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New Transport Layer bloXroute Promises to Solve Bitcoin’s Biggest Problem

bloXroute Labs and a team of Northwestern University students believe Bitcoin’s biggest problem, scalability, can be solved without affecting its chief virtue — decentralization.

Northwestern and bloXroute Labs Are Working to Solve Scalability Issue

Critics have always identified the limited number of transactions that Bitcoin’s 00 network can process as its most significant problem. They point out that this is what has prevented Bitcoin from becoming the most effective form of payment in the world.

Several techniques have been and are currently being implemented to address the issue of scalability and high transaction fees. Nevertheless, they are not good enough to compete today with Visa, for example.

bloXroute Labs identifies the problem that affects Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies’ networks, as follows:

Specifically, they employ a trustless P2P network model to propagate transactions and blocks, which does not scale as the volume of transactions increases, a fact research has shown time and again. Indeed, if blocks and transactions were to be instantly propagated, immense blocks could have been mined at a rapid pace, until the limitation of designated processing units and flash storage arrays was reached.

Now, a team comprised of bloXroute Labs engineers and students and academics of Northwestern University believe they have found a trustless scheme to overcome this scalability bottleneck.Now, a team comprised of bloXroute Labs engineers and students and academics of Northwestern University believe they have found a trustless scheme to overcome this scalability bottleneck. According to Watch Market:

The Northwestern University proposal attempts to address some of those issues by creating an infrastructure that compresses the information on the blockchain before sending, with the propagation being it will go faster.

In this regard, bloXroute Labs proposes bloXroute, a transport layer that would run underneath, allowing Bitcoin and all cryptocurrencies to scale to thousands of chain transactions per second.

According to the whitepaper entitled bloXroute: A Scalable Trustless Blockchain Distribution Network,”

“bloXroute allows to safely increase the block size and to cut down the time interval between blocks, without increasing the risk of forks, and provides real-time support for immediate transactions with zero-confirmation (0-conf).”

The whitepaper stresses that by using bloXroute, the network becomes even more decentralized because it requires neither consensus nor a protocol change beyond adjusting system parameters.

Technological Advances Are Fueling Bitcoin Optimism

Novel technological initiatives that include SegWit, Lightning Network, and Atomic Multi-Path Payments over Lightning, and new features in Bitcoin Core 0.16.0, are also promising to help to address Bitcoin’s scalability issue.

For example, Lightning Network is growing and enabling faster transactions among nodes. As of this writing, Lightning Network boasts over 3,000 nodes, with a capacity of about 82 bitcoins.

The Northwestern University team started working in this project in March 2018, and claims to be moving forward to solving the scaling issue. According to Sarit Markovich, professor of strategy at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University,

“We are scaling at 100 times better than what Bitcoin 00 is doing now. And we are hoping for 1,000.”

Do you think the newest technological innovations are helping to solve cryptocurrencies’ scalability issues? Let us know in the comments below!

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Images courtesy of Pixabay, Wikimedia/by Rdsmith4

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Crowdfunding Campaign Aims to Discover Where in the World the Real Satoshi Is

Satoshi Nakamoto’s true identity has been a well-kept secret. Many are still on the hunt. A new crowdfunding campaign has been launched in order to hire detective agencies who will scour the globe in a public-funded search for Satoshi.


The hunt for Satoshi Nakamoto still carries on. Over the past few years, a variety of online publications and individuals have hunted the trail of the person (or people) synonomous with Satoshi.

There have been a number of theories about Satoshi’s identity, and the cryptocurrency community has always been incredibly interested when someone steps forward with something new.

Back in 2016, the virtual currency world was in a frenzy when BBC published a report concerning Dr. Craig Wright, saying he provided “technical proof” he was the elusive Bitcoin 00 creator.

Back in 2016, the virtual currency world was in a frenzy when BBC published a report concerning Dr. Craig Wright, saying he provided “technical proof” he was the elusive Bitcoin creator.

Many were skeptical of the purported evidence, and there have been a number of nuanced, and light-hearted swipes, at Wright’s claims.

Other people, like Tesla creator Elon Musk, have spoken out to quell rumors about being Satoshi. The CIA even responded to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request saying they could “neither confirm or deny” the existence of documents relating to Satoshi. Some took the response as evidence the agency could possess files on the Bitcoin creator.

Now an international group of digital currency enthusiasts are raising funds to conduct an international search for Satoshi.

We Need To Find Satoshi

Posted on crowdfunding site Boomstarter.ru, the campaign is looking to order a search for Satoshi from “several independent detective agencies located in the US and Japan, as well as Europe.”

The creators said the hired agencies would have to conduct a “public and transparent account of their activities,” and mentioned that three locations were chosen because of Satoshi’s purported affiliation with these areas.

According to the creators, people have the “right” to know the identity of Satoshi. They write the need to “declassify it ourselves,” if Satoshi “does not want publicity.” However, the group explains how they pledge not to disturb the person (or persons) if Satoshi turns out to be someone “ordinary” who is “afraid of publicity.”

‘Be Sure Bitcoin Is Not A Global Deception’

The crowdfunding campaign creators list a couple of reasons why finding Satoshi is not just a “trivial curiosity.”

According to the campaign, discovering the identity of the mysterious Bitcoin 00 creator could help with its further development, while possibly solving some of the questioned assumptions behind the digital currency.

The crowdfunding campaign creators list a couple of reasons why finding Satoshi is not just a “trivial curiosity.”

The crowdfunding group also believes cryptocurrency enthusiasts should be able to know the identity of a figure with more than “1 million coins in his wallet,” and a figure who could “overthrow the market overnight” by executing transactions.

At the time of writing, the campaign was 47% funded, having raised roughly 7,103,400 Russian rubles ($104,952 USD) from 1,543 backers. Donors are able to receive a variety of rewards, including an “I Find Satoshi” pin, t-shirts, and hoodies.

The highest reward category, which was limited to one person, was already reached by press time. For 500,000 Russian rubles (roughly $7,390 USD), the donor will have a week-long tour of the country where “Bitcoin Satoshi Nakamoto will be found.”

Do you think this campaign will be even remotely successful in unmasking the identity of Satoshi? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Bitcoinist Archives, Unsplash.

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Srp 11

Bitcoin Scammers Extort Bachelors With Blackmail — Over Non-Existent Wives

Residents of Washington D.C.’s upscale Chevy Chase neighborhood have been targeted by Bitcoin scammers claiming theyre poised to reveal “dark secrets” to the target’s wives. Despite the claims, there’s just one problem.


Most of the Chevy Chase neighborhood’s well-off residents would shudder at blackmail threats like this. but there’s just one problem. According to the Washington Post, targets of the D.C.-based blackmail campaign have revealed that they aren’t even married.

Bachelor Party

The targets of the latest Bitcoin 00 scam were able to avoid a poorly-crafted attempt at extortion. It seems bachelor status was their saving grace, as the scammers fell-flat of their goals. These eligible Chevy Chase residents remained keen enough to spot the scam. Others may not have been so lucky, and this is due in part to the large magnitude of targets the scammers hone in on, according to the Washington Post:

FBI Washington Field Office spokesman Andrew Ames says these scammers tend to flood high-income neighborhoods, trying to fool at least one person.

Most of the Chevy Chase neighborhood's well-off residents would shudder at blackmail threats like this. but there's just one problem.

Not the First, Not the Last

Reports show that the scamers targeted their victims through the postal service. One target, Jeffery Strohl,

[…] says he received a Nashville-postmarked letter from “GreySquare15” demanding a Bitcoin “confidentiality fee” worth $15,750. After his initial shock, he figured it was a scam. He posted about it on a community listserv to find he was far from the only Chevy Chase resident to receive such letters.

Lucky for guys-without-wives like Stohl, the scammer’s tactics came up short. Still, it is worth considering how those who are in wedlock may deal with the same kind of ransom attack.

Scams like this are plentiful. As Bitcoinist reported on Friday morning, the PGA Championship recently fell victim to a bitcoin ransomware attack linked to promotional material for the Tour.

From a wider perspective, these scamming attempts don’t just target sporting bodies and wealthy Washingtonians. They also prey on healthcare organizations like hospitals, as Bitcoinist reported last January.

While seemingly nobody is completely safe from this variety of attack, the unmarried residents of Chevy Chase can rest easy for another night.

What are your thoughts on wising up to potential scammers? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Srp 10

Social Video App Cheez Now Offering Cryptocurrency Rewards

Social video app Cheez announced recently that it will soon be integrated with Bitcoin and Ethereum rewards for users. Some, however, are skeptical of the reward cap and centralization.


Bringing Cryptocurrency To The Masses

Cheez, a social video sharing app designed by its Chinese parent company LiveMe, is taking a dive into the world of cryptocurrency by integrating a system that will reward its users with Bitcoin00, Ethereum, and a native Ethereum based ERC20 token.

Cheez was launched in August of 2017 as an application where users could make short video clips and share them with friends or across the platform, similar to other popular applications like TikTok and the now-disabled Vine. It currently has over five million installs and is most popular with the teen and young adult demographic.

LiveMe CEO Yuki He sees an opportunity to bring the world of blockchain and cryptocurrency to this enormous group of young web-obsessed users. This new integration will allow users to take a metaphorical dip in the shallow end of blockchain and cryptocurrency.

Getting To The Cheddar

Before you quit your day job to become a crypto-earning Cheez superstar, we should talk about the reward system and how much one could expect to earn.

Dimitar Mihov (Mix) at Hard Fork gives us the low down on the rewards system. He writes:

The daily limit for rewards is capped at 0.00352 ETH or 0.000241 BTC – about $1.50 at the current rates.

Considering a consistent price, one could earn about $45 per month or $550 per year with the new system.

To earn rewards, users must complete daily tasks such as watching, sharing, or uploading content. Mix continues, writing:

Users will only be able to claim Bitcoin or Ethereum rewards for every three, six, and 10 tasks completed.

The app, however, offers a third reward choice in the form of an Ethereum based ERC20 token Contentos (COS), named after the blockchain startup that is partnered with Cheez in integrating the new system. Users will be able to claim COS once for each of the 15 daily tasks. The COS token can be used within the platform to purchase things such as filters, editing functions, and even purchasing the ability to send messages to their favorite Cheez content creators.

The downside of the COS token is that it currently has no value outside of the platform as it is currently not listed on any exchanges.  Mick Tsai, the founder of Contentos claims:

We’re planning to list COS on a top-tier crypto exchange later this year so that LiveMe and Cheez users will be able to trade with other cryptocurrencies or fiat.

Social Video App Cheez Now Offering Cryptocurrency Rewards

Some Cheesy Criticisms

Besides the reward ceiling, there are a few other notable criticisms of the new integration.

The largest of those criticisms being that Contentos, while claiming to be focused on creating a decentralized ecosystem for mobile content, is ironically launching the new Cheez cryptocurrency integration system on a centralized server. Because of this, fees and GAS costs generated by transactions between the Cheez app and the user’s cryptocurrency wallet must also be covered by the user.

Others feel that this new system is not an actual use-case and that it is just a way for Cheez to attract attention and new users by using buzzwords like “blockchain” and “cryptocurrency.” Many mobile app companies are chasing this trend, like mobile chat company Kik.

Will you be trying out the new Cheez rewards system to earn some extra cryptocurrency? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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First U.S. Congress Member Reveals Owning Bitcoin, Ethereum

Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the US House of Representatives, recently disclosed his personal cryptocurrency holdings. The revelation comes amidst rule changes mandating disclosure for members of the House.


Cryptocurrencies Stepping In Congress

Cryptocurrencies have made their way up in the high ranks of US politics. Congressman Bob Goodlatte filed his annual Financial Disclosure Statement on May 10, disclosing that he owns between $17,000 and $80,000 in digital currencies.

The statement was filed just before the House Ethics Committee passed new rules which required the members of the House to officially disclose in their annual reports whether or not they own cryptocurrencies. They also have to report on the holdings of their spouse’s if they amount to more than $1,000. Members of the House also have to report transactions involving more than $1,000 of crypto within 45 days of the event.

According to the statement, Goodlatte has invested in Bitcoin00, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum. The Sludge reports that his son, Bobby Goodlatte Jr., is an angel investor in Coinbase. His financial involvement in the company, though, is not disclosed.

Congressman Bob Goodlatte, who is the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the US House of Representatives, may become the first member of Congress to disclose that he owns cryptocurrencies.

Things Are Getting Serious

The last few months have marked interesting developments involving cryptocurrencies and politics. In May, fellow Democrats Dave Min and Brian Forde clashed over accepting cryptocurrencies as donations for the 45th Congressional race.

Earlier in January, former Republican Ron Paul said he’s in favor of legalizing alternative currencies so long as they are not used for fraudulent purposes.

Just a few days ago, Bitcoinist reported that a 2020 U.S. Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang will be accepting cryptocurrencies as official forms of donations for his campaign.

While the US Government remains uncertain on its position towards cryptocurrencies and the way they are treated, all of the above signals that they are beginning to have an impact on the American political landscape.

What do you think of Bob Goodlatte’s cryptocurrency holdings? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Square Cash Quietly Reveals It’s Avoiding Public Cryptocurrency Exchanges

In its recently published quarterly report, Square revealed it’s channeling Bitcoin trades from its Square Cash application to private brokers instead of public exchanges.


Jack Dorsey’s Square Cash application enabled Bitcoin purchases and sales for most users early in 2018, adding to its consumer payments suite. Though overall, Square’s profits are substantial, it’s not making a fortune on Bitcoin trades just yet. Square reported just $400,000 profit on $37 million worth of revenue from Bitcoin for quarter two, 2018.

Square hasn’t announced that it has moved to over-the-counter (OTC) trading services for its Bitcoin transactions. The published quarterly report instead quietly revealed that Square “purchases bitcoin from private broker-dealers,” to facilitate Bitcoin trades for users of the application.

Why Over-the-Counter?

There could be a number of reasons behind Square’s choice, firstly it could protect Square from some of the Bitcoin price volatility seen on public exchanges. Sudden large sellouts from weighty Bitcoin owners and market “whales,” move Bitcoin’s price far quicker than on OTC desks. Meltem Demirors, chief strategy officer at CoinShares told CNBC:

Working with a broker likely gets Square better pricing and better execution services than floating orders on the open market, as well as more confidentiality.

Secondly, the company could be looking to avoid some of the security issues and hacks associated with public cryptocurrency exchanges. Private brokers and OTC services may also be providing Square with faster Bitcoin transactions while at the same time hiding Square’s market activity from competitors.  

Square Cash App

Potentially, the move also gives Square more visible compliance from its use of institutional style trading facilities. Square has yet to comment on the matter.

OTC Bitcoin Trading Increasing

A recent study by TABB Group, if accurate, shows that OTC trading of Bitcoin may have overtaken daily Bitcoin trading volumes on public exchanges. Certainly larger trades of Bitcoin by millionaire investors and institutional investors moving over, along with Bitcoin associated enterprises, may be fuelling OTC service demand.

TABB Group puts OTC trading of Bitcoin at $12 billion dollars worth per day, but the study has been refuted by some. According to statistics from coinmarketcap.com daily trading of Bitcoin via public exchanges is around $4.3 billion.

What do you think an increase in OTC Bitcoin transactions means for cryptocurrency markets?


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bitcoinist archives

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‘We Don’t Want to Compete with Coinbase’ – Says Binance CEO

Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, shared some of his big ideas on the future of blockchain and cryptocurrency with Fortune magazine this week. And it’s probably worth listening to the man running the biggest crypto-exchange in the world.


The future is not now, but is decentralised

Binance acquired Trust Wallet this week, and here at Bitcoinist, we focussed on the benefits of adding a mobile wallet to its services. What was perhaps underplayed was that Trust Wallet also acts as a browser for decentralized apps (dApps).

Whilst dApps have currently come to the fore, take-up has been slow, partly due to limited functionality and substandard user-experience. This is something that CZ believes will start to change before too long.

He predicts a move into messaging and social media within the next two years, followed by fully-fledged blockchain-based e-commerce. Let’s not forget that Binance is currently partnering with Malta to create a decentralized banking system.

Specialist blockchains will conquer all

A blockchain like Ethereum is great for hosting dApps, although its throne is constantly under attack from newer, faster rivals. But CZ believes that all blockchains designed for general smart contracts, will ultimately be too slow.

His vision is of a future consisting of many custom ledgers designed for specific purposes. He mentions tools like Komodo and Tendermint, which can create just such custom blockchains.

There is enough in the pot for everyone

Considering Binance’s meteoric rise to prominence, you may expect some form of rivalry between it and previous top crypto-company, Coinbase. But according to CZ, the relationship is more like a mutual love-in.

He says that Binance doesn’t want to compete with Coinbase and Gemini in places like the United States, due to the lawyers and lobbying. It is more than happy working in places like Malta, where it can have a more direct relationship with the administration.

“In developed markets, there’s more money to be made but more regulation and it’s saturated with competition,” he said. “We don’t want to compete with Coinbase and Gemini. The strategy there requires lots of lawyers and lobbying.”

In actual fact, he says that both Binance and Coinbase appreciate the groundwork being down by the other in their various jurisdictions.

Thin on the ground

Of course, predictions aren’t exactly thin on the ground in the cryptocurrency world. And only time will tell what the future will actually bring.

But based on past results (which are not an indicator of future performance), you would have to suggest that CZ has a certain industry insight.

What do you think about CZ’s comments? Share your thoughts below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Srp 02

North Carolina Bans Crypto Donations for Political Campaigns

The electoral campaign finance board of North Carolina will not allow election candidates to accept crypto donations in order to fund their campaigns.


Although the Federal Election Commission in 2014 allowed candidates for federal office to accept Bitcoin donations, U.S state campaign finance offices are free to set their own rules for state election candidates.

A problem of valuation

A Republican candidate running in the 2018 U.S midterm Legislature elections, Emmanuel Wilder, asked the North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement earlier this year if he could accept cryptocurrency or Bitcoin donations for his campaign funds. He also made suggestions as to how these donations could be valued, no doubt expecting this to be an issue the state would consider.

In an email to the elections board Wilder said:

“I know that this is new, but there is a great opportunity to show that North Carolina is truly open to new emerging markets.”

Kim Westbrook Strach, State Board of Elections Executive Director for North Carolina, responded to Wilder this month. She outlined its refusal as the monetary limits detailed in state campaign finance regulations are provided in U.S dollars, and cryptocurrencies cannot be reliably valued. Westbrook Strach said:

“We do not have the confidence that we could adequately regulate contributions to a political campaign in North Carolina in the form of cryptocurrency.”

Wilder replied with his disappointment, but appreciation for the decision expressing how blockchain and other technology can improve the operation of businesses and public institutions and predicting:

“Although it might not be today, there will be a day when this technology will have a place in the political process.”

The electoral campaign finance board of North Carolina will not allow election candidates to accept donations in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.

Anonymity is also an issue for donations

The pseudo-anonymous nature of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is also a consideration for electoral campaigns and associated finance regulators in the U.S. Jen Jones, a spokesperson for regional campaign finance watchdog Democracy North Carolina gave her advice prior to the decision. Jones said the State Board should consider, “whether it’s possible for candidates to receive campaign donations via cryptocurrency while also complying with state disclosure requirements.”

The state of Kansas also declined a request to accept cryptocurrency donations in 2017.

In June 2018 a Republican candidate in Missouri had to refuse a donation of $130,276 worth of Bitcoin as it exceeded the $5400 individual donation limit. The candidate, Austin Petersen, is one of a handful of U.S politicians looking to cryptocurrency as a source of campaign funding.

Do you think cryptocurrencies should now be accepted as a source of election campaign funding?


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Winklevoss Author Sells New Book About the Twins Entitled ‘Bitcoin Billionaires’

After penning the book which inspired “The Social Network,” you may have expected Ben Mezrich’s Winklevoss interest to have waned. However, he recently wrote a new book detailing their adventures in Bitcoin, which will be available next spring.

Winklebros

You’ve all heard the story of how the ‘evil’ automaton Mark Zuckerberg co-opted Facebook from the heroic Winklevoss brothers, who really invented it.

The subsequent, and highly publicized, lawsuit led to a settlement of $65 million for our third-favorite twins. The lawsuit later became the subject of Mezrich’s book “The Accidental Billionaires”.

It also pre-empted the Winklevoss’ discovery of Bitcoin. Mezrich’s new book “Bitcoin Billionaires,” tells that story. It seems like billionaires and Winklevii are twin obsessions of Mr. Mezrich. UK publisher Little, Brown has just picked up the title.

Licking their Wounds

We join the story with the brothers planning to use their bumper payout to set up a venture capital fund in Silicon Valley. Whilst there, a questionable character convinced them to forget about the ‘now mainstream’ Facebook. If they wanted to be true disruptors, they needed to buy into the new concept of cryptocurrency.

And buy in they did. Starting when the price of Bitcoin was still just $6, they eventually invested $11 million. They now hold 1 percent of all Bitcoin in circulation. Last November when the market cap hit $100 billion dollars, this officially made them Bitcoin billionaires.

ETF vs SEC

In more recent times, their battle to receive SEC approval for their Bitcoin exchange-traded fund has been eating up column inches. It was again denied at the last hearing, although this time one of the four commissioners tweeted her dissent.

No doubt Mr. Mezrich will be holding out for a positive outcome to this ongoing saga before publication of the book, to create a compelling final chapter. Or perhaps he’s hoping this drags on and on interminably, giving him the perfect excuse to write another sequel?

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Čvc 31

Vitalik Buterin: ‘There’s Too Much Emphasis on Bitcoin ETF’

Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of the world’s second largest cryptocurrency by means of market capitalization, Ethereum, noted that the community is placing too much attention towards Bitcoin ETFs. Instead, he reiterated on the importance of creating ways of facilitating smaller, retail investments into the market.


Following the recent Bitcoin ETF saga, the co-founder of Ethereum outlined that the public is placing too much emphasis on cryptocurrency exchange-traded-funds (ETFs), when, instead, the focus should be on making means for smaller investments.

Why Not Both?

Buterin makes the case that Bitcoin ETFs are better for “pumping price,” while offering tools for small-time investments in the cryptocurrency market would streamline quicker actual adoption.

However, it’s also worth noting that by drawing a line of the kind, Buterin is also tapping into the two use cases of the world’s first and foremost cryptocurrency. As some users have pointed out, both BTC and ETH can function as investments and mediums of exchange. As such, a potential ETF would play an important role reinforcing the former, while the means for small-time cryptocurrency purchases would facilitate the latter.

Needless to say, Buterin’s tweet has received a fair amount of attention. The overwhelming majority of people, though, are seemingly sharing the belief that both are equally necessary for the success of the industry, in general.

The Race for Bitcoin ETFs Heats Up

ETFs: a Hot Topic

Bitcoin ETFs have become a widely discussed topic in the past few days. CBOE Global Markets filed an application for a VanEck/SolidX commodity-backed Bitcoin ETF on June 2. As Bitcoinist reported, it has fairly high chances of getting approved. Unfortunately, according to legal expert Jake Chervinsky, the SEC is likely to take its time and come up with a formal decision in early March 2019.

In the meantime, a Winklevoss-proposed rule change was met with swift disapproval from the SEC. The Commission refused to allow the listing of the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust on the Bats BZX Exchange.

Bitcoin (BTC) 00 has also been quite dynamic. Over the past week, the world’s first and foremost cryptocurrency rallied to a two-month high upwards of $8,300. Following the announcement of the SEC regarding the disapproval of the Winklevoss-backed Bitcoin ETF, the price took a substantial dive, losing over $400 in a matter of minutes. The price has since recovered.

What do you think of Buterin’s opinion on Bitcoin ETFs? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of the Bitcoinist Archives.

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