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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.

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Posted on 17 January 2018 | 1:54 am

A Complete Beginner's Guide To Bitcoin In 2018 - Forbes


Forbes

A Complete Beginner's Guide To Bitcoin In 2018
Forbes
Bitcoin was the first established cryptocurrency—a digital asset that is secured with cryptography and can be exchanged like currency. Other versions of cryptocurrency had been launched but never fully developed when Bitcoin became available to the ...
The Bad News Bears Come for BitcoinBarron's
One person is probably responsible for almost 600 percent of Bitcoin's price riseMashable
Researchers find that one person likely drove Bitcoin from $150 to $1000TechCrunch
The Independent -Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News) -Investopedia (blog) -Bitcoin News
all 71 news articles »

Posted on 16 January 2018 | 10:38 pm

The Sidechains Breakthrough Almost Everyone in Bitcoin Missed

You've heard of proof of work, but what about proofs of proofs of work? A complex notion, the research on "Non-Interactive Proofs of Proofs of Work," or NiPoPoW, released in October, has received very little attention so far but is heralded as breaking through one of the major roadblocks that has stalled the widely anticipated […]

Posted on 16 January 2018 | 10:00 pm

Bitcoin Steadies After 26% Slump as Traders Brave Volatility - Bloomberg


Bloomberg

Bitcoin Steadies After 26% Slump as Traders Brave Volatility
Bloomberg
Bitcoin continues to wobble, trading near $11,000 a day after losing a quarter of its value as traders sought a floor for pricing amid growing concern regulators around the world will move ahead with new rules to restrict the burgeoning cryptocurrency ...

and more »

Posted on 16 January 2018 | 9:48 pm

Bitcoin Mining Could Power Growth For World's Biggest Chip Makers - Bloomberg


Bloomberg

Bitcoin Mining Could Power Growth For World's Biggest Chip Makers
Bloomberg
“Although some investors are bullish that Bitcoin-related chipset demand could offset soft smartphone demand in 2018, we question whether Bitcoin demand will be sustainable” if prices slide, Benjamin Chiang, an analyst at KGI Securities, wrote last ...

and more »

Posted on 16 January 2018 | 6:52 pm

A Note to CoinDesk Readers

On Tuesday, we had technical difficulties that prevented us from posting for several hours. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Posted on 16 January 2018 | 5:49 pm

Why This Startup Took Part of Its Venture Funding in XRP

Announced Tuesday, the investment by Ripple executives in Omni feels ill-timed as the price of the coin has fallen more than 40 percent.

Posted on 16 January 2018 | 5:30 pm

BitConnect Shutters Crypto Exchange Site After Regulator Warnings

The company behind the controversial cryptocurrency BitConnect has announced that it will close down its lending and exchange platform.

Posted on 16 January 2018 | 5:22 pm

Putin: Crypto Oversight Legislation Will Be Needed

Russian president Vladimir Putin believes that legislation laying out rules for the country’s cryptocurrency sector will be needed in the future.

Posted on 16 January 2018 | 5:14 pm

Stephen Bannon, California, Bitcoin: Your Tuesday Evening Briefing - New York Times


New York Times

Stephen Bannon, California, Bitcoin: Your Tuesday Evening Briefing
New York Times
(Want to get this briefing by email? Here's the sign-up.) Good evening. Here's the latest. Photo. Credit Mark Wilson/Getty Images. 1. Stephen Bannon, President Trump's former chief strategist, has been called to testify before a grand jury — the ...

and more »

Posted on 16 January 2018 | 4:11 pm

Bitcoin breaks under weight of regulatory scrutiny - USA TODAY


USA TODAY

Bitcoin breaks under weight of regulatory scrutiny
USA TODAY
Speculators beware: The once-high-flying digital currency bitcoin is again feeling the heat from regulators in Asia, causing its price to go into a free fall. Bitcoin, the best-known cryptocurrency whose skyrocketing price in the past year captured the ...
As Bitcoin Prices Plunge, Overstock, Square Shareholders Also HurtFortune
Bitcoin: South Korea sways cryptocurrency prices - but how?BBC News
Bitcoin jolted by regulation worries, falls 7 percent on extended selloffReuters
CNBC -Seeking Alpha -Forbes -Bloomberg
all 541 news articles »

Posted on 16 January 2018 | 3:37 pm

Bitcoin Mining Uses As Much Power As Ireland. Here's Why That's Not A Problem - Forbes


Forbes

Bitcoin Mining Uses As Much Power As Ireland. Here's Why That's Not A Problem
Forbes
Just a few years into the cryptocurrency revolution, bitcoin mining is already eating up an estimated 20,000 gigawatt hours of electricity per year. That's roughly .1% of global generation, on par with the power demand of Ireland. The primary culprits ...

Posted on 16 January 2018 | 2:12 pm

Is Global Front on Bitcoin Regulation Possible? | News | Cointelegraph - Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)


Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)

Is Global Front on Bitcoin Regulation Possible? | News | Cointelegraph
Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
Countries taking on Bitcoin by themselves will never succeed in terms of regulating the digital currency. | News | Cointelegraph.
Any rule on Bitcoin must be global, Germany's central bank saysReuters

all 26 news articles »

Posted on 16 January 2018 | 12:42 pm

Is This the Beginning of the End of the Bitcoin Bubble? - The Atlantic - The Atlantic


The Atlantic

Is This the Beginning of the End of the Bitcoin Bubble? - The Atlantic
The Atlantic
The cryptocurrency was meant to be stateless and leaderless. Ironically, the culprits of its latest plunge are ... state leaders.
Sorry, Bitcoin Fans. Digital Currency Is Still a Dream.Bloomberg

all 11 news articles »

Posted on 16 January 2018 | 12:09 pm

Most of the World's Biggest Cryptocurrencies Are Down Today

It's been a day of major losses so far across the cryptocurrency markets, with the top 20 all in the red and a big chunk knocked off the total value.

Posted on 16 January 2018 | 10:36 am

Metropolitan Bank Denies Policy Change on Crypto Wire Transfers

Metropolitan Bank released a statement stating that it had a "long-standing policy" barring crypto-related wire transfers outside the U.S.

Posted on 16 January 2018 | 9:20 am

Mark Cuban: Dallas Mavericks to Accept Bitcoin, Ether 'Next Season'

The Dallas Mavericks will begin accepting cryptocurrency payments during their next season, according to owner and investor Mark Cuban.

Posted on 16 January 2018 | 8:50 am

Ripple Price Drops to 2.5-Week Low, Eyes Sideways Trading

Ripple's XRP token fell to a 2.5-week low today, and is looking at a more or less sideways movement in the short-term, chart analysis suggests.

Posted on 16 January 2018 | 8:00 am

Shipping Blockchain: Maersk Spin-Off Aims to Commercialize Trade Platform

Global shipping giant Maersk is spinning off its blockchain work with IBM in an effort to foster collaboration between competitors.

Posted on 16 January 2018 | 5:00 am

Down 14 Percent: Bitcoin Charts Bearish Amid Asia Concerns

Amid negative news flow, Bitcoin is taking a hit today and touching 3.5 week lows at the time of writing.

Posted on 16 January 2018 | 4:30 am

UNICEF Wants to Fund Early Stage Blockchain Startups

The United Nations Children's Fund is seeking to invest in early stage blockchain startups with the potential to help people across the globe.

Posted on 16 January 2018 | 3:35 am

Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble - The New York Times - New York Times


New York Times

Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble - The New York Times
New York Times
Yes, it's driven by greed — but the mania for cryptocurrency could wind up building something much more important than wealth.

and more »

Posted on 16 January 2018 | 3:00 am

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PBoC Official Calls for Wider Ban on Chinese Crypto Trading: Report

The vice governor of China's central bank is reportedly seeking a wider ban on services related to cryptocurrency trading in the country.

Posted on 16 January 2018 | 3:00 am

Big Money, Murky Governance: Kicking the Tires of Telegram's Token Sale

In a market that emphasizes trustless systems, the Durov brothers are asking token investors to place a lot of trust in them and the Telegram team.

Posted on 16 January 2018 | 2:15 am

Bitcoin's Price Just Dropped Over $1,300 in 1.5 Hours

The price of a bitcoin just plummeted by over $1,300, as losses are seen across the wider cryptocurrency market.

Posted on 16 January 2018 | 1:28 am

Swift Signs Agreement With 7 CSDs to Explore Blockchain for Post-Trade

Swift formalizes another major blockchain project by signing a memorandum of understanding with seven Central Securities Depositories.

Posted on 16 January 2018 | 1:03 am

St. Louis Fed: In Some Ways, Bitcoin Is More Robust Than Many Fiat Currencies

StLouisCrypto.jpg

In a recent article on the basics of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies (PDF), Aleksander Berentsen and Fabian Schär of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis cover the usefulness of bitcoin and other alternative cryptoassets.

Throughout the article, Berentsen and Schär make the case that cryptoassets are well suited to become a new, important asset class. The duo goes as far to say that bitcoin is, in some ways, more robust than many fiat currencies.

Cryptocurrencies Are a Welcome Addition to the Current Currency System

Surprisingly, Berentsen and Schär are of the belief that cryptocurrencies are a welcome addition to the current currency ecosystem. While some critics claim bitcoin’s price should drop to zero because there is no intrinsic value found in the cryptoasset, the co-authors of the article from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis point out that this argument also applies to the various government-issued currencies around the world.

“Bitcoin is not the only currency that has no intrinsic value,” states the article. “State monopoly currencies, such as the U.S. dollar, the euro, and the Swiss franc, have no intrinsic value either. They are fiat currencies created by government decree. The history of state monopoly currencies is a history of wild price swings and failures. This is why decentralized cryptocurrencies are a welcome addition to the existing currency system.”

Berentsen and Schär also cover the possibility of Bitcoin’s consensus rules eventually being changed to allow for an increase in the supply of bitcoin tokens. They take the view that this scenario is very unlikely to unfold.

Even though in theory it is possible to increase the Bitcoin supply, in practice, such a change is very unlikely because a large part of the Bitcoin community would strongly oppose such an attempt.

The authors go on to point out that this sort of change in monetary policy may be more likely in a fiat currency protocol.

“Undesirable changes in fiat currency protocols are very common and many times have led to the complete destruction of the value of the fiat currency at hand,” says the article. “It could be argued that, in some ways, the Bitcoin protocol is more robust than many of the existing fiat currency protocols. Only time will tell.”

Bitcoin Is the Most Apparent Application of Blockchain Technology

In addition to offering some basic information on the topic of cryptoassets, the article from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis also provides a general outlook on the future of blockchain technology.

According to Berentsen and Schär, the most apparent application of this technology right now is the use of bitcoin as a new type of asset. The duo see cryptoassets, such as bitcoin, emerging as their own asset class and having the potential to develop into an interesting instrument for investment and diversification.

“Bitcoin itself could over time assume a similar role as gold,” says the article.

The paper also covers applications of blockchain technology in the areas of colored coins, smart contracts and data integrity. The Ethereum network is specifically pointed out as a leader in the area of smart contracts.

Risks of Blockchain Technology

The article from Berentsen and Schär also covers some of the risks associated with cryptoassets.

Minority splits from major cryptoasset networks, such as Bitcoin Cash (Bcash) and Ethereum Classic, are the first risk pointed out in the article, but the downsides of these sorts of spin-off assets are not discussed.

One could argue that these sorts of minority forks create uncertainty around the value of a particular cryptoasset, although this is also the case with the creation of new altcoins more generally.

The paper mentions excessive power consumption as another potential risk of blockchain technology, but Berentsen and Schär do not necessarily agree that proof-of-work mining is wasteful.

“There are those that criticize Bitcoin and assert that a centralized accounting system is more efficient because consensus can be attained without the allocation of massive amounts of computational power,” says the article. “From our perspective, however, the situation is not so clear-cut. Centralized payment systems are also expensive. Besides infrastructure and operating costs, one would have to calculate the explicit and implicit costs of a central bank. Salary costs should be counted among the explicit costs and the possibility of fraud in the currency monopoly among the implicit costs.”

In the past, “Mastering Bitcoin” author Andreas Antonopoulos has argued that the power consumed by Bitcoin miners is “used” rather than “wasted.”

The last risk associated with blockchain technology found in the article is bitcoin’s price volatility. Berentsen and Schär claim that a rigid, predetermined supply of bitcoin is not a desirable monetary policy in the sense that it will not lead to a stable currency.

“If a constant supply of money meets a fluctuating aggregate demand, the result is fluctuating prices,” explains the article. “In government-run fiat currency systems, the central bank aims to adjust the money supply in response to changes in aggregate demand for money in order to stabilize the price level. In particular, the Federal Reserve System has been explicitly founded ‘to provide an elastic currency’ to mitigate the price fluctuations that arise from changes in the aggregate demand for the U.S. dollar. Since such a mechanism is absent in the current Bitcoin protocol, it is very likely that the Bitcoin unit will display much higher short-term price fluctuations than many government-run fiat currency units.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 15 January 2018 | 11:04 am

Credit Suisse Argues Irrational Exuberance Around ICOs Indicates Bitcoin Bubble

creditsuisse.jpg

In a paper written in the fall of 2017 and published on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) on Friday, January 12, 2018, Credit Suisse’s Dietmar Peetz and Gregory Mall argue that the boom in the initial coin offering (ICO) market is the clearest indicator of a bubble in bitcoin.

Zurich-based Credit Suisse is one of the 40 largest banks in the world with more than $800 billion in total assets, according to Standard & Poor.

According to Peetz and Mall, bitcoin should not be seen as a currency. Instead, the Credit Suisse duo places bitcoin into a new, distinct asset class.

The paper notes that bitcoin’s epic price run, which started in September 2015 and accelerated further in July 2017, is obviously not sustainable over the long term. However, it also adds, “There are arguments for a continuation of this trend for some time.”

The ICO Boom

ICOs were all the rage in 2017, and these new mixtures of seed investing and crowdfunding raised more than $5 billion throughout the year (according to Token Data).

The basic idea with an ICO is that a company or project will create a new token (usually via the ERC-20 standard on Ethereum), which will have some sort of utility on a platform that is either in development or already available.

Whether it makes sense to hold these sorts of digital tokens as investments or speculations is still up for debate.

“These [ICO tokens] often trade at penny-stock prices, experiencing dramatic price increases within hours and are often trading at very low liquidity,” says the paper from Peetz and Mall. “Most of these companies merely offer a so-called ‘white paper,’ basically a business plan that explains which product a company wants to develop in the future and how it wants to market it. Most of these promised projects are praised as having huge potential but are extremely uncertain to be actually developed.”

Having said this, the paper adds that “ICO companies” may continue to raise large sums of money over the short-to-medium term. As supporting evidence for this claim, Peetz and Mall point to the fact that the amounts raised from ICOs increased after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission began to caution investors over the summer.

The paper also compares the irrational exuberance around ICOs to the dotcom bubble; however, Peetz and Mall note a key difference in that the dotcom boom at least had companies selling real goods and recording cash flows.

Questions remain as to whether there is any direct correlation between a token’s price and the level of success achieved by a platform connected to the token.

“Most investors acknowledge the bubble situation,” the paper continues. “However, they argue that central bank’s easy money will help the bubble mania to grow bigger and bigger, thus attracting even more investors (speculators) looking for easy profits. They remain bullish because of the Greater Fool Theory.”

Authorities May Prevent Bitcoin from Becoming a Currency

While some people use bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies simply because they have no other option available to them for a particular type of transaction, Peetz and Mall argue that bitcoin is not a transactional currency — mainly due to its inability to act as a reliable unit of account.

Although the paper indicates bitcoin volatility has declined from its peak from 2014 and could fall further through the financialization of the asset, Peetz and Mall also argue a currency cannot work as a clearing mechanism for payments if it cannot be accurately valued.

“The enormously high bitcoin price volatility makes it unsuitable for a reliable day-to-day exchange medium,” says the paper.

In addition to the lack of price stability and time-tested store of value properties in bitcoin, Peetz and Mall also point out a multitude of reasons as to why, in their view, widespread use of the intrinsically-deflationary asset would be detrimental to the overall economy. For this reason, the paper argues authorities may be emboldened to prevent bitcoin from becoming a currency.

“Based on historical precedents, it is not unthinkable that in times of economic or financial crisis, political and regulatory pressure on an unwanted currency would increase, possibly in a similar manner as in the U.S. in 1934, when the Gold Reserve Act of 1934 was ratified, nationalizing all gold and subsequently revaluing it by 69% in U.S. dollar terms,” says the paper.

Of course, Bitcoin was designed to be resistant to government coercion — a sort of BitTorrent for digital, free-market money.

The Bitcoin Bubble Could Continue

So what happens next? According to Peetz and Mall, the bitcoin bubble could continue for some time.

“We believe the most realistic scenario for bitcoin, based on the premise of the currency not being banned by major regulatory agencies, is that it will continue to rise in price in the short to medium term with increased institutional demand prior to the initial hype fading,” says the paper. “At that juncture, bitcoin’s monetization or return prospect realities will begin to set in and, if history is any guide, eventually dominate valuation.”

From Peetz and Mall’s perspectives, the financialization of bitcoin is a symptom of a bubble in money available for investment and the unavailability of productive, real-economy investments.

“Borrowing money for free and having easy access to capital and leverage (for big entities) is the fuel asset bubbles crave,” says the paper. “By aggressively mitigating the effects of the 2008 financial crisis via unparalleled global monetary debasement extending for nearly a decade, central banks have brought us today’s ‘bubbles everywhere’ investment landscape.”

In terms of specific events that could trigger an end to the bitcoin bubble, the paper mentions a crash in the equities market or a potential ban on the possession of bitcoin as two possible scenarios.


Further Reading: Op Ed: Bitcoin is not a Bubble; It's in an S-Curve and It's Just Getting Started

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 15 January 2018 | 10:57 am

Nationwide Insurance Rolls Out Proof of Insurance on the RiskBlock Blockchain

Insurance Block.jpg

The Institutes has announced a new blockchain framework called RiskBlock to provide more streamlined and secure proof of insurance. Nationwide Insurance is the first company to begin rolling out product on the platform.

RiskBlock is the first blockchain framework delivered from the newly formed RiskBlock Alliance and the first of its kind that is designed specifically for the risk management and insurance industry. The Institutes RiskBlock Alliance is an industry-led, insurance-focused consortium that developed the RiskBlock framework.

RiskBlock will provide insurers with real-time verification of insurance coverage; allow law enforcement to verify proof of insurance efficiently without relying on paper forms; provide insurers with a streamlined and cost-effective way to offer proof of insurance; and, in the near future, will allow insured clients to share trusted, third-party verified proof of insurance with a click on their mobile devices.

“The current way that drivers provide proof of insurance is cumbersome and uncertain,” said Christopher G. McDaniel, executive director of The Institutes RiskBlock Alliance in a statement. “Sharing proof of insurance through blockchain is key to streamlining the process of providing proof and marks the start of our efforts to revolutionize many other aspects of the insurance industry. Our collaboration with Nationwide is the first step toward a better overall system.”

The membership of the Alliance includes over 30 companies as members, ranging from the top 10 carriers to brokers and reinsurers. Nationwide Insurance is the first to use the platform in a pilot program to simplify real-time insurance coverage verification, eliminating paper insurance cards and providing a mobile app for real-time verification. ac

The coverage verification is an initial use case and the Alliance anticipates its members will be able to better serve policyholders and reduce costs by streamlining claim payments and premiums, reducing fraud through centralized recording of claims and improving acquisition of new policyholders by validating accuracy of customer data.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 15 January 2018 | 8:42 am

Telegram’s Privacy-Focused User Base Could Become TON Blockchain’s Killer App

Telegram ton

In December 2017, an interesting rumor surfaced: According to “sources familiar with the matter,” the messaging app Telegram, very popular among crypto-enthusiasts for its strong encryption and privacy features, would launch its own blockchain platform and cryptocurrency.

On January 8, 2018, TechCrunch reported that several unnamed sources had confirmed the news and quoted a secret Telegram white paper. According to TechCrunch, “the potential for a cryptocurrency inside a widely adopted messaging app is enormous.”

Of course, a leaked executive summary of the white paper is now available. The document has been shared by Cryptovest, and its authenticity has been independently confirmed by TNW. The 23-page executive summary often refers to an unreleased technical white paper which, according to TechCrunch, has 132 pages.

“This paper outlines a vision for a new cryptocurrency and an ecosystem capable of meeting the

needs of hundreds of millions of consumers, including 200 million Telegram users,” reads the white paper. “Launching in 2018, this cryptocurrency will be based on a multi-blockchain proof-of-stake system — TON (Telegram Open Network, after 2021 The Open Network) — designed to host a new generation of cryptocurrencies and decentralized applications.”

Scaling and Adoption

According to Telegram, while cryptocurrencies and other blockchain-based technologies have the potential to make the world more secure and self-governed, no consensus-backed currency has been able to appeal to the mass market and reach mainstream adoption. Despite the utility of Bitcoin and Ethereum, “there is no current standard cryptocurrency used for the regular exchange of value in the daily lives of ordinary people.” This is what the TON project wants to change. According to Telegram, the world needs an electronic “decentralized counterpart to everyday money — a truly mass-market cryptocurrency.”

Scaling transaction throughput to the tens of thousands of transactions per second supported by major credit card networks such as Visa and Mastercard is an important requirement for a mass-market cryptocurrency. While Bitcoin and Ethereum developers are working toward achieving higher throughput, the Telegram white paper notes that Bitcoin and Ethereum are currently limited to a maximum of only seven transactions per second for Bitcoin and 15 transactions per second for Ethereum, resulting in insufficient speeds and higher transaction costs. The white paper does not seem to take second-layer protocols into account, however.

Existing cryptocurrencies face other roadblocks as well, according to Telegram. For example, they are still too complicated for average merchants and consumers, the demand for crypto-assets comes mainly from investors rather than consumers, and there’s no critical mass for the ecosystem to grow and “eventually become adopted by hundreds of millions of users.”

“Telegram will use its expertise in encrypted distributed data storage to create TON, a fast and

inherently scalable multi-blockchain architecture,” states the white paper. “TON can be regarded as a decentralized supercomputer and value transfer system. By combining minimum transaction time with maximum security, TON can become a VISA/Mastercard alternative for the new decentralized economy.”

The Tech Specs

The TON blockchain will consist of a master chain and (eventually) a huge number (2**92) of accompanying blockchains (shards) that can dynamically split and merge to accommodate changes in load and achieve optimal throughput. TON will use a proof-of-stake approach based on a variant of the Byzantine Fault Tolerant protocol and instant hypercube routing to partition the workload among shards. Network protocols for storage, TOR-like privacy and micropayments will be released after the TON blockchain core.

Of course, TON will be fully integrated in the Telegram messaging network. According to the white paper, this will permit leveraging Telegram’s massive user base and developed ecosystem to provide a clear path to cryptocurrencies for millions of people, with light wallets implemented in Telegram applications. The white paper notes that 84 percent of blockchain-based projects have an active Telegram community, more than all other chat applications combined, which makes Telegram the “cryptocurrency world’s preferred messaging app.”

According to the roadmap in the white paper, a Minimal Viable Test Network for TON will be launched in Q2 2018. Then, after a testing phase and a security audit, a stable version of TON and a Telegram wallet will be deployed in Q4 2018.

Funding with Grams

The TON coins will be called Grams. To fund TON, Telegram will launch a token sale in Q1 2018. Initially, 44 percent of the total supply (2.2 billion) of Grams will be sold at a price that will start at $0.10 per Gram and gradually increase, with each Gram priced one billionth higher than the previous one, reaching $1 per Gram once 2.2 billion tokens have been sold. Based on these projections, it seems that Telegram’s token sale could easily become the biggest in history.

Of the total supply of Grams, 52 percent will be retained by the TON Reserve “to protect the nascent cryptocurrency from speculative trading and to maintain flexibility at the early stages of the evolution of the system,” and the remaining 4 percent will be reserved for the development team.

According to current plans, the token sale will use a Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT), to be converted 1:1 to native TON Grams after the deployment of the TON Blockchain.

Telegram wants to serve as a launch pad for TON, but it plans eventually to transfer ownership and governance of the TON system to a non-profit TON Foundation. “By 2021, the initial TON vision and architecture will have been implemented and deployed,” states the white paper. “TON will then let go of the ‘Telegram’ element in its name and become ‘The Open Network.’ From then on, the continuous evolution of the TON Blockchain will be maintained by the TON Foundation.”

The TON Killer App: A Privacy-Focused User Base

TON’s killer app is Telegram’s ability to leverage the enthusiasm of millions of cryptocurrency fans among the app’s 200 million users. At the same time, however, it’s worth noting that the greater population doesn’t really care much about encryption or cryptocurrencies. Many other messaging apps, such as Facebook’s Messenger and Whatsapp, are much more popular than Telegram.

Telegram is independent, self-funded and privacy-focused. The popularity of Telegram among cryptocurrency enthusiasts can be explained by the fact that the messaging app was founded “by libertarians to preserve freedom through encryption.” These features make it more attractive than other platforms, like Messenger or Whatsapp, to users who feel strongly about privacy protection.

It’s then interesting to speculate about possible moves of Facebook toward developing a cryptocurrency integrated with its social network and messaging platform.

In a recent post, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg notes that, contrary to the once widespread belief that technology could be a decentralizing force that puts more power in people's hands, it now appears that technology’s net effect is that of centralizing power in the hands of large corporations and governments.

“There are important counter-trends to this — like encryption and cryptocurrency — that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people's hands,” says Zuckerberg. “But they come with the risk of being harder to control. I'm interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies and how best to use them in our services.”

In as speech by FBI Director Christopher Wray on January 9, 2018, to the International Conference on Cyber Security, he highlighted his concerns over encryption, pointing out that last year, 7,800 devices were rendered inaccessible to law enforcement.

“This problem impacts our investigations across the board — human trafficking, counterterrorism, counterintelligence, gangs, organized crime, child exploitation and cyber,” he stated.

He called on the private sector to find ways that would allow them to “respond to lawfully issued court orders, in a way that is consistent with both the rule of law and strong cybersecurity.” It is these sorts of access measures that Zuckerberg will probably be considering.

While it doesn’t seem plausible that Facebook could become a staunch champion of privacy like Telegram, it will definitely be interesting to watch Facebook’s moves in the cryptocurrency space.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 10 January 2018 | 11:08 am

Kodak Gets in on the Blockchain and ICO Picture

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Kodak, the iconic photography company first established in in the 1880s, has joined the blockchain and ICO age. Today, January 9, 2018, it announced a new blockchain-based platform with WENN Digital to empower and protect image makers, photographers and artists.

The new platform, known as KodakOne, will enable users to register their work and license it with the platform. The image rights management platform will utilize the new KODAKCoin cryptocurrency to provide photographers with a new revenue stream and secure platform for protecting their work.

The smart contract associated with KODAKCoin will ensure that photographers receive payment immediately upon their work being licensed in addition to receiving a share of the overall platform revenue. The platform will also continually scan the web to monitor and protect the artist’s IP and assist them in dealing with illegal use of their work.

“For many in the tech industry, ‘blockchain’ and ‘cryptocurrency’ are hot buzzwords, but for photographers who’ve long struggled to assert control over their work and how it’s used, these buzzwords are the keys to solving what felt like an unsolvable problem,” said Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke in a statement. “Kodak has always sought to democratize photography and make licensing fair to artists. These technologies give the photography community an innovative and easy way to do just that.”

The KODAKOne platform and KODAKCoin cryptocurrency were developed for Kodak by WENN Digital. Their ICO will begin on January 31, 2018, and is open to accredited investors from the U.S., U.K., Canada and other select countries. This ICO is issued under SEC guidelines as a security token under Regulation 506 (c) as an exempt offering.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 9 January 2018 | 1:21 pm

How a Hackathon Birthed the CryptoKitties Origin Story

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CryptoKitties,” the most popular game ever released on the Ethereum blockchain to date, became an instant success in December of 2017. About 180,000 people have already signed up for CryptoKitties since the cute creatures were introduced to the world just a few months ago. Over $20 million in ether has already been spent, and at least 10 kitties have sold for more than $100,000.

Yet while the impressive numbers behind this crypto-phenomenon clearly demonstrate its success, most people remain unaware of how and why CryptoKitties came into being in the first place.

Hackathons Breeding Blockchain Innovations

The birth of CryptoKitties (Alpha) happened during the ETHWaterloo hackathon, the world’s largest Ethereum hackathon, which took place in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, back in October 2017. The project to bring cats to the Ethereum blockchain had a surprise alpha launch during the 36-hour Ethereum-based hackathon, which attracted hundreds of developers, mentors and sponsors from across the globe.

The CryptoKitties team came to the ETHWaterloo hackathon prepared, wearing rainbow-colored cat T-shirts, along with cat-balloons marked as the “CryptoKitties Team.” The four-person team also handed out customized Pokemon business cards and stickers featuring a link to their website. The alpha launch during the hackathon featured different breeding challenges that demonstrated how CryptoKitties could produce offspring. Winners of these challenges were rewarded with ether.

According to ETHWaterloo’s organizer, Liam Horne, the CryptoKitties team joined the hackathon with a new and innovative idea for the Ethereum blockchain, along with a truly creative marketing strategy.

“The four-person CryptoKitties team was building an entirely new technology on the Ethereum blockchain, but also had the business skills to get the word out,” Horne told Bitcoin Magazine. “For instance, each ETHWaterloo participant was gifted two CryptoKitties. A total of 50 CryptoKitties were given away at the start of the event. From there, users were able to trade and breed hundreds of cute, collectible, digital cats. By the end of the hackathon, hackers, cryptocurrency enthusiasts and other curious users had bred over 1,500 CryptoKitties in just 36 hours.”

At the end of the event, the CryptoKitties team was chosen as one of the 8 winners, which opened up several new opportunities, including the chance to meet with some VC firms. Their win also marked the start of a surge of media exposure that expanded to several mainstream media outlets.

Hackathons Spark Creativity

The idea may have once sounded crazy, but it turns out that putting kitties on the blockchain has become all the rage. Yet none of this would have been possible without the support of the ETHWaterloo hackathon.

“People usually perceive hackathons as being competitions,” said Horne, who has been organizing hackathons since his university days. “The ETHWaterloo hackathon, however, was not about this. We framed this as an event where programmers fascinated by Ethereum could be in the same room for 36 hours. The purpose of this was to experiment and have fun with Ethereum-based blockchain technology.”

He said that the CryptoKitties team was given advice from mentors, feedback from sponsors and a chance to test out their ideas with other programmers who understood the value of having digital cats on the Ethereum platform.

This in mind, Horne believes that hackathons are crucial for sparking new innovations in blockchain technology. The next Ethereum hackathon is set to take place in Denver next month. This event will be supported by Horne’s new initiative called ETHGlobal, which will help hackathon organizers around the world launch their own ETHWaterloo-style hackathons.

“Hackathons are simply a place for great minds to come together for a short period of time with the explicit goal of producing something practical and tangible using some kind of technology. It is astonishing how much can be done when you get the right group of people together for a weekend to just have fun and build something they find interesting,” said Horne.

“I have seen prototypes be built that have later turned into profitable businesses; projects that were dreamed of, built, launched and used by hundreds of people in the span of 36 hours at hackathons like ETHWaterloo.

“The most valuable component, however, is what happens after the hackathon ends. Every now and then a team of hackers will keep working together on their hack and the event will act as a catalyst for a project that could become quite meaningful and interesting to the world, and to investors.”

Ultimately, hackathons allow hackers to work together with other people who are interested in the same technology, providing an additional set of ears, eyes and more ideas. In particular, hackathons in emerging tech fields — such as blockchain technology — allow hackers to come up with fresh projects that could eventually turn into something much larger down the road, like CryptoKitties. And with over 500,000 people listed as interested in attending Ethereum Meetups worldwide, blockchain-based hackathons are bound to breed many more unique and clever innovations in the future.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 9 January 2018 | 11:46 am

Bitcoin tops $10,000 milestone

Posted on 29 November 2017 | 2:30 am

CRYENGINE now accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 29 March 2017 | 1:24 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

Steam accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 29 April 2016 | 1:09 am

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

Mozilla accepting Bitcoin

Posted on 20 November 2014 | 1:55 pm

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

airBaltic - World’s First Airline To Accept Bitcoin

Posted on 22 July 2014 | 11:03 am

January 17, 2018 -
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