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MGT Capital Investments, Tera Group to Create First Publicly Traded US Bitcoin Derivatives Exchange

bitcoinmagazine.com / GIULIO PRISCO on MARCH 2, 2015

MGT Capital Investments announced a planned merger with Tera Group, which operates the first regulated U.S. Bitcoin derivatives exchange. The merger will create the first publicly traded U.S. Bitcoin derivatives exchange.

As observed by The Wall Street Journal, this is a reverse merger where Tera will take a controlling stake in MGT. Tera doesn’t seem too interested in MGT’s gaming operations, so the operation is primarily a way for Tera to go public. In other words, Tera is buying a public listing on the stock market for its Bitcoin operations.

Tera has played a leading role in the development of Bitcoin derivatives. In September 2014, Tera launched TeraExchange, the first regulated U.S. Bitcoin derivatives exchange, and TeraBit, a spot Bitcoin price index based on real-time data from a number of Bitcoin exchanges. The TeraBit price index is used as the settlement rate for USD/Bitcoin derivatives transactions.

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US Application for Bitcoin Trademark Turned Down

newsbtc.com / Gola Yashu / Mar 3, 2015 9:44AM GMT

United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) recently rejected a patent application (Reg 86135516) for the trademark ‘Bitcoin’ filed by Urban Trend LLC, a Californian household product company.

The motion came to rest as a part of default judgment, when Urban Trend failed to submit an answer to the patent’s opposer Russ Smith, the owner of Atlantic City Bitcoin, LLC and HELP.ORG LLC. In his application, the opposer had described himself as the registered owner of the trademark ‘MILLY BITCOIN’ (Reg 4435599) and had accused Urban Trend of committing a fraud during the application for registration.

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Epicenter Bitcoin #68 – Kamikaze Attack, Block Halving And The Perils Of Proof-Of-Work

Published on March 2nd, 2015 by Epicenter Bitcoin

Reddit Engineer Explains Why Cryptocurrency Plans Were Scrapped

insidebitcoins.com / Kyle Torpey / Mar 2, 2015 5:08 PM EST

NEW YORK (InsideBitcoins) — Former Reddit Cryptocurrency Engineer Ryan X. Charles (a pseudonym) was recently interviewed on the Let’s Talk Bitcoin podcast, and he tried to explain exactly what happened while he was working behind the scenes at “the frontpage of the Internet.” The bitcoin community was excited to hear about the hiring of a cryptocurrency engineer when it was first announced, but it doesn’t seem that Reddit had much of an actual plan when it came to what they were going to do with the digital currency. Charles described a state of turmoil from the day he arrived at the company, and the lack of organization could be blamed for the failure of the reddit notes project.

Crazy times at Reddit

Before he was hired as Reddit’s new cryptocurrency engineer, Charles had a chat with Yishan Wong, who was the CEO at the time. He noted that Wong seemed to understand the potential of bitcoin and how it could “enable the financial infrastructure of Reddit.” Due to Wong’s belief in bitcoin, Charles decided to leave his job at BitPay and start working on cryptocurrency applications for Reddit.

Although the company’s CEO was completely behind finding a way to bring bitcoin to Reddit, that didn’t matter when Wong suddenly quit about a month and half into Charles’s time at the company. The exact reason for Wong’s decision is not known, but he made a post on Quora saying that he was simply exhausted. Charles claims that this explanation is plausible due to all of the turmoil that was going on at Reddit during this time.

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Alien Invasion iOS Game Lets Users Earn Bitcoin for App Referrals

coindesk.com / Pete Rizzo / March 2, 2015 at 21:15 GMT

A new iOS app allows users to help save mankind from a “reptilian alien invasion” and earn bitcoins in the process.

Tigara Games released its first title, Uranus Attacks!, for iOS users on 1st March. Built using the Coinbase API, users are rewarded with bitcoin dispensed in Coinbase wallets, about $0.05 according to developers, for encouraging others to enroll in the apocalyptic resistance effort.

The brainchild of developer Amer Qureshi, the release is the product of six months of development during which he sought to tie bitcoin into an iOS gaming experience.

Qureshi told CoinDesk:

“I don’t know what the latest stats are, but there are only 2 million people with bitcoin out there, but think of how many people have games. With all of these people from the gaming side starting to get bitcoin for free, knowledge of bitcoin could grow beyond what it is today and that’s good for everyone.”

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After Technical Issues, Oliver Janssens and Jim Harper Win Bitcoin Foundation Seats

cointelegraph.com / Ian DeMartino / 2015-03-03 09:34 AM

The results of the Bitcoin election run-off are in, and Oliver Janssens and Jim Harper are the newest members of the Bitcoin Foundation board.

The initial run-off vote took place using Swarm and the blockchain. It was an attempt at an innovative and potentially ground-breaking method of casting votes. However, the vote was plagued with problems, and anyone looking for an example of how blockchain voting could change the world is better off looking elsewhere.

The vote was “rebooted” to their previous system, provided by Helios. Helios was always the backup plan, but blockchain enthusiasts are surely disappointed it came to that.

Janssens was the lead vote getter, with 63 % of members approving his inclusion.  Harper came in second with 60 % of members approving his appointment.

Janssens is the more controversial of the two. This past summer he put up a US$100,000 bounty for software that could replace the Bitcoin Foundation’s perceived control over Bitcoin development. In announcing his win on Twitter, he proclaimed a mandate for big changes at the Bitcoin Foundation.

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BITCOIN PRICE RISES 10% AFTER FRONT PAGE OF WALL STREET JOURNAL

cryptocoinsnews.com / Evander Smart / March 3, 2015 at 9:33 am CET

Didn’t it tickle your fancy yesterday to find that Bitcoin starts the month of March at the very top of the Wall Street Journal with a banner ad for their feature article? (I’ll assume for the sake of argument that you read the daily bible of the financial world as religiously as it is printed.) Wasn’t it also scintillating to find that Bitcoin’s price, as generally irrelevant as it is, rose a solid 10% over the course of Monday? Coincidence? I think not.

Bitcoin price takes off Monday morning

Bitcoin price was heading back downward all weekend long and dropped to $245 on Sunday, after several days above $250. Then, the deliveries of the WSJ morning edition start hitting the street, and it’s fortunes turn right around, peaking at over $270. Did many investors have buy orders on BTC at $250, and they started getting pulled first thing Monday morning? Sure. Does that explain its passing $270 on Monday night? No. So I’ll happily give WSJ the credit for its bull run. Not the first time the media has influenced a commodity price, and it won’t be the last. Maybe they’ll cut it down in April, and BTC will have to give back the gains? Won’t be the first time for that either.

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Bitcoin Price Technical Analysis for 3/3/2015 – Bitcoin Zenith

newsbtc.com / Dr Tamer Sameeh / Mar 3, 2015 5:53AM GMT

Bitcoin price continued rising as the market’s buying volume is increasing constantly. A high of around $280 was printed earlier today and if the current bullish momentum continues and bitcoin price exceeds $284, it will face no considerable resistance on its way up to $320.

By studying the 4 hour Bitfinex (BTC/USD) charts from tradingview.com, keeping the same Fibonacci retracement fan we created during yesterday’s analysis and plotting the William’s Alligator indicator accordingly (look at the below chart), we can notice the following:

  • Bitcoin price is continuing to record higher highs as it broke through the 38% Fibonacci retracement fan level and is now heading to $284 which corresponds to the 62% Fibonacci retracement level.
  • If bitcoin price rises above $284 within the next few hours, it will inevitably reach the $320 level as there is no significant resistance between the 50% and the 62% Fibonacci retracement levels as proven by the price transformation on 25-26 January.

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Bitcoin Businesses May Reconsider Quebec After Policy Announcement

bitcoinmagazine.com / CHRISTIE HARKIN on MARCH 2, 2015

If you operate an exchange, bitcoin automated teller machine or any other money services operation that does business with Quebec residents, you will need to comply with its updated Money Services Businesses Act regardless of where in the world you are based.

This new policy document was first made public on February 1, 2015 (updated to March 1, 2015), and experts have been trying to determine what it means for bitcoin businesses both within Quebec and outside its borders.

The document says that anyone offering money services (that is, currency exchange; funds transfer; issue or redemption of traveler’s checks, money orders or bank drafts; check cashing; and operation of an automated teller machine) must be licensed by Quebec’s Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), or the Authority of Financial Merchants, in order to do business with clients in Quebec.

For companies not based in Quebec, that means hiring a local representative in the province, usually a lawyer or law firm, to handle the paperwork and act on their behalf in any dealings with the AMF.

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Transparency: A Fresh Look at the Bitcoin Foundation, Part Two

letstalkbitcoin.com / Sam J / March 2nd, 2015

In my first post in this series, I introduced some basic aspects of the foundation and provided a single example of what I call fragmented communication; in part two, I will look at what information is and isn’t currently available from the Bitcoin Foundation website.

According to the transparency page, there are several faces involved with the organization. While it is acknowledged that some of these people are paid employees and others are volunteers, the website does not share this information directly. If a user wants to find out, they have to manually dig through a scanned tax return (PDF). Even then, it only shares figures from 2013.

It is understandable that the tax and financial system moves slowly, but the fact that a user only has access to certain information (for instance determining who paid employees are) via a document that is more than a year old makes it extremely difficult to access information that is still relevant. My own personal standards are that financial information should be provided in a more up-to-date manner, but perhaps the current system is a necessary compromise in a world where Bitcoin has not yet become more accepted.

Going against the page’s title (“transparency”), no information is shared regarding current membership figures, and there is no way to see direct contact information, social media links, or further biographical information about any of the foundation’s employees or board members.

This lack of information makes it challenging to ascertain exactly what each person’s responsibility actually encompasses, what they do on a day-to-day basis, or whether they work for the foundation as a volunteer or as a paid employee. A great example of this is the peculiar case of Andrew Lampe’s profile, which describes his role as “product” with no further explanation. (Although the “product” title is listed on other websites, there is still not explanation of what that title entails.)

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Bitcoin Around the World: Norway

insidebitcoins.com / Ian Jackson / Mar 2, 2015 7:59 AM EST

LONDON (InsideBitcoins) — Preconceptions about Norway should be at best, mulled over and dismissed. Norway is a land of mixed messages. A windswept peninsula in the northern periphery of Europe might be a familiar moniker but it remains one that fails to capture all that the country has to offer.

Norway sits on the same latitude as Alaska and Siberia but the climate is, surprisingly enough, one of the more alluring cards it can bring to the table. Temperatures reach 30 degrees Celsius in summer months. The narrow inlets surrounded by steep cliffs — so quintessentially Norwegian that their very name, fjords, remains one of the few unaltered Nordic words in the English language — are peppered with summer swimmers.

Though the Gulf stream winds it’s fine toothed tendrils across Norway’s coast all year round, its warming effect inevitably fails and the flaxen hues of Autumn pause for a moment  before colliding with the caustic blanche of winter. The land turns into a snow clad paradise of unsurpassed purity; not even the word pristine can do Norway justice. Frozen waterfalls echo the greenish haze of the northern lights, coastal gales sculpt the snow drifts into seemingly impossible geometric constructs and everywhere the wind arches its back and howls across the plains. Small wonder that cross country skiing

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Top 8 Ways to Book a Flight with Bitcoin

cointelegraph.com / Amanda B. Johnson / 2015-03-02 06:13 PM

The air transportation industry is waking up to the savings and security offered by cryptocurrency. There are many different ways to book a flight with Bitcoin, and there’s even more than one way to fly. I thought you could use a guide.

Here are the top eight ways to get from A to B without mucking around in fiat:

1. Book through CheapAir or BTCTrip: These services interface with the airlines and handle payment, just like Expedia, Travelocity, etc.

The commission fees are next to nothing, and you don’t have to place your credit card information into the hands of (yet another) breach-able corporation.

2. Fly an airline that accepts Bitcoin directly, like AirBaltic: This Latvia-based airline set the stage for others to follow when they began accepting Bitcoin in mid-2014. It should be noted – their coverage extends far outside Latvia.

3. Book a private jet: While the idea may seem lavish at first, private jets aren’t always as spendy as you might think. In fact, bitcoin-accepting private jet companies like JetVizor routinely post single seats that need to be filled at a last minute. These last-minute rates are cheaper than their usual rates, and are sometimes even comparable with regular airline rates.

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Bitcoin Startups Bring Rebittance Service to Argentina and Mexico

coindesk.com / Tanaya Macheel / March 2, 2015 at 19:25 GMT

Bitcoin startups Volabit and SatoshiTango have opened a money transfer service between their respective countries through a collaboration called Coinnect.

Volabit framed the offering as a bitcoin-powered international money bridge for remittances and global commerce that will minimize the bitcoin learning curve.

Bitcoin is hidden from the Coinnect user experience. Those wanting to send money via Coinnect need only deal in their local currencies without worrying about bitcoin’s price volatility.

Volabit co-founder Tomas Alvarez told CoinDesk:

“We believe that bitcoin has huge untapped potential to change international money-sending beyond traditional remittances. Due to the inertia of old habits and trust lacking in new technologies, however, bitcoin services have failed to meaningfully compete against existing services thus far.”

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BITCOIN PRICE MAKING HIGHER HIGHS

cryptocoinsnews.com / Venzen Khaosan / March 2, 2015 at 8:32 pm CET

Bitcoin price was sold down with wide participation, but the sell-off was cushioned by thousands of buy orders below. Price is back above Fib line support for now. With or without additional correction the direction during the coming days remains up. Meanwhile, Bitcoin buy-and-hold investment has gained another institutional player.

Bitcoin Price Analysis

Bitfinex 15-Minute Chart

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Augur Bets on Bright Future for Blockchain Prediction Markets

coindesk.com / Pete Rizzo /n March 1, 2015 at 13:30 GMT

“You say prediction market and people are like ‘What’s that?’ – it doesn’t sound that important or lucrative or interesting.”

That’s Jeremy Gardner, best known as the director of the College Cryptocurrency Network, talking about the first reactions some may have to his latest project, Augur, the decentralized, blockchain-based prediction market founded by Jack Peterson and set to launch a token crowdsale this spring.

Common perceptions aside, Gardner and core developer Joey Krug are out to prove that a platform that allows participants to bet on the outcome of real-world events can be a vehicle for social good, rather than simply another outlet for digital gambling.

In conversation with CoinDesk, Gardner and Krug sought to portray Augur as a project that plans to use decentralized public ledgers to create a way for anyone in any field, from finance, healthcare and governance, to tap into the collective forecasting power of a global user base.

Gardner said:

“With bitcoin, it’s a better money than what we have, but it’s a version of what we have today. We’ve never really had a wildly popular prediction market. We’ve never had these open-source tools to be able to bet on the Internet and turn that into a social good.”

Both Gardner and Krug have left college to launch the six-person project, one that boasts financial support from Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin and the guidance of Ron Bernstein, founder ofIntrade, what was until the time of its shutdown in 2013 one of the more well-known prediction markets.

Speaking to CoinDesk, Bernstein said he expressed an early interest in the project as he views it through the lens of his own struggles trying to launch a similar, though centralized, platform.

The Intrade and Tradesports CEO compared the challenges the project faces to tech giants like Uber, which have tested regulatory boundaries in order to ensure they are first to market with a potentially powerful idea.

“The potential for Augur is really about the distributed participation from the exchange operators as well as from the exchange users and the ability to distribute that in the way that they propose has never been done,” Bernstein said.

A tumultuous history

At present, there are more immediate hurdles for Augur. One of which is ensuring that the public can get behind a prediction market, especially when their rocky history has clouded public perception about what they are and what they aim to achieve.

Prediction markets allow their users to buy and sell shares in the outcome of an event. The current market price of a share is then an estimate of the probability that event will occur. Already, many academic researchers attest that such platforms, while incorporating aspects of gambling, do have practical value.

“Prediction market prices have informational value because they aggregate the beliefs of market participants and reveal what the market overall forecasts are the odds of the event at hand occurring,” a 2014 report by Mercatus Research explains.

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Do Cryptocurrencies Such as Bitcoin Have a Future?

PHOTO: BLOOMBERG NEWS

wsj.com / March 1, 2015 11:09 p.m. ET

Despite the mystery, the whiff of scandal, and general public unfamiliarity with the concept, somebody out there is buying, and selling, not just bitcoin but dozens of other cryptocurrencies as well. The total market capitalization for these unregulated electronic forms of payment was roughly $4.04 billion as of mid-February, according to coinmarketcap.com, a website that tracks trading in alternative currencies. More than 500 altcoins, as they are also known, were represented on the site recently.

Growing global demand for low-cost, swift transactions—by cutting out banks—is one of the main forces driving interest in alternative currencies in recent years. Another, of course, is pure speculation.

Perhaps the most common criticism of cryptocurrencies is that, unlike traditional currencies, they have no basic underlying value. Supporters will counter that, like a lot of investments, a cryptocurrency is worth whatever the market says it is.

But that’s an argument that can cut both ways, especially in bitcoin’s case: Since reaching roughly $1,147 in December 2013, the value of a bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency by market cap, has plunged about 80%.

Time will tell which alternative currencies, if any, will grow in acceptance and value.

Are we at the start of an era in which new monetary systems will be adopted?

Or should we keep our hands on our wallets?

Are we at the start of an era in which new monetary systems will be adopted?

Or should we keep our hands on our wallets?

Arguing that there is indeed a future for cryptocurrencies, or at least the technologies that some of them are based on, is Campbell R. Harvey, a professor of finance at Duke University in Durham, N.C. Taking the other side, that the lack of guarantees and controls cannot be overlooked, is Eric Tymoigne, an assistant professor of economics at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore.

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Bitcoin Foundation Elects Olivier Janssens and Jim Harper as New Board Members

newsbtc.com / Gola Yashu / Mar 1, 2015 10:12PM GMT

Olivier Janssens and Jim Harper eventually ended up as the winners of the recently-held Bitcoin Foundation election after procuring 277 and 264 votes, respectively. Their nearest rival Michael Perklin managed to bag only 229 out of the total 440 casted votes.

The election, that was held in order to democratically elect the two new board members for the Bitcoin Foundation, facedcriticism for being poorly managed. The foundation was accused by its lifetime and annual members of parachuting to a new, untested on-blockchain voting platform that eventually turned out to be highly lapsed. This pushed an already-delayed election round to yet another day, only to be executed to conclusion by the foundation’s old voting platform Helios.

The irregularities however never impacted the voters’ favorites, which remained in the same order as they were in the first “result-less” election. Olivier Janssens, who topped the previous election after obtaining a 46.7% voter approval, stayed on top after securing a whopping 63% approval in the runoff election. Similarly, the runner up of the last election, Jim Harper, secured a 60% voter approval this time.

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PAYPAL FOUNDER PETER THIEL COMMENTS ON STATE OF BITCOIN

cryptocoinsnews.com / Evander Smart / March 2, 2015 at 11:00 am CET

The idea of creating a new currency outside of national systems is not new or original. There have been electronic cash attempts that have dated back to the 1980’s in the U.S., and PayPal was created to be a new online currency. The timing was perfect, as regulations were light for online businesses back then, as the Internet was only ten years old, and regulators were still several years behind the curve. Now, Bitcoin has succeeded in making a new global online currency anyone can use for free, and Peter Thiel has some commentary on its progress.

PayPal founder talks about Bitcoin

Legendary investor and PayPal creator Peter Thiel tried and failed to make a Bitcoin-like online currency ten years before Satoshi Nakamoto made it a reality. Instead, he made PayPal a leader in global payments systems and was asked about where Bitcoin stands today versus something like PayPal at the ButtonWood Gathering in New York earlier this month.

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CoinSpark Open Sources a PayPal-Like Messaging Feature for Bitcoin

cointelegraph.com / Alyssa Hertig / 2015-03-02 10:42 AM

When sending payments, popular services PayPal and SWIFT allow users to attach private messages that add an explanation about the payment. Before now, bitcoin services haven’t supported this feature. However, CoinSpark just launched a tool that works that accomplishes this for bitcoin transactions. They open sourced this tool so that developers can implement the feature in their own applications.

These messages, inserted as metadata on the blockchain, give context for the transaction. Users can explain that a transaction is payment for a loan, for instance, or payment for a bet. The message can come in a variety of forms, whether an explanatory note, an invoice, or a video. Only the sender and receivers can view the message.

This is how the message looks before sent:

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Kim Dotcom Has Big Plans For Bitcoin And Blockchain Technology

btcfeed.net / Traderman / March 1, 2015

It is slowly dawning on everyone how centralized and corrupt the political and monetary system of the world has become. In 2010, Julian Assange and his WikiLeaks organization found out how quickly they can be ostracized by the financial establishment and online payment processors such as PayPal, that cave in to the will of the US corporatocracy. WikiLeaks had only one option left, turn to Bitcoin or die. Kim Dotcom, the founder of MEGA (file-sharing service), has found himself in the same position as WikiLeaks. PayPal has decided to distance themselves from Mega by severing their multi-year business relationship as a result of a report released by NetNames, funded by MPAA. The report accused Mega of not being a “legitimate” cloud storage service i.e. safe haven for movie pirates. According to statement released by MEGA, “MEGA is aware that Senator Leahy (Vermont, Chair Senate Judiciary Committee) then pressured Visa and MasterCard to cease providing payment services to the companies named in that report.”

MEGA made an effort to demonstrate that their service is legitimate, but PayPal did not like the end-to-end encryption that provides complete anonymity to users of MEGA.

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