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[258] The Future of Bitcoin

Boom BustPublished on Dec 17, 2014

BLOCKCHAIN UNIVERSITY LAUNCHES WITH COURSE IN CRYPTOCURRENCY

cryptocoinsnews.com / Scott Fargo / December 19, 2014

Blockchain University has launched with its Pure Blockchain course geared towards serious developer. Mostly what people think about when they hear the word Bitcoin is the cryptocurrency. But many others think of the underlying technology and what else it can do. The blockchain is a foundation on which so much can be done not just cryptocurrencies.

It is so robust that even Patrick Byrne of Overstock has Counterparty developers working on an alternative to the stock exchange based on the blockchain. The launch of an intensive course about the blockchain will help more people realize the potential of the technology, and more innovation will be done with it based on this new knowledge.

Blockchain University starts out with an intensive eight-week course that is done on Saturdays to accommodate the needs of most people. The courses will teach people the basics of Bitcoin and the blockchain right into working with the source code.

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ChangeTip CEO Nick Sullivan: We Won’t Sell User Data

coindesk.com / Pete Rizzo / December 18, 2014

“I feel like we’re a charity getting yelled at.”

That was the initial, emotional reaction of founder and CEO Nick Sullivan to a wave of criticism launched yesterday against his micropayments startup, ChangeTip, a company that has emerged as one of bitcoin’s most buzzed-about businesses for its efforts to promote bitcoin as a force for fun and social good.

In just a few short weeks, ChangeTip has raised $3.5m in seed funding, hired a former product manager fromBlockchain and reported a surprising surge in user metrics as high as 10,000 transactions in a single day. The developments were seen as not only a validation of ChangeTip, but as the startup contends, proof that online tipping could become a powerful use case that helps propel the technology out of the early adopter phase.

This lengthy praise period, however, has given way to backlash, as members of the bitcoin community reacted to an article entitled “ChangeTip Must Die“, authored by Cornell University computer science professor and noted bitcoin observer Emin Gün Sirer.

The polarizing post took aim at ChangeTip for everything from the candor of its users to its plans for monetization, though it was perhaps the criticisms of the company’s data collection policies that carried the most weight among privacy-conscious bitcoin users. The piece speculated that “the only way” for ChangeTip to make money would be for it to sell the information it collects about bitcoin users by observing their social media accounts.

Speaking exclusively to CoinDesk, Sullivan acknowledged that ChangeTip hasn’t been as clear with its users amidst its recent surge in attention, a factor he believes has led to confusion among users about the company and its policies.

Sullivan said:

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Bitcoin Foundation Chairman: We Have a ‘Laser Focus on the Protocol’

cointelegraph.com / Allen Scott / 2014-12-19

At this year’s Money20/20 event held in Las Vegas, CoinTelegraph had a chance to catch up with Marco Santori, the chairman at the Bitcoin Foundation.

Marco shared his thoughts on such topics as regulation, the importance of educating the public, and the goals of the foundation for the near future.

Here is the full interview:

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REPORTING BITCOIN BAD NEWS

insidebitcoins.com / Ian Jackson / Dec 18, 2014

LONDON (InsideBitcoins) — The media’s job is and always has been to sell papers, or air time, or even advertising space. The truth about bitcoin is that the reality of the currency is dull. QR codes, seamless transactions, low costs — these are not things that you can report on a daily basis. The exciting thing about bitcoin is its potential; whatever your feelings towards the currency, the blockchain itself is quite possibly the most significant invention of modern times. It, unlike bitcoin, is easy to understand and easy to exchange since it is quite simply, truth; immutable, immortal and incontestable truth.

Reuters, in recently reporting that “A top Australian law enforcement agency is investigating bitcoin’s role in organised crime,” was simply doing its job. The Australian Crime Commission Director Judt Lind had after all issued a statement that investigators had begun monitoring the “misuse of virtual currencies to facilitate criminal activity.”

The new initiative, dubbed Project Longstrike was not limited to Australian Sovereign territories, it would, according to Lind, have “international reach.”

Pushing the right bitcoin buttons

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Wall Street regulator updates bitcoin rules

thehill.com / Cory Bennett / 12/18/14

The top Wall Street watchdog revealed an updated set of proposed rules on Thursday that would put stricter cybersecurity requirements on banks wishing to use virtual currencies such as bitcoin.

“We have to do our best to stay ahead of the curve to protect consumers and the financial markets from the types of devastating disruptions that could occur as a result of a debilitating cyberattack,” said Benjamin Lawsky, head of the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), during a Bipartisan Policy Center event.

Under the proposal, financial firms handling bitcoins would need to obtain a “BitLicense” from the NYDFS, ensure a strong cyber defense and maintain detailed records of all bitcoin transactions.

Bitcoins only exist virtually, but are increasingly accepted at major online retailers. The currency’s relative anonymity has made it a favorite for cyber criminals.

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COINAPULT DISCOUNTS ANTI-VOLATILITY SERVICE “LOCKS” BY 25 PERCENT

cryptocoinsnews.com / Clay Michael Gillespie / December 19, 2014

Price swings are a major hindrance on the average bitcoin user. It’s easy to fall asleep at night thinking the price will remain steady, only to wake up and realize that your bitcoins dropped $20 in value overnight. It’s one of the major reasons people decide to stay away from day trading bitcoins. The market it unpredictable on a level many traders have never seen before due to the unregulated ecosystem.

Panama-based company Coinapult created a service called Locks to combat constant price volatility in the unstable, open and free bitcoin ecosystem. Launched in July, Locks ties customer’s bitcoins to a range of currencies and assets, such as gold or silver, so they stay at a fixed rate until the customer unlocks them.

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BlockTrust Launches Crowdfunding Platform for Blockchain-Based Projects

cointelegraph.com / Diana Ngo / 2014-12-19

BlockTrust launches the first all-inclusive funding platform for Blockchain projects with project certification and ClearingHouse notarization services, along with multi-sig Bitcoin escrow.

Freshly announced crowdfunding platform BlockTrust, aims to become the best intermediary between Blockchain-based projects and angel investors. “BlockTrust is a service aimed at providing a powerful solution for Blockchain entrepreneurs,” stated CEO and co-founder Artiom Vontolazko.

“Those entrepreneurs are in need of a secure, easy to use platform to fund their projects. We provide that while contributing to a fraud-free environment that traders and investors can take advantage of, rather than being taken advantage of.”

BlockTrust’s team will examine every project and review them for integrity, feasibility and security. Further, the team will also verify the developer’s identity, review the project’s source code and assist entrepreneurs with securing funding.

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Why Bitcoin advocates might like New York’s new proposed rules for virtual currency

washingtonpost.com / Brian Fung / December 18, 2014

One of New York’s top financial regulators is laying out a new policy on Bitcoin and other virtual currencies after a flood of public feedback encouraged the agency to scale back its proposed rules.

New revisions to the proposal would trim some requirements on Bitcoin-related businesses, and clarify others. Among the key changes? Companies covered by the regulations will no longer be required to store the addresses of every person involved in a Bitcoin transaction — an idea privacy hawks have said would deter people from adopting virtual currencies. Now, companies regulated by New York’s so-called BitLicense will only be required to gather transaction information from their own customers, said Ben Lawsky, New York’s superintendent of financial services, at a Washington conference Thursday.

In addition, covered companies will only have to store that information for seven years, down from the 10 years Lawsky’s agency, the department of financial services, was previously considering.

“Virtual currencies really sit at that crossroads of the much more lightly regulated tech sector and the more heavily regulated financial sector,” said Lawsky, who added that all financial companies ought to be supervised to “ensure that consumers’ money doesn’t just disappear into a black hole.”

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Lawsky Outlines Revisions to New York’s BitLicense in DC Speech

coindesk.com / Tanaya Macheel / December 18, 2014

Benjamin M. Lawsky announced the latest revisions to the draft BitLicense today in Washington, DC, presenting a host of changes in response to reactions from its public comment period.

The New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) superintendent delivered the news this morning during a keynote speech hosted by think tank Bipartisan Policy Center, where he touched on the regulatory landscape surrounding digital currencies and other payment technologies.

Lawsky first clarified which players in the digital currency community and industry would be required to obtain the BitLicense, specifying that the NYDFS intends to regulate only financial intermediaries.

Software developers, miners and those who issue loyalty and rewards schemes and gift cards denominated in fiat currency will not be required to obtain a BitLicense. The exemptions also apply to individuals who buy and hold virtual currency for personal investment, as well as virtual currency-accepting merchants and their customers.

Lawsky also said that the NYDFS has reduced the proposed record-keeping requirement for licensees from 10 to seven years, and eliminated a stipulation that licensees must obtain addresses and transaction data for all parties in a transaction.

Licensees now only need to obtain that information “for their own customers or account holders” and, to the extent possible, for “counterparties to the transaction”, according to the superintendent.

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ZIFTRCOIN PRESALE APPROACHING $500,000

cryptocoinsnews.com / Josiah Wilmoth / December 19, 2014

ZiftCOIN, the crypto-commerce altcoin from internet shopping companion Ziftr, recently launched its coin presale with a goal of making cryptocurrency a mainstream payment option. Although more than a month remains in the presale, Ziftr is very pleased with the early returns.

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Latitude, a Blockchain Startup Accelerator, Set to Launch in the Cayman Islands

cointelegraph.com / Diana Ngo / 2014-12-19

A newly announced accelerator program for blockchain ventures is set to launch in January in the Cayman Islands, aiming to take advantage of the location’s heavenly landscapes and favorable tax regime.

Cayman Islands-based accelerator program Latitude announced it will start operating next month in Cayman Enterprise City, subject to regulatory approvals, reported local media outlet Compass Cayman.

Latitude founder Arthur Corry had previously founded the first accelerator, an award-winning program, in Toronto. He believes the Cayman Islands’ special economic zone law offers the most favorable regulatory environment for tech startups to develop and launch globally.

“It is difficult for a company to adjust to a specific regulatory environment and then make a global launch with those restrictions,” explained Corry.

“The other thing we have in Cayman,” shared Managing Director of Community Mary Davies, “is the best and the brightest in structuring transactions.”

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Bitcoin in Africa

letstalkbitcoin.com / Gibson Gibz / December 18th, 2014

This is a guest post written by Gibson Gibz, founder of the Kenyan Bitcoin startup Bitsoko.

Africa is really in the gray area as far as bitcoin is concerned, that aside there is a lot going on in the bitcoin space and a noticeable opportunity for business and investment.

Bitcoin is now moving from the early adopters to the early majority and it goes without saying that the infrastructure required to make bitcoin mainstream is still a long way out. It is not different in Africa; considering most bitcoin startups are based in the United States, and a lot of progress have been made in Asia, we have not even scratched the surface in mainstreaming Bitcoin adoption in Africa. A lot of gains have been made in South Africa and a lot of progress is being experienced in Kenya and Ghana. The number of innovation related startups across Africa has been on the rise and Africa is breeding more home grown talent. Still, huge challenges lie ahead. Here, I will discuss some of the challenges that Bitcoin will face and how Bitcoin will change the social economic landscape in Africa.

Smartphone Penetration

The Nokia 1100 is by far the most popular phone in Africa, or at least something close to that. A sizeable amount of Africans can attest to having owned this phone or at least used it, reason being it is affordable and very simple to use. If you are in Kenya you are able to manage your bank account from this phone if you are registered with an M-pesa account. Simplicity and ease of use is crucial to Bitcoin adoption in Africa.

The most smartphones sold in Africa have been sold in the last seven years. These are smartphones that the middle and lower class citizens of Africa can afford. Thanks to the open source nature of the Android platform, cheaper versions of these phones have been making their way to Africa. This is the reason why over 82% of the African smartphone market belongs to Android. For a long time, smartphones have been here but affordability has been an issue. The reason for this is that over the years governments have imposed a high tax fee in a bid to raise the capital required to sustain government operations. If incentives can be effected around the mobile end user this will go a long way in boosting smartphone uptake.

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Flipside 11 Bitcoin News: World of Bitcoin @ CES 2015, What Is Bitcoin Top Search, Time For Bitcoin

The FlipsidePublished on Dec 18, 2014

GAW Miners Altcoin Launch Sparks Speculative Frenzy

coindesk.com / Stan Higgins / December 18, 2014

UPDATE (19th December 01:08 BST): Reports indicate that GAW Miners has begun the process of distributing paycoins to its customers.

The weekend launch of GAW Miners’ new altcoin, paycoin, led to a speculative boom in mining rig rental prices and a rarely seen boost in altcoin trading.

Paycoin launched on 12th December, kickstarting both a sharp jump in hosted mining prices and a period of sustained trading on several altcoin exchanges. The coin has attracted attention due to the ongoing discussion surrounding GAW Miners, promises of crypto 2.0 functionality and a commitment to shore up its price at $20.

The altcoin saw significant amounts of hashing power both at launch and since, with as much as 50 PH/s directed toward the coin at fluctuating periods during the week. With 12m paycoins already premined for the company’s investment partners and customers, only about 500,000 paycoins are available for public mining.

The paycoin launch took place amid continued scrutiny of US-based GAW, which is in the process of shifting from a cloud mining-based business model to that of a cryptocurrency payment service and altcoin development team. In past comments, GAW staff, including CEO Josh Garza, have said that the shifting landscape of the mining industry requires change, though critics and customers have voiced scepticism about the bitcoin firm’s evolving nature.

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THE END OF BITCOIN IS ALWAYS NIGH FOR TRADITIONALISTS

cryptocoinsnews.com / P. H. Madore / December 18, 2014

Recently, Washington Post writer Henry Farrell took the opportunity to declare a bleak future for Bitcoin, but more specifically its revolutionary transaction network. His article “Bitcoin’s financial network is doomed” was responding to an article in Vox where the author proclaims that despite the adoption difficulties of Bitcoin as a currency, the long-term success of Bitcoin lay in its technology, that is, the block chain and the seamless global transaction network.

Farrell argues that the network is exactly the reason Bitcoin’s future is nothing but trouble and litigation:

Now, imagine the likely response of the U.S. (and the E.U., and, for that matter, China) to a payment network which is designed from the ground up to be decentralized, so that it is impossible for any specific intermediaries to really control payment flows from one actor to another. Such a network would be impossible for states to control. The U.S. wouldn’t be able to use it, for example, to squeeze Iran out of the world financial system. If such a network ever showed signs of really becoming established (rather than being a relatively small-scale thought experiment, and money suck for libertarians with more ideology than good sense), the U.S. would ruthlessly act to isolate it from the international financial system. […] And that is the story of Bitcoin. Up to this point, regulators have largely tolerated Bitcoin as a curiosity and experiment.

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Future Unclear for Romanian Bitcoin Exchange as Users Withdraw Funds

coindesk.com / Pete Rizzo / December 17, 2014

Update (18th December 09:46 GMT): The latest update on the BTCXchange website states: “Please imperatively to withdraw money from BTCXchange.ro platform. We currently do not have access to the server!”

Update (18th December 03:30 GMT): Updated with comment from Coinzone.

BTCXchange, Romania’s only order-book bitcoin exchange, has issued a statement encouraging all users to withdraw funds from the platform by Friday, 19th December.

Exchange users were asked to withdraw funds denominated in both bitcoin and US dollars due to unspecified “security reasons”. Further, it remains unclear whether the exchange plans to shut down permanently or if services could be reinstated.

The full message from the BTCXchange, posted on its website and Facebook page, reads:

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Beginning of the End for Clickbait?

letstalkbitcoin.com / Martin / December 17th, 2014

My blog used to be fairly popular. I personally wrote articles every week and sometimes everyday. I was tracking the number of unique visits per day using Google Analytics and the statistics looked great. We were getting thousands of unique visitors each week, and I started getting emails from advertisers. I remembered thinking;

Wow, we can make enough money to pay for hosting, maybe even enough to fund some product giveaways and buy lunch here and there!”

Looking back, I wish I had never tried to monetize my blog because it started to erode the quality of the user experience.

I fell victim to the allure of advertising money, and my blog quickly became overrun by annoying clickbait and popup ads.

Fast forward to present day, and I am proud to say that my blog is completely ad free!

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NOTED TECH EXPERT DON TAPSCOTT, FORMER BITCOIN SKEPTIC, NOW A BELIEVER

insidebitcoins.com / Dec 18, 2014

NEW YORK (InsideBitcoins) — One of the foremost thought leaders on technology in the world — a former bitcoin skeptic — has changed his mind. Don Tapscott, described by Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, as “one of the most perceptive thinkers about the way technology is transforming business and society,” used to think bitcoin “would never fly.”

“I’ve changed my mind. I used to think it would never fly.”

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BITCOIN PANIC SELLING TODAY

cryptocoinsnews.com / Jim Fredrickson / December 18, 2014

Damage was done to the charts today. These pages have been speculating/forecasting a $316 low for the past two weeks. $316 was broken today, hitting $305 as of this writing. We continue to believe that 12/22 is the most likely date of the low. 12/22 is still four days away. A lot can happen in four days, particularly if people are panicking.

This chart is the current 3-day chart. Note that we are only one candle from the projected turn date of 12/22. But the price is now sitting below the support line. That the support line was definitively broken does not bode well on the market short term. It was unexpected and has changed my opinion of the likely market action over the next few days.

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