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The so-called Large Bitcoin Collider (LBC), a tool set up to find and gain access to Bitcoin address funds through private key discovery, recently passed over 1,000 trillion key searches.

LBC, which developers describe as “a distributed effort to find at least one collision of private Bitcoin keys,” is creating around 2,000 tn such addresses, matching them against a known list of addresses containing funds.

“In the rare event of a collision, the funds on the address in question would become accessible to the collision finder,” its website states.
Far from being a malicious effort, the Collider is being used to demonstrate the true strength of Bitcoin’s security.

“[The] current consensus is "that's impossible" and that is a gauntlet thrown down,” developers continue.
“This project is the practice part of the theory behind Bitcoin encryption and protection of funds.”

As a distributed effort, the LBC is open to any user wishing to contribute. Pools are even organized to increase the chances of “success,” while the legal implications of keeping discovered funds vary by user location.

On that subject, however, the developers take a more hands-off approach.

“Depending on your jurisdiction, this may be considered theft and is therefore illegal,” the website continues.
“However, there are many [jurisdictions] where you could perfectly legally claim 5-10% of the value found. So you should consider if you want 100% and become a criminal or if you get 10% and still be a law abiding citizen.”

The project has so far unearthed a small amount of Bitcoin.
Cointelegraph this week provided readers with practical advice on how to secure their Bitcoins, specifically in the wake of the WikiLeaks Vault 7 revelations.

Read More Read More, Posted by: ayumu
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New research from the security firm ZeroFox shows a surge in Bitcoin-related crimes during the first three weeks of March, just as the cryptocurrency was moving to integrate into conventional financial markets. The scams varied from straightforward phishing attempts to more elaborate pyramid schemes — but in each case, the familiar Bitcoin logo was front and center, employed as a way to gain the target’s trust. Over a three-week period, ZeroFox tracked 3,618 unique URLs linked to those scams, shared over 8,742 social media posts, although it’s unclear how many criminal groups were responsible.

The surge in activity came just as the price of bitcoin was reaching an all-time high. Many attribute the recent rise to a series of proposals that would allow investors to purchase portions of bitcoins as stock, adding more money to what has been a comparatively illiquid marketplace. The first proposal, made by the Winklevoss twins, was denied by the SEC on March 10th, but the price of bitcoin has remained above $1,000, a level not seen since late 2013.

There’s reason to think that jump in value is responsible for the crime wave. When bitcoin prices dropped after the March 10th ruling, ZeroFox saw a 16 percent drop in the volume of scams in the days that followed. “Ultimately, cybercriminals thrive on buzz,” says ZeroFox data scientist Phil Tully. “Bitcoin prices reaching new highs make the currency more tempting both for scammers and for their new potential victims.”

The scams tended to be fairly unsophisticated, either tricking users into installing malicious apps or promising free money in exchange for an initial payment. The pseudonymous and irreversible nature of Bitcoin transactions makes it easy for criminals to disappear once any transfer has been made. In the cases observed by ZeroFox, those tactics were often combined with more familiar social media tricks, building fake profiles from stolen pictures to make the scam seem more legitimate. Given the scale of Facebook and other networks, that allows scams to travel farther and faster than ever before.

“In the end Bitcoin, just like social media, depends on community-based trust,” says Tully. “When certain members of these communities violate that trust, it can ruin a good thing for everyone.”

Read More Read More, Posted by: ayumu
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Bats BZX Exchange has filed a petition to review a decision by the SEC to reject a bitcoin investment vehicle proposed by investors Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.

Filed on 17th March, the move is the first public attempt by an entity involved in the Winkelvoss Bitcoin Trust effort to push for a review of its 10th March rejection, a decision that followed three years of filings in an attempt to launch the product.

If approved, the Winkelvoss Bitcoin Trust would have been the first exchange-traded fund to offer exposure to the digital currency to retail investors. It would have listed on the Bats BZX Exchange, one of the largest US equities markets.

At the time, the SEC found that bitcoin's market was perhaps too immature to support such a product, citing a lack of regulation and the potential risk for fraud.

Notably, the petition was filed under rule 430(b)(1) of the SEC's Rules of practice.

According to the SEC’s website, Rule 430(b)(1) enables parties to file a notice of petition within five days of the ruling (or within 15 days of its publishing in the Federal Registrar), provided clear reasons for the petition are given.

The rule goes on to state that the SEC, under this clause, may "affirm, reverse, modify, set aside or remand" the prior contested action as part of the review.

As noted in the filing, Bats is now gearing up to file additional documents.
The statement reads:
"Bats intends to file separately a petition for review in accordance with Rule 430(b)(2) of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Rules of practice."

At this time, it's unclear of how the objection might be received, or what the path forward may be for the proposed investment product, though the SEC may also decline the request for review.

Representatives for Bats were unable to be reached for comment.

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Bitcoin is in a state of emergency – or, at least, the community thinks so.

Tensions are high as bitcoin's long-standing scaling debate escalated this week, with some miners talking openly about forcing a possible bitcoin fork that could result in two competing coins.

If that's not enough of a concern, some miners have even been discussing a possible attack on the old blockchain once they move on to mining the new one – dialogue that has prompted concerning statements from exchanges and other industry startups.

It's unclear if either will happen, and others aren't terribly concerned, with some going as far as to describe the recent frenzy as an attempt at price manipulation.

But amid all this, developers seem to be at least responding to community pressures, putting forth creative, if controversial, solutions, such as a way of making upgrades to bitcoin that depends on the economy rather than mining pools.

Another idea is even starting to take shape that might be best considered an emergency measure should miners be serious about forcing a system upgrade.

The thought is that, if such a subsequent attack were to occur, then developers could go so far as to propose a switch to bitcoin's proof-of-work algorithm that would hobble today's miners by rendering their current computer hardware redundant.

While Bitcoin Core developers might not agree on much, they do have an aversion to forks without near unanimous support. This algorithm switch, though – recently taking shape into a more formal proposal called Bitcoin Proof-of-Work Initiative (complete with a website and a Twitter account) – requires one.

One developer even called it a "likely" course of action, at least in the right circumstances.

James Hilliard, a developer and technician at Bitcoin mining supply company BitmainWarranty, told CoinDesk:
"If enough miners were to, say, fork Bitcoin Unlimited and attack the non-forked chain without the support of the community then the likely response would be to change proof-of-work.”

In conversation, Bitcoin Core developers stressed the fact that such discussions are exploratory – and that they remain unconvinced this threat of a fork is any different than similar efforts in the past.

Still, it seems like efforts are underway that take strategic planning forward.
"Everything's on the table," Core contributor Eric Lombrozo said.

Solidifying an idea
The idea that bitcoin could replace its consensus algorithm is an older one, with Bitcoin Core contributor Luke Dashjr coding up a prototype for such a change last year.

"It’s nothing new, it's sort of the assumed contingency plan for dealing with miners going against the wishes of the users," Hilliard said.
Further, the concept is common in other blockchain networks – for example, ethereum plans to switch from proof of work to an alternative further down its roadmap.

But, its apparent popularity in bitcoin might be new, with recent events giving the idea new life. Developers seem to think, if miners fork and end up attacking the old network (as rumored), that this would be the right emergency situation to deploy it.
A perhaps less popular idea, though, is that the network already needs the change.

"The mere existence of an entity with control of over 50% [of the network] is a problem warranting a change," said Dashjr.

As further evidence the idea is evolving quickly, BitTorrent inventor Bram Cohen pointed out that switching the algorithm is possible with a soft fork – a backwards-compatible way to make the change.

The response
Still, despite support, it remains a contentious idea.

Mining pool BitFury CEO George Kikvadze went as far as to tweet that his company would hire lawyers to sue developers working on such a change.

"[W]e will spare no resources," he wrote.

Others have called developers promoting such an algorithm swap hypocritical, since they've been opposed to such big bitcoin changes in other circumstances. Still, supporters see it as a necessary last resort.

Pseudonymous Bitcoin Core contributor BTCDrak told CoinDesk:
"A PoW change will not happen unless miners attack the bitcoin chain, make no mistake, it won't happen without a crisis to justify it."

One mining pool leader agreed.
"In response to post-split attack with intention to kill original chain, changing PoW would be the best option at that moment," SatoshiLabs co-founder and CEO Marek Palatinus, who runs Slush Pool, tweeted.

Indeed, right now, the impetus seems to be discussion of a potential post-fork attack, though whether or not the proposal will be put into play remains to be seen.

Better solutions?
Stepping back a bit, ETH Zürich computer science PhD student Arthur Gervais pointed out that such a fork, if used, would only addresses a symptom of what he called a larger problem.

"[T]his doesn’t really solve the problem of mining pools or the potential to build ASICs. It would be a temporary 'quick fix'," he said.

Gervais pointed to experimental projects that might have longer-term promise in tackling aspects of mining centralization. SmartPool, for example, is a pool in the process of being built using ethereum smart contracts. Another paper outlines a new mining puzzle that could discourage miners from forming mining pools.

Still, some bitcoin developers seem to want to send a message to miners in the near term.
Hilliard concluded:
"[T]his is a reason why it’s not in the best interest for miners to push for a controversial fork."

Read More Read More, Posted by: ayumu
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Bitcoin is under pressure. Selling on Wednesday has the cryptocurrency down 9% at $1,014 a coin, where it is now more than 20% below its all-time high from earlier this month. 

There’s no obvious trigger for the drop, but trading in bitcoin has been extremely volatile lately as traders parse through a large amount of headline risk. 

On March 10, when the price peaked, sellers slammed bitcoin below the $1,000 level after the US Securities and Exchange Commission rejected the Winklevoss’ twins plans for a bitcoin ETF.

The SEC said it was “disapproving this proposed rule change because it does not find the proposal to be consistent with Section 6(b)(5) of the Exchange Act, which requires, among other things, that the rules of a national securities exchange be designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices and to protect investors and the public interest.”

Bitcoin quickly recovered those losses, but plunged just four days later after The Wall Street Journal reported that developers were threatening to set up a “hard fork,” or alternative marketplace for bitcoin.

The new platform would be incompatible with the current platform, thus creating a split and two versions of the currency. That news sent bitcoin crashing 20% over the weekend to about $950 a coin, its weakest since January.

And that’s not all
For most of 2017 a Chinese crackdown on trading has been in the news. With nearly 100% of all transactions coming from Chinese exchanges, Beijing announced it was cracking down on the cryptocurrency. That caused China’s three biggest exchanges to first implement a 0.2% transaction fee on all trades before eventually blocking customers from withdrawing their bitcoin. 

Chinese regulators have not yet allowed withdrawals to continue. On Tuesday, China’s biggest bitcoin exchanges announced they would start asking customers for proof of fund sources and withdrawal destinations. While that might be one of the final steps before allowing withdrawals to continue, it shows further evidence of China looking to reign in the market. 

And even if that happens, there’s more headlines to come this month. The SEC is set to make two more rulings on bitcoin ETFs, with the first due by March 30.

Read More Read More, Posted by: ayumu
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No one wants to be on the wrong side of a bubble. If you invested in stocks the end of 1999 or bought a house with an adjustable-rate mortgage in 2008, you know exactly what I mean.

When it comes to the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, there's every reason to be cautious. It's not regulated. There's no Federal Reserve behind it. There's no real guarantee for its value, which is determined by software. Forget about deposit insurance like the FDIC.

Despite numerous red flags about Bitcoin, it's still all the rage for those championing its role as an alternative currency. I just hope those who love Bitcoin aren't also subscribing to "alternative facts."

Even though there's a high degree of machine-oriented determination behind Bitcoin, it's not immune from the laws of human nature. People still get crazy when they start to speculate that the value of something "can only go up."

Even though the SEC recently decided not to greenlight an exchange-traded fund based on Bitcoin, let's pause a moment and review some of the basic rules of behavioral economics. Oh, and the same rules that apply to Bitcoin apply to any market, particularly stocks (ahem).

-- The language of bubbles shouldn't be forgotten. Whenever boosters of a speculative investment want to defend it, they always couch it in phrases like "this time is different" or "it's not like real estate or tech stocks."

But these phrases only give us emotional insulation. The reality is that anything subject to speculation has a cliff-like downside. They are never like Treasury bonds.

One of the world's experts in bubbles -- Prof. Robert Shiller, a Yale economist -- said Bitcoin "was an amazing example of a bubble" back in 2014. Prof. Shiller authored the classic Irrational Exuberance, the go-to book on the and housing crashes. He also won a Nobel Prize in Economics. Prof. Shiller also recently said the U.S. stock market is overpriced.

-- Animal Spirits Outrun Logic. When something is the object of speculation, there are more people betting on it than investing in it. If you're investing in a stock like Warren Buffett does, for example, you hold onto it for years to reap the benefits of appreciation and dividends.

Speculation is largely based on emotion, or what Keynes called "Animal Spirits." A herd mentality cares almost nothing about relative values, that is, if the vehicle is overpriced.

-- Traditional Valuation Models Don't Apply. Here's an interesting test. Two ways of judging stock prices is to look at their price to earnings (P/E) or price to book (P/B) ratios. They will tell you, at a glance, if a company is a bargain or highly priced. What's the P/E for Bitcoin? How do we know if it's over- or under-valued?

There have been four large run-up/crashes in Bitcoin valuations in recent years. One decline was as much as 93%. Can you imagine losing that much in a mutual fund, bond or single stock?

Any real investment strategy involves knowing the potential downside of an investment. If it's all seen as upside, then it's pure speculation.

-- There's no transparency because there's a casino mentality. Hey, everyone likes to roll the dice or buy lottery tickets every now and then. It's part of our nature.

But unless you are gifted with clairvoyance and an uncanny ability to do statistics and probability in your head, you probably won't be able to "beat the house." You simply don't know what the next roll is going to be or what cards they hold. You can only guess.

So I find it a little troubling that there's already an "official Bitcoin casino" and CNBC "is hoping for $3,000" in a Bitcoin price prediction. "Hoping?" What's that based on? It's certainly not based on underlying earnings or dividends.

Okay, I'll concede that Bitcoin shouldn't be directly compared with the traditional measures for stocks. We are talking apples and oranges.

But you can't escape the fact that Bitcoin is immersed in the language of speculation and is still an opaque instrument for most of us. Those are two undeniable danger signals for me.

Read More Read More, Posted by: ayumu
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Blockchain is key for an inclusive, transparent and accountable digital economy in G20 countries, according to a new report published by the international economic forum.

Notably, the work's author raises the possibility of G20 creating a "central banks blockchain consortium", intended to study possible blockchain-based national fiat currencies.
Penned by Julie Maupin, a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), the report was featured as part of the organization's 'Policy Briefs', which feature recommendations on areas of interest to G20 policymakers.

Overall, the eight-page report contends that by harnessing blockchain, G20 countries can provide solutions to two geopolitical challenges:
The first is negativity surrounding cross-border trade and the general distrust in institutions that structure the global economy.
The second is the risk of increasing fragmentation of the global economy caused by anti-globalization sentiments.
Maupin writes:
Quote:"Blockchain usage tends toward a more decentralized and democratic order which empowers individuals to participate in the global economy directly through systemically embedded transparency, accountability and inclusiveness mechanisms."

Blockchain use cases
To make this a reality, Maupin argues the G20 should organize a research group to identify which regulatory regimes can be made more efficient through the use of blockchain, and promote a 'sandbox' to test the most promising concepts related to blockchain use cases.
Recommended use cases include financial services for the unbanked, global supply integration for women-owned businesses, alternative clean energy financing and digital identity privacy and management services.

Finally, the report proposes a plan of action including a G20 partnership with other transnational regulatory bodies focused on blockchain related issues of global concern, including the International Standards Organization (ISO), the International Law Association, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Read More Read More, Posted by: FreeSpeach
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Since most altcoins are based on Bitcoin’s codebase, upgrades to Bitcoin are often relatively easy to implement in altcoins. Indeed, asSegregated Witness (SegWit) is slow to activate on Bitcoin, several altcoins are taking a stab at implementing and activating the soft fork first.

However, it seems the very same politics that are holding back the protocol upgrade on Bitcoin are now seeping into several of these altcoins.

“What we are seeing is a stalling tactic from miners,” Viacoin lead developer Romano told Bitcoin Magazine. “They know that if SegWit activates on altcoins, it will make blocking it on Bitcoin even less credible.”

Launched in 2014, Groestlcoin has a total market cap of some $365,000, earning it the 163th spot on CoinMarketCap at time of publication. This makes it the smallest of the five altcoins aiming for SegWit but also the first to have actually succeeded in activating it. The required 95 percent of hash power signaled support back in January, and the protocol upgrade has been live since.

“Jackie,” who prefers not to reveal his full name, is the project lead for Groestlcoin.

“All the FUD [Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt] is false,” he told Bitcoin Magazine. “SegWit as a soft fork is about as safe as the CSV soft forkwas — and you don’t hear anyone complain about that.”

As a digital currency that isn’t used much yet, Groestlcoin never faced scaling issues like Bitcoin. But Jackie said he considers SegWit a malleability fix first and foremost, which in turn enables features like the lightning networkatomic cross-chain transactions and other innovations.

“Less useful and elegant versions of lightning [network], TumbleBitand Mimblewimble were possible with the old version of Groestlcoin, but they are greatly enhanced now Segregated Witness is activated on the Groestlcoin network,” Jackie noted.
That said, Segregated Witness itself is not very actively used so far. There are no Groestlcoin wallets that support the option, so apart from some specially crafted transactions to test that the new feature worked, most Groestlcoin transactions still use the old, pre-SegWit format.

Though, Jackie added, “We’re in the process of updating ourElectrum version for Groestlcoin to support SegWit transactions. That should be done before the end of this year. When that is completed anyone should be able to easily send and receive SegWit transactions.”

Vertcoin may well be the next altcoin to activate Segregated Witness.

As a result of an implementation bug, Vertcoin initially suffered a setback from their Segregated Witness integration: the blockchain forked in two. Vertcoin developer and project manager “etang600” emphasized, however, that this had nothing to do with SegWit itself — only with how they implemented it.

The issue has since been resolved and SegWit signaling has started. Requiring 75 percent hash rate support, it is getting relatively close to activation with some 40 percent of hash rate signaling.

However, one mystery miner, most likely a solo miner, controls over 30 percent of all hash rate. It’s this miner that is seemingly holding everyone back.

“We don’t know who this miner is,” etang600 told Bitcoin Magazine. “We are trying to figure out ways to contact him. But it’s still pretty early; we have only been signaling for two weeks, so we hope they’ll update.”

Litecoin, SysCoin and Viacoin and the F2Pool Dilemma
Litecoin ($200 million market cap for #6 spot on CoinMarketCap), SysCoin ($6.9 million market cap for #49 spot on CoinMarketCap) and Viacoin ($1.1 million market cap for #104 spot on CoinMarketCap) are also planning to implement Segregated Witness.

But since Viacoin is merge-mined with Litecoin, and SysCoin is merge-mined with Bitcoin, all three coins are facing the same problem: Bitcoin and Litecoin mining pool F2Pool is not signaling support for the soft fork.

In addition to benefits offered by a malleability fix, SysCoin will adopt Schnorr signatures: a signature scheme that could make both Bitcoin and SysCoin more efficient. Unsurprisingly, therefore, SysCoin backend developer Jagdeep Sidhu is hopeful F2Pool will start signaling support for the upgrade soon.

“F2Pool will probably signal support for Segregated Witness on Bitcoin and SysCoin together,” Sidhu told Bitcoin Magazine. “But I think they’re still in wait-and-see mode.”

When asked by Bitcoin Magazine last autumn, F2Pool operator Wang Chun said his system could not build C++11 and that’s why he was holding off on SegWit signaling.

Today, on Twitter, Chun suggested he may be able to finally compile C++11 code when Debian 9 is released.

But some are skeptical that an inability to compile C++11 is the real reason Chun isn’t signaling support yet. For one, compiling C++11 should not be that difficult in the first place. And as Sidhu pointed out, the latest version of SysCoin is already coded in C++11. Since SysCoin recently hard forked, older versions of the software are no longer compatible, so any SysCoin miner must be able to compile C++11. That includes F2Pool.

And indeed, some altcoin developers are skeptical of F2Pool’s excuse.

SegWit signaling will start soon on Viacoin, but Romano is not very optimistic about quick activation: “It seems more likely they want to refrain from activating Segregated Witness on altcoins because that would give them even less reason to hold off activation on Bitcoin.”

Romano went even further. “Maybe F2Pool are under some hidden pressure or coercion, and are trying to make a plausible cover story. It is well known that Jihan Wu of Bitmain controls the supply of about 70 percent of the mining hardware. His mining pool is blocking SegWit on Bitcoin, and he is able to exert pressure on miners and pools by sanctioning new equipment sales should they go against his wishes.”

F2Pool operator Wang Chun told Bitcoin Magazine that he preferred not to comment at this time. But in response to Romano’s comment, Bitmain’s Jihan Wu said:

“They are customers of us, and there is enough competition in the market. (Where is the other so-called "30%" coming from?) This theory is not right on the assumption part. Wang Chun of f2pool is a very mature man, he gives no sh* to any authorities or political pressure.”

Read More Read More, Posted by: cryto
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Ever since Bitcoin was released as open-source software in 2009, it’s been held up as being the revolutionary cryptocurrency that’s going to overthrow the tyranny of big banks, multinational corporations, and government institutions. But whilst March 2017 was a landmark month for the cryptocurrency as it was the first time that a single Bitcoin became more valuable than an ounce of gold, it is still viewed with suspicion by many individuals and businesses. So what are the reasons holding up the more widespread use of Bitcoin?

Since Bitcoin operates as a decentralized currency away from the controls of banks and governments, it’s often been the victim of negative press. Whilst articles from Vice that aim to show how it can be used for relatively normal purposes may be well-meaning, they still tend to feature the cryptocurrency against a backdrop of black market mechanisms.
It’s this perception that Bitcoin is primarily used on the Dark Web that compounds the perception that it is mainly used for drug trafficking and the sex trade, and until that changes, the Bitcoin symbol is unlikely to appear on our supermarket checkouts.

2016 was a year where the majority of the world’s currencies had a fairly unstable time. But such jitters are nothing compared to the renowned volatility of Bitcoin, and whilst this can create impressive speculative opportunities, it makes it less attractive for businesses.
Although over 100,000 merchants from Microsoft to Expedia facilitate Bitcoin transactions, these examples aren’t the norm. With UK casino gaming sites like LadyLucks preferring to use tried and tested payment systems such as PayPal, Visa and MasterCard, it shows how far Bitcoin has to go. But with other gaming providers like Steam starting to accept Bitcoin, it shows that the situation could be changing.

Most of the times that Bitcoin comes to the attention of the mainstream press, is when it get hits by a hacking scandal. Just last summer, Bloomberg reported how hackers stole $65 million of the cryptocurrency through a security breach at the Hong Kong-based exchange, Bitfinex.
Although all digital currencies can be prone to hacking activity, it seems that Bitcoin has been repeatedly targeted by cybercriminals. And with The Verge posting articles boasting about how easy it is to override Bitcoin’s security, it seems like the cryptocurrency is seen as something of a soft target.
But with even fast food outlets like Subway joining the Bitcoin community, it could be only a matter of time before more online retailers and UK casinos join the cryptocurrency revolution.

Read More Read More, Posted by: cryto
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Following in the footsteps of Liberland, Norway is to get its own activist city - Liberstad - entirely funded by the private sector.

The “private city,” for which a land sale has run since 2015 and requires a certain uptake to be reached by June this year, paid for in either Bitcoin or Norwegian krone, will feature full freehold property ownership, public services and other essential features of modern living if successful.

Responsible for the initial development of the “free market enclave,” the nonprofit Liberstad Drift Association was formed by organizers John Holmesland and Sondre Bjellås.

“Liberstad will become a city where anarchism can get a physical foothold in one of the worlds [sic] most socialist countries,” the project’s website states.

The social and legislative fabric of Liberstad would follow bespoke principles, with only “minimal” laws and no taxes whatsoever.

“In the long term we can together develop a private city where people have greater freedom and opportunity to live the life they desire,” the website adds.

Liberstad shares many principles of Vit Jedlicka’s Liberland also founded in 2015 on a river bank between Croatia and Serbia.

The territory’s legality is still under scrutiny, but the first citizenships are already claimed, the project having reportedly received 200,000 applications within a week.

Jedlicka told Cointelegraph in November that the state would be prepared to migrate from Bitcoin as its official currency to an altcoin such as Dash, should practical conditions around its use change.

Read More Read More, Posted by: cryto
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Bitcoin and Blockchain are synonymous to each other, for blockchain is the popular cryptocurrency’s underlying technology. After Bitcoin, many alternative cryptocurrencies have come up, which still uses a distributed ledger either similar to or derived from Bitcoin blockchain. However, the US-based blockchain company MonetaGo intends to change that for the convenience of central banks.

In a recent interview with one of the leading news publication, MonetaGo has mentioned that it is going to separate Bitcoin and blockchain technology. It is still unclear as to how they are going to do that as these cryptotokens (Bitcoin, Ethereum or any other altcoin) are the units which make blockchain what it is. The cryptotoken transactions and the network size play a significant role in ensuring the security and data integrity on distributed ledgers.

It is entirely possible that the company’s statement meant that it is going to use an alternative blockchain platform instead of Bitcoin blockchain to create banking solutions. MonetaGo recently took part in a pilot with Indian central bank, the Reserve Bank of India.

A media report states Jesse Chenard, the CEO of MonetaGo mentioning that the use cases for blockchain technology goes beyond virtual currencies and that’s what the company is focusing on while working with banking institutions in India. MonetaGo is currently in talks with the Reserve Bank and other commercial banks in the country to develop blockchain infrastructure for payments, remittance, and trade-finance settlement processes.

However, there have been numerous instances where industry experts have argued that Bitcoin blockchain is the most stable and secure option amongst all. Bitcoin currently has the largest network among all digital currencies with the highest hashing power. Other alternative private or permissioned blockchains will not be able to match Bitcoin’s distributed ledger, making them more susceptible to attacks.

A similar concern has been voiced by Saurabh Aggarwal, the CEO of ZebPay — one of the India’s “big four” Bitcoin platforms. He mentions that using “blockchain” without its underlying token is as good as using any other database and the applications of such an arrangement are limited.
There are few projects already underway, with leading banking institutions in the country working in partnership with blockchain platforms. The resulting products are yet to make it to the market. India is opening up to cryptocurrency technology, and more organizations are expected to start exploring the technology soon.

Read More Read More, Posted by: Grimm

Stellar is a non-profit organisation which “aims to expand financial access and literacy worldwide by building a common financial platform….around 2.5 billion people across the world cannot afford a bank account. Stellar gives everyone a chance to be banked, save money, build credit, start a business, or otherwise participate in the global economy – free of fees and other charges” (Stellar website). It is a platform that connects banks, payments systems, and people and aids transfer of money fast, discreetly, and almost free. Their mission is to expand financial access and literacy worldwide. It makes sending, saving and receiving money hassle-free and as easy as sending an email or creating a blog. Recently, there has been a noticeable global transition to digital money – Stellar ensures that people get educated and have access to this. What sets Stellar apart is that:

1. It is almost free. It is extremely cheap (about $0.000000027 per transaction) unlike Forex and the likes.
2. It is very fast. Stellar transfers are fully completed in seconds, unlike Bitcoin.
3. It has a strong backing. Though it is open source and not owned by anyone like Bitcoin, it maintains a strong backing behind it – The Stellar Foundation board and advisors which includes Mozilla foundation board members, the CEO of WordPress, CTO and CEOs of Stripe, the ex-COO of Square and senior exec at PayPal, the director of MIT Media Lab, the director of Apache Software Foundaton and a co-founder of Dogecoin.

Okay so that’s the serious part. If you are like me, you might be wondering “how do I get started with Stellar?” As it turns out, It is pretty easy to get started all you need is an account and some Lumens. Hold on, don’t go searching on how to capture light rays. Lumens is the currency of the Stellar network. To make use of the Stellar payment medium, your Stellar account has to be credited with some money (Lumens: the currency of the Stellar Network) by the use of a Currency Exchange. This works by letting you give the Exchange some money(fiat or other cryptocurrency e.g bitcoin) and they in turn credit your Stellar account with Lumens. Once this is done, you can now transfer money within the Stellar network without need for the Exchange anymore. Cool right? Now lets get to the fun part, learn how to get a stellar account here, and how to get some lumens here.


Read More Read More, Posted by: amega
Recently, author was working on something and came across a function I felt might be useful to some. If you have ever created transactions with the Stellar laboratory, you can’t help but notice the output XDR string and the awesome XDR Viewer. For the stellar app I was working on, I needed to store the transactions in a database, hence an XDR string will be most suitable for this. How do we do this? Say we have the following transaction:

Quote:var txObj = new StellarSdk.TransactionBuilder(srcAcct)                   .addOperation(StellarSdk.Operation.createAccount({                                   destination: destAcct,                                   startingBalance: startingBalance.toString(),                                   source: srcAcct                     }));

txObj holds our current TransactionBuilder object.To build the transaction we call the .build() method

Quote:txObj =

Now txObj holds our Transaction object. We can call the .toEnvelope() method on this object to return type xdr.envelope. However this will still be in object form and not a string. To get the encoded string we can do the following

Quote:var xdrString = txObj.toEnvelope().toXDR().toString("base64");

That’s all. It will return a string like


Hope you found this useful. Got some other tips? leave them in the comments

Read More Read More, Posted by: amega
[Image: hong-kong-lifestyle-bitcoin-475483879-58cf9c317d44b.jpg]

Bitcoin rose back over $1,000 last night after it lost nearly a fifth of its value over the weekend.

The cryptocurrency fell to a low of $943.06 over the weekend as a split in its developer community threatened its future.
The currency was trading at $1,019.05 this morning compared with highs of more than $1,200 last week.

Bitcoin transactions are gathered into so-called "blocks", and developers have been arguing over the size limit of a block for nearly two years. Currently, there is a one-megabyte maximum on processing batches of transactions, but some in the industry want to increase the size as the network capacity increases. Others in the community say increasing the block size would be unsafe.

Last week the price of the currency held relatively steady as the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejected a bitcoin exchange-traded fund's (ETF) bid to list.

The SEC said the ETF, founded by the Winklevoss twins, posed a fraud risk as there's a lack of regulation in the world's bitcoin markets.

Approval of the fund would have been a major step towards making bitcoin mainstream.

Traders of the cryptocurrency are holding out hope, however, as there are several more bitcoin decisions planned over the coming months.

Read More Read More, Posted by: cryto


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