Tag Archives: Bitcoin

There was a $20 billion cryptocurrency price correction over the weekend

LONDON — The global cryptocurrency market underwent a correction of around 11% over the weekend, after a riotous start to the year.

Things could get worse, with China on Monday announcing a ban “initial coin offerings”, the digital coin issuing craze that has helped fuel the market’s rapid rise in 2017.

The total value of the 866 digital currencies tracked by CoinMarketCap.com declined from close to $180 billion on Saturday to $160 billion on Monday morning.

Continue reading There was a $20 billion cryptocurrency price correction over the weekend

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Global ransomware attack causes turmoil

Companies across the globe are reporting that they have been struck by a major ransomware cyber-attack.

British advertising agency WPP is among those to say its IT systems have been disrupted as a consequence.

Ukrainian firms, including the state power company and Kiev’s main airport, were among the first to report issues.

The Chernobyl nuclear power plant has also had to monitor radiation levels manually after its Windows-based sensors were shut down.

Continue reading Global ransomware attack causes turmoil

Bitcoin Proves The Libertarian Idea Of Paradise Would Be Hell On Earth

Libertarians love Bitcoin.

About 44% of the online crypto-currency’s users self-identify as Libertarians.

They love the fact that it’s not controlled by a government or central bank — so no online Fed can “print” more of it and inflate our way out of trouble. They love that it’s decentralized; it’s the currency of The People, not The Man. They love that it’s “mined,” a bit like gold, because that makes it a bit like the gold standard, which libertarians think real currencies ought to be tied to. They love that Bitcoin isn’t taxed, so you can hide your income from the government if you want to. They love the way its value reflects pure supply and demand, and not a value forced into the system by regulation or monopoly. And they love that it’s fairly lawless — it’s difficult to enforce rules (other than the rules of the market) when everyone in the market is anonymous.

Continue reading Bitcoin Proves The Libertarian Idea Of Paradise Would Be Hell On Earth

List of Hidden Marketplaces (Tor & I2P)

Silk Road 2.0

Silk Road 2.0

Silk Road 2.0 Url:  silkroad6ownowfk.onion
Forum Url: silkroad5v7dywlc.onion
Sub reddit URL:  http://www.reddit.com/r/SilkRoad/ & http://www.reddit.com/r/SilkRoadTwo (this one is very new and not so active yet)
Note: Good luck.

Continue reading List of Hidden Marketplaces (Tor & I2P)

The Emerging Bitcoin Civil War

bitcoin civil warA civil war is emerging between Bitcoin’s earliest and most libertarian adopters, and a more commercial wing seeking to embrace regulation as a means of legitimizing Bitcoin businesses.

The divide came into focus this week with two key events events. One was a hearing on Bitcoin regulation by the New York Department Of Financial Services. The other was the arrest of BitInstant CEO Charlie Shrem on money laundering charges.

Until the moment of his arrest, Shrem, 24 had been something of a darling in the Bitcoin venture capital community — the Winklevoss brothers were one of BitInstant’s earliest investors, and Shrem was scheduled to co-headline a Bitcoin conference in Miami this past weekend.

But on the first day of hearings about the future of Bitcoin regulation convened this week by the New York Department of Financial Services, a panel of VCs were quick to disavow Shrem as an example of a more immature wing of Bitcoin. The Winklevoss twins said they were gratified the Department was discussing ways to help legitimize Bitcoin commerce. Their Bitcoin ETF is awaiting regulatory approval from the SEC.

The division is not just about sheer dollar size. Appearing at the Tuesday hearing, Fred Wilson — whose Union Square Ventures spearheaded a $5 million investment round in Bitcoin wallet firm Coinbase warned against anything but the lightest-touch regulations. He compared the dangers Bitcoin startups would face to what happened to early-stage music streaming platforms, which were inundated with lawsuits from record labels. Should Bitcoin startups be subject to similar legal scrutiny from financial regulators, he said, they would be snuffed out before they even had a chance to bloom.

Wilson’s views were countered by no other than Fred Ehrsam, Coinbase’s co-founder. He told DFS regulators Wednesday, “Although I love Fred Wilson, there’s probably some minimal requirements and procedures that should be put in place if you’re facilitating that kind of exchange.”

Perhaps it is not surprising that this ultra-libertarian faction was not represented at this week’s hearings.

But it could be seen at the NYC Bitcoin Center on Broad Street in Manhattan — where a follow-up cocktail party was held Tuesday to discuss “fallout” from the first day’s hearing — and online, where this faction railed from afar against regulators.

bitcoin regulation tweetsThese individuals may seem extreme, but, until recently, they represented the core of Bitcoin evangelism.

But their influence seems to be fading. Barry Silbert’s Bitcoin Investment Trust is now worth 10s of millions of dollars. In an email Wednesday, he said he agreed the crypto-anarchists who dominated the digital currencies earliest incarnations were getting left behind.

“There are certainly a handful of folks that are hardcore libertarians (some anarchists) that believe that bitcoin should be completely unregulated, but I believe they are in the minority and, as a percentage of bitcoin believers, is shrinking very quickly.  I respect their viewpoint, but unfortunately, don’t see how there vision is viable in today’s society.”

On Wednesday, New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said the greatest concern about digital currencies among law enforcement was anonymity. In a Bitcoin transaction, all transactions are essentially conducted between e-addresses that lack any kind of user identification.

“The difficulty, when criminal activity is involved, is for investigators to identity how the money is moved where and for what purpose.,” he said.

But tinkering with Bitcoin’s anonymity would seem to strike at the heart of another one of Bitcoin’s core elements — as seen in the following Tweet:

bitcoin regulation tweets

But Jeremy Allaire, founder and CEO of Circle, a company that develops digital currency products, showed little concern that regulators could start scraping away at Bitcoin’s anonymity element. Asked Tuesday on the panel whether new regulations affecting Bitcoin’s anonymity would undermine the popularity of the currency, Allaire replied, “That depends on your definition of the essence of Bitcoin.”

As Bitcoin continues to emerge, this fight over Bitcoin’s essence, and how much of a role government should play, will only get more intense.

Ecuador heralds digital currency to start before year end

Ecuador has announced it plans to start circulating what it calls the world’s first digital currency in December. It also claims it has options for developing its new oil refinery which do not depend on China.

Financial analysts have suggested the introduction of the new electronic currency in Ecuador could be used to increase the money supply and devalue US dollar holdings, a first step to abandoning the US dollar as its currency.

The new currency was approved, and stateless crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin simultaneously banned, by Ecuador’s National Assembly last month.

A young man texts at a market in Quito as government prepares to introduce electronic currency

The electronic currency is to exist in tandem with the US dollar and to be backed by “liquid assets,” according to Deputy Central Bank director Gustavo Solorzano. Officials said it would be geared towards the 2.8 million Ecuadoreans too poor to afford a traditional bank account.

Central Bank officials said on Friday the currency does not have a name and officials would not disclose technical details. The amount of the new currency created would depend on demand, they said. President Rafael Correa has denied there is any plan to replace the US dollar, which Ecuador set as its currency in 2000 after a crippling banking crisis.

Initially payments are to be sent and received on cellphones, Solorzano said. Similar schemes have already been set up by private companies in Paraguay and in Africa – including in Kenya and Tanzania.

Nathalie Reinelt, an emerging payments analyst with the US-based Aite Group, said she does not understand any other motivation for creating such a currency other than to allow Ecuador to increase its money supply and, essentially, devalue its US dollar holdings. But analyst Juan Lorenzo Maldonado of Credit Suisse said “It is far too early to know how they are thinking of making the electronic money work.”

Pacifico Refinery

Ecuador’s minister for strategic sectors (Sectores Estratégicos) Rafael Poveda said he hoped to finalize a $9 billion (6.85 billion-euro) deal with major partner China within the month for a refinery on the Pacific coast to process 200,000 barrels of crude oil a day.

Ecuador is also reported to be asking Beijing about borrowing $1.5 billion more. Including the credit line, total loans from China are equivalent to about 13.6 percent of Ecuador’s GDP as of 2013.

Criticised locally for becoming too dependent on China, Poveda said about the refinery deal, after a week-long visit to southern near-neighbor Chile which ended on Friday: “If for any extraordinary reason, which up to now does not exist, this does not happen, we have an option for this project.” However, he did not elaborate on the options.

A pile of US currency, topped with a mobile phone, reminds us that money talks and can be very persuasive!

China has become Ecuador’s second-largest foreign investor, after the United States, mostly in mining and quarrying sectors. Ecuador has already borrowed over $11 billion from China since 2008, when the Andean country defaulted on $3.2 billion of foreign debt.

Last year, Chinese money helped cover as much as 61 percent of the government’s financing needs. In exchange, China has claimed up to 90 percent of the country’s oil shipments over the next few years. Ecuador has South America’s third-largest oil reserves.

Ecuador recently sold $2 billion in bonds with a 7.95 percent return, as well as obtaining another $400 million from Goldman Sachs in exchange for part of its gold reserves.

IBM’s upcoming blockchain release could change the internet

IBM has announced that it will soon  release its own, open source version of blockchain software — the public ledger system that lets Bitcoin work. It’s not a move to reinvent cryptocurrency, but anambitious attempt to allow individuals and large corporations alike to make full use of everything the internet makes possible. It has the potential to decentralize the internet, making it both safer and more versatile in one fell swoop.

A blockchain is just a database with special provisions built in to make it public and agreed-upon by all users — and that transparency is what makes tampering with the blockchain easy to detect.

With a trusted, mutually visible place to store basic information, it’s possible to do things like send money over the internet; there’s no need to worry about fraud when the whole transaction is controlled by the info in the blockchain, which is available for you to review at any time. This has taken the form of blockchain-based securities trading, which speeds up the process from days to minutes, while bringing risks down to “zero.”

Pile'o'Bitcoins

But the logic behind the blockchain doesn’t need to be limited to financial transactions. So-called “smart contracts” can put this sort of ability in anybody’s hands.

This could make setting up an online store fairly trivial for private citizens, or allow people to easily sell their home directly, without the need for an intermediary. You could sign on to a smart contract as a mortgage and secure its rules according to the agreed-upon rules entered into the blockchain.

Now, in cases like a bank loan, the security and safety aspects are less important since banks keep decent records and insure everything. But efficiency is still an important advantage for large institutions, and that could even (maybe) get passed along to the customer in the form of savings. An institution need not be as enormous as a bank, however, to offer security with working blockchain technology.

The versatility of the blockchain model was demonstrated by IBM itself earlier this year, when itannounced its unrelated ADEPT program: Autonomous Decentralized Peer-to-Peer Telemetry. This offers a way to decentralize the Internet of Things, and keep everything coordinated through a form of blockchain.

A different project, Ethereum, bills itself as “how the internet was supposed to work,” using blockchain-based contracts to make tamper-proof online platforms. The simple ability to keep reliable public records can allow all sorts of interesting applications.

ibm blockchain 2

This isn’t the first time people have imagined the emergent possibilities of contracts based on the blockchain, but it’s the first time the concept has been backed by a company as large and powerful as IBM.

Big Blue has a history of successfully pushing open source software solutions, and with its name and reputation behind their blockchain idea, IBM could convince major companies to get on board.

Of course, in Bitcoins there is the idea of “mining,” in Ethereum the idea of gathering “ether” — the fuel that keeps a blockchain running is the computational time donated by users to validate transactions and secure the overall system.

Bitcoin incentivizes this by handing out Bitcoins as a reward, and ether does much the same — it’s unclear how IBM’s version will accomplish this goal.