Kvě 06

Craig Wright Possesses Technical Knowledge To Dupe Gavin Andresen

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Man in the middle attack

More and more details are surfacing as to who Craig Wright took the necessary precautions to validate his claims of being Satoshi Nakamoto. One worrying piece of evidence shows his list of certifications, which may give him the right tools to pull off a successful man-in-middle attack to sign a particular Bitcoin message.

Also read: Post-Mortem Of A Con: To Be Satoshi Nakamoto or Not To Be?

Craig Wright Accomplishments Are Concerning

While there is nothing wrong with obtaining as many certifications in the world of cyber security as possible, the list of achievements also poses some interesting questions these days. Craig Wright, who claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto yet decided not to unveil all of his evidence in a dramatic turn of events, has a very long list of accomplishments in this area.

At the same time, there has been some speculation as to whether or not Craig Wright pulled off a man-in-the-middle attack when presenting his “evidence” to Gavin Andresen. Keeping in mind how a special laptop had to be used to show Wright was indeed Satoshi Nakamoto, there was some speculation as to whether or not how legitimate this whole scenario has been.

We will probably never know whether or not Craig Wright used some man-in-middle-attack when presenting his evidence to Gavin Andresen. However, one Reddit user dug up his list of certifications, and there are several courses taken which would provide him with enough knowledge to execute such an attack.

Two of the accomplishments obtained in 2007 stand out in particular. First of all, there is the SANS Stay Sharp Master Packet Analysis, which touches upon the subject of executing a man-in-the-middle attack by looking at data packets and making tweaks to the data transmitted. For example, intercepting data from an Electrum download on a brand new computer would theoretically be possible, to validate one has access to a particular signature allegedly belonging to Satoshi Nakamoto.

Secondly, there is the Stay Sharp: Defeating Rogue Access Points course, which would explain why Gavin Andresen was flown into London for this demonstration. Everything had to take place at a predetermined location by Craig Wright, using a very meticulous process. Not that his necessarily indicates he had gone to great lengths to set up this MITM attack, but it poses some interesting questions, to say the least.

However, there is also a case to be made as to how all of these accomplishments give Craig Wright the necessary knowledge to create Bitcoin in the first place. Now that he has withdrawn himself from revealing further evidence, the truth will never be known. Bitcoin will continue without ever knowing its creator, and so can the community.

Source: Archive.IS

Images courtesy of Craig Wright, Ritambhara

The post Craig Wright Possesses Technical Knowledge To Dupe Gavin Andresen appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

Craig Wright Possesses Technical Knowledge To Dupe Gavin Andresen

Kvě 06

Post-Mortem Of A Con: To Be Satoshi Nakamoto or Not To Be?

Source: bitcoin

craig Wright

The con is over. Dr. Craig Steven Wright will not provide proof he is Satoshi Nakamoto. While Gavin Andresen admits he might have been fooled, Jon Matonis stands behind Wright’s claim that he is Satoshi.

Also read: Craig Wright Exits The Bitcoin Stage With Weird Blog Post

Dr. Satoshi Exits the Building

Jon Matonis

The Economist, BBC and GQ  broke May 2 that Craig Steven Wright, whose political views Julian Assange called “amaeteur” in a 1996 e-mail, has provided proof he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of Bitcoin. Experts doubted this claim based on the ‘proof,’ but Wright promised further “extraordinary evidence” to back his assertions.

Regardless, Craig Steven Wright, whose home was raided in December by Australian tax authorities as part of an ongoing tax investigation involving a $54 million tax refund, has yet to provide cryptographic proof that he invented Bitcoin. The ways in which he tried to prove his assertion that, in fact, he is Satoshi Nakamoto, furthermore, have seemed manipulative. For instance, Wright admitted to the BBC that he purposefully wrote a “convoluted” blog post. He could have simply provided the cryptographic proof the real Satoshi would have no problem providing.

“There are much better ways, and clearer ways he could do that by signing with his PGP key or the Genesis Block receiving key,” Trace Mayer, a lawyer and early Bitcoin investor, said on his Bitcoin Knowledge podcast. Moreover, this was not the first time Wright tried to fabricate evidence that he was the creator of Bitcoin. [Bitcoin developer], Greg Maxwell, disproved his last attempt by arguing Wright had backdated a PGP key. Realistically, if Wright is Nakamoto, he should be able to sign transactions on the Genesis Block.

“[That] would be much better than what we have seen” Jonas Schnelli, Bitcoin core developer, told Mayer in an interview. “[That] would be a very clear cryptographic proof that he could be the same person…But what he showed today [contains missing pieces] to the puzzle and it was proven by some crypto-analysts within one or two hours that this proof is almost worth nothing in terms of math and cryptography.” Mayer spelled out what Wright must do to prove he is truly Nakamoto.

“He needs to come up with a message –  for example, ‘Craig Wright, Satoshi’ –  and he needs to sign that message with the private key to the Genesis Block,” Mayer explained. “And also, sign the message with one of the PGP keys that is not backdated but that Satoshi used then we would have two different authentications based on the timing of when these keys would have been created.

“It would be extremely simple, even if he could sign something or sign a simple sentence with [Satoshi’s] PGP key. That would even be better proof.”

Wright’s assertions were backed by two main participants in the Bitcoin community: Gavin Andresen, the one to whom Nakamoto originally entrusted the Bitcoin source code, and Jon Matonis, an early Bitcoin writer at Forbes. Both are founding members of the Bitcoin Foundation. That foundation, a failed non-profit by any stretch of the imagination, was originally funded by Mt. Gox, whose beleaguered CEO Mark Karpeles currently sits in a Japanese jail. Former founding and board member Charlie Shrem is in jail for abetting illegal money transmission on the Silk Road.

That leaves Andresen and Matonis as the other founding members. Each claimed, though Andresen seemed less convinced than Matonis after a convoluted blog post by Wright appeared online, they saw cryptographic proof by Wright that he is Satoshi. ‘Proof’ has yet to be delivered to the public. The confusion cost Andresen his developer status on the Bitcoin core project. No proof obtained, it’s unclear whether Andresen will receive it back.

Before the fiasco, he had commit access to the Bitcoin core protocol, meaning he could propose updates to the protocol which would then only be implemented after the network agreed to download and run the new version. Bitcoin Core developers revoked it citing a “muddled environment” in the aftermath of Wright’s claims and Andresen’s support.

“His commit rights were revoked because there is a certain risk or possibility that he is hacked,” Schnelli, a Bitcoin core developer, told Mayer.  While commit access doesn’t allow anyone to hack the Bitcoin code and change it, one with such access could create a mess of proposals which other developers would then have to clean up. One can imagine Andresen would receive commit access once more when Wright provides his cryptographic proof that he is indeed Satoshi.

There are, to be sure, other motives in revoking Andresen’s commit access; that is, his involvement in several projects seeking to fork (read: change) the Bitcoin code. Andresen has championed two different code forks – Bitcoin XT and the acid influenced Bitcoin Classic – to the Bitcoin protocol.

Trace Mayer told me: “For Matonis or [Andresen] to not retain cryptographic proof of Wright’s assertion is either intentional complicity in deception or grossly negligent and the only way such credibility damage might possibly be rectified, if it even can be at all, is if solid cryptographic proof is provided.” Andresen has stated he is assured beyond reasonable doubt that Wright is Nakamoto.

“He fits the style of person I was working with,” he said. “He can also say things that sound, at first, ridiculous…After spending time with him I am convinced beyond a reasonable doubt: Craig Wright is Satoshi.” The Economist, one of the chosen papers, left room for doubt in Wright’s claims.

We are not so sure. Although they are not completely satisfactory, Mr Wright provided credible answers to the questions which were asked of him after he was outed last year. He seems to have the expertise to develop a complex cryptographic system such as bitcoin. But doubts remain: why does he not let us send him a message to sign, for example? Perhaps he has access only to one proof: the real Mr Nakamoto could have used the Sartre text to prove his identity to one of his peers and this proof is now being used to show that Mr Wright is Mr Nakamoto. Mr Wright could have used his supercomputer to calculate the signature for this particular text in what is known as a “brute-force attack”. And then, as mentioned before, there is always the possibility that he could have obtained the keys from someone else, perhaps [early Bitcoin participants] Hal Finney or Dave Kleiman. Since both are dead, they cannot be asked.”

Cryptography experts bemoaned the lack of fact checking done by BBC, The Economist, and GQ. Since cryptographic data is easily verified with the right knowhow, why would these major publications not invest no time towards proving or disproving Wright’s “proof”?

“I don’t get why we are not looking at the facts,” Schnelli said. The publications, since they’ve been sitting on the information since December, had plenty of time to verify the claims. So, why didn’t they?

The information could have been proven in minutes and experts could conclude for sure within two hours whether or Wright was Satoshi. Wright could have used a website like Bitcoinocracy.com, where one can sign messages backed by a private key, a public key and a message, such as: ‘Craight Wright, Satoshi

Gavin Andresen Satoshi

In short, the methods of Wright have cast doubt on his assertions – even in Matonis and Andresen, who at one time or another had been totally convinced by Wright. Dan Kaminsky, well-regarded American security researcher, wrote of an e-mail exchange he had with Andresen, where Andresen seemingly backs off that he believes “Craig Wright is the person who invented Bitcoin.” As Kaminsky details:

“What is going on here?” Kaminsky wrote to Andresen. “There’s clear unambiguous cryptographic evidence of fraud and you’re lending credibility to the idea that a public key operation could should or must remain private?”

Andresen replied: “Yeah, what the heck? I was as surprised by the ‘proof’ as anyone, and don’t yet know exactly what is going on.

“It was a mistake to agree to publish my post before I saw his– I assumed his post would simply be a signed message anybody could easily verify.

“And it was probably a mistake to even start to play the Find Satoshi game, but I DO feel grateful to Satoshi.

“If I’m lending credibility to the idea that a public key operation should remain private, that is entirely accidental. OF COURSE he should just publish a signed message or (equivalently) move some btc through the key associated with an early block.”

I personally exchanged e-mails with Kaminsky, who has no problem calling Wright a “con man.”  I also spoke with Michael Perklin, a blockchain-focused security expert. He asserts there was never publicly-available proof that Wright is Satoshi. He takes it further: “All of the available facts are covered with cognitive dissonance that casts doubt on his claim.”

He continues: “[Nakamoto] wrote a trustless system that allows people to carry out transactions without the need for any trusted third party. Why, then, did he announce his proof in a way that required trust in Gavin and Jon?”

Perklin casts doubt on the circumstances surrounding the early days of Bitcoin and Wright’s public assertions.

“Satoshi Nakamoto trusted Gavin enough to transfer control of his open source project to Gavin, which took a lot of faith,” Perklin told Motherboard in a written e-mail statement. “He also trusted Gavin to be on the security mailing list and receive/address security notifications/vulnerabilities with Bitcoin, and to hold the broadcast key. Why, then, did Craig Wright not trust Gavin to hold a digital signature for a few days during a press embargo?” Perklin also highlights contradictions in Wright’s actions. For instance, Wright claims he provided proof in the way he did to protect his privacy.

“Why, then,” Perklin questions, “did he announce his identity in the first place? Why go on a BBC interview? If you were identified as Satoshi in December, got your 15min of fame, and then were forgotten, why resurface when you want to be left alone?” This sort of behavior does not fit the behavior profile of the individual who wrote as Nakamoto in the early days of Bitcoin.

“He used [extreme amounts of patience, discipline, and reasoned/tempered thought processes] to remain anonymous despite numerous opportunities to bask in the limelight,” Perklin reasons. “He asked many early adopters to refrain from advertising Bitcoin because he felt Bitcoin wasn’t yet ready for mass adoption. Craig Wright strongly implied he was Satoshi Nakamoto on a panel, apparently back-dated blog posts, and seems to have taken steps to purposely place himself in the spotlight. These two sets of personality traits are not consistent.”  Still, Perklin found other facets of the claims most bizarre.

“[Nakamoto] built a protocol that made use of multiple cryptographic digest algorithms and novel uses of public key cryptography to build bitcoin,” Perklin elucidates. “He clearly understood cryptography thoroughly. Craig Wright seems to have produced a digital signature to “prove” his identity that is a direct replay of one of Satoshi’s old transactions. Surely Satoshi would know that a replayed signature would not stand up to independent scrutiny.”

Wright promised “extraordinary proof.” Perklin promised to independently verify the proof himself “using repeatable and publicly auditable cryptographic methodologies.” Perklin planned to look at one aspect specifically. He won’t get the chance. He told me before Wright disappeared:

“I look forward to seeing which key he chooses to use so I can compare the nonce value of the block that paid the block reward to see if it fits the well-documented patterns created by Satoshi’s mining rigs,” Perklin imparts. “This type of publicly auditable validation is the only validation that I believe Satoshi would accept, and is the only one that would convince me.”

Nakamoto walked away from the Bitcoin project in 2011. Some believe he grew nervous once Wikileaks began accepting Bitcoin donations when major payment processors cut off the whistleblower organizations’ service. Andresen suspects it could have had something to do with his briefing the Central Intelligence Agency on Bitcoin around the same time.

There are still other bizarre aspects to the story. For instance, when Wright first claimed he was Satoshi, he said he invented it with a friend, Dave Kleinman. Kleinman, a Palm Beach County, Florida-based computer forensics expert, died in 2013 from complications of MRSA and never cashed out his Bitcoin position.

Kleinman, an Army veteran and paraplegic, was a computer wizard. He occasionally appeared on national TV networks for computer forensics and security interviews. Despite his knowledge of computers, a skill in demand in the early nineties, he worked as a Palm Beach County Sheriff, citing his dream to work in law enforcement.

A 1995 motorcycle accident left Kleinman handicapped and bound him to a wheelchair. He received tireless computer training, and became known as “Dave Mississippi” thanks to the many three-letter certifications after his name. He has appeared on CNN and ABC, and authored books on perfect passwords, security threats for business, and other aspects of computers. Kleinman contributed to security mailing lists, including metzdowd.com, which Nakamoto used to first introduce Bitcoin. In Late 2010, months before Nakamoto ceased contributing, at least openly, to Bitcoin’s code, Kleinman fell in the shower and would spent most of the rest of his life in medical treatment centers. Kleinman continued his work, returning to his computer soon after his many surgeries.

The first version of the Bitcoin software was released in 2009. Wright supplied Gizmodo with an e-mail he supposedly penned to Kleinman in the months before the Bitcoin paper was published: “I need your help editing a paper I am going to release later this year. I have been working on a new form of electronic money. Bit cash, Bitcoin…” it reads. “You are always there for me Dave. I want you to be a part of it all.”

Kleinman’s colleagues, though skeptical their friend invented Bitcoin, believe he had the skills to do so. Kleinman was known as a private person, generally, and his friends used “compartmentalized” and “genius” to describe him. Kleinman’s health deteriorated, and he passed away in 2013.

The Palm Beach County Medical Examiner’s Office documented a ghastly scene upon finding Kleinman’s decomposing body, including a loaded handgun and a bullet hole in his mattress, but no ammunition casing. Nobody knows who fired the gun or cleaned up the casing. The official cause of death is natural,  complications from MRSA.

Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC technology writer, explained the ultimate outcome of Wright’s outrageous claims:

“Here’s what happened. On Monday evening, I suggested to Wright’s PR firm that if he could send me a fraction of a coin from an early Bitcoin block – which of course I would return – that might show he had Satoshi’s keys. But Wright’s team came up with a different plan on Wednesday afternoon. They sent me a draft blog in which he outlined a scheme that would see Matonis, Andresen and the BBC all send small amounts of Bitcoin to the address used in the first ever transaction. Then he would send it back, in what would be the first outgoing transactions from the block since January 2009. We went ahead with our payments – I sent 0.017BTC (about £5), which you can still see in the online records. Matonis and Andresen sent similar amounts. Then we waited. And waited. Then my phone rang – with the news that the whole operation was “on hold”, with no reason given. Eighteen hours later we are still waiting for the payments to be made – and now Wright’s new blog says that is not going to happen.”

So, ultimately, Craig Steven Wright scammed Jon Matonis, Gavin Andresen and the BBC for 15 pounds.

It may matter to some people who Satoshi is. Regarding the functioning and development of the underlying Bitcoin network, though, it is largely irrelevant who Satoshi is.

Images courtesy of Forbes, The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin Documentary.

The post Post-Mortem Of A Con: To Be Satoshi Nakamoto or Not To Be? appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

Post-Mortem Of A Con: To Be Satoshi Nakamoto or Not To Be?

Kvě 04

Bloq Expands Team and Announces Board of Advisors

Source: bitcoin


(Consensus, New York) – May 2, 2016 – Bloq (bloq.com) is pleased to announce key additions to its team, as well as the formation of its Board of Advisors.

Disclaimer: This is a press release. Bitcoinist is not responsible for this firm’s products and/or services.

“Each team member and advisor brings incredible knowledge and experience, providing immediate impact to Bloq,” says Matthew Roszak, co-founder of Bloq. “These new additions signal our commitment to building the future of blockchain with the brightest minds and best talent.”

Andreas Schildbach has joined the team as a developer. Mr. Schildbach is a fixture in the blockchain community having developed the Android bitcoin wallet, and maintains the bitcoinj repository. Paul Sztorc joins Bloq’s team as an economist. He previously worked as a statistician at Yale University and as the chief scientist of Truthcoin.

The company’s newly formed Board of Advisors includes professionals with deep experience in enterprise software, financial services and blockchain technology. They will help guide Bloq in shaping its strategy and defining the next generation of blockchain innovations. The advisory board is comprised of the following individuals:

  • Gavin Andresen – Bitcoin Core Developer, MIT Digital Currency Initiative
  • Andrew Filipowski – Chairman of Tally Capital, and former Founder, Chairman and CEO of Platinum Technology, which was eighth largest software company in the world
  • William Mougayar – General Partner of Virtual Capital Ventures, author of The Business Blockchain
  • James Newsome – Founding Partner of Delta Strategy Group, Chairman of the CFTC (2000-2004), and CEO of the New York Mercantile Exchange (2004-2008)
  • Nick Szabo – Cryptographer, Digital Currency Researcher and Smart Contracts Pioneer.

“Bloq’s Board of Advisors is an unrivalled team, whose insights into the intersection of technology, finance and industry will be a valuable input to the success of our customers and partners,” says Jeff Garzik, co-founder of Bloq.

About Bloq

This firm delivers enterprise-grade blockchain solutions to leading companies worldwide. The company helps its clients and partners build key layers of infrastructure for blockchain-enabled applications with world-class developer expertise and full 24/7 customer support. For more information, please visit: bloq.com.

Public Relations Contact:

Erika Zapanta, Transform Public Relations, Erika@transform.pr, 702-503-1239

Images courtesy of Bloq.

The post Bloq Expands Team and Announces Board of Advisors appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

Bloq Expands Team and Announces Board of Advisors

Kvě 02

Skepticism Abound: Community Wary of Craig Wright Satoshi Claims

Source: bitcoin

craig Wright

Bitcoin community sleuths are already attempting to debunk the reported proof that Dr. Craig Wright is the creator of Bitcoin, the face behind the Satoshi Nakamoto moniker.

Also read: New Ransomware Strains No Longer Want Your Bitcoin

Early this morning the BBC published a report about Dr. Wright, which claimed that he provided “technical proof” of his Bitcoin creator identity. Giving a demonstration in London to BBC, The Economist, and GQ, Wright “digitally signed messages using cryptographic keys created during the early days of Bitcoin’s development.” Reacting to this demonstration, The Economist Reported, “Having been named as Mr. Nakamoto once, unconvincingly, Mr. Wright has a steep hill to climb to convince the world that he is indeed bitcoin’s founder.” The report went on to say, “We are not so sure,” leaving readers with no certainty that Wright is indeed Satoshi. The BBC concluded by saying that Wright planned to provide further proof of his identity to other individuals in the Bitcoin community. 

Despite the doubt from The Economist, Wright seems to have convinced some Bitcoin titans. In a personal blog post, Bitcoin Foundation Founding Director Jon Matonis says, “During the London proof sessions, I had the opportunity to review the relevant data along three distinct lines: cryptographic, social, and technical. Based on what I witnessed, it is my firm belief that Craig Wright satisfies all three categories.” Most notably, Bitcoin icon Gavin Andresen has expressed his belief in Wright’s identity, making statements on both Reddit and his personal blog. On Reddit, Andresen said:

“Craig signed a message that I chose (‘Gavin’s favorite number is eleven. CSW’ if I recall correctly) using the private key from block number 1. That signature was copied on to a clean usb stick I brought with me to London, and then validated on a brand-new laptop with a freshly downloaded copy of electrum. I was not allowed to keep the message or laptop (fear it would leak before Official Announcement).”

In a short post on his personal blog, Andresen elaborated on his belief. Summarizing his trip to London to meet Wright, Andresen said:

Part of that time was spent on a careful cryptographic verification of messages signed with keys that only Satoshi should possess. But even before I witnessed the keys signed and then verified on a clean computer that could not have been tampered with, I was reasonably certain I was sitting next to the Father of Bitcoin.”

Dr. Wright himself made a public announcement on his own blog. This morning, Wright published “Jean-Paul Sartre, Signing and Significance.” In the post Wright, speaking as the creator of Bitcoin, expressed his thanks to those who have contributed to his project. “I cannot summon the words to express the depth of my gratitude to those that have supported the bitcoin project from its inception,” Wright says, “You have dedicated vast swathes of your time, committed your gifts, sacrificed relationships and REM sleep for years to an open source project that could have come to nothing. And yet still you fought.”

In dramatic fashion, Wright concluded his address to the Bitcoin community by saying, “Satoshi is dead, But this is only the beginning.”

The rest of Wright’s post is dedicated to proving that he is the real Satoshi. Presented as the strongest piece of evidence to prove his claim, Wright provided the following signature:


Satoshi Skepticism Abound: Craig Wright Signature is ‘Worthless’

With seemingly strong proof and the support of Bitcoin superstars, the possibility of Wright actually being Satoshi Nakamoto seems like an obvious reality. However, true to their skeptical nature, the Bitcoin community is pushing back against Wright’s claims.

Not to be outdone by Jon Matonis and Gavin Andresen, the skeptical camp of the Bitcoin community has some heavy hitters of their own. Although not directly questioning Wright’s identity, Bitcoin evangelist Andreas Antonopoulos defaulted to his standard view of Satoshi’s identity, saying, “I’m not playing the ‘Who is Satoshi’ game. As I’ve said many times before, it doesn’t matter.

Antonopoulos went on to unleash a torrent of Twitter updates hammering home his belief in the insignificance of Satoshi’s true identity:

On Reddit, Bitcoin community leader Theymos claimed, “Craig Wright’s signature is worthless.” In the Reddit thread, Theymos features a discovery made by Redditor JoukeH, who “discovered that the signature on Craig Wright’s blog post is not a signature of any ‘Sartre’ message, but just the signature inside of Satoshi’s 2009 Bitcoin transaction.” Theymos continues, “It absolutely doesn’t show that Wright is Satoshi, and it does very strongly imply that the purpose of the blog post was to deceive people.” In conclusion, Theymos says, “So Craig Wright is once again shown to be a likely scammer. When will the media learn?

In that same thread, Redditors advanced a number of criticisms against Wright, even going as far as suggesting that Gavin Andresen could have possibly been hacked, and that his blog post stating his belief in Wright’s identity may not be Andresen’s own words.

On competing subreddit r/btc, users reacted to Andresen’s comment explaining the process undergone when Wright “proved” to Andresen that he was in fact Satoshi:

Ycombinator user mappum posted proof that he believed “debunked” Wright’s claims of being Satoshi:

The signature in Wright’s post is just pulled straight from a transaction on the blockchain. Convert the base64 signature from his post (MEUCIQDBKn1Uly8m0UyzETObUSL4wYdBfd4ejvtoQfVcNCIK4AIgZmMsXNQWHvo6KDd2Tu6euEl13VTC3ihl6XUlhcU+fM4=) to hex (3045022100c12a7d54972f26d14cb311339b5122f8c187417dde1e8efb6841f55c34220ae0022066632c5cd4161efa3a2837764eee9eb84975dd54c2de2865e9752585c53e7cce), and you get the signature found in this transaction input: o/tx/828ef3b079f9c23829c56fe86e85b4a69…

Note that the base64 string at the top of his post isn’t a signature, just a cleartext message: ” Wright, it is not the same as if I sign Craig Wright, Satoshi.nn”.

Now the only question is how he fooled Gavin. I would imagine this story will still get spread around some naive channels for a while, just like the last time Wright tried something like this.

Credit goes to jouke in #bitcoin for figuring it out.”

Bitcoin Price Affected?

The Bitcoin markets seem to be reacting to this controversy, with traders selling in what looks like an effort to secure profit in anticipation of community upheaval.

After spending some time stabilized in the $450s following profit taking at the $470 USD level, the price entered a decline once again. As of press time, the bitcoin price stands at $442 USD.

Meanwhile, Ether is on the rise again, hinting at traders securing investments in case things get nasty in the Bitcoin space. At press time, Coingecko reports that the Ether price is at $9.20 USD, rising considerably in the last three days from $7.47 USD on April 29.

As more research emerges, doubts regarding the legitimacy of Wright’s claims grow. Bitcoinist will continue to follow this story and provide updates as they become available.

What do you think about Craig Wright’s claims, is he really Satoshi Nakamoto? Let us know in the comments below!

The post Skepticism Abound: Community Wary of Craig Wright Satoshi Claims appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

Skepticism Abound: Community Wary of Craig Wright Satoshi Claims

Led 22

A Q&A With Kalpesh Patel: Bringing Bitcoin to the Hotel Industry With BookWithBit

Source: bitcoin


Kalpesh Patel is a living testament to the fact that anyone can contribute something to the Bitcoin ecosystem. You don’t have to be a computer genius or a financial expert to participate in this economic experiment.

Also read: Ledger Wallet Giveaway: The Winners Have Been Chosen!

“You’re missing the point of Bitcoin if you feel left out. You can be as involved as you want to be, just go make something happen — find something you think needs doing, recruit some people to help if you need help, and do it. Are you waiting for an invitation or permission from somebody?”

-Gavin Andresen.

Patel moved to the United States from India in 1998 when he was just 18 years old. Since then, he has worked in the hotel business. In 2002, his family opened their own hotel. Now, Patel and his family owns two hotels in Oklahoma.

In 2013, Patel learned about bitcoin for the first time, and wanted to accept it at his hotel. However, he had some difficulty getting things set up for bitcoin on his website due to personal concerns his webmaster had about the digital currency.

After failing to find a platform that let people book hotels with bitcoin, Patel decided to jump in and make his own contribution to the Bitcoin ecosystem. Enter BookWithBit. Founded in late 2013, Patel’s project is a hotel booking service that only accepts bitcoin. Once the service goes live, hotel owners will be able to add their business to BookWithBit, advertising their accommodations for people looking to book a stay with bitcoin.

Although this idea is fairly novel, Patel faces some steep competition in the hotel booking industry. Expedia, a very popular booking service, began accepting bitcoin in 2014, taking Patel’s late 2013 idea to the mainstream. This news generated a lot of excitement in the bitcoin community, and Expedia’s new payment option proved to be a great success. A month after Expedia’s announcement about accepting bitcoin, executive vice president of global product Michael Gulmann told CoinDesk that bitcoin sales were exceeding their initial estimates:

“We did some estimates based on the size of Overstock and the size of Expedia, and came up with our own estimates of what we could expect, and we’re meeting and exceeding those.”

Despite the big competition from Expedia, Patel is confident in his project’s ability to bring in businesses. He believes that his bitcoin-only model offers advantages that cannot be matched by Expedia and it’s fiat-bitcoin hybrid model. In a Q&A session with Patel I got the chance to ask him about these advantages, as well as BookWithBit’splans for 2016.

Booking a Hotel With Crypto

Editor’s note: Kalpesh asked us to edit these typed responses for spelling, grammar, and sentence structure. While we did not change the content of his responses, what you are reading is not 100% verbatim. 

Give us a little bit of background information on BookWithBit

I am a hotel owner myself. We own two hotels in Oklahoma. when I came across Bitcoin in 2013, I wanted to accept bitcoin for our hotel. So, I called my webmaster to add the bitcoin payment option. They had their own concerns about it, so they refused to add the payment option. Then I was looking other platforms where I couldn add my hotel so we could accept Bitcoin, but could not find one. So then I thought, “why don’t I build something like booking.com and accept payment with bitcoin only?” So, Hotel owners like me who want to accept bitcoin at their hotels can get added on BookWithBit .

Why should people use bitcoin for their travel expenses instead of fiat?

Bitcoin offers people the ability to book hotels around the world. Any payment can transfer around world at a fraction of the cost or no cost (it depends on how the hotel wants to receive the payment). Inside any country, when a person travels and uses bitcoin there are no payment processing fees. So, hotels save 3% to 4% and some cases higher.

International travel will get easy with Bitcoin since people don’t have to exchange one fiat to other fiat. In developing countries, many hotels still do not accept credit cards, if they do there are high fees. To recover those high fees, hotels have to add them to the room rate, so hotel guest have to pay more. If person pays using bitcoin, then hotels save money on processing fees. So the guest can ask, or the hotel can offer that saving to the hotel guest.

People will ask, why not pay cash if we want to save money? Cash works inside one country. But a person traveling outside one country has to convert one fiat to other fiat, which costs money as well. Exchange brokers offer free exchange for fiat, but it is not free — it is hidden under exchange rate. Traveling with cash, there is risk of losing cash, stealing, robbery, anything can happen. So cash is very risky to carry around.

Now for hotels, when they accept cash payments, they have risk also. Employees can steal money since it is cash, cash notes can be counterfeit, hotels can get robbed as well. Hotels have to do extra paperwork for cash. They have to have change all the time in drawer. They need to deposit in bank, they will need to count cash again. When entering a bank, the bank teller counts it again. So a lot of time can get wasted.

Bitcoin is good because provides solutions for all the problem I have mention above. Also, it allows hotels to save money, and thereafter hotels can pass saving to guests directly or indirectly.

What advantages does BookWithBit offer over Expedia, which is a very popular booking service that also accepts bitcoin?  

First advantage for us is that we are going to work directly with hotels. So our inventory will come directly from the hotels, so there are not many people dividing the of pie, so costs for hotels are going to be less. We are charging only 5% to hotels and 5% to guests. We will be very transparent in what we do.

Another benefit for hotels is that they don’t have to pay fees for credit card payments. Expedia’s commission rate is 18% to 25%, depending on how many hotels a person or brand has. On top of that, they pay hotels with credit cards, so hotels have to process the payments and add a 3% to 4% cost. So the hotels’ cost of selling rooms with this channel is 22% to 29%. Hotels add this cost in the room rates to be able to pay this middle man and keep the door open. For more information on this topic, please read this article written by me.

Expedia accepts bitcoin, but they are not promoting it and they are not offering any savings to hotel guests or partner hotels. We are doing this and that is why we are different. We are promoting bitcoin, Expedia is not.

What does 2016 look like for BookWithBit?  

We are going to launch our service for beta testing. We have 40 or so hotels mainly in the USA to start with. Once we do reach out to hotels and we make our case, we are confident that we will get more hotels onboard with us. At the same time, are we reaching out to bitcoin community so we are sure that the bitcoin community will choose us over any other OTA . We are loyal to bitcoin.

What do you think about BookWithBit? Let us know in the comments below!

The post A Q&A With Kalpesh Patel: Bringing Bitcoin to the Hotel Industry With BookWithBit appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

A Q&A With Kalpesh Patel: Bringing Bitcoin to the Hotel Industry With BookWithBit

Led 10

The Bitcoin Foundation Unveils 2016 Plan, Might Shut Down Instead

Source: bitcoin

The Bitcoin Foundation Unveils 2016 Plan, Might Shut Down Instead

The Bitcoin Foundation has recently divulged its goals for 2016 amid controversy surrounding the organization.

Also read: A Timeline of the Cryptsy Disappearance Mystery

Is the Bitcoin Foundation Coming to an End?

Many of bitcoins earliest spokespeople have separated themselves from the group.

“It’s gonna cost money [to rehabilitate its image] and its lost so much credibility within the industry,”Trace Mayer said in a recent interview. “The problem is outside the industry people still kind of look at it and give it credence.” Mayer considered the notion of rehabilitating the foundation, but suggests “just winding it up.”  He does have one concern:

“What I would not like to see is it co-opted,” he said.

Moreover, law enforcement might also have its doubts about the group’s viability considering both Charlie Shrem and Mark Karpeles – two people who displayed disregard for law and order – sat on the foundation’s board.  

According to the Bitcoin Foundation, it’s 2016 mission will remain to “help advance Bitcoin and related technology through education advocacy and outreach across the globe by focusing on three primary areas:

1) Fostering Core Development

2) Furthering education & adoption

3) Working to limit harmful regulations and encourage technical rather than regulatory solutions

Core Development has grown more diffuse in recent years, with that trend speeding up in 2015. The Bitcoin Foundation has covered development funds in the past, but that does not necessarily need to only be done by the Bitcoin Foundation. Apparently the Blockchain can be used for that…

The Scaling Bitcoin conference has done nearly as much for Core Development than has the Bitcoin Foundation in a shorter history. The main tool Bitcoin cites for this is the DevCore conference, which has taken place in London, Boston and San Jose. That’s an average of one per year in the foundation’s existence since 2012.

The foundation also cites as a goal for the 2016 the “fostering [of] development is in the areas of exploring better ways to bridge the gap of knowledge between development and the public and corporations.”

Despite this, there are no reports of Bitcoin Foundation investing difference-making amounts into the information portals in Bitcoin. In fact, the foundation basically snubbed the entire community when it hired theAudience to handle those obligations, which has no Bitcoin ties. What theAudience does can, obviously, be done by a bitcoiner and probably better for a more cost-effective price.

The Bitcoin Foundation also plans to limit regulations. “We believe that it is most effective to focus on technical solutions rather than regulatory solutions such as by encouraging usage of multi-sig keys, solid audit standards, exchange proof of reserves and other technical based activities,” the foundation’s statement reads.

The foundations wishes to educate lawmakers and focus on elected officials “or the most senior officials possible.” The foundations strives to offer the most non-regulatory suggestions and solutions.

However, since the foundation has basically wasted hundreds of millions of dollars in bitcoins, why give them any legitimacy? Well, we’ll see if there is consensus on this topic shortly:

Do you think the Bitcoin Foundation should be shut down? Let us know in the comments below!

The post The Bitcoin Foundation Unveils 2016 Plan, Might Shut Down Instead appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

The Bitcoin Foundation Unveils 2016 Plan, Might Shut Down Instead

Pro 29

Coinbase Tests Bitcoin XT, Gets Removed From Bitcoin.org

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoin XT

According to CEO Brian Armstrong, Coinbase is now running the new version of Bitcoin software, Bitcoin-XT, a move which has divided the Bitcoin community in the past few days. The company is merely experimenting with the software, it stresses; however, this has inspired much contentiousness on online Bitcoin forums, including being removed from Bitcoin.org. 

Also read: Samsung Pay Bringing More Competition to Bitcoin by Enabling Online Shopping in 2016

His announcement — which is pending a blog post on Coinbase — has caused much debate among Bitcoin players. Many questions were asked of Armstrong on Twitter, Armstrong cleared some things up:

People are much divided on what implementation of Bitcoin to use, and there has been much debate, including a Scaling Bitcoin conference, dedicated to the updating (or not) of the Bitcoin protocol due to its current limitations of 1MB per block size.

Many people believe Bitcoin should be some sort of global currency, and towards that end, the current implementation of Bitcoin does not process enough transactions per block — which take approximately ten minutes to create — to power a modern economy.

Coinbase, one of the largest Bitcoin companies on the planet, has chosen to run the new Bitcoin core, which uses BIP101, as an experiment. Many companies have pledged support inside the Bitcoin space as proponents of the XT implementation.

Founded in June 2012, Coinbase earned a May 2013 Series A of $5 million USD. In December 2013, the company received US $25 million investment led by venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures and Ribbit Capital. The company formed partnerships with Overstock, Dell, Expedia, Dish Network, Time Inc and Wikipedia before receiving $75 million investment including New York Stock Exchange.

Coinbase is a major influence in the Bitcoin sphere and this move could have reverberations through the Fintech space.

Upon making the announcement, Coinbase was removed from Bitcoin.org.

The debates, which cropped up over the weekend, will likely cause the Bitcoin community to reach conclusions quicker about what future protocol of Bitcoin should be used, and now Coinbase is at the center of that debate.

What do you think about Coinbase’s removal from Bitcoin.org? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured image courtesy of Coinbase


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Coinbase Tests Bitcoin XT, Gets Removed From Bitcoin.org