Category Archive : Bitcoin

Venezuelans Turn to Bitcoin as Government Crackdown on Mining Intensifies

Venezuelans Turn to Bitcoin as Government Crackdown on Mining Intensifies

In contrast to many people around the world, who adopt bitcoin to make a quick profit, citizens of Venezuela use the currency as a matter of sheer survival. Venezuelans resort to the cryptocurrency to stay afloat, fighting the rising tides of hyperinflation. Even in the face of fierce government crackdowns, which are only getting worse, its people continue to rely on bitcoin.

Also Read: Israeli PM Netanyahu Says Bitcoin Is Rising as Banks Are Destined to Disappear

Bitcoin Miners Must Register

We previously covered the Venezuelan government’s crackdown on bitcoin mining and how people are still willing to risk arrests and police extortion to continue. Despite this, the government is not relenting, and even appears to be intensifying its efforts.

A mandatory national registry of bitcoin miners is expected to launch by December 22. Carlos Vargas, President Maduro’s recently appointed ‘superintendent of Venezuelan cryptocurrency’, said on Tuesday: “We want to know who they are, we want to know where they are, we want to know what equipment they are using.”

At the same time, Venezuelan police continue to harass miners. On Saturday, a team of detectives arrested Daniel Andrés Di Bartolomeo Viloria, and took position of his 21 mining rigs. He faces charges of money laundering, illicit enrichment, computer crimes, financing terrorism, exchange fraud, and damage to the national electric system.

Venezuelans Turn to Bitcoin as Government Crackdown on Mining Intensifies

A Matter of Survival

Venezuelans Turn to Bitcoin as Government Crackdown on Mining Intensifies
Anti government protest in Caracas, Venezuela

It is, sadly, nothing new for South Americans. They’re often caught in the traps of looking for ways to defeat hyperinflation, government wealth confiscations, and capital controls. While the region’s middle class and wealthy view bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as an investment choice, Venezuelans fear they have no other viable option.

Citizens have been forced to use bitcoin to be able to provide basic necessities for their families such as food, medicine, and clothing. In one lengthy report about the situation, Venezuelan John Villar describes how he used bitcoin to buy plane tickets abroad and medication for his wife as well as pay his employees’ salaries. He said: “This is not a matter of politics. This is a matter of survival.”

What can citizens do in the face of a government crackdown on bitcoin miners and users? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Cactus24.


Do you like to research and read about Bitcoin technology? Check out Bitcoin.com’s Wiki page for an in-depth look at Bitcoin’s innovative technology and interesting history.

The post Venezuelans Turn to Bitcoin as Government Crackdown on Mining Intensifies appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Putin Aide Says Bitcoin Can Help Russia Bypass Financial Sanctions

Putin Aide Says Bitcoin Can Help Russia Bypass Financial Sanctions

While the rising transactions fees are making bitcoin less usable for everyday purchases, its strength is drawing in companies and nation states looking to use the cryptocurrency. This is especially true for those locked out of the international financial system, as can be seen by the thinking of a top Putin aide.

Also Read: Israeli PM Netanyahu Says Bitcoin Is Rising as Banks Are Destined to Disappear

Sergei Glazyev, adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, thinks bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can help the country’s banking system to bypass Western sanctions, the Russian Rambler News Service reports. He said that the sanctions regime has created an “objective need” for cryptocurrencies at a meeting of the presidential administration on their legal status, according to Rambler.

He also advocated for creating a national crypto ruble at the meeting, according to Rambler. Glazyev even suggested that Russian government agencies could use cryptocurrencies for transactions around the world related to “sensitive” services, the news agency added.

Putin Aide Says Bitcoin Can Help Russia Bypass Financial Sanctions
Wikileaks’ Julian Assange

Dr. Glazyev is an economist and a member of the National Financial Council of the Bank of Russia. He was the minister of Foreign Economic Relations in Boris Yeltsin’s cabinet in 1992-93.

Glazyev has a personal incentive to see the Russian government find a way to defeat the sanctions as he is personally facing United States and European Union punitive measures for his role in the 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

An Axis of Bitcoin

Putin Aide Says Bitcoin Can Help Russia Bypass Financial SanctionsBesides Russia, other entities antagonistic to Washington have used or are looking into using bitcoin to bypass sanctions. These include Iran, Wikileaks and even a Ukrainian shipping firm. In a related matter, North Korea is also suspected of using its army of hackers to steal funds from bitcoin exchanges to cope with its dire financial situation.

The American government is well aware of this issue and is known to be preparing a response. William Browder, a co-founder of a Russia-focused investment fund, will testify about the matter today before the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission). He says that: “These cryptocurrencies are a gift from God to criminals and dictators who want to keep their money safe. He also thinks this calls for ”the urgent attention of the U.S. and other Western governments in relation to Magnitsky sanctions as well as all other sanctions programs.”

Is bitcoin a good way to bypass sanctions? Will the U.S. eventually use this as a pretext to crackdown on bitcoin exchanges and users? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Do you like to research and read about Bitcoin technology? Check out Bitcoin.com’s Wiki page for an in-depth look at Bitcoin’s innovative technology and interesting history.

The post Putin Aide Says Bitcoin Can Help Russia Bypass Financial Sanctions appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Garzik Forks UnitedBitcoin Away from Maximalists to Support Altcoin Communities

A new project called UnitedBitcoin warning the site autoplays audio promises to add smart contract features using the UTXO model, support for the lightning network and SegWit, and eight-megabyte blocks. Headed up by Jeff Garzik, the lead developer behind the failed SegWit2x hard fork, along with Matthew Roszak and SongXiu Hua, this UnitedBitcoin UB hard fork will offer replay protection to prevent people from accidentally spending their coins on both the Bitcoin and the UnitedBitcoin blockcha

South Korea Moves to Regulate Domestic Bitcoin Trading, Exchanges

Since late November 2017, South Korea has looked to regulate cryptocurrency trading in domestic exchanges, including Bithumb, Coinone and Korbit, The Korea Herald reports. Now, trying to tame the wave of wild cryptocurrency speculation in the country, South Korea is imposing trade bans for minors and looking for ways to impose taxes on investment returns.South Korea is the worlds third largest market in bitcoin trading, after Japan and the U.S., and the largest exchange market for ether, acco

Trezor Firmware Update Brings Shorter Addresses and Support for More Tokens

Trezor Firmware Update Brings Shorter Addresses and Support for More Tokens

Popular cold storage wallet solution, Trezor, announced its latest firmware upgrade. Version 1.6.0 offers support for more tokens. It also implements support for segregated witness addresses, using Bech32 instead of the usual P2SH format, potentially saving block size on the Bitcoin network. As the first hard wallet to use Bech32, the company’s update might help in lowering bitcoin transaction costs along with freeing up mempool congestion especially if more wallets follow suit.     

Also read: Only Big Broker Offering CME Bitcoin Futures Allows Whales to Short

Trezor Firmware Update Brings Shorter Addresses and Support for More Tokens

Trezor First Cold Storage Wallet to Embrace Bech32

“Long, at last, the expected firmware update,” a company announcement began, “has arrived! We managed to pack many different updates into today’s iteration, mainly — but not limited to — an expanded support of cryptocurrencies. We also implemented Bech32 and other useful features,” it claims.

Analysts believe the Trezor firmware update is a milestone in wallet addresses in that it is one of the first to implement the full segwit Bech32 feature. While wallets using segwit exist, they invariably rely on pay-to-script hash (P2SH), which has been a bone of contention for developers in the block size debate.

For those on the bitcoin cash side, segwit itself is an unnecessary feature when raising the block size is available. Indeed, that view caused a hard fork on August 1st of this year, creating bitcoin cash.

Bech32 addresses are thought to take up less space than its P2SH counterpart. Trezor’s move to make it native, potentially allows for smaller transactions, a battle cry hurled at bitcoin Core supporters by BCHers. That Core enthusiasts would even tout micro-transactions is a step toward the bitcoin cash argument and a point of agreement.

Indeed, in these very pages, no less than bitcoin cash developer Amaury Séchet praised Bech32 as a way to support future innovation.

Trezor Firmware Update Brings Shorter Bech32 Addresses

Support from Both Sides

For most, security is paramount. And the Bech32 implementation doesn’t compromise on security, yet in theory its address formats are easier to relay, read, and mistakes aren’t as frequent. It also goes to the block size debate in that Core might concede such addresses would free-up space on the BTC blockchain, enabling relief for a notoriously congested mempool.

Some in the community have argued Bech32 should be the adopted standard going-forward for Core supported wallets. Back at the beginning of Fall, Openbazaar’s Brian Hoffman announced the marketplace was itself experimenting with the addresses; in Spring of this year, Core developer Pieter Wuille gave an introduction to Bech32 (see video below).

In November, the Electrum 3.0 wallet became the first to use Bech32 (see line 43 of Release Notes), stating “Native segwit scripts are represented using bech32 addresses, following BIP173. Please note that BIP173 is still in draft status, and that other wallets/websites may not support it. Thus, you should keep a non-segwit wallet in order to be able to receive bitcoins during the transition period,” they noted.

Trezor walks customers through installation, and it also announced support for tokens such as Bitcoin Gold, Expanse, and Ubiq.

With praise from all sides for its firmware 1.6.0 update, it could be the start of the two camps having an agreed-upon topic toward fruitful conversations.  

Do you think Bech32 can be a starting point of agreement in the bitcoin wars? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Pixabay, Trezor.


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Disclaimer: Bitcoin.com does not endorse the Trezor product/service. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article. 

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PR: Coinfi Announces ICO for Crypto Market Intelligence Platform

Coinfi Crypto Market Intelligence Platform

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support this product/service. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

HONG KONG/NEW YORK – CoinFi, the cryptocurrency market intelligence platform, today announced an initial coin offering (ICO) with a hard cap of $15 million to further expand its technology and hedge fund-caliber trading tools for real-time news, data, and analysis on the crypto markets. A portion of funds raised will also be used to compensate and leverage the power of the crowd, which will help curate and produce content in a unique token-for-information ecosystem.

The rapidly growing world of cryptocurrency markets, businesses, and derivatives has created a difficult-to-navigate universe of data that makes it tedious and time consuming for crypto investors to find the information they need to make intelligent decisions in a timely manner. CoinFi decentralizes this information and provides in-depth analysis with Wall Street-like precision. Sophisticated algorithmic trading signals, real-time analysis of news through machine learning, and “best execution” trading algorithms power CoinFi’s platform.

“Compared to the kind of tools and on-demand financial analysis to which equities traders have access, the cryptocurrency market is drastically underserved,” says CoinFi co-founder and former Goldman Sachs equities trader Timothy Tam. “We’re building a platform so crypto traders can make better, well-rounded, informed decisions. Wall Street doesn’t guess blindly, and neither should the crypto community.”

CoinFi already employs a team of several junior equities analysts to help perform altcoin research and compile data. Additionally, the company will compensate crowdsourced content with CoinFi tokens. Access to the platform’s advanced features and premium content will require staking tokens to reward token owners and reduce volatility.

“At present, there is no equivalent of the Bloomberg terminal for crypto investors,” says Han Chang, CoinFi co-founder. “The crypto community is hungry for this type of knowledge, and rightly so. While crypto is outperforming almost every other traditional investment at the moment, it’s still widely misunderstood and can be unpredictable without the right background and knowledge.”

CoinFi is currently accepting whitelist registration for its ICO token pre-sale, which will launch on Dec 15, 2017. The public crowdsale will commence Jan 18, 2017. For more information visit www.sale.coinfi.com

Contact Email Address
contact@coinfi.com

This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.

The post PR: Coinfi Announces ICO for Crypto Market Intelligence Platform appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Japan’s GMO Internet Group Will Pay Thousands of Workers in Bitcoin

Blockchain development companies and the cryptocurrency press have been paying their workers in cryptocurrencies for years, but one realizes that the times are truly changing when mainstream companies start paying their workers in bitcoin.GMO Internet Group, a Japanese provider of a full spectrum of internet services for both the consumer and enterprise markets, is introducing a system for employees to receive part of their salary in bitcoin.Headquartered in Tokyo, GMO Internet Group comprise

Despite Regulation, Russians Plan to Build Europe’s Largest Mining Farms

Despite Regulation, Russians Are Building Europe's Largest Mining Farms

Undeterred by upcoming federal restrictions on Bitcoin, regional authorities in Moscow have announced intentions to attract European mining companies and investors. Cheap electricity and developed infrastructure will provide the incentives and more than 150 mining farms in the metro area are taking advantage of them already. A Russian company plans to set up one of the largest mining facilities in Europe and is now offering a token to finance the project.

Also read: Hong Kong Company Set to Build Crypto Mining Farm and Museum on Russian Island

Russia’s Trump Card – Cheap Energy

“Electricity is cheaper here. European miners are ready to relocate to Russia”, a city parliament member said, speaking to journalists last week. “The regional infrastructure is well developed. Miners can either buy electric power from the public network, or install their own gas-turbine generators”, added Igor Kohaniy, chairman of the Moscow’s Construction and Energy Commission.

“Crypto businesses and the Bitcoin community supported the initiative. According to the Russian Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Association, the capital city has the highest potential to lure “mining tourists”, Bitsmedia reported. The conclusion came from a nationwide study that assessed electricity rates, power reserves, logistical accessibility and telecom infrastructure in Russia’s regions. Moscow Oblast (the adjacent district) placed second, followed by Saint Petersburg.

Hong Kong Company Set to Launch Crypto Mining Farm and Museum on Russian Island“Investors do not come empty-handed. They are building mining farms and local entrepreneurs will also benefit. The energy costs are lower here – why not play the trump card”, said Vladimir Zhuk, deputy head of the city’s Economy and Investment Committee. He also stated that attracting crypto-tourists is a smart policy and suggested that authorities should advertise what the region has to offer. “We have Russian miners operating here and they can confirm – this is a good place to run a business like that”, Zhuk added.

The Kremlin Deals the Cards in Moscow

However, not everyone in power shares the same upbeat mood about crypto-tourism in Russia. Federal authorities are drafting a law that will certainly impose restrictions on mining farms, payments and token sales. President Putin has set a deadline for the finance ministry and the central bank to submit their framework proposal for the new regulatory regime. It should be finalized by the end of this month and implemented by the summer of next year.

Doing business, especially Bitcoin-related, takes a lot of optimism, willingness to embrace risk, and some survival skills. And in Russia, it takes Russians to win any such war. Bitferry is a company run by Russians with years of experience in the harsh, often freezing cold, business climate of their homeland. It launched its first mining operations in May 2017 with two farms in the Moscow area. Its hardware-savvy team recently announced a plan to build one of the largest mining platforms in Europe. They claim Russia’s severe weather conditions actually benefit mining, allowing for energy-efficient cooling solutions. A price of less than 5 cents per kWh of electricity should also keep the costs down.

Small Investors Wanted for Large Mining Farms

Great ideas and ambitious plans do not necessarily find substantial financial support. But Bitferry is not going after big capital anyway. The company is targeting smaller investors and offers in return to set them up with a portfolio of different miners. The feature opens the door to maximizing profits in a sustainable way and investors are not tied to a single mining project or a coin.

Bitferry’s coin offering started with pre-sales in November at discounted prices. Investors can still buy tokens if they want to be part of building “one of the biggest industrial cryptocurrency mining farms”.

What do you think of Moscow undermining federal policies and trying to attract investors from Europe? Will the Russian government crack down on these mining farms? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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The post Despite Regulation, Russians Plan to Build Europe’s Largest Mining Farms appeared first on Bitcoin News.

After Segwit2x Failed Jeff Garzik Reveals “United Bitcoin”

After Segwit2x Failed Jeff Garzik Reveals United Bitcoin

A new bitcoin fork called United Bitcoin has been announced by a few prominent cryptocurrency luminaries that aims to improve the mechanics of the original bitcoin software. United Bitcoin was forked on December 12, 2017 at block height 498777 and the creators claim it will feature an 8MB block size, Lightning Network support, Segregated Witness, and the ability to process smart contracts.

Also read: Howard Stern and Saturday Night Live Reference Bitcoin as Popularity Grows

United Bitcoin: A Fork of a Different Color Plans to Find a Purpose for Lost and Inactive Wallets

After Segwit2x Failed Jeff Garzik Reveals United BitcoinThe ‘forking fever’ has been contagious these days as there seems to be a new bitcoin-based fork announced every two weeks. Now the well-known bitcoin developer and Bloq founder Jeff Garzik, Bitbank Group’s Songxiu Hua, and the chairman of Bloq, Matthew Roszak, have decided to launch their own form of bitcoin. The project called United Bitcoin (UB) has many goals which include raising the block size to 8MB and adding smart contract functionality to the digital asset. Additionally, one upcoming feature that is fairly controversial is how the United Bitcoin team plans to distribute funds to certain allocations that stem from lost and inactive bitcoin wallets. This means inactive stashes like Satoshi Nakamoto’s addresses will be accessible and distributed to certain aspects of the UB roadmap.

“United Bitcoin will use the pressure-tested mechanics of Bitcoin, such as PoW, block times, supply cap, and issuance model, while it upgrades areas to accommodate larger social demands — These improvements will be an increase in block size to 8MB, the addition of smart contract support based on UVM, the addition of Lightning Network support, and SegWit implementation,” explains the UB white paper.       

The mission of United Bitcoin is to find a purpose for lost Bitcoin and inactive wallets and create a stable cryptocurrency system through an association of joint credit and smart contracts.

After Segwit2x Failed Jeff Garzik Reveals United Bitcoin
The United Bitcoin core team and board members.

Influential Communities and Creating a ‘Crypto-Gold Standard’

The United Bitcoin distribution process is a bit different than most of the other bitcoin forks this year. Bitcoin core (BTC) users who transfer their funds would be eligible to receive their UB balances if they transferred between Block 494000 and Block 498777. The receiving address must be tethered to one of the input addresses, and cannot be a fresh new address. The output address must contain a balance of more than 0.01 BTC says the UB white paper. Eligible bitcoin addresses will be credited UB 1:1 for every BTC they hold. United Bitcoin’s official website has a full node client that can synchronize the blockchain.

Of course, across the community and social media, the subject of another bitcoin fork is controversial. Moreover, the plan to distribute funds from inactive address is probably the biggest bone of contention for some bitcoin proponents. The UB team says the balances of inactive addresses will serve the community. 30 percent will be allotted to “influential communities” that help spread UB adoption. The other 70 percent of idle balances will serve as reserves that will be tethered to stable tokens pegged to chosen fiat currencies. The UB team believes this process will create a system similar to the Gold Standard.

What do you think about the United Bitcoin project led by Jeff Garzik and other prominent blockchain community members? Do you think people who are forking bitcoin are taking the process a little too far? Let us know in the comments below.


Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay, and the UB website. 


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The post After Segwit2x Failed Jeff Garzik Reveals “United Bitcoin” appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Israeli PM Netanyahu Says Bitcoin Is Rising as Banks Are Destined to Disappear

Israeli Leader Says Bitcoin Is Rising as Banks Are Destined to Disappear

With the meteoric rise in the value of bitcoin this year and the media cacophony around it, its a surprise that not all world leaders have spoken about the subject yet. One political figure that we can now rest assure is keeping an eye on bitcoin is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Also Read: Israeli Regulator Won’t Allow Bitcoin Firms to Be Included in Stock Indices

Israeli Leader Says Bitcoin Is Rising as Banks Are Destined to DisappearSitting down with reporters to an off the cuff Q&A at the Israeli parliament’s diner, the PM was asked for his advice whether an individual should invest in bitcoin or not. He answered: “So first of all, why can’t you also sell money? Why not? It’s the same. The reason you can’t sell money is that you are very worried and want a mediating party to handle the risks. Prevent theft, all that stuff. That’s why banks exists. Are banks doomed to eventually disappear? The answer is yes! Should this be done tomorrow and should it be done via bitcoin? That is a question. But the truth is that what I just said is what propelling bitcoin upward.”

Asked a follow up question about the current rate of change, the PM added: “Nothing exists that can continue at this pace, it’s not possible.”

Netanyahu is an MIT graduate and prior to his political career he was an economic consultant for the Boston Consulting Group.

Israeli Leader Says Bitcoin Is Rising as Banks Are Destined to Disappear
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “Are banks doomed to eventually disappear? The answer is yes!”

Crypto Nation

Israeli Leader Says Bitcoin Is Rising as Banks Are Destined to DisappearLike many other countries around the world, Israel have been taken away by the bitcoin mania in the last couple of weeks. The local media reports price changes daily, it interviews people that became millionaires over night and shows the long lines of people waiting outside bitcoin ATM locations in Tel Aviv.

The Israeli financial press is also focusing on bitcoin as everything crypto-related brings in clicks and viewers these days. The biggest story at the moment is the issue of a Tel Aviv Stock Exchange listed gold company switching to bitcoin mining. Its stock price jumped 3,750% before the regulator came out against it. Another story currently in the headlines in this context is that of local cryptocurrency developer Colu raising $14.5 million from Israel’s largest holding company IDB Development Corporation. The Israeli regulator is also expected to announce a welcoming legal framework for ICOs by the end of the month.

Are world leaders beginning to understand the bitcoin revolution? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, First Edition.


Do you like to research and read about Bitcoin technology? Check out Bitcoin.com’s Wiki page for an in-depth look at Bitcoin’s innovative technology and interesting history.

The post Israeli PM Netanyahu Says Bitcoin Is Rising as Banks Are Destined to Disappear appeared first on Bitcoin News.


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