8 February 2014

US Government Says Apple is NOT in Violation of Antitrust Law

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has stated it will not take action against Apple for its recent decision to ban bitcoin apps.

The announcement comes amid a growing furore among bitcoin users, who were outraged by Apple’s decision to remove the official Blockchain app from its App Store earlier this week.

The DOJ stated:

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 08, 2014 at 11:24AM

Minecraft’s Law Firm to Start Accepting Bitcoin Payments

Top-tier media and entertainment law firm Sheridans has announced that it will begin taking payment in bitcoin. The firm currently has about a dozen clients in the bitcoin economy, said Eitan Jankelewitz, a technology lawyer in the firm who promoted the initiative internally.

“[Accepting bitcoin] is driven by an understanding at Sheridans that there’s no reason not to. I don’t see any reason for a retailer, or a service provider like us, not to accept bitcoin,” he said.

Jankelewitz said the firm’s clients involved in the bitcoin economy included mining equipment manufacturers, wallet operators, exchanges, investors and retailers who accept bitcoin. All of those clients had asked Sheridans if they could pay in bitcoin, according to Jankelewitz.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 08, 2014 at 09:47AM

7 February 2014

Cryptographic Code Obfuscation: Decentralized Autonomous Organizations Are About to Take a Huge Leap Forward


There have been a number of very interesting developments in cryptography in the past few years. Satoshi’s blockchain notwithstanding, perhaps the first major breakthrough after blinding and zero-knowledge proofs is fully homomorphic encryption, a technology which allows you to upload your data onto a server in an encrypted form so that the server can then perform calculations on it and send you back the results all without having any idea what the data. In 2013, we saw the beginnings of succinct computational integrity and privacy (SCIP), a toolkit pioneered by Eli ben Sasson in Israel that lets you cryptographically prove that you carried out some computation and got a certain output. On the more mundane side, we now have sponge functions, an innovation that substantially simplifies the previous mess of hash functions, stream ciphers and pseudorandom number generators into a beautiful, single construction. Most recently of all, however, there has been another major development in the cryptographic scene, and one whose applications are potentially very far-reaching both in the cryptocurrency space and for software as a whole: obfuscation.

The idea behind obfuscation is an old one, and cryptographers have been trying to crack the problem for years. The problem behind obfuscation is this: is it possible to somehow encrypt a program to produce another program that does the same thing, but which is completely opaque so there is no way to understand what is going on inside? The most obvious use case is proprietary software – if you have a program that incorporates advanced algorithms, and want to let users use the program on specific inputs without being able to reverse-engineer the algorithm, the only way to do such a thing is to obfuscate the code. Proprietary software is for obvious reasons unpopular among the tech community, so the idea has not seen a lot of enthusiasm, a problem compounded by the fact that each and every time a company would try to put an obfuscation scheme into practice it would quickly get broken. Five years ago, researchers put what might perhaps seem to be a final nail in the coffin: a mathematical proof, using arguments vaguely similar to those used to show the impossibility of the halting problem, that a general purpose obfuscator that converts any program into a “black box” is impossible.

At the same time, however, the cryptography community began to follow a different path. Understanding that the “black box” ideal of perfect obfuscation will never be achieved, researchers set out to instead aim for a weaker target: indistinguishability obfuscation. The definition of an indistinguishability obfuscator is this: given two programs A and B that compute the same function, if an effective indistinguishability obfuscator computes O(A)=X and O(B)=Y, given X and Y there is no (computationally feasible) way to determine which of X and Y came from A and which came from B. In theory, this is the best that anyone can do; if there is a better obfuscator, P, then if you put A and P(A) through the indistinguishability obfuscator O, there would be no way to tell between O(A) and O(P(A)), meaning that the extra step of adding P could not hide any information about the inner workings of the program that O does not. Creating such an obfuscator is the problem which many cryptographers have occupied themselves with for the last five years. And in 2013, UCLA cryptographer Amit Sahai, homomorphic encryption pioneer Craig Gentry and several other researchers figured out how to do it.

Does the indistinguishability obfuscator actually hide private data inside the program? To see what the answer is, consider the following. Suppose your secret password is bobalot_13048, and the SHA256 of the password starts with 00b9bbe6345de82f. Now, construct two programs. A just outputs 00b9bbe6345de82f, whereas B actually stores bobalot_13048 inside, and when you run it it actually computes SHA256(bobalot_13048) and returns the first 16 hex digits of the output. According to the indistinguishability property, O(A) and O(B) are indistinguishable. If there was some way to extract bobalot_13048 from B, it would therefore be possible to extract bobalot_13048 from A, which essentially implies that you can break SHA256 (or by extension any hash function for that matter). By standard assumptions, this is impossible, so therefore the obfuscator must also make it impossible to uncover bobalot_13048 from B. Thus, we can be pretty sure that Sahai’s obfuscator does actually obfuscate.

So What’s The Point?

In many ways, code obfuscation is one of the holy grails of cryptography. To understand why, consider just how easily nearly every other primitive can be implemented with it. Want public key encryption? Take any symmetric-key encryption scheme, and construct a decryptor with your secret key built in. Obfuscate it, and publish that on the web. You now have a public key. Want a signature scheme? Public key encryption provides that for you as an easy corollary. Want fully homomorphic encryption? Construct a program which takes two numbers as an input, decrypts them, adds the results, and encrypts it, and obfuscate the program. Do the same for multiplication, send both programs to the server, and the server will swap in your adder and multiplier into its code and perform your computation.

However, aside from that, obfuscation is powerful in another key way, and one which has profound consequences particularly in the field of cryptocurrencies and decentralized autonomous organizations: publicly running contracts can now contain private data. On top of second-generation blockchains like Ethereum, it will be possible to run so-called “autonomous agents” (or, when the agents primarily serve as a voting system between human actors, “decentralized autonomous organizations”) whose code gets executed entirely on the blockchain, and which have the power to maintain a currency balance and send transactions inside the Ethereum system. For example, one might have a contract for a non-profit organization that contains a currency balance, with a rule that the funds can be withdrawn or spent if 67% of the organization’s members agree on the amount and destination to send.

Unlike Bitcoin’s vaguely similar multisig functionality, the rules can be extremely flexible, for example allowing a maximum of 1% per day to be withdrawn with only 33% consent, or making the organization a for-profit company whose shares are tradable and whose shareholders automatically receive dividends. Up until now it has been thought that such contracts are fundamentally limited – they can only have an effect inside the Ethereum network, and perhaps other systems which deliberately set themselves up to listen to the Ethereum network. With obfuscation, however, there are new possibilities.

Consider the simplest case: an obfuscated Ethereum contract can contain a private key to an address inside the Bitcoin network, and use that private key to sign Bitcoin transactions when the contract’s conditions are met. Thus, as long as the Ethereum blockchain exists, one can effectively use Ethereum as a sort of controller for money that exists inside of Bitcoin. From there, however, things only get more interesting. Suppose now that you want a decentralized organization to have control of a bank account. With an obfuscated contract, you can have the contract hold the login details to the website of a bank account, and have the contract carry out an entire HTTPS session with the bank, logging in and then authorizing certain transfers. You would need some user to act as an intermediary sending packets between the bank and the contract, but this would be a completely trust-free role, like an internet service provider, and anyone could trivially do it and even receive a reward for the task. Autonomous agents can now also have social networking accounts, accounts to virtual private servers to carry out more heavy-duty computations than what can be done on a blockchain, and pretty much anything that a normal human or proprietary server can.

Looking Forward

Thus, we can see that in the next few years decentralized autonomous organizations are potentially going to become much more powerful than they are today. But what are the consequences going to be? In the developed world, the hope is that there will be a massive reduction in the cost of setting up a new business, organization or partnership, and a tool for creating organizations that are much more difficult to corrupt. Much of the time, organizations are bound by rules which are really little more than gentlemen’s agreements in practice, and once some of the organization’s members gain a certain measure of power they gain the ability to twist every interpretation in their favor.

Up until now, the only partial solution was codifying certain rules into contracts and laws – a solution which has its strengths, but which also has its weaknesses, as laws are numerous and very complicated to navigate without the help of a (often very expensive) professional. With DAOs, there is now also another alternative: making an organization whose organizational bylaws are 100% crystal clear, embedded in mathematical code. Of course, there are many things with definitions that are simply too fuzzy to be mathematically defined; in those cases, we will still need some arbitrators, but their role will be reduced to a limited commodity-like function circumscribed by the contract, rather than having potentially full control over everything.

In the developing world, however, things will be much more drastic. The developed world has access to a legal system that is at times semi-corrupt, but whose main problems are otherwise simply that it’s too biased toward lawyers and too outdated, bureaucratic and inefficient. The developing world, on the other hand, is plagues by legal systems that are fully corrupt at best, and actively conspiring to pillage their subjects at worst. There, nearly all businesses are gentleman’s agreements, and opportunities for people to betray each other exist at every step. The mathematically encoded organizational bylaws that DAOs can have are not just an alternative; they may potentially be the first legal system that people have that is actually there to help them. Arbitrators can build up their reputations online, as can organizations themselves. Ultimately, perhaps on-blockchain voting, like that being pioneered by BitCongress, may even form a basis for new experimental governments. If Africa can leapfrog straight from word of mouth communications to mobile phones, why not go from tribal legal systems with the interference of local governments straight to DAOs?

Many will of course be concerned that having uncontrollable entities moving money around is dangerous, as there are considerable possibilities for criminal activity with these kinds of powers. To that, however, one can make two simple rebuttals. First, although these decentralized autonomous organizations will be impossible to shut down, they will certainly be very easy to monitor and track every step of the way. It will be possible to detect when one of these entities makes a transaction, it will be easy to see what its balance and relationships are, and it will be possible to glean a lot of information about its organizational structure if voting is done on the blockchain. Much like Bitcoin, DAOs are likely far too transparent to be practical for much of the underworld; as FINCEN director Jennifer Shasky Calvery has recently said, “cash is probably still the best medium for laundering money”. Second, ultimately DAOs cannot do anything normal organizations cannot do; all they are is a set of voting rules for a group of humans or other human-controlled agents to manage ownership of digital assets. Even if a DAO cannot be shut down, its members certainly can be just as if they were running a plain old normal organization offline.

Whatever the dominant applications of this new technology turn out to be, one thing is looking more and more certain: cryptography and distributed consensus are about to make the world a whole lot more interesting.

The post Cryptographic Code Obfuscation: Decentralized Autonomous Organizations Are About to Take a Huge Leap Forward appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

February 08, 2014 at 02:57AM

Why Lower Bitcoin Price Volatility is No Panacea

Prior to the nearly 20% pullback in bitcoin’s price we’ve witnessed in the last 24-hours, there had been a fair amount of digital ink spilled suggesting that bitcoin’s price volatility may be decreasing.

Rob Wile of Business Insider , Alex Wilhelm of TechCrunch , and Timothy B. Lee of the venerable Washington Post all wrote pieces over the last week suggesting that bitcoin is becoming less volatile.

Before addressing the question of whether bitcoin volatility is in fact declining, why is bitcoin volatility important?

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 08, 2014 at 12:21AM

In the Midst of Winter, Bitcoin is Heating Up New York City


If you want to experience Bitcoin unlike any other, take a step into the newly formed Bitcoin Center NYC. A block from the New York Stock Exchange, Bitcoin Center creates a lively approach to buying and selling Bitcoin in an area that has since been silent with the excitement of live trading. Each Monday, the floor comes alive with the sound of traders exchanging Bitcoin and other digital currencies.

Infamously named “Satoshi Square,” which originally held trading at Union Square, Bitcoin Center NYC is the new headquarters for trading for the frigid winter months. The event this past week had 100 in attendance, filled with boisterous trading in millibits and thousandths of a Bitcoin. However, the event doesn’t just trade Bitcoin. Individuals also trade Dogecoin, the altcoin that currently has the third largest trade volume of all cryptocurrencies. “The intensity is palpable,” said a Bitcoin Center trader.

Bitcoin Center NYC is the only place in the city where Bitcoin can be traded for cash in a live environment. Pushing through a crowd to get the best price is not uncommon. If you are lucky enough to obtain your piece of crypto-cash, you will also enjoy the live exchange after trading ends. Buyers exchange public keys to transfer funds between digital wallets, a process that is efficient and easy.

Aside from trading, Bitcoin Center NYC is a prime location for the avid Bitcoiner as well as users new to the growing cryptocurrency market. In fact, a majority of those in attendance are often individuals new to Bitcoin, just seeking additional knowledge and experience. Live trading is only a minor aspect of the future of the Bitcoin ecosystem. Bitcoin Center NYC’s real value lies in giving people a place to congregate, share ideas and get excited about the Bitcoin community in New York City.

Bitcoin was created as a peer-to-peer payment system and because of this, the in-person payment is another way to get your hands on Bitcoin. In every corner of the world there are events much like those held at Bitcoin Center NYC. This approach to trading has created a seamless way to put Bitcoin in your virtual wallet within minutes.

Bitcoin communities like the one in New York City and others around the world have helped drive Bitcoin’s meteoric rise “to the moon.” With increasing transaction volumes and more individual involvement, Bitcoin will achieve continued long-term growth. Bitcoin Center NYC is setting the standard for the Bitcoin community – a place where people can learn, share and trade. Although cryptocurrencies are still very young, it is thanks to events like those held every Monday in New York City.

Just off of Broad Street, a block from the NYSE houses one of the best places to begin your obsession with Bitcoin. Happy trading!

The post In the Midst of Winter, Bitcoin is Heating Up New York City appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

February 07, 2014 at 10:56PM

Apple Sours on Bitcoin, Corner Shop Conundrum, and the Stolen Good

Apple makes fans close wallets


There is nothing like a holy war to get the pulse going, and there’s no holy war as satisfying to watch as one where the two combatants are virtually identical.

Take Apple versus Android. More virtual blood has been spilled online by mouth-frothing, crazy-eyed barbarians over this little tiff than the great Mac versus Windows global conflict.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 07, 2014 at 10:45PM



Today MtGox – one of the biggest exchanges – published a press release stating that they’re temporarily pausing Bitcoin withdrawals.

For more news you’ll probably have to wait until Monday, February 10, 2014:

Our team will resolve this problem as soon as possible and will provide an update on Monday, February 10, 2014 (JST).

I didn’t endorse MtGox in public, but that’s mainly because they’ve been in control of the vast majority of the Bitcoin market for a long time and this caused some trouble for them and the Bitcoin community.

However I do trust MtGox to do the right thing and I will definitely support them in case they are in trouble.

I have chatted with Mark Karpelès (current CEO of MtGox) online several times – even before he became the owner of MtGox and he’s definitely not the kind of person who wants to cause this kind of inconvenience.

MtGox is also a founding member and major supporter of the Bitcoin Foundation – and this foundation is paying Gavin Andresen to maintain the source code of the Bitcoin client*.

*I’m referring to the first Bitcoin client – developed by Satoshi Nakamoto.

February 07, 2014 at 10:23PM

Silk Road Accused Ulbricht Pleads Not Guilty, Begins Long Defense

Ross Ulbricht, the Texas native arrested in San Francisco last October in relation to the Silk Road online black marketplace, has entered a formal plea of ‘not guilty’ to all charges.

The indictment hearing for the man accused of being the site’s ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’ comes after more than 120 days in detention and interestingly, did not include any of the (up to) six alleged attempts to murder Silk Road cohorts by contract, none of which resulted in an actual death.

The hearing and not-guilty plea comes after Ulbricht was formally indicted last Tuesday on charges of drug trafficking, money laundering, computer hacking and of being the ‘kingpin‘ on a drug trafficking enterprise.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 07, 2014 at 09:55PM

BTC-e Pulls Support for Ruble As Russia Bans Bitcoin

Bulgarian bitcoin exchange BTC-e has pulled support for the ruble, following a decision by the Russian Prosecutor’s Office to ban bitcoin.

A statement issued by Russia’s General Prosecutor’s Office said that it saw growing interest in the cryptocurrency, including from money launderers.

“The official Russian currency is the ruble. The use of any other monetary instruments or surrogates is forbidden,” it said, citing Russian Article 27 of Russia’s Federal Law, regarding the Central Bank of Russia.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 07, 2014 at 09:17PM

Localbitcoins.com Users Face Criminal Charges in Florida

At least two men in Florida have been charged for moving large volumes of bitcoins via OTC exchange localbitcoins.com. They were charged under state anti-money-laundering laws following an investigation by the US Secret Service, said reports.

Security blogger Brian Krebs reported that Michell Abner Espinoza of Miami Beach was arrested after a sting in which an undercover agent engaged him in a fake transaction to convert $30,000 worth of cash into bitcoins.

29 year-old Pascal Reid was also arrested, again for meeting with an undercover agent to exchange $30,000 for bitcoins.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 07, 2014 at 07:02PM

The Reverse Merger as a Shortcut to a Publicly-Traded Bitcoin Vehicle

Attempts to build an asset offering financial exposure to bitcoin for the average investor has interested global entrepreneurs for years, yet an SEC-registered product that can be traded easily from a standard portfolio remains to be seen. Given the regulatory scrutiny such an instrument would be subject to, the most efficient way to access public markets with a bitcoin asset may be a known subversion of the standard issuance process: the reverse merger. In July 2013, Winklevoss Capital brought significant attention to this topic when they filed the S-1 for an ETF to track the price of bitcoin. The fund is still under review by regulators, with the lawyer tapped to manage the process recently stating that it may be approved by the end of 2014. Given that approval for J.P. Morgan’s copper ETF took more than two years to gain regulatory approval, it’s of little surprise that a similar instrument for a still-undefined underlying asset would take at least that long. SecondMarket’s Bitcoin Investment Trust has become a relatively...

The post The Reverse Merger as a Shortcut to a Publicly-Traded Bitcoin Vehicle appeared first on The Genesis Block.

February 03, 2014 at 02:00PM

Acquiring Bitcoins


Coinbase is not just a place to buy and sell Bitcoins, but you can also use them as an online wallet - or, if you own a company you can use their tools to accept Bitcoin payments.

+ Android app available

+ All-in-one solution for acquiring, using and accepting Bitcoin

- U.S. bank accounts only

- Credit card (Visa) required if you want to buy or sell more than $3,000 per day


CampBX is a Bitcoin trading platform without merchant tools, but advanced trading options (Margin trading, Stop-Loss orders, etc.).

+ Advanced trading options

- Only allows money orders from USPS, MoneyGram and WesternUnion at the moment.


VirWoX is not a typical Bitcoin exchange - it started in 2007 as an exchange for Second Life Lindens - in 2011 they added Bitcoin, but you need to buy Second Life Lindens first and then you can use them to buy Bitcoins.

+ 7 years of experience in online currency trading

+ Many payment options available (PayPal, Credit Card / Debit Card, Neteller, Ukash, Paysafecard and others)

- High fees due to the risk of some payment options


LocalBitcoins is not a Bitcoin exchange, but an escrow service with an integrated rating system for your trades with other people.

+ You could make some new friends there, if there’s a listing in your area.

+ People are willing to accept many different types of payments.

- It’s not the place for everyone as it requires you to find honest trading partners on your own.

- It might take a while to find someone who is willing to trade with you.

I’ve personally used all these services and they all support Two-Factor-Authentication with Google Authenticator.

February 02, 2014 at 02:56PM

KnCMiner Offers ‘Plan B’ in Case of Neptune Miner Delivery Delay

One of the leaders in the bitcoin mining hardware market is planning contingencies for its future product lineup in case of delay.

KnCMiner, a Stockholm-based bitcoin mining hardware company, has introduced a new program for its customers – Plan B.

Plan B will help compensate for possible setbacks in the shipment of the company’s new 20nm chip miner, due out later this year.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 07, 2014 at 01:28PM

Leading UK Computer Retailer ‘Scan’ Accepts Bitcoin

Scan Computers has started accepting bitcoin payments, making it the first major PC retailer to accept the cryptocurrency in the UK.

Scan is a bit more than your average PC retailer. It is a big player in the channel, it is one of the biggest sellers of high-end computers in the UK and it builds a range of pre-overlocked rigs for enthusiasts.

A crypto love affair

Since it caters to a geeky user base, Scan quickly recognized that digital currency was an interesting trend to cash in on.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 07, 2014 at 11:22AM

Title: Satoshi NakamotoArtist: Michał Cander (Poland)Size:...

Title: Satoshi Nakamoto

Artist: Michał Cander (Poland)

Size: 65x80cm (25.6x31.5in)

Type: Oil on canvas

Source: michalcander.pl

February 02, 2014 at 12:19PM

Fits and Startups

Everyone in the bitcoin community is understandably irate at Apple right now.

Many of us have spent thousands of dollars on Apple products, some have spent hundreds of hours developing iOS apps and millions of current and future bitcoin users will be negatively impacted by Apple’s de facto ban on all things bitcoin.

Still, things have a way of working themselves out, and if bitcoin is as indestructible as many in the community say, the tech giant’s screw-up will hurt Apple more than bitcoin.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 07, 2014 at 10:04AM

Coinbase and Mint Announce First Bitcoin Personal Finance Integration

Coinbase and Mint Announce First Bitcoin Personal Finance Integration:


Today we’re excited to announce a new partnership with Mint , the leading personal finance app from Intuit Inc. Now Mint users will be able to view their digital bitcoin transactions processed by Coinbase alongside their traditional financial accounts.


As you may know, Mint…

February 01, 2014 at 07:58PM

I just made a donation

Head over to http://t.co/C28LU4ISYx and check out their BTC micropayment experiment via @BitWall @Suntimes! #bitcoin http://ift.tt/1fKDMsd

— Blockchain.info (@blockchain) February 1, 2014

February 01, 2014 at 07:47PM

Mt. Gox Halts ALL Bitcoin Withdrawals, Price Drop Follows

Japan-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, the third-largest for trading the US dollar for bitcoin by 30-day volume, has announced it is temporarily pausing bitcoin withdrawals.

The company has released a statement on its website that says the following:

Dear MtGox Customers,

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 07, 2014 at 07:47AM

6 February 2014

CoinPool Combines a Bitcoin Directory With Free Classifieds and a Calendar

Bitcoin Networked

Calling itself the “first exclusive bitcoin portal,” CoinPool.com features a directory of businesses who accept bitcoin, sorted into over 100 categories and a marketplace where users can purchase items with bitcoin.

Bitpay.com currently offers a bitcoin business directory, which boasts a search function and categories. Listings come with just one photo, a short blurb and a link to the merchant’s website. Bitcoinyellowpages.com is another good resource. But the functionality is a bit counterintuitive. Clicking on a category takes a user to a map view instead of a listing. Bitcorati’s directory functions the same way.

CoinPool.com reportedly offers product/service catalogs and photos right inside the comprehensive listings, along with a ratings and reviews section. Another promising feature is a listing of classified ads for items which can be purchased with bitcoin.

Users will also have access to an online event calendar for comprehensive details about upcoming cryptocurrency events/conferences/expos. Listing businesses, creating classified ads and adding events to the calendar will all be free.

The information section will offer instructional videos on bitcoin, as well as forums.

The post CoinPool Combines a Bitcoin Directory With Free Classifieds and a Calendar appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

February 06, 2014 at 07:43AM

Washington Dispensary Now Takes Bitcoin for Cannabis

Silk Road may be dead, but in at least one Washington State city, people can still buy marijuana and related products using bitcoin.

Medical marijuana dispensary Kouchlock Productions, which opened on Monday February 3, began accepting bitcoin for its wares this week. The dispensary, based in Spokane, is said to already have sold the drug in several bitcoin transactions.

In Washington State, medical dispensaries were legalized in 1998, under initiative 692. This allows dispensaries to sell the drug to patients with terminal or debilitating medical conditions including cancer, HIV-positive status, hepatitis C, and anorexia. A patient can be granted a permit by a naturopath.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 07, 2014 at 03:07AM

Watch this Bitcoin Fanatic Shoot His iPhone After Apple Blacklists Blockchain

Infuriated by Apple’s sudden move to ban bitcoin wallet provider Blockchain from its App stores on Wednesday, the bitcoin community flocked to reddit on 6th February in a spirited and controversial showing of support for the virtual currency.

Reddit posts abounded decrying Apple’s move as an anti-competitive maneuver that positions the Cupertino company against innovation and its core values.

However, there may be no more dedicated bitcoin supporter than Ryan of the YouTube video series Ryan’s Range Report, a vlogger and long-range shooting devotee who found a rare combination of his passions when he blasted his iPhone 4S to pieces to voice his displeasure with Apple’s decision.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 06, 2014 at 07:50PM

You Can Now Pay Cash For Bitcoin at 28,000 UK Stores


Bitcoiners can now pay cash for bitcoins at 28,000 shops across the UK, thanks to a new service set up by ZipZap.

Full article

February 06, 2014 at 05:41PM

Venture Capitalists and Bitcoin Companies React to Apple’s Blockchain Ban

News that Apple had pulled the Blockchain.info app from its App Store broke in the early hours of this morning (UK-time) and the short-term effect seemed to be a dip in the price of bitcoin.

At midnight (GMT), the price was $822. Some 15 minutes later, Blockchain tweeted its response to Apple’s decision and, over the course of the next hour, the bitcoin price fell to $793. By 08:30, the price had fallen to $783.04, the lowest it has been since 2nd January.

At the time of writing, the price is back up to $802, but this is still 8% lower than yesterday’s high of $874.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 06, 2014 at 06:43PM

Does Your Favorite Team Accept Bitcoin?


The countdown to March 1 has begun for basketball fans everywhere. This is not March Madness in the usual sense, but instead is a huge day for Bitcoin. We are a few short weeks from witnessing an NBA first: the Sacramento Kings accepting Bitcoin.

The announcement made just weeks ago will mark the first professional sports team to accept Bitcoin. Beginning March 1, the Sacramento Kings will accept Bitcoin for online ticket and merchandise payments, as well as in the arena itself. The plan to accept Bitcoin is in support of the organization’s goal to create a new sporting experience. In a recent interview with ESPN, Kings owner Vivek Ranadive stated, “When I sold the NBA on keeping the team in Sacramento, my pitch included using the sports franchise as a social network to push the technology envelope. This is an example of that.”

Accepting Bitcoin supports the team owner’s business philosophy called “NBA 3.0,” which focuses on investments in technology, globalization and deep community partnerships. In addition to Bitcoin, the team is also experimenting with Google Glass and many other advancements based on the fan experience. The acceptance of Bitcoin brings the team one step closer to allowing fans to keep their wallets at home, which will eventually be a ticketless and cashless arena environment.

Each Bitcoin purchase will be processed through BitPay, a leading payment processor for virtual currencies. The partnership will enable the team to streamline the transaction process for event-goers, and will also enable the team to settle their funds in USD with zero chargebacks and low transaction fees. Unlike credit cards, which charge a percentage of the total sale, BitPay will charge a flat-rate transaction fee and enable the team to net more money on each transaction.

Bitcoin will truly alter the fan experience by creating a fast and easy way for fans to make online and in-person payments without having to reach for their credit card or cash. “We are able to implement a technology that allows our fans to make Kings-related purchases without physically reaching into their wallets. A major tenet of the NBA 3.0 philosophy is about utilizing technology for the betterment of the fan experience, and this is yet another step in that process,” Ranadive said in a recent press release.

The Sacramento Kings will soon begin accepting Bitcoin in their Kings Team Store, using a simple checkout process, forging the path for Bitcoin in the wide world of sports. The adoption of the digital currency has expanded to hotels, bars and restaurants, casinos, and now sports within a few short months. While Bitcoin is still in its infancy, a growing number of merchants are experimenting and noticing the benefits of the fastest growing payment method. In fact, Richard Sherman of the world champion Seattle Seahawks recently announced he would be accepting Bitcoin on his online store, saying “I hear it’s the currency of the future.”

The Sacramento Kings currently reside in the 19th largest market in the NBA, on the edge of Silicon Valley, an area filled with tech-savvy companies and leading innovators. “The city is plugged into a tech mind set to which Bitcoin appeals,” said Ranadive. For the team, Bitcoin supports their technology-focused philosophy and will prove to enhance the fan experience. Fans can leave their wallet at home, enter the gate with an electronic ticket and complete purchases by simply scanning their Bitcoin wallet – creating an effortless experience. Through partnership with BitPay, the Kings will be able to save on processing fees and eliminate chargebacks, while providing an easy payment solution for fans.

Bitcoin has a bright future in the live sports market, but will have to prove itself first. In less than a month, a new type of March Madness will be upon us, with the Sacramento Kings paving the way. When will your favorite team accept Bitcoin?

The post Does Your Favorite Team Accept Bitcoin? appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

February 06, 2014 at 03:46PM

You Can Now Pay Cash For Bitcoin at 28,000 UK Stores

Bitcoiners can now pay cash for bitcoins at 28,000 shops across the UK, thanks to a new service set up by ZipZap.

The service enables people to head to their nearest ZipZap payment location, hand over cash and see bitcoins deposited in their wallets almost instantly.

Currently available via Bittylicious, BuyBitcoin.sg and BIPS Market, the service will go live with ANXBTC and ANXPRO next week, followed by Kraken, CoinMKT and Goobit.se.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 06, 2014 at 11:40AM

Latin American Exec: Employees Could Earn 5% More with Bitcoin

Bitcoin’s potential to cut credit and debit transaction fees and exchange rate costs is often seen as its biggest advantage to international businesses.

However, to entrepreneurs in developing countries the virtual currency represents an even greater opportunity: the end to costly trade restrictions that inhibit their profits and ability to compete.

Ulf Kuhn, founder of Chile-based telemarketing business Telemarketing Facil, has learned this lesson firsthand. The German native moved to Chile three years ago to export business ideas and learn more about developing markets.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 06, 2014 at 10:29AM

Mazacoin Aims to be Sovereign Altcoin for Native Americans

Iceland may be the first nation to get its own cryptocurrency, but if Payu Harris has his way, it won’t be the last. This week, he hopes to mine the genesis block for mazacoin, an altcoin for the native American nation in the US.

Specifically designed for the Traditional Lakota Nation, mazacoin is initially being targeted at the Oglala Lakota Nation, which is Harris’ own tribe. He works at Kimitsu Asset Management, which is focused on creating a bitcoin-based native American tribal cryptocurrency.

Harris is launching the altcoin under the Bitcoin Oyate Project, and hopes it will give native American communities some fiscal autonomy.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 06, 2014 at 08:01AM

5 February 2014

Apple Inc. Bans Blockchain Wallet.


On Wednesday February 5th Apple inc. launched a fresh skirmish against Bitcoin. Blockchain’s wallet was removed from the App store.

This is the latest in an ongoing war waged by the Apple Corporation against Bitcoin users. Blockchain’s wallet was, for quite some time, all that remained. Leading innovators Coinbase, Gliph, and CoinJar were booted some time ago.

Apple Inc. benefited from an unprecedent corporate revival in the late nineties. The company found new direction, positioning themselves as the “crazy ones”, the “misfits”, “rebels” and “troublemakers”. A new corporate culture developed.

Apple would show “no respect for the status quo.” They would disrupt anywhere that had become stagnate. They did this very well. Those who failed to adapt, died.

But one should always beware, when fighting monsters, to not yourself become a monster.

Apple is right to fear Blockchain.

In June of 2012 Apple filed its patent application for ‘iMoney‘: a virtual currency and digital wallet technology.

Apple clearly has designs on both the space Bitcoin occupies and the services that Blockchain provide.

Blockchain are amongst the oldest and most respected innovators: pioneers in the ecosystem. Their application had been on the App Store for 2 years, accumulating more than 120,000 downloads. There were no customer complaints, and there existed a broad user base. I was personally among them.

At its currency level Bitcoin poses a direct threat to Apple’s ambitions. A rapidly growing and hugely innovative Blockchain were necessarily vulnerable.

Bitcoin will shake-up currency, sure. But, more importantly, Bitcoin will shift paradigms.

Apple no doubt fears Bitcoin.

Apple stands for control. All offerings are centralized. Its model is based on proprietary ownership of any disruption and all of its components. But you can’t own, control or acquire Bitcoin.

At its deepest level Bitcoin promises to do away with all traditional forms of centralized development and organisation: completely reshaping our ideas of control.

Bitcoin’s core technology acts to, as Cody Wilson notes, “question all previous frameworks”. Apple fears it will not be able to answer.

Bitcoin is therefore, both a philosophical and ideological enemy and an existential threat. Bitcoin as an open source software project, decentralized and operating autonomously, is creating inordinate amounts of value without any point of control.

Apple Inc., more than any other, knows what disruption does to stagnant beasts. Their reaction was predictable and it’s to be pitied. Nothing else should be expected of a Goliath.

Still, Apple does have a choice. They could choose to stand with honour: proving themselves still nimble. They could fight both Blockchain and Bitcoin with innovation. They could proudly attempt to show the superiority of their methods, leading by example.

It’s always the innocents who suffer

Blockchain and Bitcoin will both continue and grow.

In the meantime it is Apple’s customers who will suffer. The same customers Apple is supposed to serve. A truly useful currency and payment system has been taken from them for, as they put it, “unknow reason”.

Blockchain will still bring Bitcoin to the unbanked and underbanked. It will continue to offer access to international financial services with your smartphone.

Millions will still be empowered. Family members will still send money home to support their communities. And charities will still fundraise, aiding those in need.

As of Wednesday, none of this will be done on any iOS device.

It is a shame.

Apple would do well to quickly fill the void with something truly amazing. But is a centralized Apple capable of creating something of greater value than Bitcoin? If a Central Bank can’t do it, why would we expect Apple can?

Maybe Apple will prove us wrong. Perhaps they can disrupt money and completely reshape it in their image. Time always tells.

But if they’re showing this level of hostility already, what will they do with control of your “iMoney”?

The post Apple Inc. Bans Blockchain Wallet. appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

February 06, 2014 at 03:33AM