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What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a digital crypto-currency with no single point of failure due to its decentralized peer-to-peer architecture. The source code is publicly available and changes to the reference Bitcoin client are made via concensus within the community. Advantages of Bitcoin include irreversible transactions (i.e. no possibility of chargebacks as with credit cards), pseudo-anonymous, limited and fixed inflation, near instant transactions, multi-platform, no double-spend and little to no barriers to entry and more. It was created by an anonymous person known as Satoshi Nakamoto. Find out more at WeUseCoins.com.

Bitcoin Latest News

Urbit Is Moving Its Virtual Server Galaxy Over to Ethereum

Urbit, the galactically inspired network of cloud servers, has announced plans to rebuild its infrastructure based on ethereum tech.

Posted on 21 September 2017 | 7:00 am

Blockchain History? IBM Ventures Is Close to Making Its First Industry Investment

IBM Ventures has its eyes on compliance and supply chain for its first cash investment in the blockchain industry.

Posted on 21 September 2017 | 6:00 am

How bitcoin could overcome its wild reputation - CNBC


CNBC

How bitcoin could overcome its wild reputation
CNBC
A major problem for bitcoin is its extreme volatility, which is a cause of concern for many investors. A lack of liquidity may be to blame for the cryptocurrency's volatile nature, an expert tells CNBC. "The high volatility I think is due to the low ...

Posted on 21 September 2017 | 5:52 am

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Australia Cites Blockchain In 'Digital Economy' Strategy Launch

Australia is plotting an ambitious new Digital Economy initiative and blockchain is part of the plan, a new paper reveals.

Posted on 21 September 2017 | 5:00 am

Why Big US Banks Are "Very Afraid" of Bitcoin - Investopedia


CoinTelegraph

Why Big US Banks Are "Very Afraid" of Bitcoin
Investopedia
are likely to be "very afraid" of bitcoin, per a CNBC report. This may come as a surprise, especially given the harsh criticism leveled against bitcoin by JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon. It also is unwelcome, given other issues that have been weighing ...
Bitcoin Criticized Again, This Time By Hedge Fund TitanCoinTelegraph
Yo-yoing prices show Bitcoin is no cash cowCity A.M.

all 5 news articles »

Posted on 21 September 2017 | 4:24 am

CFTC Chair Giancarlo: Embracing Blockchain Is in the 'National Interest'

J. Christopher Giancarlo, CFTC chair, has called on government agencies to embrace blockchain, saying it's in the national interest to do so.

Posted on 21 September 2017 | 4:00 am

The European Union Wants to Beef Up Penalties for Cryptocurrency Crimes

The EU is eyeing beefed-up penalties around crimes involving cryptocurrencies, such as ransomware, the European Commission said this week.

Posted on 21 September 2017 | 3:00 am

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Searching for Problems? James Altucher to Bitcoin Critics: You're Dead Wrong - CoinDesk


CoinDesk

Searching for Problems? James Altucher to Bitcoin Critics: You're Dead Wrong
CoinDesk
At least that's a strategy James Altucher, the former hedge fund manager, business blogger and best-selling author, places at the center of his investment strategy. With that outlook, it might seem strange that he so bullishly invests in bitcoin and ...

Posted on 21 September 2017 | 2:16 am

Searching for Problems? James Altucher to Bitcoin Critics: You're Dead Wrong

Business blogger James Altucher provides a counter to cryptocurrency being "a solution in search of a problem," one strong enough to make him a bull.

Posted on 21 September 2017 | 2:00 am

Market Reaction to China News Shows Bitcoin Too Big to Kill - CoinTelegraph


CoinTelegraph

Market Reaction to China News Shows Bitcoin Too Big to Kill
CoinTelegraph
After a double blow from China, with its ban on ICOs, then news of total exchange bans, not to mention Jamie Dimon's vitriol against Bitcoin, the digital currency briefly crashed to $3,000 before rapidly soaring back to, and holding, the $4,000 mark.
Have Bitcoin, Can't Travel: Crackdown Grounds China Cryptocurrency ExecutivesWall Street Journal (subscription)
Chinese Bitcoin Exchange Executives Allegedly Must Remain in ChinaBitcoin News (press release)
What Is Blockchain? Blockchain Technology Uses Beyond Bitcoin and CryptocurrencyNDTV

all 21 news articles »

Posted on 20 September 2017 | 7:32 pm

Early bitcoin investor explains what's driving the ICO craze - CNBC


CNBC

Early bitcoin investor explains what's driving the ICO craze
CNBC
Charles River Ventures' Rafael Corrales says there are three big reasons for this year's ICO craze. Despite some of the recent setbacks, Corrales remains bullish on the cryptocurrency space. Corrales was an early investor in Blockchain, one of the ...

and more »

Posted on 20 September 2017 | 2:04 pm

Joint Report by Stellar and Luxembourg Fintech Platform: Approach ICOs with Caution

Joint Report by Stellar and Luxembourg Fintech Platform: Approach ICOs with Caution

 Stellar, a nonprofit decentralized financial network, and the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT), the country’s dedicated fintech platform, have published a joint report on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).

According to the report, organizations have raised over $1.8 billion through ICOs since January 2017. As this popular new fundraising method provides a simple and fast method to acquire serious funding, there has been “tremendous momentum” growing around ICO launches among new businesses in the blockchain industry, the report said.

On the other hand, the report also detailed that there are high risks associated with ICO investments. Since there is still a lack of regulation and control surrounding the industry, Stellar and LHoFT compared the current ICO sphere to the “Wild West” — a term that has become rather popular of late in reference to ICOs.

“ICOs raise issues for consumer protection, combating money laundering, and other regulatory compliance goals. Complications may arise from several sources, including the mechanism through which ICOs are conducted, the teams spearheading ICOs, the identities of contributors to ICOs, the quantity of money that is raised, the validity of ICOs’ technology and processes, marketing claims, and the impact that ICOs have on the greater cryptocurrency markets. All these factors must be scrutinized so that the heralded benefits of ICOs are balanced against market and legal risks as the model matures and gains broader acceptance,” the report states.

LHoFT and Stellar addressed both the upsides and the downsides of ICO fundraising. Organizations launching ICOs benefit from a built-in customer base, a committed group of customers that will stay with the product or service until it officially launches. Furthermore, according to the report, the fundraising method has positive effects on the network, can target global investors (or donors) in a non-discriminatory manner while providing a fast and easy fundraising mechanism. Additionally, retail investors are keen on participating in ICOs, and open-source projects can benefit from the fundraising method too.

Similarly, investors can benefit from the high liquidity of the tokens (sold during ICOs), in addition to being able to sell them through cryptocurrency exchanges or over-the-counter (OTC) transactions, which would allow the investors to transfer the tokens easily without the authorization of the token issuer (the organization launching the ICO).

Token holders are often offered bonuses, such as “gift cards” or “licenses” that will incentivize them to support the growth and the development of the project. ICO investors also benefit from the lack of “geo-lock” — they can invest in the project no matter the location (unless specified otherwise). Most importantly, ICOs have a high potential for big gains.

On the other hand, there are plenty of risks associated with ICOs, according to the report. Firstly, ICOs lack the formal process for auditing the organizations.The writers of the study highlighted a potential problem with smart contracts: If the contract is not programmed correctly, it could lead to unexpected transfers without the authorization of the token owner. Some tokens are not based on any fundamental value, thus, may facilitate bubbles and Ponzi schemes.

Furthermore, Stellar and LHoFT emphasized the issue of “investor education” — some investors are not informed well enough about an ICO project before investing in it. The report also detailed security problems, such as phishing scams and the loss of private keys, which can result in the investors losing their tokens.

As with most cryptocurrencies, tokens also tend to be volatile. According to the report, ICO cashouts may create price distortions on the market. Furthermore, the market can be subjected to manipulation, such as the “Whales” method, in which the token issuer organization holds back a percentage of the tokens and distributes them between the team members. Both investors and organizations can experience network lag during popular ICOs, while some token distribution mechanisms can cause unpredicted difficulties for both parties.

The lack of regulations within the ICO space presents various problems for both the investors and the organizations, such as being subject to the financial regulations of multiple jurisdictions. The anonymous nature of the cryptocurrency sphere can result in many of the investors being seen only as pseudonyms, which could cause issues for law enforcement and regulators. Since there is uncertainty about the taxation of tokens, both investors and organizations could face legal issues, such as tax evasion charges. Furthermore, the report discusses that there is an increasing concern that ICOs can be used by criminals for money laundering or terrorist financing purposes.

The post Joint Report by Stellar and Luxembourg Fintech Platform: Approach ICOs with Caution appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 20 September 2017 | 12:35 pm

Banks Are 'Afraid' of Bitcoin, Says Wealth Advisor

This wealth advisor believes banks are afraid of bitcoin, according to a new interview.

Posted on 20 September 2017 | 11:30 am

Japanese Billionaire: ICOs 'Democratize Venture Financing'

Japanese billionaire Taizo Son believes ICOs will significantly impact how startups raise capital.

Posted on 20 September 2017 | 10:30 am

OmiseGo's ICO Token Is Tops in Market Cap, But Heavy On the Charts

A notable ICO token appears to be weathering regulatory concerns, bouncing back this week on a relatively positive newsflow and new developments.

Posted on 20 September 2017 | 9:35 am

Australia's Securities Watchdog Might Run Its Own Blockchain Nodes

Australia's securities markets regulator is weighing the use of blockchain as part of broader data strategy.

Posted on 20 September 2017 | 9:05 am

Decred Adds Atomic Swap Support for Exchange-Free Cryptocurrency Trading

Decred Adds Support for Atomic Swaps for Direct Cryptocurrency Trading Without Exchanges

Decred is announcing support for on-chain atomic swaps, which will allow cryptocurrency holders to trade directly, without having to rely on external exchanges. The cryptocurrencies initially supported are Decred (DCR), Bitcoin (BTC) and Litecoin (LTC).

“Support for on-chain atomic swaps is extremely useful,”Jake Yocom-Piatt, Decred Project Lead said in a statement. “Thanks to the foresight of the Lightning Network authors and developers, and the dedication of our own developers, it is our pleasure to deliver an important capability that has been discussed since the concept of cross-chain atomic transfers was proposed in 2013.”

Users can already begin performing exchanges between DCR, BTC and LTC using tools that the Decred developers have created. The tools are text-based at the moment, but will be integrated into the Decrediton GUI wallet in a future release.

According to the Decred team, this advancement disintermediates the exchange process, allowing for greater market fluency. It also delivers on the market desire for improved interoperability between currencies and the demand for new efficiencies that drive investor value.

"This is the first step in a progression toward high-utility, non-Turing complete smart contracts,” Yocom-Piatt told Bitcoin Magazine. “We look forward to a new generation of greater fluency between projects. It was a pleasure collaborating with the dev teams at Litecoin and Lighting Labs."

The concept of atomic swaps (or atomic cross-chain trading) were first described by Tier Nolan back in 2013. A previous Bitcoin Magazine article provides a step-by-step explanation of a simple example where two users agree to swap agreed amounts of BTC and LTC and use the multisig and time lock features available in both Bitcoin and Litecoin basic scripting to synchronize two transactions on two independent blockchains without having to trust each other.

Yesterday I did an on-chain atomic swap of 1.337 LTC for 2.4066 DCR w/ @_alyp_ of @decredproject. (See txns: https://t.co/BlxU1QBK2U) ⛓️⚛️💱🚀 https://t.co/wPqzdw40Gp

— Charlie Lee (@SatoshiLite) September 20, 2017

It’s worth noting that Lightning Network payment channels, now enabled by SegWit, make atomic swaps more powerful and easier to implement, and permit adding support for off-chain swaps.

“The addition of LN support allows for both on-chain and off-chain atomic swaps, meaning that trustless cross chain exchanges can occur,” noted Yocom-Piatt. “Since supporting LN does not break any existing functionality and only adds to Decred’s capabilities as a system of value storage and transmission, it is a very attractive target for addition to Decred.”

“On-chain atomic swaps are an important step towards enabling peer-to-peer cryptocurrency trading,” said Laolu Osuntokun, Lightning Network Daemon (LND) lead developer. “We are excited for this process to continue with off-chain atomic swaps over the Lightning Network in the near future. By taking this process off-chain, substantial latency and privacy improvements can occur.”

Decred (DCR) describes itself as “digital currency for the people,” completely independent, community funded and community owned. The project wants to build an open and progressive cryptocurrency with a system of community-based governance integrated into its blockchain,  including a hybrid consensus system to ensure that no group can control the flow of transactions or make changes to the currency without the input of the community.

“Decred is Bitcoin as it should have been,” noted crypto-investor Jon Creasy. “Bitcoin would be of the people, for the people. As great an idea as this was, however, Bitcoin soon became controlled by an ‘oligarchy,’ so to speak.”

It’s important to note that some countries, such as China, are attacking cryptocurrency exchanges as the weakest links in the crypto ecosystem. The Decred move shows that, at least for crypto-to-crypto trading (for example, exchanging bitcoin for litecoin), it’s perfectly possible to operate without exchanges. However, it doesn’t solve the problem of crypto-to-fiat and fiat-to-crypto trading, which is arguably of top concern for cryptocurrency users.

The post Decred Adds Atomic Swap Support for Exchange-Free Cryptocurrency Trading appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 20 September 2017 | 8:14 am

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Raiden Release: Simpler Micropayments Go Live on Ethereum's Testnet

The developers behind Raiden Network have launched an early, simplified version of the scaling solution on the ethereum test network.

Posted on 20 September 2017 | 5:45 am

Swiss Finance Regulator Cracks Down on 'E-Coin' Cryptocurrency Scheme

Switzerland's financial markets regulator has cracked down on a trio of companies tied to an alleged cryptocurrency scam.

Posted on 20 September 2017 | 5:00 am

Optimizing SegWit: How Bitcoin's New Software Is Giving Scaling a Boost

Bitcoin Core's latest software includes optimizations designed to boost SegWit, a scaling upgrade that's still slowly rolling out across the network.

Posted on 20 September 2017 | 4:00 am

Wait, I can get Bitcoin at that ATM? - CBS News


CBS News

Wait, I can get Bitcoin at that ATM?
CBS News
You may know Bitcoin is a controversial digital currency that makes news for falling or rising -- a lot. Less widely known is that consumers can acquire the cryptocurrency through ATMs, just like regular cash. The number of machines installed worldwide ...

and more »

Posted on 20 September 2017 | 3:45 am

Malaysia's Central Bank Is Close to Drafting New Cryptocurrency Rules

Malaysia's central bank could introduce rules around cryptocurrencies by the end of this year, according to statements by its governor.

Posted on 20 September 2017 | 3:00 am

Bitcoin's Parimutuel Problem (Or Why Shorting Doesn't Pay Today)

Parimutuel betting pools in the cryptocurrency grant traders short exposure, but there are plenty of limitations to this new type of exchange.

Posted on 20 September 2017 | 2:00 am

Bitcoin Is Likely to Split Again in November, Say Major Players - Bloomberg


Bloomberg

Bitcoin Is Likely to Split Again in November, Say Major Players
Bloomberg
Major industry players, including the bitcoin investor Roger Ver known as “Bitcoin Jesus” for proselytizing on behalf of the digital currency, say consensus between opposing camps looked increasingly unlikely. That opinion was echoed by some of the ...
McAfee at Shape The Future; “Pandora's box has been opened”Bitcoin News (press release)
Bitcoin is likely to split again in NovemberBangkok Post
Another split likely coming for BitcoinSeeking Alpha
The Merkle
all 26 news articles »

Posted on 19 September 2017 | 10:16 pm

Pick n Pay Double Take? The Supermarket Chain Isn't Accepting Bitcoin, It Tested It

South Africa's second-largest supermarket chain tested bitcoin payments earlier this year, but is thus far declining to roll out a broader option.

Posted on 19 September 2017 | 4:00 pm

Bitcoin Price Analysis: Amid Continuing China Rumors, BTC Fails to Break Key Resistance

China BTC price.jpg

When it rains, it pours. Last week, news began to hit the crypto community that China was taking harsh measures to reign in their various cryptocurrency exchanges. Several exchanges closed down and others were given a deadline to properly cease trading operations. This news came hard on the heels of recent directives that banned ICOs in China, leading to dramatic drops in cryptocurreny prices across the board.

After this latest news settled, bitcoin managed to slightly rally before topping out around $4100. However, early this week, rumors began to circulate that executives associated with Chinese exchanges are being prohibited from leaving China. At the time of this article, BTC-USD is sitting just at $3900 and is showing signs of further pullback:

Figure_1 (8).JPGFigure 1: BTC-USD, 12-Hour Candles, GDAX, Macro Fibonacci Retracement Values

The figure above shows the whole, macro bull run from the $1700s. One important feature of the trend shown above is the 61% retracement down to the $2900s. The retracement down to such a low value shows that sell pressure is very strong in the current market and hints toward bullish exhaustion within the macro trend. Another key feature to note is the following:

Figure_2 (8).JPGFigure 2: BTC-USD, 2-Hour Candles, GDAX, Failed 100% Retracement

An important test of this rally was the 100% retracement of the bear run, post-China news. Sitting just below the 23% Fibonacci Retracement lies the bear run. The test of the 100% retracement is important because that resistance line marks a strong shift in market sentiment. A failure to break through those values shows that, even though there was a strong rally, the market is still bearish in nature and is likely to continue.

Figure 2 also shows several tests and rejections of the 2-Hour 200 EMA (Exponential Moving Average). The 200 EMA is a common tool used among traders to objectively view the state of the market compared to the prior trends. A trend existing below the 200 EMA is bearish in nature, and trends that show support on top of the 200 EMA are bullish in nature.

At the time of this article, the BTC-USD is displaying two failed tests of key resistance levels and its showing little sign of upward pressure. Currently, the trend is sandwiched between the 200 EMA and the 50 EMA. Both moving averages can used in conjunction to gauge just how strong the market is. Like the 200 EMA, the 50 EMA shows short-term bullish and bearish trends relative to the EMA line: Trends above are showing bullish traits, and trends below are showing bearish traits.

Right now, we are in the middle of a crucial test of both support and resistance lines as the market decides where it will go next. A break below the 50 EMA will ultimate show the long-term bearish intent of the market and will lead to tests of the low support values:

Figure_3 (9).JPGFigure 3: BTC-USD, 1-Hour Candles, GDAX, Support Levels for Current Rally

At the moment, BTC-USD is making its third test of the current rally’s 23% retracement values. A break below this line will have bitcoin testing the macro 38% retracement values in the $3700s. If bitcoin manages to break the 38% retracement values somehow, there will be strong support around the $3400s as the 50% macro Fibonacci Retracement values (shown in Figure 1) have historic significance and support.

If bitcoin is going to see any significant price growth within this rally, it will have to pick up some major buy volume and break through very strong, historic resistance values. It’s extremely unlikely that, given its repeated failures to break resistance and the inherent bearish news looming over the Bitcoin community, BTC-USD will shove to new highs without strongly testing lower macro support.

Summary:

  1. BTC-USD had a strong rally, but ultimately topped out around $4100.

  2. At the moment, BTC-USD is testing macro support levels and shows very little, significant upward strength.

  3. Should we break support in the $3900s, we can expect a test of the macro 38% Fibonacci Retracement values in the $3700s.


Trading and investing in digital assets like bitcoin, bitcoin cash and ether is highly speculative and comes with many risks. This analysis is for informational purposes and should not be considered investment advice. Statements and financial information on Bitcoin Magazine and BTC Media related sites do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BTC Media and should not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation to buy, sell or hold. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

The post Bitcoin Price Analysis: Amid Continuing China Rumors, BTC Fails to Break Key Resistance appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 19 September 2017 | 3:31 pm

Snip and the Future of Distributed, Online Content

Snip Header/Footer

Over the years, the world of online content has become increasingly convoluted and disjointed.

The best articles get lost beneath an avalanche of biased pieces, clickbait and content that’s too lengthy to read. All of this adversely impacts the average person’s ability to access credible media outlets that allow them to remain informed in today’s ever-changing world.

In the digital age, the biggest issue confronting the news industry is verifiability. In other words, how can readers be certain that what they’re reading is true? Moreover, how do they know whether a particular media source is trustworthy?

The growing lack of credibility within the media industry became the impetus for Ran Reichman and Rani Horev to create a fresh alternative to today’s prevailing media model. Known as Snip, this innovative news site delivers short, to-the-point summaries of the day’s most important stories and events. Through the use of state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms, Snip allows readers to tap into targeted news feeds on topics customized around their interests.

“I founded Snip in May 2016 with machine learning and data science specialist Rani Horev, a co-graduate of the elite Talpiot program of the Israeli Defense Forces,” said Reichman. “Both Rani and I were frustrated by the low quality of news and how hard it was to find high-quality, interesting and brief content. Basically, there was a lot of long and good content and a lot of short and bad content, but almost no high-quality short content. We started Snip as a small Facebook page for friends and family and it gradually grew to more than 30,000 users and 1,400 paying subscribers.”

When asked for a basic overview of Snip’s value proposition, Reichman was succinct: “Snip is a news platform which keeps you updated on things that are happening in the world, personalized to you and in a short and concise format,” he said. “The headlines are anti-clickbait, allowing you to understand what the story is about before clicking on it and wasting your time. Snip quickly learns what you care about and provides you with stories on those topics, in addition to enlightening stories on other topics.”

The platform’s core model, Reichman said, is predicated on a distributed system where a worldwide collective of content generators curate short news submissions, or “snips,” that are then read by others on the site. Snips can be accessed in a number of different mediums, including audio and video, in addition to traditional, text-based posts. At its core, the site is censorship resistant — a characteristic generally viewed as a key element in the democratization of journalism.

In gathering and curating online content, site curators are incentivized and rewarded for their efforts. The Snip online community connects writers to readers directly, mitigating the risk of censorship and bias inherent in the legacy news industry.

This entire process is seamless, with end users able to take in their own collection of snippets which are personalized through machine learning algorithms. The ultimate goal is to ensure that users can have a quality site experience without needing to understand the intricacies of the distributed technology and cryptocurrency systems undergirding the site.

Writers can generate income from their efforts. Currently, those rewards are in the form of fiat currency with plans to transition to the site’s native cryptocurrency, SnipCoin, an ERC20 token secured by the Ethereum blockchain.

Readers will have the ability to utilize SnipCoin to purchase premium services such as ad-free news feeds, audio snips and customized written content. Additionally, advertisers will eventually be able to use SnipCoin to purchase ad space to increase their visibility on the platform.

SnipCoin distributions will begin in late September with the commencement of Snip’s token sale, where a total of 3 billion coins will eventually be released. The initial coin offering (ICO) is valued at $8 million. Upon completion of the ICO, the project will launch in a closed, invite-only alpha format for the purpose of testing critical features germane to the site such as comments, voting, customized news feeds and spam protections.

Reichman, for one, has strong opinions about ICOs, noting that project developers often launch ventures without any credible evidence of a functional product or service model. Snip, he added, transcends this as a result of already having tens of thousands of active users, as well as over a thousand paying subscribers.

This proven functionality, he said, should give “our ICO participant confidence that the Snip team will create a product people will actively engage with and enjoy.”

A New Era of Blockchain-Driven Content

Blockchain-based news delivery offers immense possibilities in terms of how news could be digested, whether on social media or mainstream media feeds. This nascent technological movement has the potential to decentralize control, remove third-party intermediaries from public news access, prevent censorship and promote bias-free content.

According to Reichman, Snip is uniquely positioned to capitalize on three major trends that are currently reshaping the media landscape:

Tokenization and Cryptocurrencies: Tokens allow companies to turn their users and contributors into real stakeholders of the ecosystem, making them ambassadors of the product. This is especially important in news, where distribution is a huge challenge.

Machine Learning: Snip uses machine learning to find the best content online, then offers it to writers and subsequently personalizes the content to users with additional machine learning technology.

The Rise of the Millennial Generation: As opposed to previous generations, millennials never got used to reading print newspapers and expect an online-first news outlet — ideally, one which is smart, interactive and to the point.

When asked about his greatest hope and vision for Snip over the next 12 to 18 months, Reichman laid out his thinking.

“Our vision for Snip is to become the go-to place for news, a household name which everyone can rely on for information on what's going on, and also to discover new and interesting topics of conversation,” he said. “In 18 months we aim to reach more than a million daily users.”

To learn more about Snip and its token sale this month, read the white paper, follow Snip on Twitter or contact the team via Telegram.

The post Snip and the Future of Distributed, Online Content appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 19 September 2017 | 9:48 am

Bitcoin Exchange bitFlyer Hopes to Win Big With the Japanese Bankers Association

bitFlyer.jpg

While China tightens its grip on its cryptocurrency community, Japan is openly embracing cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, legalizing bitcoin, and encouraging and funding blockchain research.

Even Japan’s banks are onboard, working collaboratively to develop a blockchain platform specifically for the financial sector. With its 120 member banks, the Japanese Bankers Association (JBA) is creating a Collaborative Blockchain Platform and is actively looking for a company to supply its blockchain technology on an ongoing basis.

Experimenting with the Collaborative Blockchain Platform, the JBA will initially determine which financial services best lend themselves to the new platform, likely including settlement/transfer services, know-your-customer (KYC) systems and financial infrastructure such as their Zengin System and Densai Net System.

Japanese bitcoin exchange bitFlyer is stepping up to the plate to take on tech giants including Fujitsu, Hitachi and NTT Data to be the supplier of the blockchain platform that will be used by Japan’s banks.

Although it is one of the largest cryptocurrency and blockchain startups in Japan, the Tokyo-based bitFlyer has its work cut out for it if it wants to upset these three corporate heavyweights and win the right to supply the bankers with a blockchain platform using its miyabi technology.

The company’s COO Bartek Ringwelski told Bitcoin Magazine:

“bitFlyer is the only startup in the event, and we have only raised $36mm since 2014, but we have deep expertise in blockchain technology through our virtual currency exchange (the largest in the world by volume, including margin trading) and our ‘miyabi’ product.”

By way of comparison, Hitachi posted $83 billion in revenue in 2016, Fujitsu posted $47 billion on 2015 and NTT Data posted $15 billion in 2016.

Acknowledging a sea change in Japan’s attitude to cryptocurrency, Ringwelski noted that Japan is actively encouraging and supporting both cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology:

“Japan is emerging as a leader in blockchain adoption. Japanese consumers are embracing virtual currencies, regulators are proactive, and banks are recognizing the power that blockchain, and specifically miyabi, can bring to the financial infrastructure.”

Miyabi Blockchain Technology

The name “miyabi” was first coined between the 9th to 12th centuries by Japanese aristocrats to refer to the theme of elegance and refinement.

According to Ringwelski, bitFlyer’s miyabi blockchain platform is the fastest in the world:

“Based on our research, ‘miyabi’ is the fastest enterprise-grade blockchain technology, delivering 1,500 - 2,000 transactions per second on average, and in some cases, even faster,” Ringwelski said.

Their processing speed of 1,500 to 2,000 transactions per second compares with Bitcoin’s two transactions per second and Ethereum’s seven transactions per second. They also estimate that among the other three competing companies, the maximum speed to beat is 1,000 transactions per second.

When it launched the competition, the JBA made it clear that security and immutability were their first priority. In their view, only a private, permissioned blockchain could satisfy this requirement.

Going Global

BitFlyer’s CEO Yuzo Kano has said he wants the company to go global in the near future and will start by expanding to the U.S. market this fall, initially offering bitcoin trading but expanding to other cryptocurrencies within the next year. The company says it has received approval to start trading from 34 U.S. states.

In the meantime, Ringwelski says that they are eagerly awaiting the decision of the JBA:

"The partner ultimately chosen by the JBA will stand to become part of the core Japanese banking infrastructure — it would be a big deal. Beyond the value of gaining the JBA as a new customer, securing a JBA contract would help spread miyabi to new enterprise blockchain applications and customers worldwide."

Investors in bitFlyer include SMBC Venture Capital, Mizuho Capital, Dai-ichi Life Insurance, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital, Recruit Strategic Partners, Dentsu Digital Holdings, SBI Investment, GMO Venture Partners, QUICK and Venture Labo Investment.

The post Bitcoin Exchange bitFlyer Hopes to Win Big With the Japanese Bankers Association appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 18 September 2017 | 12:45 pm

Op Ed: How Blockchain Technology Will Disrupt Digital Content Distribution

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The way we consume media content has been on a continual overhaul for the past two decades. Every aspect of media distribution has become more streamlined from the razor-thin devices we use to consume media to the manner in which we purchase and store our coveted content. Books, music and movies have all seen their physical bodies and storage locations dissolve, to be replaced with on-demand downloads and digital copies.

The digital content revolution has done a lot for increasing access and visibility for artists and authors, but the current publishing giants have failed to adequately adjust to the times in a few crucial areas. While it's true that platforms such as YouTube and Medium have granted publishing access to the greater public and eliminated gatekeeping middlemen like talent agents and PR people, the current digital content sharing platforms have built their empires on the skeletons of the publishing giants’ templates that existed before and, unfortunately, have continued operating in ways that fundamentally undermine the artistic control and profits of their contributors.   

YouTube, for example, recently announced they will not allow users to earn any money until they reach 10 thousand views. Medium was recently very candid about the moral dilemmas and growing pains they have faced while trying to balance the selling of advertising space as well as respecting their contributing authors and readership. And it's no secret that Amazon and iTunes take a chunk out of authors’ and artists’ earnings, with iTunes currently pocketing 30 percent of its artists’ profits and Amazon taking a hefty 30–75 percent.

Though it’s easy to be critical, I am more interested in looking for a viable alternative to disrupt the existing system. This will require harnessing the decentralizing nature of emerging blockchain content distribution technologies. Here’s why:

Blockchain could be the solution to making micropayments a reality.

As media consumption has gone digital, a cost-effective way to charge per article or per song has been a limiting factor. Many platforms and publications have opted for subscription-based charging as high transaction costs make pay-per-use charging impossible. Amazon, for example, passes on its internal transaction costs to their clients, which currently equal 2.9 percent of the total transaction as well as a flat fee of 0.30 cents for every transaction.

The pricey transactions make processing small charges inefficient and not cost-effective, which has led many experts, such as editor of TechCrunch John Biggs, to predict that the future of digital publishing will depend on the adoption of micropayments.

Blockchain technologies allow for an incredible number of transactions to be processed at a low cost. Decentralized blockchain systems distribute the collective payment history across the entire network and don’t favor any single “auditor.” The network is maintained by all blockchain nodes as a whole.

Emerging blockchain transaction processing speeds have also recently shot past the leading blockchain currency, bitcoin, and would be capable of processing on a large scale. Where Bitcoin's transaction speeds average 7 transactions per second, new blockchain-based currencies are already approaching thousands of transactions per second; Bitshares claims they can process 100,000 per second.

In fact, a newspaper in Winnipeg, Canada, has already begun to use a micropayment system to charge per article for its news content and projects earning over $100,000 in digital revenue.

Blockchain could tilt the balance of power towards individuals, not publishing powerhouses.

As mentioned previously, YouTube and Medium have dramatically increased content creators’ access to audiences and established a more democratic, popularity-based promotional scheme. Unfortunately, they are both still centralized content distribution entities that can make arbitrary and unilateral decisions. YouTube and Medium both have the right to remove comments, content or entire channels or profiles without leaving a trace.

In contrast, a blockchain content distribution platform preserves an unchangeable record of all actions. The record produced by blockchain systems creates an environment of total transparency for both content creators and media consumers, and it also ensures that all views, comments and ratings reflect the real interactions the content has experienced, leaving no room for subjective, inflated ratings or deleted bad reviews.

With nothing deleted, content producers can create and post with the security that their work and reputation will remain intact, trolls can’t hide their past bad behavior and can easily be spotted via their comment history, and all content fairly reflects its actual popularity.

Blockchain technology could provide instant payouts and security.

Today, freelancers, authors and artists working with publishing platforms are accustomed to waiting multiple months to receive payment for their work. For big-name artists, this is just part of the business. But for smaller artists, it can be difficult to wait for reimbursement without any idea of how much they will eventually be paid. The financial uncertainty, prolonged waiting periods and lack of payment transparency in current digital content media sharing platforms could be discouraging potential artists and authors from seeing content creation as a viable source of income. Instead, the system encourages content creators to seek payment, not for the quality of their content, but through product sponsorships, PR and ad-focused content.

With blockchain-based content distribution, content creators can be paid within seconds of a consumer paying for a download. Consumers would also know their purchase was directly supporting the content creators they enjoy and effectively cut out the publishing middlemen eating up the content producer’s profits.

Though blockchain technology may, at times, sound a bit hard to conceptualize, digital media distribution really shouldn’t be rocket science. While the zeros and ones behind publishing platforms get more complex, the process for content creators and consumers has simplified and should continue to do so.

The bottom line is content creators who make good quality content that people are willing to pay for deserve a simple and transparent digital media sharing platform that fairly compensates them according to the consumer demand for their work. Media consumers equally deserve the ability to directly support the content creators they enjoy. And blockchain technologies may be the disruptive technology that digital media content distribution needs.

This is a guest post by Matej Michalko, founder and CEO of DECENT. The opinions expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Media or Bitcoin Magazine. 

The post Op Ed: How Blockchain Technology Will Disrupt Digital Content Distribution appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 18 September 2017 | 12:40 pm

Blockchain Technology Plays a Critical Role in U.S. and International Open Government Initiatives

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On September 8, the U.S. government’s General Services Administration (GSA)’s program “Emerging Citizen Technology” hosted a workshop titled “Emerging Technology and Open Data for a More Open Government.” The participants in the workshop were directed to draft proposals that specifically use Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain technology and open data.

“Open data and emerging technologies — including artificial intelligence and distributed ledgers, such as blockchain — hold vast potential to transform public services held back by bureaucracy and outdated IT systems,” said Emerging Citizen Technology program manager Justin Herman. “We are opening the doors to bold, fresh ideas for government accountability, transparency and citizen participation by working with U.S. businesses, civil society groups and others to shape national goals for emerging technologies and open data in public services.”

At the workshop, several government agencies have indicated a strong government backing behind the development of blockchain technology. In particular, a representative of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) stated that the Trump administration was serious about and committed to this technology, and would not be deterred.

The initiative is related to the fourth National Action Plan (NAP 4), which the U.S. government is releasing this year in the the framework of the multinational Open Government Partnership (OGP) and its Open Government Declaration. It is aimed at empowering citizens and advancing the ideals of an open and participatory government.

The September 8 workshop follows the first U.S. Federal Blockchain Forum, organized by the Emerging Citizen Technology program on July 18 to discuss blockchain use cases, limitations and solutions. Financial management, procurement, IT asset and supply chain management, smart contracts, patents, trademarks, copyrights, royalties, government-issued credentials, federal personnel workforce data, appropriated funds, federal assistance, and foreign aid delivery were among the government blockchain use cases discussed at the July 18 workshop. Participation was restricted to federal agencies’ managers.

The Government Blockchain Association participated in the September 8 workshop and shared details, reported by ETHNews, on the topics discussed. In particular, three priority areas were examined: a national identity system based on blockchain and biometric technologies and interoperable across different agencies; an open government innovation initiative aimed at improving the internal operations of government agencies through blockchain technology; and a blockchain open-interface framework to connect government blockchain pilots with external data systems.

The Government Blockchain Association, open to all interested individual, corporate and institutional members, was formed to explore blockchain-based solutions to problems typically faced by government entities.

"We are currently seeing deep and informed interest in blockchain [technology] across many levels of the public sector,” said Gerard Daché, Founder and President of the Government Blockchain Association. “This time next year, I would not be surprised to see dozens of pilots, legislative resolutions, and even funding spread across the various states and high up in the U.S. Federal Government specifically for piloting blockchain based innovation.”

The Association believes that blockchain technology, Bitcoin, distributed ledgers and cryptocurrencies will fundamentally transform how the government interacts with its constituents.

"We don’t believe blockchain adoption in the public sector needs to take over ten years as some suggest it might,” Daché added. "There is an excitement that is palpable so, our goal is to harness this enthusiasm and direct it into working groups that actually influence national, state and large city governmental policies."

The post Blockchain Technology Plays a Critical Role in U.S. and International Open Government Initiatives appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 18 September 2017 | 12:34 pm

Bitcoin price climbs over $4,000

Posted on 14 August 2017 | 1:16 am

Bitcoin reaches new all-time high: $ 3,000

Posted on 12 June 2017 | 1:06 am

Consulting firm EY Switzerland accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 26 November 2016 | 12:47 am

Bitcoin Trading Bots

There have been a wide variety of situations in which algorithmic trading programs have proven to be beneficial for investors. However, investors who only trade a cryptocurrency can also take advantage of bitcoin trading bots. Through bitcoin bot trading, traders can become more flexible and prompt, minimize errors and process information more rapidly. At this… Read More »

Posted on 8 November 2016 | 6:20 pm

Major Magazine Publisher to Accept Bitcoin Payments

Posted on 18 December 2014 | 12:43 pm

Microsoft accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 11 December 2014 | 5:06 am

PayPal and Virtual Currency

Posted on 23 September 2014 | 9:52 pm

Wikimedia Foundation Now Accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 30 July 2014 | 3:14 pm

German Newspaper "taz" accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 22 July 2014 | 1:32 pm

Expedia to accept Bitcoin payments for hotel bookings

Posted on 12 June 2014 | 12:41 pm

September 21, 2017 -
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