Thursday, September 4, 2014

Bitcoin slowly goes global as businesses like Overstock expand to international customers

Bitcoin Accepted Here / Biz Carson / September 1, 2014 - Bitcoin has attracted the attention of a lot of large businesses from Expedia to Dell to Overstock. However when all of those companies started accepting bitcoin, it was only in the U.S. But the tide is starting to change as more businesses expand their bitcoin acceptance overseas.

Overstock is set to become the largest later on Monday when it turns on international bitcoin payments for this evening. Other retailers, like Newegg and TigerDirect, have already moved north of the border and started accepting payments from Canadian customers.

Part of the draw of opening up bitcoin payments internationally is the cost savings. Instead of dealing with the hassle of foreign currencies and high processing fees, bitcoin coming from Albania costs the same to process as a bitcoin from Alabama. It also helps minimize cases of fraud, which can be higher among international customers, thanks to the technology behind blockchain confirmations.

Virtual vault established to protect Bitcoin users

Add caption / 01/09/2014 - A revolutionary new way of managing digital currency has been created by a St John’s graduate.

The recently-launched company, Elliptic, has secured more than £1million in funding to build a secure virtual “vault”. The company was co-founded last year by James Smith, who graduated from St John’s in 2004 with a degree in computer science. The team, which also includes colleagues Tom Robinson and Adam Joyce, has also been joined by another St John’s graduate, Yacoob Kurimbokus, who studied with Smith.

Bitcoin is a software-based online payment system first set up in 2008, which is now used by individuals and businesses around the world. It has been described by the Treasury as a “decentralised digital currency”. The technology also has potential uses in many other areas outside currency, as its major innovation is a decentralised asset register.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Chip technology behind the Bitcoin phenomenon

Chip technology behind the Bitcoin phenomenon - Century Link data center / richard wilson / 15th August 2014

Ever wondered what the Bitcoin currency means to the electronics industry?

Well, there is a Bitcoin electronics ecosystem, and it seems to be growing.

An early developer of hardware systems for Bitcoin mining is US-based CoinTerra and it has recently expanded its business by acquiring Europe-based Bitcoin related software company Bits of Proof.

Dubbed the ‘virtual currency’, Bitcoin is a software-based online payment system which is based on open-source software.

Mining is the name given to the process of creating a currency transaction and adding it to Bitcoin’s global database of transactions. Called the block chain, this electronic database confirms all transactions on the network. -  READ MORE:

Friday, August 15, 2014

Tech Visionary George Gilder: “Bitcoin is the Libertarian Solution to the Money Enigma.”

“Bitcoin is a breakthrough in information theory that allows [users] to conduct provable transactions that can’t be changed…without reference to trusted third parties,” says tech visionary and investor George Gilder. “[Bitcoin] is the perfect libertarian solution to the money enigma.”

When Gilder makes tech predictions, it’s worth paying attention. In Microcosm: The Quantum Revolution in Economics and Technology (1989) he described how the silicon chip would usher in a new information age. In TELECOSM: How Infinite Bandwidth will Revolutionize Our World (2000), he predicted the rise of hand-held computers and fiber optics. In Life After Television: The Coming Transformation of Media and American Life (1990), Gilder predicted that “telecomputers” would one day provide a limitless alternative to broadcast television. That was 15 years before the launch of YouTube.

Reason TV’s Nick Gillespie sat down with Gilder to talk about why he thinks Bitcoin is a revolutionary technology. The interview took place at FreedomFest 2014, an annual convention for libertarians held each year in Las Vegas.  Shot and edited by Jim Epstein; additional camera Zach Weissmueller.

Tech Visionary George Gilder: "Bitcoin is the Libertarian Solution to the Money Enigma."

Monday, August 11, 2014

France on Bitcoin: Regulate Effectively Without Killing Innovation

France on Bitcoin: Regulate Effectively Without Killing Innovation

 NEW YORK (InsideBitcoins) — Bitcoin has been gaining in popularity since it first appeared online, and governments across the globe are taking steps to ensure that digital currencies, just like any other currencies, benefit from a sound and stable legal framework.

In a move that validates France’s willingness to recognize the legitimacy of Bitcoin, a report issued by the committee of finance of the French senate proposes several measures which aim to regulate digital currencies.

The move isn’t surprising, yet appears to go against the general anti-Bitcoin sentiment that has gripped France’s central bank. In a report entitled “Dangers Posed by the Spread of Digital Currencies: The Example of Bitcoin” issued by the bank on December 5, 2013, digital currencies are explained from a pessimistic viewpoint, and the bank warns that not only is Bitcoin a “non-regulated currency that offers no guarantees,” but it also allows users to “circumvent rules that prohibit money laundering and the financing of terrorism.”

Bitcoin-Like Money Is Ecuador’s Latest Dollar-Saving Plan

Bitcoin-Like Money Is Ecuador’s Latest Dollar-Saving Plan

Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/ / Nathan Gill / Aug 5, 2014 3:58 AM PT

After mortgaging most of Ecuador’s oil and gold to finance spending, President Rafael Correa is planning to create virtual money to pay the nation’s bills.

Congress last month approved legislation to start a digital currency for use alongside the U.S. dollar, the official tender in Ecuador. Once signed into law, the country will begin using the as-yet-unnamed currency as soon as October. A monetary authority will be established to regulate the money, which will be backed by “liquid assets.”

Less than six years after repudiating $3.2 billion of its dollar-denominated debt, Ecuador has dwindling oil reserves, with current-account deficits that are draining dollars from the economy and financing needs at a record. While using virtual money to pay government workers and contractors would help conserve hard cash, the currency may prompt Correa to boost spending even more and undermine the nation’s ability to repay long-term bonds, according toLandesbank Berlin Investments.


Visa open to facilitating the growing use of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies

Visa open to facilitating the growing use of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies / Diana Ngo / 2014-08-04 03:36 PM Visa Inc.’s senior vice-president of digital solutions Sam Shrauger, is managing the newly launched digital laboratory where the firm is currently developing a blueprint for the future of payments with the ultimate goal of making transactions frictionless.

Former Paypal and Yahoo executive Sam Shrauger, was hired in December 2012 by Visa Inc. and is now in charge of overseeing the strategy of bringing the firm’s digital and mobile products to the market. With the booming of digital currencies, payment card providers should be worried about their new competitors who offer a faster, more secure and more cost-effective payment solutions. It isn’t exactly the case of Visa, which admitted not wanting to compete with the technology but rather invest in facilitating online and mobile payments, according to Shrauger in an interview with the Australian Financial Review.

Visa’s blueprint suggests several innovations that could consequently ease up our daily purchases. For example, the firm suggests that a car’s onboard computer would facilitate payments at drive-thru restaurants. An other possibility could be a internet-connected fridge that would order and pay for grocery shopping.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

How Safe Is Your Bitcoin Wallet From A Cyber-Attack? / Princess Clark-Wendel / 7/28/2014 @ 11:00AM  After hundreds of cyber-attacks on financial institutions using bitcoin, it’s crucial to safeguard your currency in a bitcoin wallet.

Bitcoin is a type of digital currency established in 2009 as an inexpensive payment method that can be used to buy merchandise and make transactions online. Although bitcoins are unregulated and not associated with any central bank, there are millions of bitcoin users across the world. As more merchants accept them from travel sites like Expedia to sport teams such as the Sacramento Kings, bitcoins are primed to enter the mainstream. If you have not heard about Bitcoin, perhaps you should.

Whenever you decide to get on the bitcoin bandwagon: use the right wallet to protect and preserve your bitcoins. Wallets are essential to protecting your bitcoin investment.

But are standalone Bitcoin wallets simply like socks of money under your mattress with a password?

Pieter Dubois, a Bitcoin enthusiast and spectator since September 2013, thinks so.

Bitcoin users like Dubois use digital wallets to save, spend, send, and receive bitcoins. Digital wallets are similar to an online bank account, without the protection of the FDIC. They are either stored in a cloud or on a user’s computer.

Tim Draper Leads CrowdCurity’s $1 Million Seed Funding / Tanaya Macheel / July 28, 2014 at 23:10 BST Crowdsourced IT security startup CrowdCurity has raised $1m in seed funding as part of a new investment round led by high-profile bitcoin investor Tim Draper and Kima Ventures.

Notably, part of the investment provided by Cryptonaut Ventures was made directly with bitcoin and settled into USD using bitcoin exchange services provided by Vaurum – a CrowdCurity client and graduate of Boost VC’s incubator program.

Sophos Chief Technology Officer Gerhard Eschelbeck, Cyphort cofounder Dr Fengmin Gong and Mountain View-­based incubator 500 Startups were also among the round’s strategic investors.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sierra Leone Fashion Company Brings Bitcoin to West Africa / Tanaya Macheel / July 20, 2014 at 16:55 BST
Add caption

Bitcoin’s potential to succeed in Africa is widely recognized within the industry.

It’s capable of transforming the way we send remittances to the continent and giving the unbanked easy access to money quickly and freely. It’s an alternative currency for anyone, but especially useful in countries with unstable national currencies, and can reduce the cost of cross-border trade.

In Freetown, Sierra Leone, an ethical fashion accessories company called Bureh is taking the first step in creating a bitcoin economy for sub-Saharan Africa by accepting bitcoin via payments processor BitPay. That its total bitcoin transactions have been few since it began offering them in December doesn’t faze co-founder Daniel Heyman. Money movement, he told CoinDesk, is the main opportunity in bitcoin – not consumption.


Bitcoin and Europe: a complicated but promising relationship / Pamir Gelenbe / July 17th, 2014.

(Editor’s note: this is a guest post by Pamir Gelenbe, co-founder of CoinSummit, an invitation only gathering that brings together virtual currency entrepreneurs, angel and VC investors, hedge fund professionals and others who are looking to learn and network. This year’s CoinSummit London, which took place last week, showcased 20 bitcoin startups – many of which are based in Europe.)

While there are still considerable obstacles to mainstream adoption, the bitcoin industry has evolved significantly over the last year.

It is no longer a fringe libertarian movement but a commercial industry in its own right that is attracting strong talent and significant investment.

There has also been a shift in stance among some key jurisdictions as well as evidence of growing corporate acceptance of bitcoin.

But, while venture capital investment in bitcoin is accelerating with around $200m flowing into bitcoin companies in the U.S. over the last year, so far we have seen just a handful of much smaller deals in Europe. So what can be done to help the ecosystem here grow – and thrive?

Adoption still confined to the techies

One of the biggest challenges is user adoption. It is something of a chicken and egg problem, not unlike what we saw in the early pre-broadband years of the Internet. It is by no means easy to understand how bitcoin works or decide whether it is safe to store bitcoin holdings.


Acceptance of, use of, and interest in bitcoin rising strongly, CoinDesk report says / Gareth Vaughan / July 17, 2014 – 05:41pm,

Bitcoin’s price rose 39% in the three months to June 30, boosted by a seemingly stabilising regulatory situation in China, and interest from big name companies such as Expedia and Apple, according to a report on the virtual currency.

The State of Bitcoin Q2 2014 from CoinDesk takes a detailed look at the world of bitcoin. CoinDesk describes itself as an independent publisher covering news, prices and information on bitcoin and other digital currencies. The report acknowledges that although bitcoin’s price rose 39% during the June quarter, it’s still down 16% year-to-date.

The report comes with MyBitcoinSaver, which describes itself as the simplest way to acquire bitcoin, holding a New Zealand launch party on Friday, and the Australian-based, which says it’s the number one digital currency platform in New Zealand based on trade volume, announcing US entrepreneur and co-founder of Tremor Video, Jesse Chenard, as a “major” investor and advisor.

The CoinDesk report says US$240 million has now been invested in bitcoin startups since 2012, with US$150 million, or 63%, of this in 2014.

Bitcoin Growing Up in Ireland / S.T. Andrews / July 15, 2014

Bitcoin has suited up before, but at BitFin 2014, bitcoin doesn’t wear a tie.

Every bitcoin conference has a unique vibe. While Americans were barbecuing for freedom, Ireland’s bitcoiners were hosting a two day conference, BitFin 2014, and the vibe was…let’s get practical, lets get down to business, let’s get working.

Suits can be an anathema to bitcoin purists, but good developers know that the suits can be useful sometimes. What was interesting about BitFin was how suits were talking about bitcoin and other “crypto-ledgers” seriously, and how integration with the existing financial system is going to happen, it’s a just a matter of how and when.

This was not an invitation only conference, which allowed many curious newcomers to interact with Bitcoin luminaries, finance ministers, and industry leaders. The attendance was less than expected, but it provided for a more intimate Q&A.

After attending numerous conferences this past year, BitFin sets a standard. The speakers list was impressive. Notable speakers included Max Keiser of The Keiser Report, Nicholas Carey of, Bobby Lee CEO of BTC China, and Michael Terpin, CEO and founder of the bitangels. The panel moderators facilitated robust discussion, scheduled coffee breaks provided enough time for networking opportunities, and the “Dublin distributed dining” and social event gave all the attendees a taste of Dublin, and a chance to continue the discussion late into the night, pints in hand.

BitFin offered a glimpse into the talent in Ireland:


Japanese Retail Giant Rakuten Hints at Bitcoin Acceptance / Jon Southurst / July 15, 2014 at 10:11 BST

The CEO of Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, Hiroshi Mikitani, has announced in a speech that his company will probably accept bitcoin “sooner or later”, according to a report.

The news, published in major daily newspaper Mainichi Shimbun, is significant as the Rakuten Group is the country’s premier online retail conglomerate, and one of the world’s largest, with a network of over 40 businesses worldwide and over 10,000 employees.

Another potentially interesting angle is that Rakuten has its own bank, offers credit cards, has its own securities brokerage and runs the e-cash network of RFID-chip cards known as Edy.


Predicting A Future Free Of Dollar Bills / Simon Black / yesterday July July 13, 2014

Editor’s note: Simon Black is CEO at London-based Sage Pay.

Picture the scene. It’s 2020. You’re at the checkout in a convenience store with a carton of milk. But you’ve got no cash and you’ve left your cards at home. No problem. You scan your right index finger; the green light flashes. Purchase approved and you leave. Easy.

Is this a realistic vision of the future, or are we only ever likely to see such scenes in science-fiction movies such as Minority Report? Predicting the future is never easy, but I believe that new technologies will prove the death knell for cash. We’re not there yet, but a cashless society is not as fanciful as it seems. Recent research suggests that many believe we will stop using notes and coins altogether in the not-too-distant future.

New payments technologies are rapidly transforming our lives. Today in the U.S., 66 percent of all point-of-sale transactions are done with plastic, while in the U.K. it’s just under half. But while a truly cashless society is some time away yet, there is raft of groundbreaking technologies that will make cash a mere supporting act in the near future.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Kyrgyzstan bitcoin experiment promises migrant workers big savings / Bert Cramer / July 2014 11.18 BST

Can the popular cryptocurrency transform remittances in Central Asia? Photograph:
Tech-enthusiast Emanuele Costa believes the digital currency could transform Kyrgyzstan’s remittances, which make up a third of the country’s economy. EurasiaNet reports

In the corner of a small pizzeria in central Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s capital, an experiment is unfolding. Central Asia’s first and only bitcoin ATM converts dollars into the world’s most popular cryptocurrency. The machine – which looks like one of the city’s ubiquitous electronic pay terminals – offers a way to convert hard currency into a digital medium that is increasingly used in online transactions.

That could impact how Kyrgyzstan’s estimated one million migrant workers transfer their earnings home, says the machine’s owner, Emanuele Costa, an Italian financial analyst. The World Bank estimates that last year migrant remittances totalled the equivalent of 31% of Kyrgyzstan’s gross domestic product (GDP). Most of that money, several billion dollars, was transferred through expensive, fee-based services such as Western Union and Zolotaya Korona (a Russian payment system whose name means ‘golden crown’). Costa, a former analyst with Goldman Sachs, sees bitcoin as a low-cost, secure and confidential alternative.

Bitcoin, invented by a group of anonymous Internet users in 2009, is the first and most prominent digital cryptocurrency to gain wide circulation. Not controlled by national governments or banks, bitcoin offers a peer-to-peer encrypted payment system that can be readily converted into cash or, increasingly, used in exchange for products or services. Fees, when they exist, are agreed upon by users and are usually nominal. Bitcoin’s value fluctuates based on supply and demand; one bitcoin is currently worth about $642. - READ MORE