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Open Sourced Healthcare Will Destroy The Current Corrupt Medical System

The Daily Decrypt, Published on Jan 29, 2016

The Daily Decrypt team found the Surgery Center of OK in 2014 when they set out to find healthcare that: A) Had an upfront price tag, and B) Was available for Bitcoin. Dr. Keith Smith and team met both qualifications, and proceeded to exceed expectations in every way — learn why and how their business model is growing.

Monero: Moving Ever-Nearer Perfect Privacy

The Daily Decrypt, Published on Feb 11, 2016

Ric Spagni — or “fluffyponyza” on Reddit — is a core developer of Monero. He lets us in on the currency’s curious founding, its current capabilities, and two major forthcoming privacy upgrades.

UN Paper: Pushing Bitcoin for Third World Issues is ‘Techno Colonialism’

coindesk.com / Daniel Palmer / February 12, 2016 at 16:48 GMT

A new UN working paper argues that the bitcoin community has a tendency towards “techno-colonial solutionism” and “techno-libertarian evangelism” in proposing the digital currency as a solution to issues in the developing world.

Authored by independent researcher and consultant Brett Scott for the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, the paper provides a primer on the basics of bitcoin and discusses the technology’s potential applications for remittances, cooperative structures and micro-insurance systems.

However, it also flags potential “points of concern and conflict”, such as a tendency for the bitcoin community to promote tech-from-above “solutionism”, and to “evangelise” libertarian political ideals.

By contrast, the paper further considers blockchain 2.0 technologies with “more overtly communitarian ideals” and their potential for creating “cooperation at scale”.

Disconnected from ‘gritty social reality’

That cryptocurrency is based on collaborative open-source principles and peer-to-peer networks suggests a commitment to social solidarity and mutual aid, says Scott.

However, citing Yelowitz and Wilson’s 2015 paper “Characteristics of Bitcoin Users”, he says bitcoin’s image has become associated with “speculators, profit-driven entrepreneurs, market-fundamentalist libertarians and technology fetishists”.

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China’s Role In Bitcoin: How Cultural Differences Are Affecting The Technology’s Progress

forbes.com / Laura Shin / 

For the last year, the Bitcoin community has been embroiled in what is, on one level, a technical debate over how to upgrade the network to accommodate growing transaction volume.

The fighting reached a head in mid-January, when a prominent developer declared the currency a failure and left Bitcoin. It promptly lost about 15% of its value and hasn’t recovered.

What has been called “the block size debate” (referring to the megabyte limit for each group of transactions processed) has now grown into a power struggle, with the group of volunteer developers working on the protocol splitting into several camps.

“This is not really about block size,” says core developer Eric Lombrozo. “It’s really about the control of the protocol.”

What seems like a technical debate on the surface is actually deeply informed by human politics and personality differences. But because major players in the Bitcoin ecosystem are based in China, the outcome of this dispute in the Western Bitcoin community is also being influenced by cultural gaps between the West and China of which they may be only vaguely aware.

On Wednesday, one of the new teams, which has christened itself Bitcoin Classic and is supported by Coinbase, one of the most well-funded companies in the space (the original team is called Bitcoin Core), released a new version of the software making another attempt at an upgrade, which Lombrozo called “a tactic to shift power away from the Core devs.”

However, by Thursday morning, two dozen people representing almost 20 Bitcoin companies, many of which would be directly affected by the software change (and accounting for more than half of the network powering Bitcoin) formed a group called the Bitcoin Roundtable and released a statement effectively rejecting the new software, at least for the time being.

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Dublin Is A Great Hub For FinTech and Bitcoin Innovation

themerkle.com / JP Buntinx / February 12, 2016

Dublin, Ireland, is attracting a lot of attention in recent months. Not only is the city seeing a healthy influx of startups and FinTech companies, but the number of events taking place in the region is on the rise as well. keeping in mind how Dublin wants to focus primarily on FinTech and Bitcoin, this can be very good news for digital currency development as well.

Also read: Blockchain.info Once Again Experiences Issues

Dublin Bets Big on FinTech And Bitcoin

Positioning itself as one of the most prominent cities in the FinTech world today, Dublin is on the right track to becoming a major hub in the next few years. European startups are looking for a new home, rather than focusing all of their attention on London. Even though that latter is the financial capital of the world, there is a lot of competition as well.

One of the main reasons for this growth is the support from the Irish government. Unlike other European countries where governments are not exactly boosting innovative efforts, Enterprise Ireland is putting a ton of effort into attracting startups and entrepreneurs across Europe. It is important to keep in mind these efforts are about more than just having startups open a new office in Dublin, but having their founders and entrepreneurs relocate as well.

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Bitcoin Price Technical Analysis – Major Break Looming?

newsbtc.com / 

Bitcoin price is showing bullish signs on the lower time frame chart, but the daily chart is pointing towards a crucial break in the near term. Intraday Support Level can be at $374. Intraday Resistance Level may be $380.

Key Highlights

  • Bitcoin price is struggling to make a move higher, as there is a monster resistance formed on the daily chart (data feed from HitBTC).
  • The price is below the 100-day simple moving average, which is acting as a sell area.
  • On the hourly chart via the data feed from Bitstamp, there was a minor bullish break that may encourage buyers in the short term.

Bitcoin price is showing bullish signs on the lower time frame chart, but the daily chart is pointing towards a crucial break in the near term.

Can Bitcoin Price Recover?

Bitcoin price remained under a lot of bearish pressure this week, as there was a monster resistance on the daily chart formed. The price continuously found sellers near the 100-day simple moving average (daily chart and data feed from HitBTC). It looks like a solid bearish structure formed on the daily chart, and if sellers gain control, then the price may head lower in the near term. There is a bullish trend line formed on the same chart, which is currently preventing a break in the price.

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Industry Businesses Pledge to Avoid Bitcoin Network Split

coindesk.com / Stan Higgins / February 11, 2016 at 20:17 GMT

Just hours after the release of an alternative implementation of the bitcoin software, a group of miners, exchanges and service providers who work with the digital currency issued a letter stating that they would not back any “controversial” changes to the bitcoin network.

The letter calls for an increase in the cap that currently limits the bitcoin blockchain’s transaction processing capabilities while also voicing support for a proposal called Segregated Witness, code previously put forward by the team behind the majority-used Bitcoin Core software as part of a broader scalability roadmap.

Those signing the letter said they reject the viability of a “contentious hard-fork”, a change to the bitcoin software that makes previous versions incompatible. In this instance, all of the network’s users would either have to download new software in order to be part of the new chain, or transaction history, or continue running the old version.

In the case of Bitcoin Classic, the change could result in one network operating with blocks with a 2MB block size cap and another with the existing 1 MB cap.

The letter reads:

“We think any contentious hard fork contains additional risks and potentially may result in two incompatible blockchain versions, if improperly implemented. To avoid potential losses for all bitcoin users, we need to minimize the risks. It is our firm belief that a contentious hard-fork right now would be extremely detrimental to the bitcoin ecosystem.”

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Decentral to Sell Bitcoin in Retail Stores Across Canada

cryptocoinsnews.com / Samburaj Das / 12/02/2016

Canadian decentralized technologies hub Decentral will soon enable citizens across Canada to easily purchase bitcoin, the innovation hub revealed in an announcement today.

Toronto-based innovation and disruption hub Decentral has announced a new series of ‘bitcoin cards’ that can be purchased at local retail stores nationwide.

The Decentral Bitcoin Cards will be available for buyers in denominations of $20, $50 and $100. The cards fundamentally work like a gift card, pre-loaded with fiat cash. Buyers can then redeem the cards for bitcoin via Decentral’s website.

As an innovation hub, Decentral provides blockchain and fintech consultancy services and has previously installed a two-way Bitcoin ATM.

The bitcoin cards were originally trialed throughout 2014 before tweaked for launch in 2015. In a statement, Decentral founder and CEO Anthony Di Iorio spoke about the convenience that cards can bring for new bitcoin adopters.

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Bitcoin Governance as Competition

cato.org / JIM HARPER / FEBRUARY 12, 2016 9:25AM

A few weeks ago, in a post entitled, “The Politics of Non-Political Money,” I talked about the Bitcoin blocksize debate as surfacing “politics” in the Bitcoin ecosystem. Important protocol and software development projects require people of disparate views and plans to come together over common standards and code. My thesis in that post was simply that good behavior is good politics because it builds credibility. Some differ, and many—it should be no surprise—aren’t taking my advice. But the precedents set in the blocksize debate are important for the future of Bitcoin, for other cryptocurrencies, and for similar projects that may offer alternatives to governmental monetary and administrative systems.

The politics are intense, there are ways that Bitcoin governance is like government, and proposals to fork the software are kind of like constitutional amendments. But I’m increasingly comfortable thinking of Bitcoin governance as a market phenomenon. Specifically, groups with differing visions are competing to win the favor of Bitcoin miners and nodes, so that their vision, if it prevails, can carry the Bitcoin project forward.

Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, has stepped forward recently as a strong advocate for Bitcoin Classic and a 2MB blocksize. He cites four competitors to the current dominant coding team in this slide deck. Miners and nodes will choose one software version or another. It makes no difference whether we characterize their decisions as “voting” or “buying.”

Bitcoin may have some of the strongest network effects possible because incompatible versions of the software won’t recognize each others’ blocks, transactions, or mined coins. A miner on the “minority” side of a hard fork will mine bitcoins that are incompatible with the majority side, so those coins will be less useful and naturally worth less. And as more move to the majority side, “minority” coins will rapidly approach zero value, making switching a rational imperative, to be executed quickly.

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PayPal Blocks Bitcoin Parody of Super Bowl Commercial

coindesk.com / Daniel Palmer / February 11, 2016 at 15:18 GMT

A parody of a PayPal Super Bowl commercial that was posted on YouTube has been blocked by the payments company.

The video advertisement, PayPal’s first promotion during the popular American sporting event, positions the firm as “New Money” versus the more archaic “Old Money”.

According to the Wall Street Journal, after bitcoin supporters became “riled” at the ad’s claim, Shiloh Silverman, owner of video production firm Silver Park Studio, made a new version of the video. His spoof cut in images of people using bitcoin and replaced “PayPal” with “Bitcoin is newer money”.

However, after Silverman posted the video to YouTube, PayPal objected, and the parody was blocked as of Monday.

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E-Coin’s Tim Frost: Bitcoin Is An Experiment And A Great Success So Far

econotimes.com / February 12, 2016 5:41 AM UTC

E-Coin, the London-based Bitcoin debit card provider, has been going strong since its launch last year. It is the world’s most popular bitcoin debit card accepted by more than 30 million merchants and can be used at over 25 million ATMs worldwide.

Launched by Wirex Limited, E-Coin reached the 100,000th user mark exactly a year after its launch. Recently, it announced its integration with BitGo Instant, which will enable users to send bitcoin and load their cards instantly, without having to wait for three confirmations.

Speaking to EconoTimes, Tim Frost, VP of Marketing and Business Development, E-Coin, shared his views on E-Coin’s success story, negative news on bitcoin, rising interest in blockchain technology and much more.

1. E-Coin reached the 100,000th user mark just a year after its launch. Did you expect such success when you started off?

We felt there was great opportunity in creating a bitcoin card that allowed users to spend their bitcoin anywhere. Offering a reliable product and customer service has helped us grow. Our ability to serve 130+ countries has also allowed us to grow globally where many bitcoin companies are quite limited. We now have E-Card holders in 110+ countries and growing.

2. E-Coin is the provider of most popular bitcoin debit card on the market. Are there any plans to broaden the scope to include other cryptocurrencies and why?

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Researchers Describe an Easy Way to Crack Bitcoin Brain Wallet Passwords

cryptocoinsnews.com / Victoria Ross / 12/02/2016

The Bitcoin wallet has been cracked. In a research paper, three researchers have claimed that the Bitcoin brain wallet password can be accessed for less than €49.63 euros or about $55.86 US dollars. 

Bitcoin first arrived in 2008 on a white paper presented on the Internet by the unknown Satoshi Nakamoto. It was released as a cryptocurrency which would allow anonymity in peer-to-peer transactions without geographical border restrictions or government interference.

The basic premise is that Bitcoin would be utilized via the Bitcoin wallet with a secure password protocol, both for the sake of security and ease of operability for the user. The simple set-up would require an “address”. The Bitcoin address or string in the ID has between 26 and 35 alpha-numeric characters. The owner of the Bitcoin account has a “private key” for use of access and transfer of bitcoin. All of the original account initiation allows the private key can be controlled and allow the ability to change the passcode later.

Once you have your Bitcoin wallet and buy bitcoin or transfer it, the blockchain or global ledger registers it in real time. Blockchain is considered the future basis for cashless transactions and acts as a notary whether it is banking, mortgage lending, stock transactions or any exchange of value the record keeping.

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Budapest gets bitcoin taxis

euronews.com / 11/02 17:24 CET

Do you need a taxi and don’t have cash or a credit card? Well if you’re in Hungary’s capital Budapest you’re in luck if you hold some bitcoin.

It is the latest city where you can use the virtual currency to pay your cab driver.

Bitcoin is known for several things – the volatility of its value against traditional currencies and fact that the electronic transactions are anonymous, which has led to accusations it could be used for criminal activity.

András Lőwy is the chief executive of COinPAY, the company which has set up the taxi pay scheme. He told euronews he is just trying to be helpful: “Our company wants those with bitcoins to be able to spend them on services, products, in shops, because it creates business and it helps those who need that service.”

Lőwy believes this kind of legitimate commercial use of bitcoins should help improve its reputation.

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Bitcoin Price Watch; Keeping Things Simple

newsbtc.com / 

Here’s what we are looking at in the bitcoin price for Friday’s European session and beyond…

After what started off as a promising week in the bitcoin price and our intraday strategy, but as the week went on things got a little choppy. We slated two technical charting patterns that have a decent rate of success – the head and shoulders pattern on Wednesday and the triangle pattern during yesterday afternoon, and while both completed (in the sense that they validated and we got an entry) they went on to take out our stop losses in both instances. Whether we’ll get a little more fortune over the weekend remains to be seen – I predict we might not see much volume and this might translate to some pretty weak momentum? Why? Because there is discord in the bitcoin space at the moment, and this might weigh on people’s sentiment. If anything, we will likely see some selling pressure as people unload any speculative coin holdings while the whole classic/core debate plays out.

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Bitcoin Is Too Libertarian to Save the Developing World, Says UN Paper

motherboard.vice.com / JORDAN PEARSON / February 11, 2016 // 01:33 PM EST

For Bitcoin evangelists, every economic disaster is also an opportunity to, well, promote Bitcoin. From Greece to South Africa, Bitcoin has been vaunted as a technology with world-saving power, either by replacing a broken money system wholesale or just making it easier for people living in the West to send money back to their families at home.

But a new UN working paper disagrees with the boosterism around Bitcoin’s place in developing or destabilized economies. According to the report, written by independent researcher Brett Scott for the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, most Bitcoin startups are just too damn libertarian to take up the altruistic challenge of helping less privileged people. In other words, Bitcoin is filled with people who believe in individualist, market-led solutions to collective problems of public import.

“It is one thing to use Bitcoin to provide a counter-power to the powerful cartels of banks in nations like the United States, but in a country like Zimbabwe the real need may be to strengthen the integrity of the banking system, something that can only be achieved by hard, long-term political battles,” Scott writes.

“Escaping weak local institutions might help individual people, but does little to empower the broader social majority who remain reliant on the existing systems,” he adds.

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Slush Pool Introduces Provably Fair Bitcoin Mining

bitcoinmagazine.com / Aaron van Wirdum / 3:01 AM Malay Peninsula Standard Time February 12th, 2016

Bitcoin mining today is dominated by mining pools. These mining pools arguably have a strong hold on the Bitcoin network, but also on their own participants. Since mining pools typically operate with little transparency, participants must issue a lot of trust in pool operators not to cheat them out of Bitcoin.

Czech Republic-basedSlush Pool – accounting for some4 percent of total hash power on the Bitcoin network – now believes it has solved this problem. Its “provably fair” mining should take away any mistrust – plus introduce some added benefits.

A Quick Recap on Mining

Miners are the entities on the Bitcoin network that confirm transactions and secure the network with hash power by finding Bitcoin blocks. These blocks include several types of data, most importantly transactions, but also the previous block header (linking blocks together), a timestamp and a random number called a “nonce.”

Using a mathematical trick called hashing, miners combine and scramble all of this data into an unpredictable random number called a hash, which is the “block header,” identifying the block. The same data will always result in the exact same block header, but if even a tiny alteration is made to any of the data, it will result into a completely new hash.

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Ethereum Price Rise being led by Bitcoin Flight

newsbtc.com / 

Ethereum has been the “wonder” of the crypto currency world for a second week in a row. As the Bitcoin blocksize debate has caused disunity and discord amongst the bitcoin community, a fair amount of BTC money is flooding across into ETH.

Ethereum has been the “wonder” of the crypto currency world for a second week in a row. As the Bitcoin blocksize debate has caused disunity and discord amongst the bitcoin community, a fair amount of BTC money is flooding across into ETH. 

That said the market cap of Ethereum has breached the $350 million dollar market cap putting it second in CryptoCompare’s market capitalisation rankings overtaking Ripple and Litecoin.

So what has caused this rampant price rise. Although there hasn’t been a major news piece to drive the price, there has been a trickle of minor announcements that have shown increasing adoption and approval of Ethereum and its underlying technology – from a gradual approach towards Homestead at 80% complete, Consensys releases, R3’s continued support of Ethereum, ubuntu phone collaboration and the Bitnation constitution being coded in Ethereum.

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Why Bitcoin’s Scaling Debate is An Opportunity Not a Flaw

coindesk.com / Nozomi Hayase / February 11, 2016 at 17:00 GMT

Nozomi Hayase PhD, is a writer covering issues of freedom of speech, transparency and decentralized movements.

In this article, she argues bitcoin’s divisive scalability debate should be seen as just another phase in the growth for the digital currency project.

The prolonged scaling issue has turned into what some have been calling bitcoin’s existential crisis.

As proposals for alternative solutions to Bitcoin Core’s roadmap were put forward and Bitcoin Classic gained traction, the divergence in technical approach has devolved into a heated debate. Emotionally charged disputes on Reddit and Twitter with censorship and personal attacks have divided the community.

This split over the protocol harkens back to differences in views that arose at the onset of this technology between economists and those with computer science backgrounds. The former often denounced it as a deflationary currency with fundamental flaws, while the latter tended to praise it and tout its significant potential.

Since its inception, the question of what bitcoin is has continuously evolved. As it began to mature, bitcoin slowly shed layers of skin, helping people view the technology on its own merits.

Perhaps, this recent block size debate marks another phase in bitcoin’s development, calling for an even deeper understanding of Satoshi’s invention.

Unprecedented security model

At its genesis, bitcoin was envisioned to be a purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash. In the seminal white paper, Satoshi Nakamoto stated it would allow “online payments be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution”.

The core invention solves the problem of double-spend using “a peer-to-peer distributed timestamp server to generate computational proof of the chronological order of transactions”. Satoshi outlined how the implementation of this required “hash-based proof-of-work forming a record that cannot be changed without redoing the proof-of-work”.

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BitPay’s Stephen Pair: Community Needs to Become Proficient at Managing Bitcoin Forks

bitcoinmagazine.com / Aaron van Wirdum / 3:41 AM Malay Peninsula Standard Time February 12th, 2016

As opposing sides in Bitcoin’s long-lasting scaling dispute seem to be inching closer, one of the remaining sources of contention is not whether, but how to achieve a small block size bump.

The Bitcoin Core development team wants to increase the maximum block capacity through a Segregated Witness soft fork, which has since been embraced by a large part of Bitcoin’s development community and a significant segment of the Bitcoin industry.

Others, like CEO of major payment processor BitPay Stephen Pair, believe the perceived benefits of soft forks over hard forks are being overstated.

Speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, Pair explained:

“I think soft forks aren’t the panacea that many people perceive them to be. It’s true that not all nodes on the network need to upgrade at the same time with a soft fork. But once the majority of hashing power has adopted new consensus rules, anyone running a full node should probably want to upgrade to validate the new transaction semantics. And this is especially true when you consider that SPV-nodes make the assumption that peers are performing full validation to keep miners in check.”

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The Bitcoin Round Table States its Case for Core

newsbtc.com / 

The Bitcoin Round Table just released an essay proposing five key points for the advancing of bitcoin. Here’s what you need to know.

The bitcoin block size debate is one that has raged for a considerable amount of time now, and it looks set to continue further. Just yesterday, prominent bitcoin exchange Coinbase revealed it would be running Bitcoin Classic nodes. The announcement was met with a mixed response, slightly weighted to the negative side of things, but perhaps the most interesting response was that of the Bitcoin Round Table viathis Medium post, titled “A Call For Consensus” (of course, that it comes as a response to Coinbase’s move is speculative, but it’s far from an unreasonable conclusion).

For those that haven’t heard of the Bitcoin Round Table, it’s a group of industry leaders that ranges from exchange CEOs to mining pool operators. The latter accounts for at least 70% of the hashing power on the network, and so it has influence in the space – but some might also say this translates to a potential for bias towards bitcoin core.

The essay starts by referencing the debate, and the problems that bitcoin – in its current iteration – faces when it comes to scale and, in turn, increased adoption; namely, the Block Size Issue. It then goes on to outline five points that the authors feel should be focus areas in the bitcoin development space. These are:

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CoinTree Announces Recurring Bitcoin Purchases Feature

econotimes.com / February 12, 2016 12:06 PM UTC

CoinTree, an Australia-based bitcoin exchange, has recently announced their latest feature that provides its users with an option to set up a recurring bitcoin purchase plan. The feature will enable users to automatically purchase bitcoin from their standard bank account at regular intervals.

CoinTree, founded in 2013, is the first Australian exchange to offer this feature and aims to allow Australian residents to gradually accrue bitcoin over time. With this new level of automation, the company aims to offer an easy way to the users to slowly diversify their investments into bitcoin and eliminate the hassle of frequent trips to the bank or reminders to transfer funds.

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