Zář 18

New Samourai Wallet Feature Makes Bitcoin Transactions Private

A 2-wallet Samourai Stowaway offers to make transactions private by masking user identity while keeping funds safe.


Bitcoin Transactions Are Pseudo-Anonymous

Bitcoin (BTC) 00 transactions are often described as anonymous because users can exchange the cryptocurrency without providing any personally identifying information.

However, Bitcoin transactions are pseudo-anonymous. The history of each Bitcoin transaction is permanently stored on the blockchain. And, anyone can track and view this information.

The abstract of BIP0069 describes the issue of the leak of private information, as follows,

Currently there is no standard for Bitcoin wallet clients when ordering transaction inputs and outputs. As a result, wallet clients often have a discernible blockchain fingerprint, and can leak private information about their users.

Now, the 2-wallet Samourai Stowaway promises to protect user privacy with a mechanism which is based on the trusted cooperation established between two wallets.

In a separate tweet, user @SamouraiDev said,

We will err on the side of caution and privacy. Only two (or more) wallets that have engaged in a ‘trusted’ relationship will be permitted to collaborate in a cahoots spend.

Wallet Users Can Establish Private Transaction Channels

Currently, each time users perform a payment transaction, they must exchange the Bitcoin address. This handicap impedes Bitcoin from becoming a mainstream currency. For some experts, the implementation of Reusable Payment Codes might help to solve this issue.

BIP47, “Reusable Payment Codes for Hierarchical Deterministic Wallets,” proposes a technique that can help to simplify the payment process while enhancing the user’s level of privacy.

BIP47 allows for the establishment of an invisible channel between two users. As defined by Justus Ranvier, the BIP’s author:

This BIP defines a technique for creating a payment code which can be publicly advertised and associated with a real-life identity without creating the loss of security or privacy inherent to P2PKH address reuse.

The 2-wallet Samourai Stowaway can allow users to establish private payment channels with each other, without revealing their Bitcoin addresses.

In this regard, SamouraiDev indicates that they have taken “an undefined byte in the BIP47 payload and are using it as a ‘feature’ byte so other wallets can detect functionality.”

Do you think that concealing the Bitcoin address will improve the privacy of Bitcoin transactions? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Pexels, Samourai, Shutterstock, Twitter/@SamouraiDev.

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Zář 02

Anything Besides Bitcoin is ‘Useless’ – Tone Vays and Nouriel Roubini Square Off

David Drake, founder of LDJ Capital, was the moderator for a match up between Nouriel Roubini and Tone Hays. Drake was quick to note Roubini’s prediction of the 2008 economic crisis. 


In the discussion, Roubini notes that his experience in blockchain stems from his ability to see a bubble when it exists.

Vays responded with his outlook on the crypto space. Former trader Vays, now a speaker and prominent YouTuber, says he disagrees with Nouriel on the dysfunction of the crypto space. However, Vays maintains that anything besides Bitcoin 00 is ‘useless,’ and ‘anything else is scammy or fraudulent.’

Roubini placed a strong emphasis on the tension between institutions and regulations.

Vays went on to compare Bitcoin to nuclear waste — if you don’t know how to properly store it, disaster may strike. Vays still remains a devotee despite this apparent pitfall.

Roubini held fast, remaining extremely skeptical of crypto. Roubini emphasized numerous pump-and-dump schemes, as well as traders exchanging “shitcoins day in and day out.”

Roubini says that while 99.9% of cryptocurrencies will fail, Bitcoin is the only crypto that would exist should everything else go haywire. Tone Vays was quick to respond by noting the ‘unconfiscatable’ nature of Bitcoin — if stored correctly, as well as unconfiscatable value transfer.

Roubini quickly back that ‘it is not true they cannot be confiscated,” noting economists like U.S. Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin who worry that the currency may become the next ‘Swiss bank account.’ Roubini was extremely skeptical that any modern government, especially the Trump government, would tolerate the ‘anonymity’ associated with Bitcoin.

During the tail end of the dialogue, Roubini lit into crypto mining, saying that the centralization of mining is a hypocrisy in light of the crypto’s decentralized claims.

Neither party pulled any punches, and the match-up led up to a brief talk about mining centralization before wrapping up for good.

What are your thoughts about the Roubini-Vays match-up? Let us know what you think in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Srp 09

Pantera Capital CEO Says Investors ‘Overreacting’ to Bitcoin ETF Delay

Dan Morehead, CEO of Pantera Capital, calls for calm in light of the delayed SEC decision on Bitcoin ETF.


In a continuing saga between investors and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Dan Morehead calls for long-term thinking. This assurance comes amidst a tumultuous affair involving legislators, regulators, and investors alike.

10,000 Years?

According to CNBC, Morehead says the following in regards to Tuesday’s SEC decision:

I still think it will be quite a long time until an ETF is approved. The last asset class to be approved for ETF certification was copper, and copper has been on earth for 10,000 years.

After the SEC postponed its decision on a Bitcoin 00 ETF Wednesday, a bearish dip ensued. Subsequently, Morehead went on to acknowledge the following regarding the dip and ensuing fears:

The main thing to remember is that bitcoin is very early-stage venture, but has real-time price feed — and that’s a unique thing. People get excited about the price and overreact

Rather than feeling pessimistic, the Pantera Capital man pointed towards new ventures like the Starbucks Bakkt project saying:

That is going to be a very profound impact over the next five or 10 years for the markets, and, to my mind, that’s what people should be focused on.

A Positive Outlook

Morehead says “It’s all perspective,” as he pointed towards the fact that cryptocurrencies retain an 82% consistency. CNBC’s Chloe Aiello notes that,

Bitcoin was last down 6.3 percent at $6,288.30, which still makes it about 82 percent higher year on year[…]

Regardless of bearish markets and often unstable outlooks, Morehead remains a proponent of optimism in an ever-changing financial landscape.

What do you think about Dan Morehead’s insight? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

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Čvc 27

Now You Can Buy A Texas Mansion With Bitcoin

The sellers for a newly listed mansion in the city of Highland Park, Texas are open to taking Bitcoin for payment. The listing is just another example of a rapidly expanding cryptocurrency real estate market attracting buyers from across the world.


Many industries have been expressing interest in cryptocurrencies, but those in the real estate world are paying particularly close attention. Using digital currencies like Bitcoin in real estate transactions keeps growing in popularity even as the cryptocurrency market has hit rough waters in 2018.

Neeraj Agarwal of Coin Center, a cryptocurrency focused think tank, says digital currency are a good tool to carry out real estate transactions with since they are a way to “send large amounts of money pretty easily with relatively low fees and little interference from middlemen.”

A Booming Crypto Real Estate Market

Unsurprisingly, real estate transactions with cryptocurrencies are increasing in number. As of mid-July, a total of 20 homes have been bought with Bitcoin across the globe. Realtor Stephan Burke believes 25-30% of real estate sales will be carried out with cryptocurrency in five years.

One of the newest real estate listings where the seller will take Bitcoin is located in Highland Park, Texas. The 9,281 square foot house is listed at $9,975,000 and comes with five bedrooms, 5.3 baths, a swimming pool, and a underground climate controlled garage with an elevator to the guest suite.

According to Burke, those using Bitcoin to buy and sell real estate are smart people who are able to see the future.

A Flurry of Change For Home Buyers

Ever since Sothby’s International Reality said in September 2017 they successfully brokered one of the first Bitcoin real estate sales in the United States, the worldwide housing market was forever changed.

A real estate company in Spain sold an apartment in Barcelona for Bitcoin in January, the first time the cryptocurrency was used as legal tender for a real estate transaction in the European country. A couple in British Columbia said in the same month they would take Bitcoin in exchange for their five-bedroom mansion on Vancouver Island.

In June, people had the opportunity to use cryptocurrency to bid on a 16th century Italian Renaissance mansion with an estimated value of $44 million dollars. Nestled in the heart of Rome, the house was built by famed architects Giacomo Della Porta and Girolamo Rainaldi.

And in early July, an agent in Newark said on Facebook they successfully sold a property for Bitcoin, a first in the state of Delaware.

A growing number of real estate agents are recognizing how digital currencies are changing the real estate market, and many think transactions with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are here to stay.

Joe Onyero of Properbuz, a social media real estate platform, says it makes sense to use digital currency to eliminate middlemen since it can currently take a lot of time to buy a property due to all the different parties involved in a transaction.

Additionally, real estate websites like Open Listings are making it easy for people to plug in search terms like “bitcoin” to find property that can be bought with digital currency.

Do you think cryptocurrency has a future in the real estate world? Would you ever buy property with a digital currency like Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below!


Image courtesy of Open Listings, Shutterstock.

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Čvc 19

Crypto Company Change Launches App to Trade Bitcoin Commission-Free

A stream of positive developments and new products is helping to boost Bitcoin’s adoption rate. One of the latest products is Change Wallet, a mobile app for trading Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with zero commission fees.


Change CEO Predicts: Cryptocurrencies Will Be Used As Much As Fiat Money

Change, a company headquartered in Estonia and financed from Singapore, has launched Change Wallet – a mobile app that allows users to buy and convert between cryptocurrencies. This multicurrency app supports digital assets such as Bitcoin, Ether, Ripple, Litecoin, and Tether.

According to the company, Change Wallet facilitates the execution of financial transactions and payments and provides access to an array of other financial services.

Significantly, no commission fees are charged for the transactions executed with Change Wallet, according to Change’s press release dated July 18, 2018.

Change Wallet is now available to residents of the European Economic Area in IOS and Android operating systems.

Joining the experts predicting that Bitcoin is here to stay and that it is eventually going to be used in everyday life, Change’s CEO Kristjan Kangro declared at the launch of the app:

Cryptocurrencies will soon be used just as much as traditional currencies by the masses when paying for good and services.

Solving Traditional Banks’ Major Limitations

Change Wallet allows sending, receiving, and storing several cryptocurrencies as well as fiat currencies, including US dollars and Euros.

As Change’s whitepaper explains, because Change Wallet is a mobile app, it solves three significant problems affecting traditional banks.

Specifically, users can handle all transactions via the app, thus avoiding the inconvenience of needing to go to the bank. Moreover, Change Wallet can provide banking services to the millions of unbanked people around the world.

As Bitcoin continues its inexorable trajectory to test the USD 8,000 resistance mark, the crypto community is encouraged by initiatives, such as Change’s, that contribute to increasing Bitcoin’s adoption rate. One of Change Wallet’s supporters, Roger Crook, former CEO of DHL Global Forwarding, says:

I’m backing this project because I think it’s got an extremely great future, and I see that Change is going to have challenges going forward. I have no doubt that this business is going to thrive and grow globally over the coming years.

How do you think the commission-free Change Wallet will impact Bitcoin trading? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of AdobeStock, Twitter/, Change

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Čvc 13

Bitcoin Ownership Rising Throughout Canada

Canada has seen an increase in its bitcoin ownership rate from 2.9 percent in 2016 to 5.0 percent in 2017. Usage trends have also shifted, with most Canadians now holding bitcoin primarily for investment purposes. 


The Bank of Canada has released its findings from a two-year long study that was completed to better assess Canadians’ usage and adoption of Bitcoin. The study, which began in 2016, followed central bank chief Stephen S. Poloz’s cautionary advice:

Cryptocurrency’ is a misnomer—‘crypto,’ yes, but ‘currency,’ no.

The Bank’s survey attempts to better understand Bitcoin’s role as currency and was administered in three waves, lasting from early 2016 until mid-2017. It coincidentally aligned with bitcoin’s extreme rise in value, which saw the market leader reach an all-time high of 19,738USD on December 17, 2017. The published study stated that:

The Bank of Canada’s interest in bitcoin is to understand whether its adoption and usage by Canadians could affect the financial system

The survey not only tracked bitcoin usage and adoption but also tried to garner a general sense of the public’s knowledge of cryptocurrency.

Canadians Prove They Know More

The published study revealed that not only had the percentage of those owning bitcoin gone up but that the general knowledge on cryptocurrency for both owning and non-owning citizens had increased. Quebec saw the largest increase in awareness, with a 28 percent improvement in score from 2016 to 2017.

The ownership of bitcoin among men aged 45 to 54 quadrupled over the two-year long research project, with an equally significant rise among those with a college or university level education. In general, bitcoin ownership saw a boost in all provinces of Canada — with notable growth in Ontario and the Prairies.

The survey also highlighted that usage trends have changed. Bitcoin owners in 2016 stated they were more likely to use their holdings for transactional purposes than those polled in 2017, who saw their holdings as a financial investment.

Bitcoin Enters Mainstream Finance in Canada, Mogo Announces BTC Trading App

Onward Canada

In the publication’s introduction, the Bank explains that:

[…] It is important to understand Bitcoin’s potential impact on how the Bank of Canada undertakes its core functions such as the production and distribution of currency.

This illustrates Canada’s preparation and willingness to consider bitcoin as it plans its financial future.

Canada has shown an openness to cryptocurrencies, with the nation reporting in early 2018 that it would not reconfigure its tax law to target them. The crypto-startup CBlocks moved from Miami to Canada earlier this year favoring the country’s less stringent regulations.

What are your thoughts on Canada’s role in the crypto-space?  Leave us a comment below and let us know! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bitcoinist archives, AdobeStock.

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Čvn 26

EU Adopts New AML Directive to Combat Cryptocurrency Crimes

The European Union recently adopted a new anti-money laundering (AML) directive specifically targeting cryptocurrencies. It is the fifth AML directive of the EU, and aims to detect, investigate, and prevent financial crimes in the region.


Details of the Directive

The directive tagged “Directive (EU) 2015/849” allows Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) to access cryptocurrency wallet information. These security agencies will be able to identify the owner of a cryptocurrency address, based on this latest policy. A portion of the directive reads:

It is therefore essential to extend the scope of Directive (EU) 2015/849 so as to include virtual currency exchange platforms and custodian wallet providers. Competent authorities should be able to monitor the use of virtual currencies. This would provide a balanced and proportional approach, safeguarding technical advances and the high degree of transparency attained in the field of alternative finance and social entrepreneurship.

The major highlights of the new directive include:

  • A better understanding of the risks posed by virtual currencies as well as prepaid cards.
  • Improved cooperation between FIUs
  • More comprehensive checks on transactions originating from “high-risk third countries.”

One crucial aspect of the new policy is balancing its objectives of hindering criminal finance without disrupting the region’s payment ecosystem. Commenting on the new directive, Bulgarian finance minister and President of the European Council said:

These new rules respond to the need for increased security in Europe by further removing the means available to terrorists. They will enable us to disrupt criminal networks without compromising fundamental rights and economic freedoms.

Cryptocurrency and ML/TF

A large part of the government opposition to cryptocurrency lies in the anonymity of the system. Many governments around the world are quick to declare that virtual currencies provide a viable conduit for money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF).

Recently, Robert Novy, Deputy Assistant Director of the U.S. Secret Service’s Office of Investigations called for “additional legislative actions” to address the dangers posed by privacy coins. Rep. Robert Pittenger of North Carolina even described virtual currencies as “one of the greatest emerging threats to U.S. national security.”

However, experts like Matt Peyer disagree, saying cryptocurrencies are for the most part overrated for terrorist finance. According to Peyer, while virtual currency transactions are somewhat anonymous, lack of places that accept them in known terror havens make them unsuitable for supporting terrorist activities.

In fact, a report from the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) revealed that only 7.929 BTC were linked to terrorist financing between 2015 and 2017.

What is your opinion on the new EU AML directive? Do you think cryptocurrencies are a viable means for terrorist financing and financial crimes? Keep the conversation going in the comment section below.


Image courtesy of Risetopeace.org, Shutterstock

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Kvě 26

Bitcoin as a Store of Value Could be Worth $40K Within the Next Decade, Says Matt Hougan

· May 25, 2018 · 9:00 pm

Matt Hougan of Bitwise Asset Management believes that the price of Bitcoin could increase by 500 percent in the next ten years. Hougan hinges his prediction on the cryptocurrency becoming an actual store of value and the blockchain permeating several facets of human life.


Is Bitcoin a Store of Value?

Finding a consensus on any argument related to Bitcoin is almost a futile effort at this point. There’s the bubble argument, the economic definition argument, and of course, the store of value argument. Matt Hougan, in a recent op-ed for Forbes, examines the store of value debate for Bitcoin, drawing some interesting parallels with gold.

Right from inception, the virtual currency has been compared with gold. Some proponents are even in the habit of calling the crypto “digital gold.” Critics, however, dispute this idea, saying that the cryptocurrency cannot be compared to gold because it is highly volatile and, as such, cannot be a store of value.

Matt Hougan

One of the most basic definitions of a store of value is an asset that is both tradable and can be stored for future use. By this definition, a store of value must maintain some stability over a reasonable period. Bitcoin is a volatile asset, no arguments there. However, is the volatility exhibited by the number one crypto a misnomer in the finance world? It turns out the answer is no, and Hougan provides hard evidence.

A Little Bit of History Featuring the Post-1971 Gold Market

Today, gold is not only solid based on its physical form, but as an asset, it maintains some level of price rigidity. However, it wasn’t always so. In 1971, U.S. President Richard Nixon dropped the gold standard for the USD. The price of gold and the value of the dollar was no longer tethered together. What happened next? Well, the table below gives an idea of the wild volatility in prices of gold in the decade following 1971.

Gold pricesToday’s crypto critics would be bellowing that gold isn’t a store of value if they examined these figures. However, today, it is universally accepted that the precious metal is indeed a store of value. So, what has changed? The answer isn’t utility as some might point out. Gold has some industrial application use cases but that it is not enough to justify its current price. According to Hougan:

[Gold] is worth $1,300 per ounce because people are willing to pay $1300 per ounce for it as a store of wealth.

Bitcoin price chart

Bitcoin Mirrors Post-1971 Gold

Bitcoin is less than a decade old, which means it isn’t yet a fully formed asset. Hougan believes that expecting the cryptocurrency to behave like a fully matured asset is an argument that lacks economic merit. According to the cryptoanalyst, Bitcoin is passing through the two-stage process of rapid appreciation and declining volatility over time.

2017 saw a parabolic rise in prices that seem to have plateaued in 2018. The Bitcoin volatility, while still considerably high, is declining over time. This pattern exhibited by the number one crypto bears striking similarities to gold after 1971.

Bitcoin volatility chart

Speculative Investment Will Give Way to Real World Use

If Bitcoin follows the pattern set by gold, then it is well on its way to establishing itself as a store of value. Right now, the crypto is held as a speculative investment, but within the next decade, as blockchain utility increases, Bitcoin will become an even more significant part of global finance. The current market capitalization for the virtual currency is $130 billion, which is approximately two percent of the $7.5 trillion gold market cap.

In ten years, Bitcoin could comfortably hold 10 percent of the value of gold, which would mean a conservative price estimate of $40,000. A lot of this depends on how quickly real-world utility applications can be implemented for the cryptocurrency and the assumption that it continues on a similar trajectory to gold.

Do you agree with the argument that Bitcoin is like gold, and as such, a store of value? Will an increase in real-world utility drive the price of Bitcoin higher? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Images courtesy of MarketsMuse, Forbes, Macrotrends, Shutterstock, and Buy Bitcoin Worldwide.

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Kvě 25

The Sweet Smell of Success: Unilever-Owned Schmidt’s Naturals Adds Bitcoin as Payment Option

· May 24, 2018 · 7:00 pm

There are a lot of odd things you can buy with Bitcoin – spy gear, lasers, alpaca socks, and now, high-end deodorant.


‘Scent or Payment Method’

Deodorant maker Schmidt’s Naturals is the latest company to let online shoppers buy its products with Bitcoin. Co-founder and CEO Michael Cammarata claims Bitcoin has accounted for 5 to 10 percent of online sales since they started accepting the cryptocurrency on May 14.

“It’s starting to be a percent of sales more than we expected,” he said in an interview with Cheddar.

The all-natural deodorant comes in scents like lavender, tea tree, bergamot, and cedar and will set you back about $9, or 0.0011 BTC, a stick. Schmidt’s is the first company owned by hygiene giant Unilever to accept cryptocurrency as a payment method.

Cammarata said:

It kind of was actually a last minute surprise. We got a lot of consumers that are like, ‘Can we pay with Bitcoin’? We were playing around with the idea a little bit and our tech team was like, ‘Should we do this should not do it?’

But he admitted they “weren’t that shocked” when the company’s social media savvy consumers asked to pay with Bitcoin.

“We have a lot of millennials and highly socially active consumers,” he said.

Schmidt's Naturals Deodorant Bitcoin

Shopping with Bitcoin

You can make purchases on Schmidt’s Natural’s site using Bitpay, a widely available Bitcoin payments provider found on Shopify and in popular mobile games by Zynga. When it comes to e-commerce and online shopping, Bitpay is the most ubiquitous.

But the service has had its fair share of controversy. Newegg is a Canada-based online computer and electronics seller that uses Bitpay. The payment provider came under fire last month when a Newegg shopper accused Bitpay of taking more than their share when it comes to network costs.

Regardless, Bitcoin is becoming more widespread as a way to shop online. And as Schmidt’s Naturals co-founder said, it will take consumers demanding more payment options to see it more commonly accepted.

“Whether it be a scent or a payment method, we are very highly engaged with our consumer,” Cammarata said.

What do you think about paying for goods like deodorant with Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments!


Images courtesy of Schmidt’s Naturals

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Kvě 21

Wall Street Cryptocurrency Trading is Imminent, Former J.P. Morgan Exec Says

· May 20, 2018 · 7:00 pm

The cryptocurrency market continues to be a trending topic in the world of finance. However, the question remains; when will Wall Street banks begin crypto trading? The day is closer than we think, according to a former J.P. Morgan executive.


Big Banks to Start Trading Cryptocurrency Soon

Amber Baldet, formerly of J.P Morgan believes that the big banks will soon start trading cryptocurrency. She made this declaration during an interview with CNBC. According to her, such a move is even closer than many people think. This revelation holds a fair bit of weight given that it is coming from someone with insider knowledge of Wall Street.

Baldet used to head J.P Morgan’s blockchain division before leaving the bank in April. Goldman Sachs, another prominent Wall Street has already announced plans to establish a bitcoin trading service. When launched, it will be the first ever Wall Street crypto trading platform.

Amber Baldet

Baldet, however, identified some critical issues standing in the way of broader crypto adoption by big banks. Lack of regulatory clarity and problems concerning custodial services are among the main challenges preventing a greater institutional presence in the market. The major banks have no secure crypto custody framework at the moment. This lack of trusted safeguards for cryptocurrencies might soon be a thing of the past, however. Both Nomura and Coinbase announced last week that they were launching crypto custodial solutions.

Search Engine for the Blockchain Ecosystem

Baldet also spoke about her new venture since leaving Wall Street. The former J.P. Morgan executive unveiled Clovyr at the recently concluded Consensus conference in New York. Clovyr is designed to be an app store for blockchain DApps. Commenting on the project, Baldet said:

There’s no way to discover what’s out there right now; there’s no Google for finding applications. The ability to discover apps is helpful, but the ability to build them is also encompassed in there.

Thus, Clovyr is more than a blockchain search engine; it is also a platform that allows developers to create useful DApps. Baldet has a lot of experience with developing blockchain solutions. She was an essential member of the team that created J.P. Morgan’s legacy blockchain project, Quorum.

Will the entry of the likes of J.P Morgan and Goldman Sachs be a good thing for the crypto market? Please share your views in the comment section below.


Image courtesy of Twitter @AmberBaldet., Shutterstock

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