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This Bitcoin Vending Machine Is Sending Weird Signals About the Future / Trevor Hill / 2016/07/29 5:00 AM

MIT’s Media Lab unveiled a vending machine that accepts bitcoin with a quirky twist — it was stocked solely with Soylent.


Soylent and Bitcoin?

A picture of the vending machine was tweeted out by MIT’s own Ethan Zuckerman last night. In it, you can see the machine was mostly empty aside from a few bottles of Soylent. The vending machine even comes equipped with a QR code for people to conveniently scan.


Here’s How Bitcoin Can Save Media From Broken Adtech / Brady Dale / 07/28/16 

People have gotten wise to online ads and started blocking them all over the world. “It’s been called the biggest boycott ever,” Bitcoin Strategy Group co-founder Victoria Van Eyk said during a panel on media and micropayments at the Blockchain+Digital Currencies conference today in Manhattan. She recently wrote a Medium post called “Ads Suck” in which she writes that lots of top publishers anticipate that ad blocking will reach 30 percent of internet users shortly.

Her co-panelist, Elissa Shevinsky, founder of a stealth mode startup, chimed in to add that ad networks have been used to serve malware to consumers from reputable sites. “I use an ad blocker not because I worry about seeing the ads—I can put up with that—I don’t want to get pwned,” she told the room.

It’s no joke.

Ad networks also track us all over the web. They bog down how pages load. They violate our privacy. They engender distrust with media brands we want to like. Plus, it means that media remains the one giant online industry wide open to man-in-the-middle attacks. Even as online ads introduce all these disadvantages that print, TV and radio never had to worry about, revenue from these cumbersome ads faces an uncertain future.


How Falcon, FIBRE and the Fast Relay Network Speed Up Bitcoin Block Propagation (Part 2) / by Aaron van Wirdum / Jul 29, 2016

Bitcoin is designed as a peer-to-peer network, where nodes randomly connect to other nodes. Transactions and blocks are transmitted over this network by these nodes, until each has received all. This works quite well, as the distributed model makes Bitcoin relatively censorship-resistant; there is no central point of control to shut down or pressure into compliance.

But it also has a significant downside: The peer-to-peer network is relatively slow. As such, miners (and pools) sometimes waste hash power mining on top of an old block while a newer block is finding its way through the network. Transmission delay, therefore, benefits pooled mining as well as geographic clustering of miners, incentivizing a more centralized mining topology. This is generally considered one of the bottlenecks for scalability, as larger blocks (which can include more transactions) propagate even more slowly.


EU wants to create a database of Bitcoin users / Anthony Spadafora / July 29, 2016

The end of anonymity for Bitcoin users may be fast approaching as the EU has put forth a proposal that would require anyone using the cryptocurrency in the member states to register on a database.

The European Commission (EC) is behind the push to take away anonymity from Bitcoin and other virtual currencies with the hope that this could help prevent a number of crimes that use digital wallets as a means of avoiding a paper trail. The proposal would require all users of the cryptocurrency to register using their real-world identity and to provide the addresses of the virtual wallets containing their funds.


Bitcoin experts are having a spat on whether it’s a currency or a commodity / Luke Graham / July 29, 2016

Bitcoin experts have weighed into a debate regarding the legal status of the cryptocurrency following a ruling by a Florida judge last week.

Florida judge Teresa Pooler dismissed felony charges including money laundering against Michell Espinoza, who had sold bitcoins to an undercover detective.

In the ruling published on July 22, Pooler said bitcoins are not “tangible wealth” because of reasons including the fact they “cannot be hidden under a mattress like cash and gold bars.”

“This court is not an expert in economics, however, it is very clear, even to someone with limited knowledge in the area, that bitcoin has a long way to go before it is the equivalent of money,” she said.


Coinbase Extends Bitcoin, Ether Buying in Canada & Singapore / Samburaj Das / 29/07/2016

Digital currency exchange and wallet provider Coinbase has extended bitcoin and ether buying to customers in Canada and Singapore, within days after announcing the same feature to Australian users.

Firmly in its global expansion phase, bitcoin and ether exchange and wallet Coinbase has now enabled its bitcoin and ether buying feature to customers in Canada and Singapore.

Users in the two countries will be able to purchase the cryptocurrencies instantly with their debit and credit cards.

Canadian users will be restricted to buying bitcoin and ether while not being to sell them just yet, similar to their counterparts in Australia. As with Australia, Coinbase says its working toward the selling option and can be expected to be made available soon.


EU Pushes For Bitcoin Database And Transparency / July 29, 2016

Anonymous is the name of bitcoin’s game. But Europe might like to make it less so. The European Commission would like to create a central database of digital currency users to prevent terrorist financing and money laundering – for the obvious reasons.

The regulators there would like to establish a central database by June 2019 whereby, “obliged entities need to collect, process and record personal data, and sometimes to share such data with public authorities (such as FIUs) or with private entities within the same group.”

The challenges for this ambitious plan include personal data violations and insufficient cybersecurity, the darknet being a screaming example. More importantly, cash is actually the preferred currency of illegal transactions and terrorist financing; so while the effect of this proposal may not do much for terrorism or money laundering, it is likely to increase the friction associated with bitcoin transactions.


Blockstream Acquires Bitcoin Wallet, Lightning Network Not The Reason / Olusegun Ogundeji / 2016-07-29

Blockstream’s acquisition of GreenAddress, a Bitcoin wallet software provider based in Europe, has nothing to do with the Lightning Network, says Lawrence Nahum, CEO and founder of GreenAddress.

Blockstream started developing the Lightning Network which is aimed at providing a scalable, instant Bitcoin/Blockchain transactions at a low cost. It is one of scalability ideas which has been proposed by the Bitcoin development community.

Nahum reveals to CoinTelegraph that the acquisition is geared towards improving the wallet.

He says:

“Both teams from GreenAddress and Blockstream have strong and reciprocal appreciation and working as one will improve both the wallet as well as the libraries available for Bitcoin and sidechains. At GreenAddress we always worked hard to find the perfect balance between security, privacy and ease of use. This balance is a moving target and also user/amount dependant so you can never say it’s ‘done’ or ‘perfect’ – software needs to be maintained and updated.”



Demand for bitcoin rises in Malaysia as ringgit falls / JASMINE SOLANA / JULY 29, 2016

Say what you want about bitcoin—yes, we’re looking at you Miami—but there’s no denying that the popular digital currency will continue to be the go-to safe haven asset amid the deteriorating global economic situation.
Bitcoin’s popularity is on the rise in countries such as Venezuela, whose inflation rate is predicted to soar to 1,640 percent in 2017. According to Bitcoin Magazine, there has been an “explosive” growth for digital currency trading in the South American country following the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast.

But the biggest surprise this week came out of Malaysia.

Several media outlets reported that bitcoin trading in the Asian country is “off the charts” due to the weakening Malaysian ringgit, which dropped over 2.7 percent in the past week. Malaysia-based LocalBitcoins reportedly registered its highest trade volume of more than MYR737,218 (USD181,288) worth of bitcoin. That amount may seem small if compared to the overall volume on the blockchain network, but it’s still a milestone for Malaysia’s cryptocurrency community.


Abra Just Electrified Blockchain Entrepreneurs in NYC / Brady Dale / 07/28/16 

A lot of time at the end of conference talks, the moderator vaguely looks around the room and hopes that attendees will raise their hands, but no one does. It’s painful. This was not an issue today at the end of the fireside chat between American Banker editor Marc Hochstein and Abra founder and CEO Bill Barhydt, at the Blockchains+Digital Currencies event today in Manhattan. As soon as their conversation ended, the room full of financial professionals was eager to ask questions.

Abra allows two people to exchange money without someone in the middle by connecting people’s bitcoin wallets. “I’ve been working on some variant of this problem for 10 to 15 years,” Barhydt said during his introduction. Consumers don’t even realize they have bitcoin wallets, though. From their perspective, they have local money.

From the consumer perspective, Abra is a way to put money in an app on your phone and use it to pay people or businesses all over the world, for free or very cheap. It makes the transactions fast by using bitcoin, under the hood. What excited the bankers and financial entrepreneurs in the room so much was this: Barhydt claimed that his company had solved the problem of bitcoin volatility as consumers move currencies like dollars, euros and yen, in and out of the digital currency.


Ethereum’s Two Ethereums Explained / Alyssa Hertig / July 28, 2016 

What started as an attempt to rescue investor funds in a high-profile project has resulted in a schism that has effectively split the community on the second-largest public blockchain.

The split is not only psychological. Thanks to the design of public blockchain systems, it is also technical, with competing visions manifesting in two very real blockchains, or versions of the project’s transaction history.

As of this weekend, there are now two groups working on two competing versions of a project called ethereum, a blockchain-based platform designed to enable decentralized application development.

If bitcoin envisioned how a distributed group of users could create and manage a currency, ethereum sought to allow a distributed group of users to create and manage a decentralized, uncensorable app store. (You can learn more in our latest CoinDesk Research report).

However, there are now two slightly different versions of this platform available to users – ethereum, the ‘official’ version of the blockchain maintained by its original developers, and ethereum classic, an ‘alternative’ blockchain maintained by a wholly new team.

Both offer the same technology platforms, and according to developers, they’re in agreement on a formal roadmap for steps forward. But, the small differences have created two markets, both with a combined value of roughly $1.2bn.


Bitcoin Price Technical Analysis for 07/29/2016 – Potential Reversal? / Sarah Jenn / July 29, 2016 

Bitcoin price has formed a double bottom on its 1-hour time frame but has yet to break above the neckline before confirming the reversal.

Bitcoin Price Key Highlights

  • Bitcoin price has been trending lower recently but it looks like sellers are tired from the decline.
  • A small reversal pattern can be seen on the 1-hour time frame, possibly indicating a short-term reversal.
  • Price has failed in its last two attempts to break below the $645 level, creating a double bottom formation.

Bitcoin price has formed a double bottom on its 1-hour time frame but has yet to break above the neckline before confirming the reversal.


Canadian Banks Experiment With Blockchain Technology; Fintech Sector Calls for Regulatory Certainty / Jessie Willms / Jul 28, 2016

Canada’s central bank, the Bank of Canada, and five other Canadian banks (like a growing number of banks around the world) are experimenting with blockchain technology and a possible digital dollar as the growing demand for digital fintech payment systems puts the squeeze on the traditional banking sector.

At a recent IMF/World Bank conference hosted by the U.S. Federal Reserve, an estimated 90 central banks, including the Bank of Canada, came forward to talk about their research into and experiments with distributed ledger technology (DLT), the blockchain and digital currencies.

The big Canadian banks are also members of the R3 Consortium, which is working with 50 member banks worldwide, developing a foolproof methodology and standard for blockchain technologies for banks.

The Bank of Canada is cautious in commenting on its digital money experiments but is adamant that this is just an experiment and nothing more.

Martin Bégin, a representative speaking for the Bank of Canada, told Bitcoin Magazine:

“What was referred to as CAD-coin is just a means of representing settlement balances on the distributed ledger, like a deposit receipt. It could also be called ‘deposit-coin’ or ‘settlement-coin.’ It doesn’t exist as a medium of exchange outside the experimental wholesale payment system. Our only goal at this stage is to understand the mechanics, limits and possibilities of this technology.”


The Legal Status Of Bitcoin In Africa? Not Exactly Outlawed, About The Same As Poker Chips / Dana Sanchez / July 28, 2016

Like most countries around the world, the cryptocurrency is not illegal in South Africa and acceptance of Bitcoin in Africa is growing, but it remains unregulated, though that could change, according to Crypto Coins News.

South Africa is one of the top users of the digital currency, according to, which provides a real-time overview of global currencies and their flow into Bitcoin, Coin Telegraph reported.

A local South African law firm made global headlines by accepting payment in Bitcoin, and the South African government may be looking into regulating and recognizing Bitcoin in the future, said Kerri Crawford, a tech lawyer with global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright.

“(As) the uptake of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies increases, it is possible that the South African authorities will adopt the approach taken in many other jurisdictions and explore ways in which the regulatory regime could be amended or revised,” Crawford said.

South Africa played host to Africa’s first-ever Bitcoin conference. Bitcoin made more gains there after Bidorbuy — South Africa’s biggest online marketplace gets over 30 million page views a month — enabled bitcoin payments for buyers and sellers.


New Airbitz Bitcoin Wallet Update Offers Significant Improvements / JP Buntinx / July 29, 2016

Bitcoin wallets are not that difficult to find, but there are not all that many good ones either. For mobile users, the number of choices is somewhat limited. Breadwallet, Mycelium, and Airbitz are three of the most commonly used Bitcoin wallet solutions across devices. Airbitz has recently released an updated client, which makes the wallet more power efficient and reliable.


Mobile Bitcoin wallet developers have to remain vigilant at all times. Providing updates is necessary to keep their wallet solution competitive. Airbitz has released version 2.1.0, which is a significant speed improvement compared to previous versions. Moreover, the battery drain has been reduced significantly, which is something all mobile users can enjoy.


Real Estate Crowdfunding Company – BRELION – Launches Bitcoin Digital Currency Investment Opportunity / PRWeb / July 29, 2016

Bitcoin digital currency users now have a new option to invest in real estate by using the funds they’ve stockpiled on Bitcoin and make up to 24% return. True to its cutting edge, alternative investment approach, real estate crowdfunding website Brelion is venturing into Bitcoin with a pilot property, making it the only company offering a Bitcoin digital currency real estate investment option.

Cleveland, Ohio (PRWEB) July 29, 2016

Bitcoin digital currency users now have a new option to invest in real estate by using the funds they’ve stockpiled on Bitcoin and make up to 24% return. True to its cutting edge, alternative investment approach, real estate crowdfunding website Brelion is venturing into Bitcoin with a pilot property, making it the only company offering a Bitcoin digital currency real estate investment option.

The property – a suburban, four bedroom, 1.5 bath residence – was purchased for approximately 30.83 XBT (click here for Bitcoin exchange rate), renovations are expected to cost an estimated 65.49 XBT. The project manager expects the property to appraise for approximately 120.21 XBT at the project’s close and be refinanced to return the equity invested in the home.


Florida Judge Rules Bitcoin is not Money / Matthew Dyckman / 7/28/2016

On July 25, a Florida Circuit Court judge dismissed state criminal charges against a defendant who attempted to sell bitcoins for $30,000 in cash on the ground that bitcoins are not money. Defendant Michell Abner Espinoza allegedly had agreed to sell bitcoins to an undercover Miami Beach police detective who had indicated that he would use the bitcoins to purchase stolen Russian credit-card numbers. Espinoza was charged with one count of unlawfully engaging in business as a money transmitter and two counts of money laundering. Espinoza argued that he had not committed any crime as bitcoin was not money and the purchaser’s intended use for the bitcoins was not his concern. In her opinion, the judge dismissed all charges on the grounds that “bitcoin has a long way to go before it is the equivalent of money,” stating that “Bitcoin may have some attributes in common with what we commonly refer to as money, but differ in many important aspects. While bitcoin can be exchanged for items of value, they are not a commonly used means of exchange. They are accepted by some but not by all merchants or service providers. The value of bitcoin fluctuates wildly and has been estimated to be eighteen times greater than the U.S. dollar. Their high volatility is explained by scholars as due to their insufficient liquidity, the uncertainty of future value, and the lack of a stabilization mechanism. With such volatility they have a limited ability to act as a store of value, another important attribute to money.”


iPayYou Aims to Simplify Bitcoin / Jul 28, 2016

Executive Brief

Like all things technology based, the digital currency industry faces a constant challenge of making the idea and processes of cryptocurrency use and ownership easier for those with no understanding of the technical workings of the systems. While many have focused on ever more elaborate uses of blockchain, digital wallet company iPayYou have sought to address this ease of use issue by offering a simply way to send bitcoins to another person even if they do not have a bitcoin wallet. The latest advance offers Pay-by-Twitter, allowing users to directly send funds to others over twitter for convenient payments.

Read the full story below. 

Ease of use will always be a critical component if Bitcoin or any digital currency is ever going to fulfill its potential and deliver on the promise of a border-less payment and monetary system for all. After a focus on the technology itself, the industry does seem to be waking up to the need for a digital currency ecosystem that is easy for new users to enter and carry out the kind of every day transactions they want without a significant understanding of the technology involved. In other words, making Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency easy to understand and use for people outside the industry itself.


Multisig Wallet Security on the Rise, Protecting 13% of Bitcoin Today / Joël Valenzuela / 2016-07-28 

Today, 13% of Bitcoin is protected by multisig technology.

A growing minority of Bitcoin users employ a multi-signature wallet, which uses more than one private key to access the wallet. By using this approach, wallets are much less vulnerable to security breaches, as no single party possesses all the information necessary to decrypt the wallet.

Princeton professor Arvind Narayanan tweeted about the significance of the multisig uptick:


Mounting Number of Bad Coding Mistakes Haunts The Ethereum Ecosystem / JP Buntinx / July 29, 2016 

The ongoing debate over the Ethereum hard fork decision has brought some interesting concepts to light. Unfortunately for Ethereum investors and holders, it turns out not all of the hyped projects were created through proper coding. Even the Ethereum code base itself is rather fragile, as showcased by the replay attack vector.

The DAO Was A Mistake, Plain And Simple

On paper, the concept behind the DAO was a very solid one, as it holds a lot of promise. Letting users create their own autonomous organizations on the blockchain is one of the many possible outcomes for the future. Unfortunately, this project was ahead of its time by quite a margin, despite raising over US$150m during their crowdfunding efforts.

It became apparent rather quickly this project was very rough around the edges, though. Attackers managed to drain funds from the DAO not once, but twice due to a vulnerability known to the developers. Despite knowing the risk, the team went ahead and continued to hype their project. A lot of people put money into The DAO, and when funds started going missing, panic ensued.

Luckily, the situation got resolved by the Ethereum developers, even though they should have abstained from intervening. Then again, most of them put a lot of money into this project as well, and they wouldn’t take the financial loss and roll over. Instead, they decided to hard fork Ethereum, removing any censorship-free aspects ever associated with this project.

Hard Forking Was A Bigger Mistake

If every Bitcoin investor who lost money due to a failed project would ask for their money back, there would have been hundreds of hard forks. No one took action when Mt. Gox went under. A lot more money was lost back then compared to The DAO’s problems. Plus, The Mt. Gox issue was not due to sloppy coding.