite the ransomware attack. However, they are now forced to keep pen and paper records.

The official statement from Hancock Regional Hospital about the hacking attack states:

Hancock Regional Hospital has been the victim of a criminal act by an unknown party that attempted to shut down out operations via our information systems by locking our computer network and demanding payment for a digital key to unlock it. Unfortunately this sort of behavior is widespread in the world today, and we had the misfortune to be next on the list. We are working closely with an IT incident response company and national law enforcement. At this time, we are deep into the analysis of the situation and see no indication that patient records have been removed from our network. In addition to excellent performance by our IT Department, our clinical teams have performed exceptionally well, and patient care has not been compromised. Our doors are open at Hancock Regional Hospital.

A Growing Problem

Hancock Regional Hospital is the latest in a long line of businesses and entities that have suffered a ransomware attack. Credit agency Equifax was hit with a $2.3 ransom demand back in September. Then the Sacramento Regional Transit system was attacked in November, with the hackers demanding a single bitcoin in ransom. Last December saw the county government of Mecklenburg, North Carolina, having their server files held for a 2 bitcoin ransom.

It’s a given that ransomware attacks are going to continue. The fact that every government agency, business, and health care facility are all connected online provides an abundance of victims that hackers can target, no matter where they’re located in the world.

Do you think the hospital should pay the ransomware demand? Will such attacks increase in frequency in the near future? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Pixabay, Pxhere, and Bitcoinist archives.

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Led 13

Hodl the Chicken as KFC Introduces the Bitcoin Bucket

· January 13, 2018 · 5:00 am

Crypto comes to the fast food world as KFC Canada introduces the Bitcoin Bucket, a meal for $20 worth of the digital currency.


There are some brands that have become incredibly iconic over the years. One such brand is Kentucky Fried Chicken, or KFC for short. KFC has spread from a regional chain to franchises spanning the globe. Their “finger lickin’ good” food has been devoured by millions of loyal customers. Now their famous fried chicken is getting a crypto boost as KFC Canada has rolled out the Bitcoin Bucket.

walrus KFC Bitcoin Bucket

Crypto Gets You Tasty Fried Chicken

In a really awesome marketing ploy, the Canadian branch of the fast food company is jumping on the cryptocurrency bandwagon in a clever way. The Bitcoin Bucket rolls off the tongue and is very catchy.

People can pick up the new bucket by spending the equivalent of $20 in the virtual currency. The meal comes with 10 original recipe chicken tenders, waffle fries, a medium side, gravy, and 2 dipping sauces.

This is a pretty tasty meal, even though I would be bummed as it doesn’t come with biscuits. I am jealous that it does feature waffle fries, a menu item that has long been vacant where I live.

Amazing Tweets

While the Bitcoin Bucket in itself is interesting, it’s the tweets put out by KFC Canada that are really the icing on the cake. The various tweets are really funny and show that whoever is behind the campaign knows how to keep people engaged.

Here is a sampling of some of the tweets:

Sure, we don’t know exactly what Bitcoins are, or how they work, but that shouldn’t come between you and some finger lickin’ good chicken.

That’s 0.000662 herbs and spices in Bitcoin.

Avoid bucket FOMO. Invest now!

#BitcoinBucket is currently sold out. There will be a restock tonight. We’re mining for more as fast as we can.

The latest, and likely first, venture into the crypto-chicken space.

According to the website, the Bitcoin Bucket is currently sold out. However, a recent tweet says that more buckets are on the way, which means that the promotion was very successful.

This marks the first time that a parent restaurant company is accepting cryptocurrency. There have been specific franchises in the past that have done so, such as Burger King Arnhem. A recent trend is food companies creating their own coins to expand loyalty programs and take advantage of the blockchain system. Companies that have done this include Burger King Russia and Hooters.

What do you think about the KFC Bitcoin Bucket promotion? Are you now hungry? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of KFC Canada and Twitter/@kfc_canada.

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Led 12

New Data Shows Coinbase May Be Spamming the Bitcoin Network

· January 12, 2018 · 7:30 am

US exchange and wallet provider Coinbase is facing fresh criticism from both users and Bitcoin industry figures over its delayed SegWit adoption.


‘You Alone Are Spamming The Network’

As the company continues to suffer technical outages due to high demand, its effect on the Bitcoin mempool has become the source of renewed calls for SegWit as a priority.

“You need to batch your outgoing transactions,” Twitter user Civ Ekonom wrote in response to Coinbase’s latest reported system breakdown.

You are ALONE spamming the network. If you would use segwit and batch all outgoing transactions the mempool would be EMPTY.

Citing analysis of the mempool as “clear evidence,” the mempool size appears to drop significantly when Coinbase recently suspended sending Bitcoin. This has added fuel to existing community anger that the exchange has failed to implement SegWit, which would significantly reduce the cost of Bitcoin transactions it handles.

New GM: Performance ‘Totally Unacceptable’

CEO Brian Armstrong has also borne the brunt of accusations regarding his exchange’s performance and roadmap. Last year, he claimed SegWit was not a high priority on Coinbase customers’ wishlists.

In a different response to the outage, Blockchain real estate personality Ragnar Lifthrasir went as far as to suggest firing Armstrong would serve to improve Coinbase’s reliability.

New Evidence Emerges, Points to Possible Insider Trading at Coinbase

Earlier this week, Bitcoinist reported on a user-filed petition on Change.org to force a SegWit upgrade as a priority. That petition has now accrued over 8000 signatures.

In its latest official correspondence Thursday, Coinbase focused on “improving customer experience” via its new general manager Dan Romero.

Romero had previously announced SegWit as engineering priority number three in 2018.

“Dan’s first priority as GM will be improving the Coinbase customer experience,” Armstrong explained.

…Dan will provide an update on what we are doing to improve the experience and I will continue to post about all of the major activities at the company.

Romero meanwhile called the past technical performance throughout 2017 “totally unacceptable.”

What do you think about Coinbase’s SegWit situation? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Twitter, Shutterstock

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Led 11

The Noose Tightens? US Senate Meeting with Market Regulators Over Cryptocurrency

· January 11, 2018 · 6:00 am

Bitcoin regulations may be on the way as the US Senate Banking Committee is scheduled to meet with top market regulators in February over cryptocurrency.


The noose may be tightening around Bitcoin and its digital brethren in the United States in the coming months. According to Reuters, the Senate Banking Committee will be meeting with some top financial regulators in early February. Their topic of concern – cryptocurrency.

Are Regulations Coming?

Right now, there are no federal regulators that oversee cryptocurrency within the US. The government (and most importantly, the IRS) view crypto as property that’s subject to capital gains taxes.

However, this may change in the future. The Senate Banking Committee will be talking to Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Christopher Giancarlo and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton to discuss Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, along with any risks that crypto trading can bring to the public.

Will this meeting lead to future Bitcoin regulations? My magic 8-ball says that it’s a distinct possibility.

Governments Yearn for Control

The reality is that the CFTC and SEC have been staking out some jurisdiction over crypto. The CFTC did allow both CME and CBOE to begin listing Bitcoin futures contraacts last month. However, they are now reviewing their process for this after receiving some criticism.

It should be noted that both the SEC and CFTC have issued warnings about the volatility of cryptocurrency and that they may not be able to protect investors from crypto scam artists. There are always those looking to earn some ill-gotten gains by using crypto as the lure. Case in point is BitConnect, who were shut down by the state of Texas over their claims of monetary rewards.

Yet any time government committees get together, it should be a cause for concern. The reality is that any national government will not be too friendly with an economic system that lies outside of their control. To that end, you can bet that regulations are at the forefront of every senator’s mind when that meeting rolls around.

Of course, one of the chief draws for cryptocurrency is its lack of centralization and regulation. Many view virtual currency as an expression of economic freedom, but governments look at crypto in a different light: something to control and to tax.
Shidan Gouran, president of Global Blockchain Technologies Corp. summed up the thought that one of the reasons why cryptocurrency was so valuable was due to a lack of regulation. He said:

We believe that the greatest threat is regulation. Several governments across the world have clamped down on exchanges, some halting trading altogether. Others have gone on to outright ban the use of Bitcoin. Sudden government actions in major Bitcoin trading hubs stand to disrupt the market, with the potential to severely affect the utility of bitcoin — and accordingly, the value.

Are you worried that the upcoming Senate Banking Committee meeting will lay the cornerstone for increased Bitcoin regulation? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Pixabay, Wikimedia Commons, and Bitcoinist archives.

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Led 10

Bitcoin Fees Near-Zero as Company Launches Mainnet Lightning Payments

· January 10, 2018 · 6:00 am

Anonymous VPN service TorGuard has become one of the first consumer businesses to accept Lightning Network (LN) payments for Bitcoin.


‘Testnet Is So Boring’

In messages on Twitter staff since appeared to back up privately, TorGuard confirmed users can now pay for its services in Bitcoin using Lightning, significantly reducing transaction times and fees.

The news makes the company a pioneer of Bitcoin mainnet LN payments after the technology debuted as a testnet interface last month.

“Disclaimer: c-lightning is not production ready. TorGuard will cover loss of funds when sending us LN payments. Testnet is so boring,” tweets added.

One Transaction = One Satoshi?

Excited community members reacted broadly positively to a customer service representative similarly offering LN payments, seemingly unaware TorGuard had already publicly announced the new feature.

“Do you have (an) LN (mainnet) node up and running? If so, I can invoice you for 1 month of our service for only 1 satoshi,” the representative offered.

This last point appeared to cause contention, responses arguing the actual cost of a Lightning transaction would be significantly higher than the $0.‎00014167 quoted due to the need to open and close a channel before and after.

Bitcoin advocates have long championed Lightning as the crucial solution to the ongoing high transaction fees and slow confirmation times which have plagued the network since its mass uptake which began around one year ago.

While altcoins such as Bitcoin Cash and most recently Ripple have jumped on the problem as proof their offerings are more valuable than Bitcoin, early adopters remain confident that so-called Layer 2 updates such as LN payments will make such arguments null and void.

Late last month, Bitcoin-based cellphone top-up service Bitrefill also began using Lightning mainnet payments to fulfil customer orders as part of successful “limited testing”.

What do you think about the launch of mainnet Lightning Network payments? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Twitter, Shutterstock

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Led 09

Bitcoin Futures Speculation Allowed in Thailand

· January 9, 2018 · 6:30 am

While the rest of Asia scrambles to regulate cryptocurrencies, some remain open and even welcoming of the blockchain boom. An unlikely nation in the region to be convivial to new technology and innovation beyond state control is Thailand, which is currently in the throes of an ever-lengthening military dictatorship and associated power struggles.


It was reported in the Bangkok Post this week that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said Thailand’s first bitcoin futures trading service offered by a securities company is legitimate but urged investors to apply caution due to high risks.

Thai Futures

According to Phillip Securities Thailand, investors would be allowed to speculate on Bitcoin via an international global derivatives trading service. Market regulators within the country are in consensus that the move is legitimate and can proceed. Similar futures contracts were offered last month by two large Chicago exchanges: CBOE and CME, though products in other countries have yet to get off the ground.

In a press release, managing director Low See Kiong stated:

Using bitcoin as an underlying asset on the CBOE and CME will lead to greater acceptance of bitcoin futures as they have reliable payment systems and are regulated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

He added that the futures were targeted towards experienced investors that did not want to buy the currency directly on crypto exchanges or from unlicensed brokers.

Open to Trading

The head of global markets at Phillip Securities Thailand told the Bangkok Post that customers wanting to trade Bitcoin futures must apply for the company’s global derivatives service, which will allow them to trade futures on 15 global futures markets, including CBOE and CME. However, investors will need to deposit money to cover their investment margin, and trading will be quoted in US dollars. In reference to margin covers, he added:

In principle, investors should prepare money as a buffer for price movement around 20-30% above the margin. The buffer might be lower for some, depending on the risk management of individuals. For example, if they have a strict policy to stop losses, the buffer may be lower than 10%.

Thailand has one primary crypto exchange offering Bitcoin and ten other altcoins directly in fiat and a few more obscure ones in Bitcoin. Junta leader Prayut Chan-ocha recently warned about the risks of crypto trading and advised that the public be educated about it before jumping in.

Will the rest of Asia open up or continue to crack down on crypto? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Images courtesy of GoodFreePhotos, Pexels, and Bitcoinist archives.

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