25 January 2014

App.net Launches Backer, A Bitcoin-Friendly Crowdfunding Engine For ... - TechCrunch

App.net Launches Backer, A Bitcoin-Friendly Crowdfunding Engine For …

TechCrunch

App.net, a subscription-based/ad-free Twitter alternative which as a whole was born out of a $803,000 crowdfunding campaign, is currently using it to determine if they’ll…

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January 25, 2014 at 11:05PM

Bitcoins, gold and the next currency collapse - MarketWatch (blog)

Bitcoins, gold and the next currency collapse

MarketWatch (blog)

I hope you guys have been following the terrific economic and market debates from two of the best money managers you’ll ever read, Robert Marcin and Jeff Miller on Scutify. Lots of…

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January 25, 2014 at 07:16PM

Feedback Loop: 30 years of Mac, mechanical keyboards, Bitcoin alternatives ... - Engadget

Feedback Loop: 30 years of Mac, mechanical keyboards, Bitcoin alternatives …

Engadget

Welcome to Feedback Loop, a weekly roundup of the most interesting discussions happening within the Engadget community. There’s so much technology to talk about and so…

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January 25, 2014 at 04:31PM

Nobel Laureate Thinks Bitcoin is an “Amazing” Bubble

American economist and Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller thinks bitcoin is a big bubble. January 25, 2014 at 03:54PM

California Scientist Seeks Cancer Cure With Bitcoin

Gene and Cell Technologies, a California-based stem cell research center, now accepts bitcoin. January 25, 2014 at 03:54PM

Investment Firm to Launch Czech Republic’s First Bitcoin ATM

Czech investment firm Marlyle plans to set up the first bitcoin ATM in Prague, the Czech Republic's capital. January 24, 2014 at 09:03PM

Roll up for Branded coins, Roll on the Robot Overlords – or Just Roll Your Own

This week John Law delves into custom currencies, robot rulers and cannabis-related bitcoin conundrums. January 24, 2014 at 09:03PM

Coinpunk Crowdfunding Bitcoin Wallet That Apple Can’t Ban

Coinpunk has launched an Indiegogo campaign in an effort to raise funding for a new iOS wallet solution. January 24, 2014 at 09:03PM

Bitcoin and Litecoin Top Sources of WikiLeaks Donations

WikiLeaks revealed on 24th January that the majority of its public funding now comes through bitcoin and litecoin. January 24, 2014 at 09:03PM

Richard Branson: 6 Bitcoin Customers Confirmed for Virgin Galactic Space Flight

Richard Branson revealed that a handful of people have paid in bitcoin for their flight on Virgin Galactic's spaceship. January 24, 2014 at 09:03PM

Video Cards Drive First-Day Sales Surge For TigerDirect

Video cards, power units, tablets and Xbox units drove first-day bitcoin sales for TigerDirect. January 24, 2014 at 09:03PM

California Scientist Seeks Cancer Cure With BitcoinStem cell...





California Scientist Seeks Cancer Cure With Bitcoin



Stem cell research, while still in its early stages, holds the opportunity for science to grow its…



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January 25, 2014 at 10:16AM

Bitcoin – how it works and how it’s changing world currencies


Bitcoin is a digital currency that exists almost wholly in the virtual realm, unlike physical currencies like dollars and euros. A growing number of proponents support its use as an alternative currency that can pay for goods and services much like…


Bitco…



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January 25, 2014 at 08:16AM

Cost-Effective Anti-Money Laundering Solutions


Cost-Effective Anti-Money Laundering Solutions IdentityMind’s Anti-Fraud and Risk Management platform version 1.14 enables Money Service Businesses (MSB’s), specifically Bitcoin related businesses to comply with the regulatory requirements related…


Cost-E…



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January 25, 2014 at 08:15AM

Argentina crisis deepens as peso plunges 11 percent


Argentina’s currency crisis worsened dramatically Thursday as the peso plunged 11.1 percent against theLeo US dollar, its depreciation picking up pace in the sharpest one-day fall since 2002. Amid growing capital flight, the central bank appeared to…


Arge…



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January 25, 2014 at 08:15AM

Future Shock: The Internet of Compromised Things


It’s doubtful that the average consumer would be aware that his or her refrigerator was participating in a DDoS attack. Even fewer would have any idea how to stop it.If it contains software, it can be hacked. If it is connected to the Internet, it can…


Fu…



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January 25, 2014 at 08:14AM

Beyond Silver: A New Mining Industry for N Idaho


Opportunity: Changing the Mining Industry of N Idaho A totally new mining industry may rise off the floor of the Rathdrum Prairie for a number of very good reasons. Where Idaho has an historic legacy in mining, both silver and gold, a new form of mining…




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January 25, 2014 at 08:13AM

NSA Snowden Leaks


Today, Edward Snowden will hold an online chat about the NSA as a government task force recommends changes to how the National Security Agency works.


NSA Snowden Leaks is a story from: BitcoinWarrior.net


The post NSA Snowden Leaks appeared first on .



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January 25, 2014 at 08:13AM

Bug Data Buys Businesses Intel From U.S. Government


Thousands of businesses are reportedly exchanging information with the government on zero-day vulnerabilities and online threats in return for classified intelligence. Thousands of American businesses — technology manufacturers, information security…


Bug…



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January 25, 2014 at 08:12AM

24 January 2014

Bitcoin creeping into Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Bitcoin creeping into Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Fukuda, a Japanese restaurant in Bloomfield, on Wednesday proudly posted a message to its Facebook and Twitter followers: “Ladies and gentlemen, Fukuda has officially accepted bitcoinas payment…

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January 25, 2014 at 05:32AM

Nobel Laureate Thinks Bitcoin is an “Amazing” BubbleAmerican...





Nobel Laureate Thinks Bitcoin is an “Amazing” Bubble



American economist and Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller took part in an interesting panel discussion…



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January 24, 2014 at 10:47PM

Nobel Laureate Thinks Bitcoin is an “Amazing” BubbleAmerican...





Nobel Laureate Thinks Bitcoin is an “Amazing” Bubble



American economist and Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller took part in an interesting panel discussion…



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January 24, 2014 at 10:47PM

Nobel Laureate Thinks Bitcoin is an “Amazing” BubbleAmerican...





Nobel Laureate Thinks Bitcoin is an “Amazing” Bubble



American economist and Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller took part in an interesting panel discussion…



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January 24, 2014 at 10:43PM

Nobel Laureate Thinks Bitcoin is an “Amazing” BubbleAmerican...





Nobel Laureate Thinks Bitcoin is an “Amazing” Bubble



American economist and Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller took part in an interesting panel discussion…



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January 24, 2014 at 10:43PM

Video Cards Drive First-Day Sales Surge For...





Video Cards Drive First-Day Sales Surge For TigerDirect



TigerDirect’s decision to begin accepting bitcoin payments has sparked “video card madness” at the…



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January 24, 2014 at 08:31PM

Why bitcoin could fail - Fortune

Why bitcoin could fail

Fortune

On the surface, bitcoin seems like a great idea and maybe an inevitable one. Bitcoins(the actual units of this virtual currency) are a form of electronic money that can be traded directly between parties; do not require…

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January 24, 2014 at 08:21PM

Bitcoin and Litecoin Top Sources of WikiLeaks DonationsNotorious...





Bitcoin and Litecoin Top Sources of WikiLeaks Donations



Notorious nonprofit journalistic organization WikiLeaks revealed via Twitter on 24th January that…



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January 24, 2014 at 07:25PM

Nobel Laureate Thinks Bitcoin is an “Amazing” Bubble

American economist and Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller took part in an interesting panel discussion this week about digital trends at the World Economic Forum in Davos, and naturally he mentioned bitcoin.


Shiller said bitcoin is an inspiration thanks to its geeky roots, but he warned that it is not the way forward.


In fact, despite bitcoin’s digital heritage, Shiller argued that it is a throwback to the dark ages, reports Business Insider.


Shiller’s position is understandable, since he was awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on trend-spotting in asset markets. Shiller also examined the volatility of stock prices and their correlation with dividends.


The economists and his fellow laureates Eugene F. Fama and Lars Peter Hansen found that high future returns are usually viewed as compensation for holding risky assets during risky times. The researchers also focused on departures from rational investor behaviour and its impact on asset prices. Many a bitcoin speculator would undoubtedly find Shiller’s work interesting.


Shiller is convinced bitcoin is a bubble and he is bemused by the fascination surrounding digital currencies. He said he is amazed by how people are excited by bitcoin – and bear in mind that a man who won the Nobel Prize for his work in the field of behavioural probably isn’t easy to surprise, let alone amaze. Shiller said:



“It is a bubble, there is no question about it. … It’s just an amazing example of a bubble.”



It would be rather presumptuous to argue with a Nobel laureate, but luckily someone already did that. Back in December Forbes put Shiller’s work to the test, comparing his findings with the bitcoin bubble.


Forbes contributor Tim Worstall argued that preventing a bubble from forming in the bitcoin market is not easy, since the market is not developed and lacks many tools needed to detect a bubble.


However, Worstall said it is “more than likely” that we are in a bitcoin bubble.


January 24, 2014 at 09:52PM

Coinpunk Crowdfunding Bitcoin Wallet That Apple Can’t...





Coinpunk Crowdfunding Bitcoin Wallet That Apple Can’t Ban



Open-source bitcoin project Coinpunk has launched an Indiegogo campaign in an effort to raise…



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January 24, 2014 at 02:00PM

Bitcoin ATM Appearance Draws Crowds in ZurichIt’s the financial...





Bitcoin ATM Appearance Draws Crowds in Zurich



It’s the financial capital of Switzerland, filled with huge banks and powerful companies. It is…



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January 24, 2014 at 10:52AM

The NSA’s Worst Nightmare: What Is Tor?


Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) — What is Tor and why is it a threat to the NSA? Bloomberg Businessweek’s Sam Grobart explains how Tor works and reveals the surprising source behind Tor’s funding. (Source: Bloomberg)


The NSA’s Worst Nightmare: What Is Tor?is a story…



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January 24, 2014 at 07:55AM

Bitoomba Casino Offers the Ultimate Bitcoin Gambling


Playing the widely popular casino games in land-based casinos and in gambling venues online are great ways to indulge in the exciting and lucrative world of gambling. However, it is quite impossible and impractical to drive down to the casino […]


Bitoomba…



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January 24, 2014 at 07:55AM

Junior Achievement of New York Accepts Bitcoin Donations


[NEW YORK: NY] – Today, the NYC economic education charity, Junior Achievement of New York, announced it is now accepting Bitcoin donations. JA New York believes expanding its giving options to include Bitcoin acknowledges the changes and innovations…



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January 24, 2014 at 07:54AM

23 January 2014

What is Bitcoin anyway? - Washington Post

What is Bitcoin anyway?

Washington Post

No one. Or, rather, everyone who uses it. Bitcoinfunctions on a peer-to-peer computer network based on cryptography rather than a trusted third party. It is an open-source and self-governing system. A software…

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January 24, 2014 at 05:03AM

Solarcoin Awards Coins for Solar Power GenerationMost altcoins...





Solarcoin Awards Coins for Solar Power Generation



Most altcoins seem to tweak technical or monetary principles. Here’s one with a single purpose: to…



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January 24, 2014 at 04:37AM

CoinSeed Announces $5m Investment in BitFury Mining GearLas...





CoinSeed Announces $5m Investment in BitFury Mining Gear



Las Vegas-based bitcoin investment fund CoinSeed announced a substantial investment of $5m in…



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January 24, 2014 at 03:31AM

Bitcoin's next frontiers: ATMs and Capitol Hill - Washington Post

Bitcoin’s next frontiers: ATMs and Capitol Hill - Washington Post


Bitcoin’s next frontiers: ATMs and Capitol Hill

Washington Post

Vancouver, B.C. — The small monolith sits at the back wall of a downtown coffee shop. Canadians are a demure people, not known to shriek or hop, but they approach the BitcoinATM with the…

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January 24, 2014 at 02:46AM

What is Bitcoin and why should you care?

Bitcoin Networked

What is Bitcoin, and why do you care?


Bitcoin is freedom for money.


Let me explain: Bitcoin is third “democratization” that I’ve had the privilege of living through.


The first was the Internet of course, the democratization of communication. No longer did you need a printing press, runners, trucks, call boys in order to make your voice heard. Now all you needed is WordPress and a good story. Look at Matt Drudge. He has singlehandedly revolutionized political reporting. His influence is at times stronger than the New York Times. And it’s just him and an assistant and a very, very simple website.


The second democratization is 3d printing, or “additive manufacturing”. It is the democratization of manufacturing and its in full swing. You no longer need a factory to make a product. You can already manufacture in plastic from your desk. In less than 10 years you’ll be able to do it in metal, in color with moving parts.


Bitcoin is the third democratization, the democratization of money. Right now, your money, the money you worked for, saved and earned isn’t really yours. The banks charge you fees for holding it (and sometimes lose it). Governments have confiscated it at times (remember Cyprus?). If you want to move it, there are restrictions as to how much and when, and if you want to spend large amounts of it, you must account for how you got it.


Bitcoin, and crypto currencies in general solve this problem. They are in essence a “trusted distributed public transaction ledger”. Imagine a hotel register. Guests sign in, date, room, etc … That is a transaction ledger. Distributed means that the machines that process that ledger, the “book” if you will, are spread throughout the world with many different ownership hands so that it is very, very difficult for them to collaborate to cheat. Public, because it is open for anyone to inspect.


And trusted, because that is the most important thing of all. Do I trust that you really have the money? That you haven’t spent it already, maybe even a second ago? Ensuring all of that is what the “mining” machines really do. The miners are the unseen heroes of Bitcoin. Without miners there is no coin.


The adoption of Bitcoin will drastically reduce the amount of financial control anyone can exert over your money. And without that control they can’t tax you and if they can’t tax you they can’t control you. They know this, they are scared and they should be.


With Bitcoin there are no borders to money. It flows as easily as water from a spilled cup upsetting the plans of the bankers to monitor, control, restrict, tax and otherwise devalue YOUR money.


Bitcoin is freedom for money. Switch to Bitcoin, free your money.


The post What is Bitcoin and why should you care? appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.



January 24, 2014 at 01:40AM

Pinterest Competitor Fancy Adds Bitcoin PaymentsNew York-based...





Pinterest Competitor Fancy Adds Bitcoin Payments



New York-based social e-commerce platform Fancy, a website known as the “Pinterest for shopping,”…



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January 24, 2014 at 12:21AM

Witness List Revealed for New York Virtual Currency HearingsThe...





Witness List Revealed for New York Virtual Currency Hearings



The New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has announced the witness list for its…



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January 23, 2014 at 10:12PM

Naughty America Joins Porn.com in Bitcoin AcceptanceSan...





Naughty America Joins Porn.com in Bitcoin Acceptance



San Diego-based adult entertainment provider Naughty America, which operates a network of 30+ porn…



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January 23, 2014 at 10:11PM

Naughty America Joins Porn.com in Bitcoin Acceptance

San Diego-based adult entertainment provider Naughty America will accept bitcoin for payments beginning 24th January. January 23, 2014 at 11:44PM

Witness List Revealed for New York Virtual Currency Hearings

The NYDFS has announced the witness list for its upcoming hearings on virtual currency. January 23, 2014 at 11:44PM

Australian Bus Commuters Can Soon Pay Fares With Bitcoin

Public transit users in Canberra, Australia, will be able to pay fares in bitcoin via a new mobile app. January 23, 2014 at 11:44PM

The Implications of Bitcoin: Money Without Government

Investing in bitcoin companies is fraught with contradictions, so it's imperative to remain astute about the political landscape. January 23, 2014 at 11:44PM

Australian Bus Commuters Can Soon Pay Fares With BitcoinA team...





Australian Bus Commuters Can Soon Pay Fares With Bitcoin



A team of mobile developers in Canberra, Australia, is aiming to be the first in the world to allow…



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January 23, 2014 at 08:01PM

What Coinye West Means For BitCoin - Forbes

What Coinye West Means For BitCoin

Forbes

Similar to the popular BitCoinvirtual currency, Coinye West is a cryptocurrency, which is a virtual currency kept secure by cryptographic algorithms, rather than the government or a corporate bank. Coins are…

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January 23, 2014 at 07:21PM

The Implications of Bitcoin: Money Without GovernmentOne of my...





The Implications of Bitcoin: Money Without Government



One of my favorite things about bitcoin is how it’s such an all-inclusive tent.


Bitcoin attracts…



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January 23, 2014 at 06:56PM

TigerDirect.com to accept Bitcoin - MiamiHerald.com

TigerDirect.com to accept Bitcoin

MiamiHerald.com

TigerDirect.com announced Thursday that it will be accepting Bitcoin, a peer-to-peer digital currency, as a method of payment on more than 200,000 products. The Miami-based company said it is the first…

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January 23, 2014 at 06:47PM

TigerDirect Becomes the Latest Retail Giant to Pounce on...





TigerDirect Becomes the Latest Retail Giant to Pounce on Bitcoin



Another major online retailer has announced that it is now accepting bitcoin. This time it’s TigerD…



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January 23, 2014 at 05:51PM

Australian Bus Commuters Can Soon Pay Fares With Bitcoin

A team of mobile developers in Canberra, Australia, is aiming to be the first in the world to allow public transit users to pay for rides in bitcoin, via its MyBus 2.0 app.


MyBus 2.0 is a timetable and route-planner app on Canberra’s extensive bus network ACTION, which is also the city’s primary public transit system. Developers Imagine Team Solutions announced the app now has over 50,000 active users.


To celebrate that milestone, it turned its attention to ACTION’s pre-paid fare smartcard system, MyWay. MyWay automatically deducts the correct fare when a passenger touches the card against a reader upon entering and exiting the bus.


Bitcoin fans


Imagine Team’s Zakaria Bouguettaya said the developers are “strong supporters” of bitcoin and would love to be the first in the world to offer it as a public transit payment solution. They have already developed a similar payment app for person-to-person transactions on iOS, and are putting the finishing touches to an Android version.



“I personally love what bitcoin is all about, and so we tried to work backwards from use-cases that weren’t about hedging and speculation,” he said.


“I catch buses as a primary method of travel, so we naturally went in that direction. We also saw a good fit into another app (QuicklyPay.it) we recently launched, where you can pay people in social situations (lunch, movie tickets, concerts, etc). Currently we use credit cards, but we’ve pushed out an update where you can pay someone using your bitcoins, and the recipients get cash.”



Currently, customers can add value to ACTION’s MyWay cards online with a credit card, via bank direct debit, over the telephone or in person at selected shopfronts.


Bouguettaya described the bitcoin integration in MyBus app and QuicklyPay.it as using a private wallet to accept incoming bitcoins, and then processing transactions almost immediately (or within 10 minutes) on the other end using a proprietary system Imagine Team built.


Should the bitcoin option become popular, it will probably turn to a more established payment processor like Australia’s CoinJar.


Government town


Similar in many ways to Washington DC (on which it was partly modeled), Canberra is a purpose-built national capital in its own non-state territory (the ACT) with a disproportionately large number of federal government employees compared to other cities in the country.


When Imagine Team posted its bitcoin intentions yesterday on a local internet forum, RiotACT, the response from other residents was generally cynical and negative.


The developers responded by citing high credit card fees paid by government-owned ACTION as the best reason to use bitcoin, and described price volatility problems as “overhyped”.


“Perhaps most obviously, there is no risk, only benefit,” they wrote.


“If you use bitcoin to recharge your MyWay card, who loses? It may not be an ideal currency, but we’re talking about recharging a MyWay card, not using it ubiquitously for everything ever. At the very least, it’s another way to recharge your MyWay card.”


ACTION bus image via Wikimedia Commons


January 23, 2014 at 07:42PM

LA Satoshi Square Event Attracts Dogecoin Traders

LA's third Satoshi Square saw a rise in attendance after opening its doors to altcoin traders. January 23, 2014 at 06:02PM

TigerDirect Becomes the Latest Retail Giant to Pounce on Bitcoin

Another major online retailer has announced that it is now accepting bitcoin. This time it's TigerDirect. January 23, 2014 at 06:02PM

Junior Achievement of New York to Accept Bitcoin Donations

<p>Just today, the Junior Achievement of New York began accepting donations in Bitcoin. Bitcoin is by far the most expedient way to accept donations and has proven to be a tool to empower individuals around the world. Junior Achievement of New York (JA New York) serves as a non-profit organization to empower students in grades K-12 by connecting students with volunteers. Volunteers then work with students in afterschool programs, workplace experiences, in the classroom and also help students develop academic, life and career plans. Jacqueline Dolly, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications of Junior Achievement New York stated, “We are asking the Bitcoin community to support our fundraising efforts. We are the ONLY Junior Achievement affiliate in the country &#8211; [&#8230;]</p><p>The post Junior Achievement of New York to Accept Bitcoin Donations appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.</p> January 23, 2014 at 06:02PM

Ethereum: A Next-Generation Cryptocurrency and Decentralized Application Platform

<p>The author of this article, Vitalik Buterin, is also the founder of Ethereum, and this article is intended as an expository piece and not a review. Over the past year, there has been an increasingly large amount of discussion around so-called &#8220;Bitcoin 2.0&#8243; protocols &#8211; alternative cryptographic networks that are inspired by Bitcoin, but which intend to make the underlying technology usable for far more than just currency. The earliest implementation of this idea was Namecoin, a Bitcoin-like currency created in 2010 which would be used for decentralized domain name registration. More recently, we have seen the emergence of colored coins, allowing users to create their own currencies on the Bitcoin network, and more advanced protocols like Mastercoin, Bitshares and [&#8230;]</p><p>The post Ethereum: A Next-Generation Cryptocurrency and Decentralized Application Platform appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.</p> January 23, 2014 at 06:02PM

Bitcloud: We Will Decentralise and Revolutionise the Internet

The Bitcloud team have ambitions to decentralise the Internet, replacing much of the infrastructure we use today. January 23, 2014 at 06:02PM

BitAngels: $7m Invested in Bitcoin Startups Since 2013

BitAngels, the first international incubator to focus exclusively on bitcoin, has invested $7m in twelve different bitcoin startups. January 23, 2014 at 06:02PM

Leaked Emails From Google Suggest it is Considering Bitcoin Integration

Emails from top Google executives suggest that the search giant may well be considering some kind of bitcoin integration. January 23, 2014 at 06:02PM

Sweden Likely to Regulate Bitcoin as an Asset

The Swedish Tax Agency is drafting rules for bitcoin users and programmers that would treat bitcoins as assets. January 23, 2014 at 06:02PM

US Authorities Reveal Bitcoin Black Market Sting Operation

A Florida man has been charged with selling a deadly toxin to US agents through Black Market Reloaded. January 23, 2014 at 06:02PM

Ethereum Launches ‘Cryptocurrency 2.0’ Network

Ethereum is no altcoin; it is an operating system for altcoins, say developers. January 23, 2014 at 06:02PM

Wells Fargo to Host Bitcoin Event Following Private Summit

The bank is hosting an event to discuss bitcoin, following its private "summit" on the cryptocurrency in San Francisco. January 23, 2014 at 06:02PM

NYC Newsstand Chooses Bitcoin Over Credit Cards

The owner claims he is the first newsstand in the city of 8 million to take the virtual currency. January 23, 2014 at 06:02PM

Highlight of the Week: North American Bitcoin Conference!

<p>On Friday through Sunday of this week, many Bitcoiners will gather in Miami, Florida for the North American Bitcoin Conference. Following the successful organization of the European Bitcoin Conference in Amsterdam this Fall, conference organizer, Moe Levin, concentrated his efforts on a winter international Bitcoin conference in the heart of Miami Beach, FL. With attendees and speakers from around the world, once again, the global message of Bitcoin is clearly demonstrated in this premier conference and setting. It is NOT too late to sign up. You can even purchase your conference pass with bitcoin here. On Friday evening, to kick off the conference, all attendees are welcome to a pre-conference reception at the iconic Clevelander Hotel to network and get [&#8230;]</p><p>The post Highlight of the Week: North American Bitcoin Conference! appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.</p> January 23, 2014 at 06:02PM

Coinpunk is Making an Unbannable iOS Wallet

<p>Apple has been slashing and dashing apps that serve as Bitcoin wallets or even connect to other 3rd party wallets. Here is a short list of the companies affected by Apple’s ban. Bitcoin Express Bitpak Blockchain.info (Full version still available on Cydia for jailbroken iPhones) Coinbase Coinjar Gliph If you haven’t seen Apple’s take down message here is a taste of what Bitcoin iOS developers have seen: “We found that your app contains content – or facilitates, enables, or encourages an activity – that is not legal in all the locations in which the app is available, which is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines. Specifically, the facilitation of trading of virtual currency is not appropriate for [&#8230;]</p><p>The post Coinpunk is Making an Unbannable iOS Wallet appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.</p> January 23, 2014 at 06:02PM

Bitcoin’s YouTube Missionaries

<p>Thanks to Bitcoin&#8217;s YouTube Missionaries Thanks to Bitcoin&#8217;s YouTube Missionaries Beacons of light welcoming the huddled masses of tired and poor yearning for financial freedom. My road to discovering the new world of economic redemption started one evening last March. An article linked from BuzzFeed’s website entitled “Is it Time to Take Bitcoin Seriously?“ written by Alec Liu was revealed to me. As I investigated further I found my heart inexplicitly racing; some deep-rooted primitive part of my brain connected with this article. I had discovered an obvious truth that just clicked. Alec Liu, without knowing it, was the messenger that lit the spark that started my personal obsession to this revolutionary technology. Rarely can we predict the power of [&#8230;]</p><p>The post Bitcoin&#8217;s YouTube Missionaries appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.</p> January 23, 2014 at 06:02PM

TigerDirect Becomes the Latest Retail Giant to Pounce on Bitcoin

Another major online retailer has announced that it is now accepting bitcoin. This time it’s TigerDirect.


TigerDirect, like fellow electronics retailer Newegg, has been teasing about accepting bitcoin for a few months now. The time for teasing is over now, though – Overstock.com began taking bitcoin at the start of the year, a good six months ahead of schedule and surprising many who thought its CEO was merely thinking aloud. Payment processor Coinbase jumped on the case as soon as they heard the speculation, and worked without a break to develop an implementation as soon as possible.


Online electronics retail in the US is reported to be worth $43.8bn a year.


Bitcoinstore, which launched last February as a direct bitcoin-only challenger to the big online electronics retailers, posted a tweet on 30th November with a screenshot of its recent orders:



It’s amazing just how fast our http://t.co/j3L9er1JMl orders pour in each day! #Bitcoin @amazon @Newegg @TigerDirect http://ift.tt/LZfe66


— Bitcoinstore (@Bitcoinstore) November 29, 2013



TigerDirect replied the same day:



How bad do you want it? #RT this and show us…GO! @Bitcoinstore #StayTuned mwahaha hahahah hah ha.


— TigerDirect (@TigerDirect) November 29, 2013



It was duly retweeted nearly 800 times.


On Christmas Day, a company representative replied to a user’s bitcoin request on Facebook with another hint of something to come.


TigerDirect_FBblur


So far, bitcoin has attracted far more attention from the financial world than the world of Big Retail. Many have been curious, but seem to be waiting for better payment (and legal) structures to exist before leaping in. With smaller technology and online businesses like Bitcoinstore paving the way, it made sense for large electronics stores to come next.


But where were they? Shopify announced it would introduce bitcoin payment options for its independent merchants in November. Overstock.com is an online retailer but it deals mainly in household goods, so it was surprising to see its CEO being the first to announce a plan to accept bitcoin. Heads turned even more toward businesses with customers more likely to be bitcoin enthusiasts, like TigerDirect and Newegg.


According to MarketLine research, online retail in the US alone was worth $200.4bn in revenues in 2012. It probably comes as little surprise to discover the electronics segment is the most lucrative of all, its customers supplying 21.9% (or $43.8bn) of that total. Having experienced a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11% between 2008 and 2012 despite the economic hard times, online retail as a whole is projected to grow to $371.4bn by 2017.


Other online retailers are no doubt salivating at the thought of keeping more of that revenue in their own accounts, rather than handing it over to banks and credit card companies. They might, however, want to observe for a while to see how certain bitcoin-related vagaries are handled before joining in.


There are consumer protection issues like how to properly identify and resolve fraudulent purchases, and how such things can be proven. Then there’s price volatility: currently, this is handled by payment processors like BitPay and Coinbase who can instantly convert bitcoin to USD before the price fluctuates. But these online retailers are in a new league, and their revenues on a much larger scale.


If large-scale online retail with bitcoin proves to be successful, it won’t be only other retailers looking on hungrily. The IRS will definitely be looking for its share, and some in government still bristle at the idea of large-scale adoption of a currency not under state control.


TigerDirect, headquartered in Miami, Florida, sells electronics online and through its catalog. It grew from a software retailer in 1989, absorbing both Circuit City and CompUSA along the way. Its parent company, Systemax (which includes TigerDirect.ca) has annual revenues of over $2bn and over 3000 employees.


California’s Newegg has long been a favorite online retailer for technology fans. Launched in 2001, its popularity grew quickly and Internet Retailer Magazine named it one of the Top 10 online retailers in 2004. The company went public in September 2009 and in 2010, generated $2.5bn in revenue. It has been profitable every year of its existence.


It also has local stores, in Canada, China, and Taiwan and operates a number of more specialized stores and brands, including NeweggBusiness.com.


January 23, 2014 at 05:22PM

Ethereum: A Next-Generation Cryptocurrency and Decentralized Application Platform

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 4.03.11 PM

The author of this article, Vitalik Buterin, is also the founder of Ethereum, and this article is intended as an expository piece and not a review.


Over the past year, there has been an increasingly large amount of discussion around so-called “Bitcoin 2.0″ protocols – alternative cryptographic networks that are inspired by Bitcoin, but which intend to make the underlying technology usable for far more than just currency. The earliest implementation of this idea was Namecoin, a Bitcoin-like currency created in 2010 which would be used for decentralized domain name registration. More recently, we have seen the emergence of colored coins, allowing users to create their own currencies on the Bitcoin network, and more advanced protocols like Mastercoin, Bitshares and Counterparty which intend to provide features such as financial derivatives, savings wallets and decentralized exchange. However, up until these point all of the protocols that have been invented have been specialized, attempting to offer specific and rich feature sets targeted toward specific industries or applications usually financial in nature. Now, a group of developers including myself have come up with a project that takes the opposite track: a cryptocurrency network that intends to be as generalized as possible, allowing anyone to create specialized applications on top for almost any purpose imaginable. The project: Ethereum.


Cryptocurrency Protocols Are Like Onions…


One common design philosophy among many cryptocurrency 2.0 protocols is the idea that, just like the internet, cryptocurrency design would work best if protocols split off into different layers. Under this strain of thought, Bitcoin is to be thought of as a sort of TCP/IP of the cryptocurrency ecosystem, and other next-generation protocols can be built on top of Bitcoin much like we have SMTP for email, HTTP for webpages and XMPP for chat all on top of TCP as a common underlying data layer.


So far, the three main protocols that have followed this model are colored coins, Mastercoin and Counterparty. The way the colored coins protocol works is simple. First, in order to create colored coins, a user tags specific bitcoins as having a special meaning; for example, if Bob is a gold issuer, he may wish to tag some set of bitcoins and say that each satoshi represents 0.1 grams of gold redeemable from him. The protocol then tracks those bitcoins through the blockchain, and in that way it is possible to calculate who owns them at any time.


Mastercoin and Counterparty are somewhat more abstract; they use the Bitcoin blockchain to store data, so a Mastercoin or Counterparty transaction is a Bitcoin transaction, but the protocols interpret the transactions in a completely different way. One can have two Mastercoin transactions, one sending 1 MSC and the other 100000 MSC, but from the point of view of a Bitcoin user that does not know how that Mastercoin protocol works they both look like small transactions sending 0.0006 BTC each; the Mastercoin-specific metadata is encoded in the transaction outputs. A Mastercoin client then needs to search the Bitcoin blockchain for Mastercoin transactions in order to determine the current Mastercoin balance sheet.


I personally have had the privilege of talking directly to many of the originators of the colored coins and Mastercoin protocol, and have participated considerably in the development of both projects. However, over about two months of research and particpation, what I eventually came to realize is that, while the underlying idea of having such high-level protocols on top of low-level protocols is laudable, there are fundamental flaws in the implementations, as they stand today, that may well prevent the projects from ever gaining anything more than a small amount of traction.


The reason is not that the ideas behind the protocols themselves are bad; the ideas are excellent, and the response of the community alone is proof that they are trying to do something that is very much needed. Rather, the reason is that the low-level protocol that they are trying to build their high-level protocols on top of, Bitcoin, is simply not cut out for the task. This is not to say that Bitcoin is bad, or is not a revolutionary invention; as a protocol for storing and transferring value, Bitcoin is excellent. However, as far as being an effective low-level protocol is concerned, Bitcoin is less effective; rather than being like a TCP on top of which one can build HTTP, Bitcoin is like SMTP: a protocol that is good at its intended task (in SMTP’s case email, in Bitcoin’s case money), but not particularly good as a foundation for anything else.


The specific failure of Bitcoin is particularly concentrated in one place: scalability. Bitcoin itself is as scalable as a cryptocurrency can be; even if the blockchain balloons to over a terabyte, there is a protocol called “simplified payment verification”, described in the Bitcoin whitepaper that allows “light clients” with only a few megabytes of bandwidth and storage to securely determine whether or not they have received transactions. With colored coins and Mastercoin, however, this possibility disappears. The reason is this. In order to determine what color a colored coin is, you need to not just use Bitcoin simplified payment verification to prove that it exists; you also need to trace it all the way back to its genesis, and do an SPV check each step of the way. Sometimes, the backward scan is exponential; and with metacoin protocols there is no way to know anything at all without verifying every single transaction.


And this is what Ethereum intends to fix. Ethereum does not intend to be a Swiss Army knife protocol with hundreds of features to suit every need; instead, Ethereum aims to be a superior foundational protocol, and allow other decentralized applications to build on top of it instead of Bitcoin, giving them more tools to work with and allowing them to gain the full benefits of Ethereum’s scalability and efficiency.


Contacts, Not Just For Difference


At the time that Ethereum was being developed, there was a large amount of interest in allowing financial contracts on top of cryptocurrencies; the basic type of contract being a “contract for difference”. In a contract for difference, two parties agree to put in some amount of money, and then get money out in a proportion that depends on the value of some underlying asset. For example, a CFD might have Alice put in $1000, Bob put in $1000, and then after 30 days the blockchain would automatically return to Alice $1000 plus $100 for every dollar that the LTC/USD price went up during that time period and send Bob the rest. These contracts allow people to speculate on assets at high leverage, or alternatively protect themselves from cryptocurrency volatility by canceling out their exposure, without any centralized exchange.


At this point, however, it is clear that contracts for difference are really only one special case of a much more general concept: contracts for formula. Instead of having the contract take in $x for Alice, $y from Bob, and return to Alice $x plus an additional $z for every dollar that some given ticker went up, a contract should be able to return to A an amount of funds based on any mathematical formula, allowing contracts of arbitrary complexity. If the formula allows random data as inputs, these generalized CFDs can even be used to implement a sort of peer-to-peer gambling.


Ethereum takes this idea and pushes it one step further. Instead of contracts being agreements between two parties that start and end, contracts in Ethereum are like a sort of autonomous agent simulated by the blockchain. Each Ethereum contract has its own internal scripting code, and the scripting code is activated every time a transaction is sent to it. The scripting language has access to the transaction’s value, sender and optional data fields, as well some block data and its own internal memory, as inputs, and can send transactions. To make a CFD, Alice would create a contract and seed it with $1000 worth of cryptocurrency, and then wait for Bob to accept the contract by sending a transction containing $1000 as well. The contract would then be programmed to start a timer, and after 30 days Alice or Bob would be able to send a small transaction to the contract to activate it again and release the funds.


Aside from this narrow contract-for-difference model, however, the whitepaper outlines many other transaction types that will become possible with Ethereum scripting, of which a few include:




Code example of an Ethereum currency contract, written in a high-level language.




if tx.value






  • Multisignature escrows, of a similar spirit to the Bitcoin arbitration service Bitrated, but with more complex rules than Bitcoin. For example, there will be no need for the signers to pass around partially signed transactions manually; people can authorize a withdrawal asynchronously over the blockchain one at a time and then have the transaction finalized automatically once enough people make their authorizations.

  • Savings accounts - one interesting setup works as follows. Suppose that Alice wants to store a large amount of money, but does not want to risk losing everything if her private key is lose or stolen. She makes a contract with Bob, a semi-trustworthy bank, with the following rules: Alice is allowed to withdraw up to 1% per day, Alice with Bob approval can withdrawn any amount, and Bob alone can withdraw up to 0.05% per day. Normally, Alice will only need small amounts at a time, and if Alice wants more she can prove her identity to Bob and make the withdrawal. If Alice's private key gets stolen, she can run to Bob and move the funds into another contract before the thief gets away with more than 1% of the funds. If Alice loses her private key, Bob will eventually be able to recover her funds. And if Bob turns out to be evil, Alice can withdraw her own funds twenty times faster than he can. In short, all of the security of traditional banking, but with almost none of the trust.

  • Peer-to-peer gambling - any kind of peer-to-peer gambling protocol can be implemented on top of Ethereum. A very basic protocol would simply be a contract for difference on random data such as a block hash.

  • Creating your own currency - using Ethereum's internal memory store, you can create an entire new currency inside of Ethereum. These new currencies can be constructed to interact with each other, have a decentralized exchange, or any other kind of advanced features.


This is the advantage of Ethereum code: because the scripting language is designed to have no restrictions except for a fee system, essentially any kind of rules can be encoded inside of it. One can even have an entire company manage its savings on the blockchain, with a contract saying that, for example, 60% of the current shareholders of a company are needed to agree to move any funds (and perhapps 30% can move a maximum of 1% per day). Other, less traditionally capitalistic, structures are also possible; one idea is for a democratic organization with the only rule being that two thirds of the existing members of a group must agree to invite another member.


Beyond the Financial


The financial applications, however, only scratch the surface of what Ethereum, and cryptographic protocols on top of Ethereum, can do. While Ethereum's financial applications may be what initially excites many people in the cryptocurrency community, the long-term promise is arguably in the ways that Ethereum can work together with other, non-financial, peer-to-peer protocols. One of the main problems that non-financial peer-to-peer protocols have faced so far is the lack of incentive - that is to say, unlike centralized for-profit platforms, there is no financial reason to participate. In some cases, participation is in some sense its own reward; it is for this reason that people continue to write open source software, contribute to Wikipedia, and make comments on forums and write blog posts. In the context of peer-to-peer protocols, however, participation is often not a "fun" activity in any meaningful sense; rather, it consists of putting in a large quantity of resources, letting a daemon run in the background potentially hogging CPU and battery power, and forgetting about it.


For example, there have already for a long time been data protocols such as Freenet that essentially provide everyone with decentralized uncensorable static content hosting; in practice, however, Freenet is very slow, and few people contribute resources. File sharing protocols all suffer from the same problem: although altruism is good enough for spreading popular commercial blockbusters around, it becomes markedly less effective for those with less mainstream preferences. Thus, perversely, the peer-to-peer nature of file sharing may actually be helping the centralization of entertainment and media production, not hindering it. All of these problems, however, can potentially be solved if we add incentivization - empowering people to build not just nonprofit side projects, but also businesses and livelihoods, around participating in the network.



  • Incentivized data storage - essentially, a decentralized Dropbox. The idea works as follows: if a user wants to have a 1GB file backed up by the network, they would construct a data structure known as a Merkle tree out of the data. They would then put the root of the tree, along with 10 ether, into a contract and upload the file onto another specialized network that nodes wishing to rent out their hard drive space would listen for messages on. Every day, the contract would automatically pick a random branch of the tree (eg. "left -> right -> left -> left -> left -> right -> left"), ending at a block of the file, and give 0.01 ether to the first node to provide that branch. Nodes would store the entire file to maximize their chance of getting the reward.

  • BitMessage and Tor - Bitmessage is a next-generation email protocol that is both fully decentralized and encrypted, allowing anyone to send messages to any other Bitmessage user securely without relying on any third parties except for the network. However, Bitmessage has one large usability flaw: instead of sending messages to human-friendly email addresses, like "bob@gmail.com", you need to send to garbled 34-character Bitmessage addresses (eg. "BM-BcbRqcFFSQUUmXFKsPJgVQPSiFA3Xash"). Ethereum contracts offer a solution: people can register their names on a special Ethereum contract, and Bitmessage clients can query the Ethereum blockchain to get the 34-character Bitmessage address associated with any name behind the scenes. The online anonymizing network Tor suffers from the same problems, and thus can also benefit from this solution.

  • Identity and Reputation Systems - once you can register your name on the blockchain, the logical next step is obvious: have a web of trust on the blockchain. Webs of trust are a key part of an effective peer to peer communication infrastructure: you don't just want to know that a given public key refers to a given person; you also want to know that the person is trustworthy in the first place. The solution is to use social networks: if you trust A, A trusts B, and B trusts C, then there is a pretty good chance that you can trust C, at least to some extent. Ethereum can serve as the data layer for a fully decentralized reputation system - and potentially ultimately a fully decentralized marketplace.


Many of the above applications consist of actual peer-to-peer protocols and projects that are already well under development; in those cases, we intend to establish partnerships with as many of these projects as we can, and help fund them in exchange for bringing their value into the Ethereum ecosystem. We want to help not just the cryptocurrency community, but also the peer to peer community as a whole, including file sharing, torrents, data storage and mesh networking. We believe that there are many projects, especially in the non-financial area, that can potentially bring great value to the community, but for which development is underfunded precisely because they lack an opportunity to effectively introduce a financial component; perhaps Ethereum may be what ultimately pushes dozens of these projects to the next stage.


Why are all of these applications possible on top of Ethereum? The answer lies in the currency's internal programming language. An analogy here may be made with the internet. Back in 1996, the web was nothing but HTML, and all people could do with it was serve static web pages on sites like Geocities. Then, people decided that there was a great need for people to submit forms in HTML, so HTML added a forms feature. This was like a "colored coins" of web protocols: try to solve a specific problem, but do it on top of a weak protocol without looking at the larger picture. Soon, however, we came up with Javascript, a programming language inside the web browser. And it was Javascript that solved the problem: because Javascript is a universal, Turing-complete programming language, it can be used to build apps of arbitrary complexity; Gmail, Facebook and even Bitcoin wallets have all been made with the language. And this was not because the Javascript developers decided that they wanted people to build Gmail, Facebook, and Bitcoin wallets; they just wanted a programming language. What we can do with the language is up to our own imaginations. And that is the spirit that we want to bring to Ethereum. Ethereum does not intend to be the end of all cryptocurrency innovation; it intends to be the beginning.


Further Innovations


Along with its main feature of a Turing-complete, universal scripting language, Ethereum will also have a number of other improvements over existing cryptocurrency:



  • Fees - Ethereum contracts will regulate its Turing-complete functionality and prevent abusive transactions such as memory hogs and infinite loop scripts by instituting a transaction fee for each computational step of script execution. More expensive operations, such as storage accesses and cryptographic operations, will have higher fees, and there will also be a fee for every item of storage that a contract fills up. To encourage contracts to clean up after themselves, if a contract reduces the amount of storage that it uses a negative fee will be charged; in fact, there is a special SUICIDE opcode to clear a contract and send all funds and the hefty negative fee back to its creator.

  • Mining algorithms - there has been a lot of interest into making cryptocurrencies whose mining is resistant against specialized hardware, allowing ordinary users with commodity hardware to participate without any capital investment and helping to avoid centralization. So far, the main antidote has been Scrypt, a mining algorithm that requires a large amount of both computational power and memory to compute; however, Scrypt is not memory-hard enough, and there are companies building specialized devices for it. We have come up with Dagger, a prototype proof of work that is even more memory-hard than Scrypt, as well as prototype proof-of-stake algorithms such as Slasher that get around the issue of mining entirely. Ultimately, however, we intend to host a contest, similar to the contests that determined the standards for AES and SHA3, where we invite research groups from universities around the world to devise the best possible commodity-hardware-friendly possible mining algorithm.

  • GHOST - GHOST is a new block propagation protocol pioneered by Aviv Zohar and Yonatan Sompolinsky that allows blockchains to have much faster block confirmation times, ideally in the range of 3-30 seconds, without running into the issues of centralization and high stale rate that fast block confirmations normally bring. Ethereum is the first major currency to integrate a simplified single-level version of GHOST as part of its protocol.


The Plan


Ethereum is potentially a massive and wide-reaching undertaking, and will take months to develop. With that in mind, the currency will be released in multiple stages. The first stage, the release of the whitepaper, has already happened. Forums, a wiki and a blog have been set up, and anyone is free to visit them and set up an account and comment on the forums. On January 25, a 60-day fundraiser will launch at the confrence in Miami, during which anyone will be able to purchase ether, Ethereum's internal currency, for BTC much like the Mastercoin fundraiser; the price will be 1000 ether for 1 BTC, although early investors will get roughly a 2x benefit to compensate for the increased risk that they're taking for participating in the project earlier. The fundraiser participants will not just get ether; there will also be a number of additional rewards, likely including free tickets to conferences, a spot to put 32 bytes into the genesis block, and for the top donors even the ability to name three sub-units of the currency (eg. the equivalent of the "microbitcoin" in BTC).


The issuance of Ethereum will not be any single mechanism; instead, a compromise approach combining the benefits of multiple approaches will be used. The issuance model will work as follows:



  • Ether will be released in a fundraiser at the price of 1000-2000 ether per BTC, with earlier funders getting a better price to compensate for the increased uncertainty of participating at an earlier stage. The minimum funding amount will be 0.01 BTC. Suppose that X ether gets released in this way

  • 0.225X ether will be allocated to the fiduciary members and early contributors who substantially participated in the project before the start of the fundraiser. This share will be stored in a time-lock contract; about 40% of it will be spendable after one year, 70% after two years and 100% after 3 years.

  • 0.05X ether will be allocated to a fund to use to pay expenses and rewards in ether between the start of the fundraiser and the launch of the currency

  • 0.225X ether will be allocated as a long-term reserve pool to pay expenses, salaries and rewards in ether after the launch of the currency

  • 0.4X ether will be mined per year forever after that point


There is an important distinction compared to Bitcoin and most other cryptocurrencies: here, the eventual supply is unlimited. The "permanent linear inflation" model is designed to make ether neither inflationary nor deflationary; the lack of a supply cap is intended to dampen some of the speculative and wealth inequality effects of existing currencies, but at the same time the linear, rather than traditionally exponential, inflation model will mean that the effective inflation rate tends to zero over time. Additionally, because the initial currency supply will not start from zero, the currency supply growth in the first eight years will actually be slower than Bitcoin, giving fundraiser participants and early adopters a chance to benefit substantially in the medium term.


At some point in February, we will release a centralized testnet - a server which anyone can use to send transactions and create contracts. Soon after that, the decentralized testnet will come, which we will use to test different mining algorithms and make sure that the peer to peer daemon works and is secure, and take measurements to look for optimizations to the scripting language. Finally, once we are sure that the protocol and the client is secure, we will release the genesis block, and allow mining to begin.


Looking Forward


Since Ethereum includes a Turing-complete scripting language, it can be mathematically proven that it can do essentially anything that a Bitcoin-like blockchain-based cryptocurrency potentially can do. But there are still problems that the protocol, as it stands today, leaves unresolved. For example, Ethereum offers no solution for the fundamental scalability problem in all blockchain-based cryptocurrencies - namely, the fact that every full node must store the entire balance sheet and verify every transaction. Ethereum's concept of a separate "state tree" and "transaction list", borrowed from Ripple, mitigates this to some extent, but nevertheless no fundamental breakthrough is mine. For that, technology like Eli ben Sasson's Secure Computational Integrity and Privacy (SCIP), now under development, will be required.


Additionally, Ethereum offers no improvements on traditional proof-of-work mining with all its flaws, and proof of excellence and Ripple-style consensus are left unexplored. If it turns out that proof of stake or some other proof of work algorithm is a better solution, then future cryptocurrencies may use proof of stake algorithms like MC2 and Slasher instead. If there is room for an Ethereum 2.0, it is in these areas that it the improvements will lie. And ultimately, Ethereum is an open-ended project; if the project gets enough funding, we may even be the ones to release Ethereum 2.0 ourselves, carrying over the original account balances onto an even further improved network. Ultimately, just as is our slogan for the currency itself, the only limit is our imaginaion.


The post Ethereum: A Next-Generation Cryptocurrency and Decentralized Application Platform appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.



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