Crypto-Currencies Will Destroy The Criminal Bankster's Monopoly On Money
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Silk Road baron Ross Ulbricht, who has had its share of thrills and emotional eruptions during the entire case, has made every inch of efforts to receive a certain leniency from the US District Judge, Judge Katherine Forrest. He lately wrote her a one-page letter, asking to leave him his old age and grant him a minimum sentence — in this case, 20 years. Excerpt:
“I’ve had my youth, and I know you must take away my middle years, but please leave me my old age. Please leave a small light at the end of the tunnel, an excuse to stay healthy, an excuse to dream of better days ahead, and a chance to redeem myself in the free world before I meet my maker.”
cointelegraph.com / Dan Simon / 2015-05-29 09:43 AM
Reggie Middleton rose to national prominence when he accurately predicted the failure of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and his BoomBustBlog became required reading of analysts, investors and the financial media.
Having built a reputation as a radical financial thinker with guest appearances on CNBC and the Keiser Report just to name a few, Middleton turned his attention to Bitcoin in 2013. Now he’s launching Veritaseum, a Bitcoin solution which aims to disrupt the traditional financial services model by eliminating the need for middlemen.
CoinTelegraph spoke to Reggie Middleton to discuss his background, his solution and where he thinks the Bitcoin industry is headed.
“Several clients asked me to look into Bitcoin, and when I did my jaw dropped.”
– Reggie Middleton
CoinTelegraph: Your personal journey to where you are in the Bitcoin Community today was an interesting one – can you talk a little about that?
insidebitcoins.com / Bitcoinist.net / May 29, 2015 6:00 AM EDT
Over the course of 2015, many individuals and companies have been affected by ransomware. While this may have nothing to do with Bitcoin at first glance, there have been a few cases where the ransomware could only be removed by paying a certain fee in Bitcoin. But those days may be over now, as a decryption toolkit for various types of ransomware has been made publicly available, free of charge.
CryptoLocker and CoinVault Ransomware
Two types of ransomware making headlines all across the world in recent months are called CryptoLocker and CoinVault. Both types of ransomware operate, in the same way, as they infect a computer as soon as an unsuspecting user clicks an unknown link or opens up an attachment sent via email. This is how most types of malware, viruses and ransomware are distributed for years now.
One of the reasons why these types of ransomware are incredibly dangerous is because they encrypt any file on your computer that matches a certain file extension. Whether it is a photo, a document, a saved bookmark or even executable files, they will be off-limits to the end user unless they pay the ransom. Hence, the term ransomware.
To regain access to your files, you will need to enter a decryption key. That sounds easier said than done, as there is no universal decryption key for these types of ransomware. Every infected device requires a uniquely generated decryption key, making it very hard for security experts to counter these types of attacks.
Now that BitLicense is set for implementation pretty soon, the debate is heating up in Wall Street on whether these bitcoin rules could make or break the industry. For some, the increased regulation could shore up more confidence in the feasibility of the bitcoin ecosystem while others think that compliance could prove too costly for most of the startups.
For Steve Wager, head of global operations at digital currency startup itBit, their company takes more of a balanced view on stricter oversight. He noted that while the general reaction seems to be mostly negative, itBit is taking a contrarian stance.
Whether already underway or still to unfold, a wave “C” to the upside may target 1500 CNY / $242 – the location of the longer-term upside resistance level previously discussed in these articles. We take a close-up look at Bitcoin price action and its interaction with the momentum indicators.
cointelegraph.com / Tom Jackson / 2015-05-29 11:30 AM
Eris Industries, which develops software that allows anyone to build secure, low-cost data infrastructure using blockchain and smart contract technology, has ordered all its staff to depart the United Kingdom due to what it calls “completely unnecessary” surveillance powers on data included in the government’s reintroduced Investigatory Powers Bill.
The reintroduced bill, which was blocked previously by the Conservative government’s Liberal Democrat coalition partners, will require internet companies to give security agencies access to encrypted conversations of suspected terrorists and criminals.
The bill is designed to update the UK’s communications data law and assist the security services in combating terrorism, and includes a mandatory requirement for software companies to include cryptographic backdoors, which can be accessed by MI5 and other government agencies.
Eris Industries, whose business is industrial cryptography, had said in January it would leave the country and move its headquarters to North America if the bill was reintroduced, and the company has now acted on that threat.
Preston Byrne, COO and general counsel for Eris Industries, said:
insidebitcoins.com / Bitcoinist.net / May 29, 2015 10:00 AM EDT
Bitcoin and the backbone technology it has, the blockchain, is a beautiful thing. Bitcoin allows instant transactions, from any point in the world. Due to the decentralized structure of the Bitcoin network, this can be accomplished with no central bank monitoring the movement of your funds.
However, the blockchain features a 100% transparent transaction ledger, which is a double sided edge. On one hand, this gives people irrefutable proof that their transactions have been received or sent. It also, if adopted on a government scale, would discourage money laundering due to the transparency.
While Bitcoin is pseudo-anonymous by using strings of numbers and letters (known as addresses) for transaction Bitcoin, it does not offer absolute privacy. If a malicious entity has enough motivation, it is possible to trace transactions back to their origin location.
Every Bitcoin transaction includes information such as the sending and receiving addresses, amount being sent, sender’s IP address, block hash, etc. This information makes it easy to see the total holdings and transactions of one another, destroying the confidentiality and security Bitcoin is supposed to provide.
coindesk.com / Pete Rizzo / May 28, 2015 at 18:15 BST
Payments startup Pinn placed first in the retail category at Plug and Play demo day last week for a unique point-of-sale (POS) solution that enables bitcoin and fiat payments without the need for a smartphone or wallet.
The accelerator featured a number of bitcoin and blockchain startups in its FinTech portion, however, Pinn provided evidence of bitcoin’s expanding appeal to other markets.
Pinn was the only retail startup to integrate bitcoin into its solution, but 18-year-old entrepreneur and CEO Will Summerlin sees the technology as one that could give it a long-term advantage over its competitors.
The developers of the altcoin EmerCoin (EMC) recently released the details of a new block chain technology, EMCSSL. The system provides passwordless logins and identity management via its block chain. The technology has been designed to solve many of the login and authentication issues that plague the Internet.
EMCSSL provides a scalable infrastructure for passwordless authorization suitable for an unlimited number of web services.
The infrastructure sits on the EMC cryptocurrency block chain, using the block chain as a decentralized store of hash sums for client Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates. Users can generate certificates without any central authority and quickly replace them as needed. This decentralization makes the system effective both for scheduled replacement and rapid recall of compromised certificates.
Decentralization brings many benefits
The system’s uniqueness is its complete decentralization. There is no group of servers running under a single authorization, as used in the systems of Kerberos, OpenID, TeddyID and others. As a result, it is not possible for EMCSSL to suffer system-wide service disruption due to technical failure or malicious attack upon authorization servers. In addition, it is not possible for a user to have their accounts globally suspended at the whim of a single authority.
Just as old technologies give way to newer ones, so must be the case for the financial industry. According to bitcoin advocate Barry Silbert, payment services like Western Union and MoneyGram could soon see their demise as the digital currency industry grows.
This phenomenon has been witnessed in the music industry, which saw the closure of Tower Records, and the photography world, wherein the shift to digital format led to the bankruptcy of film company Kodak. Silbert predicts that it will also be a “slow death” for traditional payment companies, as mainstream acceptance of bitcoin grows.
In a letter to Judge Katherine Forrest, Ross Ulbricht will plead for leniency at his May 29 sentencing following his conviction for the crime of being the owner and operator of the Silk Road online marketplace.
“Even now I understand what a terrible mistake I made. I’ve had my youth, and I know you must take away my middle years, but please leave me my old age.”
— Ross Ulbricht in a letter to Judge Forrest
The 31-year-old Ulbricht faces a mandatory minimum 20 years in prison and a maximum of life. He was found guilty on all seven felony counts based on being the creator of the anonymous online marketplace, under the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR).
Ulbricht will be sentenced at 1:00 p.m. EST in Judge Forrest’s courtroom at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Courthouse in New York City. The charges are all non-violent. Ulbricht says in his letter that the Silk Road was “supposed to be about giving people the freedom to make their own choices and pursue their own happiness.”
Prosecutors in his trial sent the judge a 16-page letter requesting that Ulbricht be given “a lengthy sentence at his judgment on Friday, one substantially above the mandatory minimum.” The Department of Justice attorneys contend the motivation is to “send a clear message” to the Dark Web drug market.
Many in the crypto environment have been vocal about the case, which they see as an issue that is far bigger than Bitcoin. They believe the drug war is a fraud and that our Internet freedoms are at stake.
Boston-based Bitcoin wallet and provider Circle received an honorable mention at Google I/O. The company’s Android wallet application was, in fact, the only finance app to make the “best in class” showcase, and the first-ever Bitcoin-related application to receive such an accolade.
For perspective, Circle’s wallet was listed alongside such visible brands as Evernote, Tumblr, the New York Times, and BuzzFeed. In essence, Google has encouraged Android users to try out a Bitcoin wallet, and there is only one way for that to be useful to those who do – to buy some Bitcoin.
Circle’s Bitcoin wallet has been the subject of more than one promotion by the company. They regularly offer limited-time incentives for new users to sign up for a Circle account and install the application. This wider user-base has surely contributed to the company having a chance to improve the software through bug reports, whereas other Bitcoin apps have recently had serious problems.
insidebitcoins.com / Bitcoinist.net / May 28, 2015 9:59 PM EDT
ChainPay has been covering a lot of ground in the five short months since its launch. Most recently, ChainPay has reached a partnership with Payment Goblin, allowing customers of Payment Goblin to accept Bitcoin with no changes to branding.
Specializing in enabling merchants to accept Bitcoin, ChainPay allows companies to accept Bitcoin in a seamless fashion by supporting most e-Commerce packages (like Shopify and Magneto) or by using its API to add a Bitcoin payment gateway to any eCommerce website.
ChainPay currently offers its service for the British Sterling Pound, the Euro, and the US dollar. ChainPay’s area of operations spans across 36 countries.
While Payment Goblin has received most of its business from with customers dealing with traditional payment methods, it sees Bitcoin’s limitless potential, as well as how it can change the way people do e-commerce.
“Payment Goblin is a forward thinking payment processor who recognizes the value of Bitcoin payments. We are pleased to be working with such an organization whose goals are aligned so well with ourselves. Through this partnership, we hope to introduce merchants currently using traditional card payments to the benefits of digital currency.”
All of us who are interested in bitcoin follow the price in one way or another. It is, after all, a very clean and simple indicator of how bitcoin is doing. But given that the price of bitcoin is determined solely by supply and demand, and that the supply of new bitcoins is predetermined, with new coins being issued steadily at a rate that drops sharply in the future, the only variable of interest is demand. And the demand for bitcoin is determined by how useful bitcoins are to people. So if you want to know whether the price of bitcoins will go up in the future, you have to ask yourself how useful you think bitcoins are going to be. Bitcoins are an almost pure example of an ideal online currency, with almost flawless fungibility, divisibility, portability, scarcity, durability and un-consumability. But to somebody who already has access to modern financial tools like bank accounts and credit cards, there are very few new things bitcoin has to offer. The compelling uses for bitcoin so far are to serve as a vehicle for speculation, i.e., a ticket for the roller-coaster ride of the last few years, and as a method of gambling and making purchases on the dark markets. For traditional purchases, the merchants pay all of the fees and bear all of the risks of credit cards, so a modern consumer has no incentive to use bitcoin for such purchases. That may change, but until merchants find some way of offering a discount for the use of bitcoin, bitcoin demand is dependent on the discovery of new uses.
The near-demise of Kodak is a famous parable in business circles, illustrating the need for deeply-entrenched organizations to adapt in the face of evolving technology.
Financial service firms like Western Union and MoneyGram aren’t far behind, according to noted Bitcoin advocate and investor Barry Silbert. “You should be able to move money and value instantaneously and it should basically be free,” Silbert told Entrepreneur at this year’s Inside Bitcoins conference in New York City.
Though leading players in the space currently have the opportunity to incorporate Bitcoin into their businesses, they likely won’t, Silbert believes, which will eventually precipitate “a slow death.”
Silbert is much more hopeful about a new breed of startups founded around the cryptocurrency — of which he has personally invested in 48. One of his favorites is Abra, a remittance service that uses blockchain technology (a public ledger of all Bitcoin transactions ever made) in the backend so that users have no sense that Bitcoin is involved in each transfer.
For more from Silbert, including what it will take for Bitcoin to go mainstream, check out this short video.
As a country known for its neutrality and secure deposit vaults, it’s no surprise that Switzerland might actually be on its way to establishing the first ever bitcoin bank. According to a report on Handelszeitung, preparations are already underway for a bitcoin bank to obtain its necessary licenses to start operations.
Multiple sources in the financial industry confirmed that there have been talks with the Financial Market Supervisory Authority and the project initiators who said that they will submit their application for a license within a few weeks.
No Other Bitcoin Bank
For now, there is no other bitcoin bank in existence in Switzerland or anywhere else. Guido Rudolphi, who is an IT specialist among a group of eight people involved in the project, said that they’ve already gotten investors on board and have searched for suitable premises for establishing the bank.
bitcoinmagazine.com / JEFFREY MAXIM / MAY 28, 2015
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) plans to begin using the Ripple network to settle payments between its subsidiaries soon.
Commonwealth Bank chief information officer David Whiteing revealed the large bank’s interest in Ripple technology yesterday during a speech at an event hosted by the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA).
Technology news outlet CIO reported Whiteing said, “Bitcoin is a protocol which is now being replicated by non-asset based vendors like Ripple and others. We absolutely see that’s where it’s going to go. The bank has a role to play in that.”
“As a result, we have done a whole bunch of experiments with it. We are about to launch using Ripple as a means to transfer payments between our subsidiaries.”
Commonwealth Bank’s mobile app already features multicurrency bank accounts, which he noted supports up to 15 currencies, and that it wouldn’t be hard to add loyalty points or digital currencies to it.
benzinga.com / Laura Brodbeck / May 28, 2015 1:28pm
The UK is shaping up to become a major hub for cryptocurrency enthusiasts as the region has taken an interest in supporting the emerging technology by creating a home for digital currency-based businesses.
Earlier this year, the region called for a thorough investigation into how cryptocurrencies will develop in the coming years and promised to work together with industry players to create regulations that protect users while still promoting growth.
Now, the region is grappling with how to move forward on its bitcoin-friendly initiative after Accenture PlcACNurged UK policymakers to start regulating bitcoin wallets.
"At any rate, the spook spoke the truth: cryptology represents the future of privacy, and more. By implication cryptology also represents the future of money, and the future of banking and finance. (By "money" I mean the medium of exchange, the institutional mechanisms for making transactions, whether by cash, check, debit card or other electronic transfer.) Given the choice between intersecting with a monetary system that leaves a detailed electronic trail of all one's financial activities, and a parallel system that ensures anonymity and privacy, people will opt for the latter. Moreover, they will demand the latter, because the current monetary system is being turned into the principal instrument of surveillance and control by tyrannical elements in Western governments." - J. Orlin Grabbe