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BITCOIN REGULATION: THE INDUSTRY SHOULDN’T BE “BLIND TO THE REALITIES OF THE WORLD WE LIVE IN”

insidebitcoins.com / Jacob Cohen Donnelly / Nov 20, 2014

NEW YORK (InsideBitcoins) — When the words “bitcoin” and “regulation” are offered in the same sentence, many people react negatively. And that is a justifiable reaction because many bitcoin companies, especially those that do business in New York, have been dealing with the BitLicense proposal and its many possible ramifications.

However, Monday at the Bloomberg bitcoin panel discussion regarding regulation, there was a resounding agreement that regulation is not a bad thing — and could actually be a positive for the bitcoin business.

“Regulators are risk averse: ‘If I don’t understand it, I don’t like it.’”

“I think you do a disservice to the industry by being blind to the realities of the world we live in. In today’s world, having a compliance officer is a mark of professionalism,” Arthur Levitt, former Chairman of the SEC, said. “I don’t care if you call him a Chief Compliance Officer or a banana, but the function is to bring transparency.”

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NXT – FIRST COIN IN SPACE?

cryptocoinsnews.com / P. H. Madore / November 21, 2014

Stalwart British technology magazine The Register announced in July that it would be launching a second aeronautics project (a follow-up to its first, called PARIS). Tentatively dubbed “LOHAN” (Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator), today it was revealed that NXT Coin would be going along with it. The coin’s development team has sponsored the project and, as a result, NXT Client will be loaded aboard the spacecraft’s Raspberry Pi.

While NXT works on projects such as “SuperNET” – “an initiative to use the core NXT technology, supplemented by a range of third party applications to create a unified network of cryptocurrencies, linking together all of the best systems available” – [Dan] Kindly admitted that involvement with LOHAN is its most exciting current initiative.

Of course, NXT is not the first coin to have astronautic ambitions. Back in May, Dogecoin signed on to a lunar race as reported by this magazine. However, though there is no set launch date for LOHAN as of yet (weather plays a huge role), the fact that they did a test launch at the end of October seems to imply that the official launch will take place long before “the 4th quarter of 2015.”

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Pirate Party of Finland Accepting Bitcoin Donations, Seeks to Extend use in Parliament

cointelegraph.com / William Suberg / 2014-11-21

Bitcoin continues its publicity bull run in Finland, with the Pirate Party of Finland announcing it is accepting Bitcoin donations in the run-up to the 2015 general election.

The party, whose votes in the previous election fell 0.1% short of those needed to gain a seat in parliament, has already received 4.47 BTC as of November 20.

Party member and political blogger, Sebastian Maki, explained on Reddit:

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Jason King Responds to Sean’s Outpost Transparency Questions

letstalkbitcoin.com / Adam B. Levine / November 20th, 2014

It can be very uncomfortable to be criticized. Especially in the context of what we have accomplished here at Sean’s Outpost. 

My first impulse is to be extremely defensive. After all, we have accomplished so much.
Sean’s Outpost is active pretty much everyday. We are the largest provider of meals to the homeless in Escambia County Florida. And in our FIRST year of operations we outpaced the second largest organization by over 6,000 meals. To date, we have fed over 130,000 meals to the homeless and seven months into our second year of operation, we are on pace to out perform our closest “competitor*” by over 70,000 meals distributed, more than doubling their output.
Note: The word competitor is a point of contention at Sean’s Outpost, we do not look at other homeless outreaches as being in competition with us. However, do to the finite grant and public resource dollars available for most traditional homeless outreaches, they tend to view other providers in their area as “competitors”
All of those meals are in addition to the value provided to the homeless community thru our 9 acre homeless sanctuary, Satoshi Forest.

We have accomplished those feats and MUCH more with a small fraction of the budget of every other homeless outreach in our area. In fact, I believe Sean’s Outpost is one of the leanest, most effective homeless outreaches in the state of Florida and the entire United States. We are privileged to have earned the trust and respect of our local homeless community.   And equally, we are humbled to have been given so much trust by the bitcoin and cryptocurrency communities at large.
These statements would be very hard to refute. And on their own merit, many have said and continue to say, that we owe no explanation for how we operate. Our deeds, simply put, speak for themselves. And in truth, my first inclination is to rest on that laurel. We are doing more, for less.
However, upon reflection, there is a deep flaw in that reasoning.
Myself, and the other members of Sean’s Outpost have NO INTEREST in simply being incrementally better than the next guy. We want to be exponentially better. And there is no way to do that by defending poor decision making. And, as I have stated before, no one should have to trust us. The point of bitcoin is that it is a TRUSTLESS technology. And for an organization that so publicly espouses the use of that technology, we have done an abysmal job of fully embracing it’s utility.
I apologize for that. Sean’s Outpost should have moved to a a multi signature wallet as soon as the technology became stable and readily available. That’s pretty ironic (or maybe hypocritical?) since I have been advocating the use of multi sig for charities for over a year. In fact, we have been talking about implementing it here at Sean’s Outpost for about a year as well.
The house painters house is never painted.
This is being rectified IMMEDIATELY. If you will notice, we have moved no funds from the Sean’s Outpost wallet since November 3rd, 2014, eleven days before Ben’s “Open letter”. That is because we have been working on a solution to provide total transparency and security to our donated funds.

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UK Shadow Minister Outlines Bitcoin’s Potential for Disruption

coindesk.com / Joon Ian Wong / November 20, 2014 at 17:54 GMT

Bitcoin has the potential to reduce consumers’ reliance on giant banks and other entrenched financial institutions, according to Chi Onwurah, the UK’s shadow cabinet minister for digital government.

Onwurah is leading a sweeping review of how technology is used by UK public services for the opposition party, Labour. The review includes examining institutions dealing with financial services, she said.

Speaking exclusively to CoinDesk, Onwurah said:

“It’s about dispersing power away from the classic, traditional financial institutions … the public has lost trust in them, for some very good reasons. I think bitcoin and digital currencies are really an opportunity for currency to … be back in the hands of those who use it.”

As the UK heads toward a general election in May, Labour leads the incumbent Conservative party in opinion polls, which has been the case for much of the last two and a half years. Onwurah is likely to be appointed to the cabinet if Labour forms the new government.

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Why banks fear Bitcoin

fortune.com / Trond Undheim / NOVEMBER 20, 2014

The virtual currency is likely to decentralize banking services, says Trond Arne Undheim, senior lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management.

Bitcoin heralds a new age more disruptive than that of today’s Internet. Disruption can be a good thing, especially when it affects banking, a failing set of business models which, for all the tweaks, have been virtually unchanged for millennia. Paradoxically, some banks are afraid of Bitcoin because it would force them to innovate.

Bitcoin is but the most famous example of an emerging technology network with the potential to improve banking. It belongs to the new type of financial animal called crypto currencies, i.e. decentralized, secure money storage and money transfer enabled by the Internet. What Bitcoin, and the even more promising Ripple network do, is not to poke a hole in banking’s basic business models—lending, deposits, trading, and money exchange—but to create the embryos for entirely new markets typically referred to as the Internet of Value. That is, a way for regular folks, as well as specialists, to potentially monetize everything, regardless of location, traditional market access and jurisdiction.

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How Bitcoin Could Make Voter Fraud and Stolen Elections Impossible

entrepreneur.com / Matt Odell / NOVEMBER 20, 2014

As Americans lined up to vote this month, it was a reminder that voting is a fundamental requirement for a functioning democracy. It enables individuals to express opinions on how they believe their country should be run and who should run it. This process can be an extremely difficult task, especially in larger countries such as India, as collecting votes for millions of people is far from simple. That being said, the voting techniques we use worldwide have barely changed over the last century, and are long overdue for an update. The primary problem with the antiquated methods come down to a single fundamental issue, centralization.

Current voting methods require a large amount of human involvement, from poll workers, to vote counters, to the companies and engineers that design the voting machines. Then you have the oversight groups who employ individuals to oversee the election workers. Current voting methods are inefficient and expensive, susceptible to fraud and manipulation, and need to be vastly improved. Bitcoin technology can provide us with a new and improved voting system built from the ground up, a decentralized and secure alternative.

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16 Bitcoin startups investor Tim Draper has personally funded

Above: Tim Draper of DFJ Image Credit: Dean Takahashi/VentureBea

venturebeat.com / Jordan Novet / November 20, 2014

Silicon Valley venture-capital veteran Tim Draper has consistently beenblunt about his bullishness on the Bitcoin cryptocurrency.

“I am a big Bitcoin fan,” he told VentureBeat in an email conversation the other day.

He couldn’t say if Draper Fisher Jurvetson, the venture firm he cofounded in 1985, has moved to back Coinbase, as some reports have indicated. But he could disclose his own holdings in other Bitcoin-related young companies.

“I have backed 17 start ups,” as he put it in the email.

Well, Mr. Draper, we couldn’t help but wonder if we knew about all 17. We were able to come up with most of them — 16 to be exact. He wouldn’t identify the 17th.

Without further ado, here are the ones we do know about:

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RANDPAULCOIN TO FUND 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN

cryptocoinsnews.com / Josiah Wilmoth / November 21, 2014

RandPaulCoin is a Bitshares fork that seeks to promote the American libertarian movement by creating a Rand Paul-branded crypto-platform. Eventually, developers hope RandPaulCoin can be used to help fund a future presidential campaign for the politician.

Bitshares Fork RandPaulCoin Seeks to Fund 2016 Presidential Campaign

RonPaulCoin launched in December 2013 to promote economic freedom and honor the man who served as the liberty movement’s primary voice in United States politics. Since Ron Paul has retired and RonPaulCoin has effectively died, it was only a matter of time until someone released a coin for his son and fellow libertarian-leaning politician Rand.

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The big problem with bitcoin regulations

cnbc.com / Trevor Murphy / November 20, 2014

For the most part, we can all agree that a level of regulation plays an important role in consumer protection. Just as we expect stock exchanges and banks to be regulated, so, too, should virtual currency exchanges and centralized companies that store large balances on behalf of consumers, be regulated. This should help prevent situations like the Mt. Gox implosion from occurring and may reduce the potential of fraud, theft and Ponzi schemes.

The recent BitLicense carve-outs for software developers and bitcoinminers seem to allow for a level of innovation free from regulation. So far, so good. At a glance, the New York Department of Financial Services seems to be on the right track. Providing a regulatory framework in which bitcoin exchanges, online wallets and merchant processing services can operate is an important step forward in the evolution of virtual currencies and legitimizes their use.

However, when one digs deeper into the NFS BitLicense proposal, what we actually see is a regulatory framework that imposes unrealistic requirements on bitcoin users and merchants. You see, a very large part of the regulation deals with trying to remove one of the biggest benefits to society that bitcoin provides: anonymity. BitLicense, as written, forces merchants to collect names and addresses for the simplest of transactions. Can you imagine having to give your name and address at the drive through checkout just to buy a cup of coffee with Bitcoin? That’s what the proposal is trying to enforce.

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Dominic Frisby: Is Bitcoin The Future of Money?

WallStForMainStPublished on Nov 20, 2014

Coinbase Brings Bitcoin to Mozilla, ITunes, Unveils Bitcoin Tipping Tool

cointelegraph.com / Alyssa Hertig / 2014-11-21 10:25 AM

Coinbase announced a handful of nifty partnerships and tools over the past couple days.

The startup partnered up with the Mozilla Foundation. The software organization that we all know and love for building the Firefox browser is, in other words, now accepting Bitcoin donations.

Keep in mind that Mozilla works on other open source software projects like Persona and Thunderbird too. “Openness” is at its core and the company is a prolific advocate for an open internet.

A Mozilla spokesperson said:

“Bitcoin is now accepted by tens of thousands of merchants and many nonprofit organizations. Community members and supporters have been asking Mozilla to accept bitcoin donations for a while. We’ve heard this request in discussion forums, Reddit threads, and via email and social media. We listened, and now Bitcoin is one of the many ways individuals can support Mozilla.”

Coinbase waives fees to non-profits and the Mozilla Foundation is not exception. Slide over to the donation pageto test it out.

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BitBeat: Lamassu says Bitcoin ATM Owners Making $1,000-$3,000 A Month

blogs.wsj.com / PAUL VIGNA / Nov 20, 2014

In the year since Lamassu released its first bitcoin ATM, the machines are producing an average profit for their owners of $1,000-$3,000 a month, according to new figures the company released on Thursday.

The first Lamassu machine went into operation in August of 2013. the Harvey brothers were showing it off at a series of conventions in the spring and summer (we caught up with them in May and produced this video).

Lamassu said that standard cash-to-bitcoin machines are averaging transactions worth about $20,000 a month. Prime locations are averaging $40,000-$60,000 a month. The firm sells two kinds of machines: a version that processes only cash-to-bitcoin transactions and costs $6,500 to buy, and a version that handles two-way transactions, which costs $12,500. The firm says operators are clearing their investments in the machines in anywhere from three to nine months.

The bitcoin ATM industry is dominated by a few large players, Lamassu, Robocoin, and BitAccess primarily, but as  it grows, others are aiming for a piece of the pie. The number of active machines isn’t exactly clear. According to the data site bitcoinpulse, there are 300 bitcoin ATMs in operation. According to CoinDesk, which has an interesting bitcoin ATM map, there are 250 machines in operation; 51 ATMs in the U.S. across 20 states, and 64 in Europe spread across 20 countries. (Paul Vigna)

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Bitcoin Enthusiasts Are Flocking To This Crazy Spanish Hacker Monastery — Here’s Why

businessinsider.com / NATASHA BERTRAND / NOV. 20, 2014

The exterior of Calafou.

A Spanish collective for hackers has become a bitcoin hacklab, according to Jamie Bartlett’s new book “The Dark Net.”

The old textile factory complex, called Calafou, is referred to as a “postcapitalist ecoindustrial colony” by the 30 or so people who live there. It lies outside of Barcelona and is an experiment in collective living — a haven for anarchists and social activists who wish to live outside of the capitalist system for a little over 100 euros a month.

The cooperative is nicknamed “Hackafou” by resident hackers, who spend their time looking for ways to make bitcoin, a software-based online payment system, more sophisticated and secure.

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Gavin Andresen: Bitcoin Foundation Pivot Won’t Centralize Core Development

coindesk.com / Stan Higgins / November 20, 2014

Bitcoin Foundation chief scientist Gavin Andresen has publicly voiced his support for the organisation’s plan to focus solely on core development.

In a new blog post, Andresen defended prior efforts to support core development and stated that the Bitcoin Foundation is just one of several organizations that provide funding for the oversight of the bitcoin protocol.

The statements follow the Bitcoin Foundation’s formal announcement of the plan, which will find it shedding its education, public policy and outreach operations, as well as the healthy debate about the organization’s pivot that has played out over social media channels.

Andresen cited bitcoin payments processor BitPay and sidechains developer Blockstream as key sources of support, as well as bitcoin brokerage provider Trucoin, which gave direct support in 2012. Between the two companies and the Bitcoin Foundation, direct funding is provided to a group that includes Andresen, as well as developers Cory Fields, Gregory Maxwell, Jeff Garzik, Pieter Wuille and Wladimir van der Laan.

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WHO WILL FILL THE POLICY ADVOCACY GAP LEFT BY THE BITCOIN FOUNDATION?

insidebitcoins.com / Hal M. Bundrick / Nov 21, 2014

NEW YORK (InsideBitcoins) — As the Bitcoin Foundation pivots to redefine its primary purpose, at least two organizations are hoping to take a greater role in the areas being abandoned by the Foundation: public policy, education and outreach.

Perianne Boring and her fledgling Chamber of Digital Commerce hosted an informational cocktail party at the restaurant Oceana in New York Thursday night. The event attracted about 50 people from venture capital, legal, banking and media organizations.

Boring announced a goal of raising $800,000 by June 1st as the Chamber seeks to become even more firmly rooted in Washington, D.C. to deal with cryptocurrency industry matters before Congress and federal regulators.

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Bitcoin Foundation to focus on Core Development — Bitcoin Black Friday! — War on Bitcoin?

MadBitcoinsPublished on Nov 20, 2014

BITQUEST – A MINECRAFT VIDEOGAME WITH BITCOIN ECONOMY

cryptocoinsnews.com / Giulio Prisco / November 21, 2014

BitQuest is a Minecraft server where you can find and use Bitcoin within the game. This ongoing project will create a public Minecraft server with a Bitcoin-denominated trading system and unique MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) features.

The economy in BitQuest is based on the Emerald element. You can mine it or exchange it for other elements, just like currency. You can buy food, armor or even enchanted weapons, it’s up to you.

Each Emerald is worth 1 BIT [one millionth Bitcoin]. To access your Bits you first go to the BANK at spawn and deposit your Emeralds into the enchanted chests (our ATMs in the server). BitQuest will then send the Bits to your Xapo Wallet using the Xapo API.

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IF YOU’RE GOING TO GET INTO BITCOIN AVOID DOING BUSINESS WITH THIS MAN

bitcoinomics.net / 20 NOV , 2014

Peter Vessenes is a divisive character, and has been since he became a “prominent” player in the Bitcoin scene. Like many of the prominent in the Bitcoin scene, Vessenes made it there with big talk, as opposed to big results. But, does that make Vessenes “The biggest danger to Bitcoin?” Or is he just a scapegoat? 

He’s been involved in drama-fueled courtroom episodes with multiple companies, and has also been close to companies which lost millions in customer funds. His lesser known accomplishments – like naming Roger Ver “Bitcoin Jesus” – don’t hold a candle to his shadier dealings, at least in the eyes of many.

We at Bitcoinomics wanted to try and get the story straight. Unfortunately, what we found has only left us with more questions.  But first, who is Peter Vessenes? From one of the few biographies we found online:

A born entrepreneur, Peter started his first technology company at age 13.  With degrees in both Cryptography and Mathematics from Brown University, Peter’s fervent curiosity along with his midwestern work ethic has enabled Peter to found multiple tech startups successfully resulting in a variety of widely used products and systems. Peter has served on several boards and is a popular speaker on Bitcoin and the world of cryptocurrency.  As the current CEO of CoinLab, Inc., Peter is also Founding Member/Chairman of the Board of the Bitcoin Foundation.  He’s convinced that Bitcoins can change the world.  Just ask him.

CoinLab

Based in Seattle, CoinLab raised $500,000 in seed funding from angel investors like Tim Draper and others in April 2012.  CoinLab,  co-founded by Seattle entrepreneurs Peter Vessenes and Mike Koss, had planned “to help video-game companies make money from people who play free games, without requiring game companies to deal in Bitcoin directly.” As Geekwire explains of the plan,

Under the plan, game makers will offer their users a chance to voluntarily install a program that makes their idle computing resources available for use by CoinLab, in exchange for in-game virtual goods and points…CoinLab then plans to sell that spare computing time to the Bitcoin network, for use in Bitcoin “mining” — using computer processing to generate units of the virtual currency. The startup will pay game companies for the computing resources made available by their customers.

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The Future of Bitcoin Trading

cointelegraph.com / Tone Vays / 2014-11-20 04:39 PM

The days of Mt. Gox are long behind us, and with the slaying of the giant, there was plenty of room for competitors to fill the void and spread the wealth. The scope is brought home when you see the Global Price Index by BraveNewCoin is being comprised from 60 of the world’s most liquid Bitcoin exchanges.

It did not take long for the experienced financial talent to capitalize on the trading frenzy and in 2014 the race was on to build the perfect leverage trading platform since the most volatile asset in the world was clearly not enough for the Bitcoin believers.

While more traditional exchanges like Bitfinex and BTCe added some leverage in the 3x area along with the ability to enter short positions, startups like BTC.sx took it all the way to 10 times leverage even though they were still subject to the traditional forces of executing direct trades on other exchanges.

Futures & Socialized Loss

This brought us to the next phase of trading where the concept of Futures was first implemented within the Bitcoin space. The movement started with the Chinese exchange 796 offering positions with up to 20 times leverage. Like a traditional future, it was just as easy to go long or short with all the volume being handled without actually hitting the Blockchain.

However, the problem that had to be resolved first was Counterparty Risk and the idea of “Profitable Accounts Socialized Loss” was born. This idea has now been adopted across other Futures Exchanges like OKCoin and BitVC is definitely an interesting solution to the problem.

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