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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

Is Blockchain Worth the Trouble? Blythe Masters (and More) Say Yes at Sibos

During Sibos, DAHs Blythe Masters, said while blockchain solutions can be expensive, they're worth the cost for mitigating security holes.

Posted on 19 October 2017 | 2:24 pm

Russian Economic Development Minister Calls Bitcoin Worse Than Casinos - CoinTelegraph


CoinTelegraph

Russian Economic Development Minister Calls Bitcoin Worse Than Casinos
CoinTelegraph
Russia moves quickly in its push against Bitcoin and other decentralised currencies, as it first issued a ban on access to exchanges, then followed that up with a state-mandated currency. This play is to seemingly control the burgeoning cryptocurrency ...

and more »

Posted on 19 October 2017 | 2:23 pm

Switzerland Awards First AML/KYC Licence To Bitcoin Company - CoinTelegraph


CoinTelegraph

Switzerland Awards First AML/KYC Licence To Bitcoin Company
CoinTelegraph
Payment gateway Payment21's owner has become the first Bitcoin company to gain full regulatory compliance from Switzerland's financial regulator. In a blog post Tuesday, Moving Media announced it had a licence as a so-called Directly Subordinated ...

Posted on 19 October 2017 | 2:23 pm

Sweden's Government Sold Bitcoin Today At Above Market Rates

The Swedish Enforcement Agency concluded its week-long bitcoin auction, making nearly 50 percent more than the past market rate.

Posted on 19 October 2017 | 2:00 pm

This Blockchain-Powered Platform Aims to Disrupt the Esport Gambling Industry

This Blockchain-Powered Platform Aims to Disrupt the Esport Gambling Industry

Esports wagering is a large — and growing — global industry at the intersection between gambling, technology and entertainment. In their 2017 Global Esports Markets Report, Newzoo found that China and North America will generate $362 million during 2017, or 52 percent of global esports industry's revenue. If the esports industry continues on the same growth trajectory, the global industry is expected to generate $1.4 billion in 2020.

Unikrn’s blockchain-powered platform is tapping into this growth industry, offering services such as “skill and spectator betting applications, a tournament series, team ownership, a casino group and multimedia content for the esports fanbase.”

Along with launching an initial coin offering (ICO) in mid-September, the company has expanded its offerings to the European Union through a joint venture with RBP, a key player in the online horserace and sports betting market, and plans to launch a new skills-based product.

Expanding across the European Union comes after the platform was granted a much coveted gaming license from the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). As one of the first European Territories to regulate online gambling, Malta has reportedly become a staunch regulatory supporter over the past several years. Today, over 100 companies currently hold a license issued by the MGA including software developers, online casinos and Remote iGaming operators.

Though obtaining a gaming license from the MGA took more than a year, for Unikrn, it has provided an opportunity to enhance their reputation as a legitimate esports wagering platform; something critical for their successful expansion and token sale. “They [MGA] are by every measure the gold standard and one of of the most respected authorities for responsible and ethical wagering,” said Unikrn founder and CEO Rahul Sood in a statement.

After creating the VoodooPC in 1991 then selling it to Hewlett-Packard, Sood spent 18 years as an entrepreneur. Next, he joined as general manager of Microsoft Ventures, Microsoft’s international startup accelerator and outreach program. Sood left Microsoft in 2014 to enter the world of live immersive esports betting by co-founding Unikrn.

Why Blockchain?

During its Series A round, Unikrn received funding from several notable investors including Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, actor Ashton Kutcher’s venture firm, Sound Ventures, media executive Elisabeth Murdoch’s venture fund Freelands Ventures, media executive Shari Redstone’s Advancit Capital and the largest betting company in Australia, Tabcorp. The commonality between most of these venture funds is that they typically pick portfolio companies working in a mix of media, technology and entertainment.

Anthony Di Iorio, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Decentral, joined UnikoinGold as an advisory team member because he finds the project both intriguing and well-supported.

I'm a big believer in the power of decentralized technologies, like blockchains, to empower entrepreneurs and individuals,” he told Bitcoin Magazine. “I'm motivated to support the entrepreneurs, the projects, and the communities that are pushing that technology forward by applying it in interesting and exciting ways to existing markets. Unikrn is a bit special.”

Unikrn’s Editor-in-Chief of content, Ryan Jurado, describes the platform’s journey toward the blockchain as a tool for product and community growth. In 2015, Unikrn released Unikoin, a free, internal, non-cryptographic token issued in 2014 that gives users the ability to bet on esports and win prizes in regulated markets where Unikrn is unlicensed to operate. However, Unikoin had no secondary market and customers persistently asked for more value or uses for the token.

Jurado explained that idea for Unikrn to use blockchain technology first came from Mark Cuban in early 2016. After investigating the technology, the team found using a blockchain-based currency would improve compliance and accountability, two activities paramount in bookkeeping.

“The distributed ledger makes Know Your Customer (KYC) and risk management easier and less costly,” Jurado said to Bitcoin Magazine. “It saves time and money used for converting currencies, and helps minimize engagement with banks.”

Along with a distributed ledger model, Jurado also pointed out that the blockchain “expands real-time betting, live betting and skill-based products that would be difficult, or impossible, using fiat currency.”

The blockchain’s ability to increase transaction options while decreasing the need for transactional trust was another value Unikrn sought, Jurado explained, resulting in “an Ethereum-based token with an open ledger that can be used to better rate risk and flag potential abuse.”

A gaming platform such as Unikrn which runs vast numbers of transactions per day manages a lot of risk benefits from “an Ethereum-based token with an open ledger that can be used to better rate risk and flag potential abuse.” Furthermore, as Jurado pointed out, “For users, it’s a home-run: Using blockchain is less expensive than using fiat, and less overhead means less expensive products.”

Tale of Two Koins

To run the token sale and crypto platform, Unikrn opened a subsidiary, Unikrn Bermuda Ltd. The token that Jurado hopes will become “the decentralized token of esports and gaming” is called UnikoinGold (UKG) and was made available in September.

Di Iorio described UnikoinGold as “the (decentralized) beating heart of the secure and seamless wagering ecosystem Unikrn has pioneered.”

As for the original non-cryptographic token, Unikoin, Sood has stated that Unikrn is undergoing a “forking” of their token system in which there will be two currencies: UnikoinGold and UnikoinSilver.

Anybody in the world can buy and use the Ethereum-based UnikoinGold utility token in non-betting applications, including jackpots and experiences, software, hardware, esports, teams and tournaments; however, only users in Unikrn-licensed regions will be able to use it to bet.

Though UnikoinSilver can only be earned, it can be used in most unregulated markets around the world. “The token will allow every non-minor esports and gaming fan to engage in all Unikrn betting products, regardless of where they live. It is a free, non-blockchain token, but will allow fans to unlock real prizes and non-betting operations including editorial, production studios, tournament organization and live broadcasting.” UnikoinSilver also appears to be an alternative “to unregulated skin betting for regions where real-money betting can’t be offered.”

ESPN Meets Esports Meets Vegas

Having already raised $30 million in ether, the UnikoinGold token sale is capped at $100 million. One advantage it has as a token sale is the ease of onboarding users who are already familiar with token transactions. Unikrn’s other advantages come from the fact that they already have an existing platform that is profitable and an online community that is engaged. “This isn’t an investment,” said Sood in a Medium post, “It’s a purchase for a product that we developed that has utility on our platform and our users love and demand.”

A clear caveat to UnikoinGold’s success is that its gaming/ICO combination is sure to keep them visible on every regulator’s radar, which is why earning a Maltese gaming license was such a significant step.

Even at such a unique intersection between media, gambling and gaming, Unikrn is not the only player. Other esports betting platforms using blockchain technology include FirstBlood.io, Eloplay, Gimli.io and Skincoin. And it has yet to crack the lists of top esport betting platforms on sites like OpenOdds and EsportsOnly.

Sood does not seem surprised by his company’s success, thus far. “UnikoinGold was designed and intended for use by our own esports community. It’s like ESPN meets Esports meets Las Vegas.”

The post This Blockchain-Powered Platform Aims to Disrupt the Esport Gambling Industry appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 19 October 2017 | 12:24 pm

Attorney General Jeff Sessions: Bitcoin on Dark Web 'Is a Big Problem'

U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Sessions is concerned about the use of bitcoin by dark markets online.

Posted on 19 October 2017 | 12:10 pm

What Lightning Will Look Like: Lightning Labs Has Announced Its User Interface Wallet

What Lightning Will Look Like: Lightning Labs Has Announced Its User Interface Wallet

Development of the lightning network, the lightning networkthe highly-anticipated second-layer Bitcoin protocol for instant microtransactions, continues to inch forward.

Lightning Labs, major contributor to the lightning network daemon, lnd, announced its cross-platform Lightning Desktop App last week. The open-source lightning wallet is essentially a user interface (UI) built on top of lnd and powered by Lightning Labs’ new open-source Bitcoin light client, Neutrino.

“This is the first functioning user interface for both sending and receiving lightning transactions with a light client mode,” Lightning Labs CEO Elizabeth Stark told Bitcoin Magazine.

The lightning network is currently being developed by several teams working on different but interoperable implementations of the protocol. Several of these implementations are functional, though only on Bitcoin’s test network (“testnet”): a sort of copy of the Bitcoin network with valueless coins specifically designed for testing new applications and more.

But, while there are already several lightning daemons available for testnet, most are only usable via command line tools. Developers Olaoluwa Osuntokun, Bryan Vu and Case Sandberg collaborated to now extend lnd with the new Lightning Desktop App to provide a user interface.

“I think the big takeaway is being able to visualize this technology and see what an early UI might look like,” said Stark. “It's one thing to be using the command line, as our lnd testers and developers have been, but it's another to be able to download the app. Being able to see this kind of progress is important.”

As part of the announcement, Lightning Labs also introduced Neutrino, the new open-source Bitcoin implementation that powers the Lightning Desktop App. As a main benefit, Neutrino users don’t need to download the entire Bitcoin blockchain, which is currently over 140 gigabytes in size. This makes the desktop app much more accessible to regular users who transact small amounts, for which the lightning network is particularly suited. And because Neutrino uses a new method of transaction filtering (client side instead of bloom filters), it offers more privacy than most light clients, too.

The release of the new Lightning Desktop App kicks off a two-week “testing blitz,” as the company described it in their accompanying blog post. Developers are invited to experiment with the desktop app itself, as well as with Neutrino. Further, it makes it much easier for anyone to play around with lnd and the lightning network itself.

“The really cool thing about having our desktop app out there is now there's an easy way for people to interact with all of the apps that developers are building on Lightning, such as Yalls,” said Stark.

After the two-week testing period, the implementation will enter a regular release cycle. Releasing the wallet for Bitcoin mainnet, however, could take a while longer still, Stark explained:

“We're working toward testing and making the software more stable before releasing a beta. This is financial software and its a protocol dealing with money, so we want to ensure people can have a good user experience.”

There is no specific deadline for the beta release, but Stark added that, "The next step is for us to gather feedback from testers and develop it further, along with improvements in lnd and Neutrino."

The open-source Lightning Desktop App code is available on GitHub.

The post What Lightning Will Look Like: Lightning Labs Has Announced Its User Interface Wallet appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 19 October 2017 | 11:10 am

Inspector General: US Mint Should Consider Bitcoin's Impact

The Treasury Department's inspector general said that the long-term impact of cryptocurrencies on the US Mint's business model should be considered.

Posted on 19 October 2017 | 10:40 am

Josh Brown goes down the bitcoin rabbit hole. Here's his early take - CNBC


CNBC

Josh Brown goes down the bitcoin rabbit hole. Here's his early take
CNBC
His book, which was just published today, is called Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor's Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond. It could become a bible of sorts for people coming from the world of traditional assets and trying to assign valuations to all the ...

Posted on 19 October 2017 | 10:23 am

Jaguar-Backed Blockchain Startup Completes $12 Million ICO

Blockchain data startup DOVU has raised roughly $12 million in an initial coin offering (ICO).

Posted on 19 October 2017 | 9:30 am

Chinese Search Giant Baidu Joins Hyperledger Blockchain Consortium

Chinese search engine giant Baidu has become the latest premier member of the Linux Foundation-led Hyperledger blockchain consortium.

Posted on 19 October 2017 | 8:30 am

Swedish authorities just auctioned off seized bitcoin – and the state made a proper killing - Business Insider Nordic


Business Insider Nordic

Swedish authorities just auctioned off seized bitcoin – and the state made a proper killing
Business Insider Nordic
“There is a lot of bitcoin in circulation within organized crime. We have encountered this on many occasions but never been able to get into the digital wallets before,” Johannes Paulson, in charge of operations development at the Swedish Enforcement ...

Posted on 19 October 2017 | 8:23 am

Hard Times For Bitcoin Forks As Whalepool Traders Say No To SegWit2x - CoinTelegraph


CoinTelegraph

Hard Times For Bitcoin Forks As Whalepool Traders Say No To SegWit2x
CoinTelegraph
SegWit2x's list of detractors is growing daily as dedicated records site NOB2X.com adds major discussion group Whalepool. The trading group, which includes prominent cryptocurrency industry figures such as Charlie Shrem, asked NOB2X to update its ...
Calvin Ayre Declares Bitcoin Cash “The Only BitcoinBitcoin News (press release)
Charlie Lee Criticizes Bitcoin Cash For Branding Itself as BitcoinCryptoCoinsNews
Updated Bitcoin Gold Site Still Lacks Key InformationThe Merkle

all 26 news articles »

Posted on 19 October 2017 | 8:07 am

Japan's GMO Internet Unveils New Blockchain KYC Project

Japanese digital services firm GMO Internet has debuted its latest blockchain project: a "know your customer" app aimed at the banking industry.

Posted on 19 October 2017 | 7:30 am

Cautiously Bullish? $6,000 in Play as Bitcoin Price Stages Sharp Recovery

The price of bitcoin is roaring once again today, rising over $500 on a strong recovery from yesterday's lows.

Posted on 19 October 2017 | 6:30 am

Odd Bedfellows? Blockchain Developers Can Learn to Love the World Bank

Multilateral organizations have more in common with the crypto community than you might think, Michael J. Casey argues.

Posted on 19 October 2017 | 6:00 am

Australia Officially Ends Double Bitcoin Tax

From July 2018, Australians will no longer have to pay GST on their cryptocurrency purchases, following the passing of new legislation today.

Posted on 19 October 2017 | 5:05 am

Blockchain of the Vanities? Sibos, Swell and Stellar Troll in Toronto

No one won the game of trolls, but competition between Swift, Ripple and Stellar is still fierce, even though it might be too early for fists.

Posted on 19 October 2017 | 4:00 am

Bank of America Seeks Patent for Blockchain Processing System

New Bank of America patent filings hint it believes blockchain could one day assist its high-volume data processing objectives.

Posted on 19 October 2017 | 3:00 am

Blockchain Forks Are All the Rage, But Can They Ever Be Safe?

More and more blockchains may be forking, but developers still don't think they've quite found the best way to execute the upgrade.

Posted on 19 October 2017 | 2:00 am

Bitcoin is not the new gold, Goldman Sachs says - CNBC


CNBC

Bitcoin is not the new gold, Goldman Sachs says
CNBC
Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are not the "new gold," Goldman Sachs said in a note, advising investors that precious metals "remain a relevant asset class" in portfolios. In a note to clients earlier this week, Goldman detailed the benefits of holding ...
Leading Expert Says Bitcoin Will Soar Above $25000 in 5 YearsFuturism
Bitcoin Is Not the New Gold, Says Goldman SachsTheStreet.com
Gold Versus Bitcoin, Goldman Sachs Prefers Metal to CryptoBitcoin News (press release)
CryptoCoinsNews -Investopedia (blog) -LADbible (blog)
all 13 news articles »

Posted on 19 October 2017 | 1:58 am

Why Silicon Valley Is Going Gaga for Bitcoin - Vanity Fair


Vanity Fair

Why Silicon Valley Is Going Gaga for Bitcoin
Vanity Fair
Should I buy bitcoin? As a technology reporter, the questions I receive from random people at birthday parties, say, or seatmates on a plane, are usually emblematic of what is going on in the digital world. (And, increasingly, the real one, too, for ...

Posted on 18 October 2017 | 4:11 pm

Regional Regulators in North America Are 'Closely Watching' ICOs

A new report suggests that securities regulators in North America are increasing their oversight of the blockchain funding model.

Posted on 18 October 2017 | 3:40 pm

Bitcoin briefly plunges nearly 9% on fears of greater oversight from US regulators - CNBC


CNBC

Bitcoin briefly plunges nearly 9% on fears of greater oversight from US regulators
CNBC
Bitcoin fell Wednesday after indications of greater scrutiny from U.S. regulators. At one point in the day, the digital currency declined by nearly $500, or about 8.7 percent to a low of $5,109.70, before regaining some of the lost ground, according to ...
US Regulators Debate Whether Bitcoin is Commodity or SecurityCoinTelegraph
Industry Executives Think a Bitcoin ETF Is on Its WayBloomberg
Bitcoin suffers its biggest plunge in a month as traders fear tighter regulationsBusiness Insider
CFTC
all 26 news articles »

Posted on 18 October 2017 | 2:56 pm

Bank of Canada Announces Phase 3 of 'Project Jasper' DLT Trial

Canada's central bank is gearing up for the next phase of its "Project Jasper" blockchain research initiative, according to a new announcement.

Posted on 18 October 2017 | 1:15 pm

In 'Search' of a Swell? XRP Prices Rise and Fall Amid Ripple Event

A conference held by distributed ledger startup Ripple appears to have had a positive impact on the price of its cryptocurrency.

Posted on 18 October 2017 | 10:55 am

Enterprise Ethereum Alliance Adds 48 New Members

The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance has added 48 new members, including Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Posted on 18 October 2017 | 10:05 am

Connecting the Luxury Fine Art Industry with the Modern Digital Economy

Connecting the Luxury Fine Art Industry with the Modern Digital Economy

Latest figures from the Tetaf art market report, released by the European Fine Art Foundation, show that in 2016 global art market sales amounted to an estimated $45 billion, up 1.7 percent from 2015. The U.S. remains the largest country in the world art market, with 29.5 percent of the market share, followed by the U.K. and China with 24 percent and 18 percent, respectively.

Yet, while the industry remains a profitable one, it is slowly changing. One that is considered difficult to enter and resistant to change, a few sector players are aiming to bridge the modern digital world with the luxury arts sector.

Two art galleries are taking a blockchain and cryptocurrency approach. Eleesa Dadiani, is the founder and owner of Dadiani Fine Art in Mayfair, London. Marcelo Garcia Casil is the co-founder and CEO of Maecenas, a decentralized art gallery that aims to democratize access to fine art investment.

Dadiani & Partners

In July 2017, Dadiani’s modern fine art gallery became the first in the U.K. to accept seven different cryptocurrencies as payment: bitcoin, ethereum, ethereum classic, litecoin, ripple, dash and NEM.

Dadiani told Bitcoin Magazine that the decision to introduce cryptocurrencies wasn’t an instinctively demand-driven decision; rather, it stemmed from a desire to encourage demand and merge the two markets together.

“On a practical level, introducing cryptocurrency will broaden the market, bringing a new type of buyer to art and luxury,” she said.

Through her recently launched Dadiani & Partners — the U.K.’s first and only luxury asset and commodity exchange for cryptocurrencies — Dadiani is hoping to unlock the potential of the digital currency market for high net-worth (HNW) investors and consumers. Acting as an intermediary, Dadiani & Partners will enable HNWs a platform to purchase luxury goods in digital currency. Dadiani says that there has been an increase in demand with the number of people seeking the purchase of assets in cryptocurrency.

“Many bitcoin millionaires are unable to cash in their digital currency as the banks won’t convert large amounts of cryptocurrency for cash,” she added.

Passionate about cryptocurrencies, and the blockchain that underpins them, Dadiani believes that they will have a profound impact in every sphere of business and our everyday lives.

“The technology will allow us to reclaim power, paving the way for decentralized, peer-to-peer transactions without the intervention of an intermediary,” she added. “This is a revolution that goes far beyond the art market.”

Since introducing the acceptance of digital currencies the art gallery has sold a number of pieces. Going forward, all of the art, across all the exhibitions, will be available to purchase in the available digital currencies. Dadiani says that the artists are onboard and keen for their pieces to be sold this way.

“Any of the pieces we sell can still be purchased via conventional fiat currency, but purchasing via cryptocurrency enables buyers to purchase peer-to-peer, person-to-person, without the intervention of a centralized authority,” Dadiani said.

It’s hoped that by further globalizing the business and broadening their customer base, Dadiani Fine Art will appeal to bitcoin millionaires who are looking to purchase assets via cryptocurrencies.

“Digital currency is being embraced by people of all ages, creed and class, and as it’s happening in other sectors, there is no reason why the gap between the modern digital world with the luxury sector cannot be bridged.”

Maecenas

Investment in the art world can be an expensive proposition. Named after Gaius Maecenas, an ancient Roman patron of the arts, Maecenas, is attempting to remove this barrier by letting anyone buy shares of fine art. Through its blockchain-driven platform, Maecenas divides artwork ownership into fragments and connects art owners with investors where shares are bought and sold.

“By turning masterpieces into tokenized tradable assets, Maecenas democratizes access to fine art by letting a much wider audience invest in multi-million dollar artworks which would otherwise be out of reach,” Casil said to Bitcoin Magazine.

Buying access to the artwork’s investment value does not mean buying access to the actual artwork itself, however. According to Maecenas, art pieces are not put on display; rather, they are held in purpose-built art storage facilities, ensuring the work is safe and looked after. If there is a demand in the future, then they may introduce an art-leasing facility where art lovers can temporarily hold the piece of art for a fee. The fee would then be distributed among the shareholders as income.

By injecting liquidity and transparency into the fine art market, the platform claims to be adding aspects to the sector that have been missing. Determining a fair price of an illiquid asset is now made possible via the blockchain through the conversion of small and liquid tradable financial units, creating tamper-proof, digital certificates denoting ownership. These are similar to shares of a company and can be traded on an open exchange.

Through the implementation of a Dutch auction process, Maecenas permits investors to submit private bids stating how many shares of the artwork they want to own and what price they’re willing to pay for them.

“The Dutch auction smart contract then handles all the bids and uses a well-known algorithm to determine the optimal price for the artwork shares,” Casil added. “This process is transparent and discourages price manipulation.”

Maecenas’ ART utility token functions as a clearing and settlement mechanism for all transactions of artwork on the Maecenas ecosystem. Participating in Dutch auctions, leasing artwork or performing any other sensitive platform operation is handled via smart contracts that require ART tokens to operate, says Casil.

“In the case of the auctions themselves, the token represents the investor bid and commitment, and a dollar value equivalent of the tokens is escrowed in the contract for the duration of the auction.”

For instance, if an investor wants to bid $50,000 for an artwork, and ART is worth $2, then 25,000 ART tokens must be submitted to the smart contract to reflect the bid.

To ensure the work is authentic, Maecenas has an internal team that checks the full provenance of the artwork including certificates of authenticity, condition reports, insurance policies, certificates of storage and valuation reports. Independent reputable experts will also assess and appraise the artwork. The documents produced during the due-diligence process are then protected and stored securely on the blockchain.

Maecenas recently completed their token crowdsale which raised 50,744 ETH. They are aiming to launch their platform in the first quarter of 2018.

The post Connecting the Luxury Fine Art Industry with the Modern Digital Economy appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 18 October 2017 | 9:29 am

Blockchain KYC Startup Raises $1.6 Million in Seed Funding

A blockchain startup headquartered in Sweden has raised $1.6 million in new funding.

Posted on 18 October 2017 | 9:00 am

Chaincode Labs to Host a Second Run of Its Month-Long Bitcoin Coding Class

Chaincode Labs to Host a Second Run of Its Month-Long Bitcoin Coding Class

Chaincode Labs, the New York–based development company and major contributor to Bitcoin Core, is organizing a second edition of its Bitcoin residency program in the first months of 2018. The program intends to help developers overcome the steep learning curve associated with becoming a protocol-level contributor to projects like Bitcoin Core. In doing so, Chaincode Labs hopes to help expand Bitcoin’s development community.

“Last year was the first run,” Chaincode Labs developer John Newbery told Bitcoin Magazine. “We’ve now taken the good stuff from that and tried to make it even more focused and useful for residents this year.”

The Residency Program

Chaincode Labs, in collaboration with Matt Corallo — who worked at Blockstream last year but joined Chaincode Labs since — organized the residency program for the first time in September and October of 2016. The next edition will start on January 29, 2018, and will last until February 23.

Newbery himself was one of the attendees of this first residency program. He was later hired by Chaincode Labs and has since been one of the most prolific contributors to the Bitcoin Core project.

Now, he is coordinating the second of two legs of the new program.

“Chaincode Labs exists to strengthen Bitcoin,” said Newbery. “We mostly do that by contributing to Bitcoin Core, but each of us has a lot of freedom to do what we think is important. And the main purpose of this residency program is to try to strengthen the developer community.”

Specifically, courses will cover protocol design, adversarial thinking, threat models and security considerations, as well as address some of Bitcoin’s biggest challenges, like scaling, fungibility and privacy. Attendees will mostly learn by doing and could even start contributing to the Bitcoin Core project during the residency. Throughout the program they will be assisted by the entire Chaincode Labs team — Alex Morcos, Suhas Daftuar, Matt Corallo, John Newbery and Russ Yanofsky. There may also be guest speakers.

Two Blocks

Whereas the first edition of the residency program lasted four straight weeks for all attendees, this time the coding classes will be cut into two two-week phases. Candidates can either pick one of two legs or join both, with room for five or six attendees per session.

The first leg is coordinated by Corallo, who has been contributing to Bitcoin development since 2011.

“Session A is all about getting people to think about the security trade-offs and implications of the technical decisions we make,” Newbery explained. “There’s a lot of thought that goes into all the decisions that are made in Bitcoin, but that nuance is often lost. If we can help people to understand those trade-offs better and be able to communicate them, then perhaps we can raise the level of the conversations we have about Bitcoin.”

The second session will be more focused on the Bitcoin Core project itself, Newbery said.

“Session B is all about getting smart, talented people to start making useful contributions to Bitcoin Core. There’s a steep learning curve to becoming a contributor and if I can help people who want to contribute but have felt daunted or don’t know where to start, then I’ll feel like I’ve succeeded.”

Additionally, Chaincode Labs will organize a series of Wednesday night meetups ahead of the residency program. Contents of these meetups will be similar to the residency program, but these meetups are for participants who live in (or near) New York who can’t dedicate two or four full weeks to attending the residency program itself.

For more information on Chaincode Labs’ 2018 Bitcoin residency program and to find out how to apply, see the company’s announcement and the program website.

The post Chaincode Labs to Host a Second Run of Its Month-Long Bitcoin Coding Class appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 18 October 2017 | 8:05 am

Healthy Pullback? Bitcoin Price Dips Back Below $5,300

The price of bitcoin is down today, as overbought indicators seem to have yielded a notable correction away from recent highs.

Posted on 18 October 2017 | 7:30 am

Blockchain-Focused Presentations to Watch at Money 20/20 in Las Vegas

Blockchain-Focused Presentations to Watch at Money 20/20 in Las Vegas

Money 20/20 Las Vegas is only a few days away. The event, to be held on October 22–25, 2017, at the Venetian, will be packed with people from the top tiers of banking and finance looking to learn more about the future of money.

One thing is for sure, blockchain technology will play a key role in that future. Since 2014, the financial event, which will attract more than 11,000 visitors this year, has devoted an entire track to blockchain topics. Originally, the track was called “Bit(coin) World,” but that changed as conversations shifted to Bitcoin’s underlying ledger technology.  

For blockchain enthusiasts struggling to sort through the 450 presentations at Money 20/20, the following is a breakdown of the blockchain track and other blockchain-related talks at the event.

Blockchain Tuesday

Tuesday is the main day for blockchain programming at Money 20/20. Kicking off the blockchain track will be Adam Ludwin, CEO and co-founder of Chain, a company that provides blockchain solutions to banks. Ludwin’s talk will center on whether crypto-assets are in a sort of ‘90s bubble or if something real and substantial is happening beneath the hype.

To give a sense of how fast things are moving, bitcoin was around $650 at last year’s Money 20/20, when one panelist at the event, then Blockstream developer Eric Martindale, predicted bitcoin would increase 10x in value over the next 12 months. His prediction was nearly spot on. Bitcoin reached more than $5,800 just last week.

With crypto-assets hitting all time highs across the board, the new funding model known as initial coin offerings (ICOs) have raised $2.2 billion this year alone. Yet, amidst the enthusiasm, the threat of increased regulations hover like a dark cloud. Last month, the SEC brought the first charges against two so-called ICOs in what may be just the beginning of a long-anticipated crackdown.   

Four more panels on Tuesday will focus on issues like: What problems are private blockchains solving? Are ICOs here to stay or are they just a passing fad? What threats do regulatory agencies pose to ICOs? And, how will blockchain technology potentially transform stock exchanges? These panels will include experts from companies like Bloq, Kik, Fenbushi Capital, AngelList, Pantera, JP Morgan Chase, R3, Hyperledger, Nasdaq, and the London Stock Exchange Group. 

In between those, Arthur and Kathleen Breitman will talk about their new smart contract platform Tezos. The project raised $230 million in an ICO in July.

Tezos is a proof-of-stake cryptocurrency and smart contract platform built in the functional language OCaml. Eventually, Tezos’ goal is to compete with the likes of Ethereum and Cardano, another emerging platform. A primary feature of Tezos is its formal governance scheme, where coin holders get a say in how the protocol evolves.

It will be interesting to see how Tezos plans to differentiate itself in an increasingly competitive landscape.

Finally, Bobby Lee, CEO and co-founder of BTCC, China’s longest running bitcoin exchange, will share war stories on what it has been like operating an exchange in the biggest payments market in the world.

He should have a good story to tell, given that China’s central bank recently cracked down on digital currency exchanges, causing BTCC to halt all China-facing trading last month.  

Other Talks

Two other blockchain-related talks will take place at Money 20/20 on Monday. Bridget van Kralingen, who leads a group called “Industry Platforms” at IBM will talk about how AI, blockchain and cloud computing are converging to create better customer experiences.  

Bill Barhydt, co-founder and CEO of Abra, a cryptocurrency wallet, will give a keynote announcement on Abra’s “next chapter.” Barhydt attracted some attention recently when he chose actress Gwyneth Paltrow as an advisor for Abra in “Planet of the Apps,” a kind of “Shark Tank” for iOS apps.  

Also on Tuesday, BitGive Foundation, a nonprofit that receives bitcoin donations for charitable causes, will be giving a presentation on GiveTrack, its blockchain-based system for tracking donations in real time.

The topic of blockchain applications is sure to come up in plenty of other talks and discussions at Money 20/20, such as this one on financial inclusion on Sunday and those centered around pressing issues like security (the event comes on the heels of the Equifax breach), identity and more.  

The post Blockchain-Focused Presentations to Watch at Money 20/20 in Las Vegas appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 17 October 2017 | 11:13 am

Scaling Bitcoin Announces This Year’s Program and a New Developer Bootcamp

Scaling Bitcoin Just Released This Year’s Program and a New Developer Bootcamp

Today, Scaling Bitcoin, the international engineering conference focused on Bitcoin and blockchain research, released its program for the 2017 edition. The conference, to be held in Stanford, California, in the first weekend of November, will also introduce a new side event this year: Bitcoin Edge, a bootcamp for starting Bitcoin developers.

“The program is extremely interesting because it delivers cutting edge research on different blockchain scalability approaches, fungibility, consensus, data propagation, alternative techniques for handling blockchains and many other topics,” said Anton Yemelyanov, chair of the Scaling Bitcoin Planning Committee.

Scaling Bitcoin Stanford

After events in Montreal, Hong Kong and Milan, the fourth edition of the Scaling Bitcoin conference is taking place at Stanford University on November 4 and 5 of this year.

Where the first two editions of Scaling Bitcoin were mainly focused on scaling and scalability, the third edition broadened the scope of the conference to include a more diverse set of topics. This trend will continue in Stanford, where talks will range from highly technical topics concerning privacy and fungibility, to fee markets and fee estimation, censorship resistance and more.

“Bitcoin is the origin of all distributed ledger technology,” said Yemelyanov. “Scaling Bitcoin has been fortunate to act as a vehicle for bringing the audience technologies such as Segregated Witness and MimbleWimble, all of which have been adopted or incorporated into various blockchain projects. We hope that other material presented by our participants will be of similar value and help the industry advance the research and development of blockchains.”

Yemelyanov added that another key goal for Scaling Bitcoin conferences is to bring engineers and other technical minds together in a physical space where they can discuss their work in person.

“It is through collaboration where a lot of ideas are born and have potential of becoming reality,” he said.

Bitcoin Edge Dev++

In addition to the conference itself, Scaling Bitcoin is also introducing a two-day technical bootcamp for experienced developers getting into Bitcoin: Bitcoin Edge.

This nonprofit initiative is an effort to help scale the development capacity of the industry, Yemelyanov explained:

“One of the approaches of helping the industry scale is to scale the much needed development capacity of the industry. There is a clear talent deficit and we are trying to help all industry participants by running a nonprofit workshop that will allow developers to gain complete understanding of primitives that comprise Bitcoin and blockchains in general and be able to start working in this field.”

Bitcoin Edge will be led by well-known Bitcoin developers and academics Anditto Heristyo, Ethan Heilman, John Newbery, Karl-Johan Alm, Nicolas Dorier, Thaddeus Dryja and Jimmy Song. They’ll introduce participants to a range of technical Bitcoin-related topics, including Elliptic Curve cryptography, transaction structures, difficulty calculation and adjustments, and much more.

This workshop will take place on the November 2 and 3. For more information on the Bitcoin Edge initiative, visit bitcoinedge.org.

See here for the full Scaling Bitcoin Stanford program.

The post Scaling Bitcoin Announces This Year’s Program and a New Developer Bootcamp appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 13 October 2017 | 2:46 pm

A Bitcoin Beginner’s Guide to Surviving the Bgold and SegWit2x Forks

coin-split2xgold.jpg

This is an updated version of A Bitcoin Beginner's Guide to Surviving a Coin-Split specifically addressing issues associated with the upcoming Bitcoin Gold and SegWit2x forks.

It looks as if Bitcoin will experience at least two more “coin-splits” soon, which (more accurately) will result in the creation of new coins. On October 25, Bitcoin Gold (Bgold) will split off from Bitcoin to create an ASIC-resistant cryptocurrency. A few weeks later, a significant group of Bitcoin companies wants to hard fork according to the SegWit2x plan as defined in the “New York Agreement” (NYA), which will probably result in yet another new coin.

If this all plays out, there could be three distinct blockchains and three types of coins within about a month of publication of this article. One blockchain would follow the current Bitcoin protocol; for the purpose of this article, that coin will be referred to as “BTC.” The second blockchain will follow the Bgold protocol; in this article, that coin will be referred to as “BTG.” The third blockchain will follow the SegWit2x protocol; that coin will be referred to as “B2X.”

The good news is that each BTC will effectively be copied onto both the Bgold and the SegWit2x blockchains. If you hold Bitcoin private keys at the time of the forks, you should be able to access your BTG and B2X coins as well.

The bad news is that such forks can be somewhat messy and risky. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to lose your BTC or B2X, and maybe your BTG.

This guide will provide you with the basics to keep your funds safe during the upcoming forks and help to ensure you make it to the end of next month with your BTC, BTG and B2X intact.

Author’s note: If you want to play the markets as soon as possible and you are fine with taking risks, and/or you really know what you are doing, this article is probably not for you: it's a beginner's guide. Also please note that everything in this article is just advise, based on our best understanding of the situation. Much is still uncertain and subject to change.

Before the Forks (That’s Now)

First of all, be aware that coin-splits can be somewhat risky — especially controversial ones like the SegWit2x fork. While it seems unlikely for now, there is a chance some kind of cyber-battle will break out, perhaps even escalating to the point where all exchange rates drop sharply. If you want to make sure not to be caught in any crossfire, it’s best to not hold more value in bitcoin than you are willing to lose.

If you do decide to hold on to your bitcoin, make sure you are prepared before October 25, and preferably sooner. This is the day the BTG equivalent will be distributed to all BTC balances. B2X will follow a couple of weeks later, around mid-November (the exact date is not yet known).

If you are storing your bitcoins on an exchange, in a custodial service like Coinbase, Circle or Xapo, or on any other service that holds your private keys for you, you may or may not eventually receive BTC, BTG and B2X. This is not yet very clear, and if you want to keep storing your coins on such services, you should at least see if your exchange or custodial service of choice has made an official statement on the forks, perhaps on their company blog. If not, contact them to ask.

That said, if you want to be absolutely sure to be able to access your BTC, BTG and B2X, you should really control your private keys yourself. That way you don’t need to rely on any third party.

If you’re currently using a custodial service to store your bitcoins, you need to create your own wallet instead. Send or withdraw your bitcoins from the custodial service to this new wallet; this wallet then holds your private keys.

What kind of wallet you want to use is up to you. For this specific purpose it’s best to use a wallet that lets you easily access your private keys directly. (Some wallets make this easier for you than others.) But technically, any wallet that lets you control your private keys should be fine.

With that in mind, here are some basic solutions:

If you don’t care about transacting with BTC, BTG or B2X anytime soon, and really just want to keep all of them as long-term investments, a paper wallet is a good option. It should be noted, however, that this option is only really secure if you follow strict security precautions, which you can find here.

Regular wallets are about as secure as your computer (or phone). Since most computers and phones are not all that secure, these are not ideal for large amounts. With that in mind, all mobile and desktop wallets listed on bitcoin.org will store your private keys. Electrum is a good pick if you want easy access to your private keys directly.

A full-node wallet like Bitcoin Core or Bitcoin Knots is also a good pick, as it’s not too hard to access your private keys with these wallets either. As a bonus, these wallets give you a little extra security on the Bitcoin blockchain (shortly) after the SegWit2X fork, because these wallets enforce all of Bitcoin's current protocol rules. However, these types of wallets are more resource-intensive to use, compared to most other wallets.

Another option is to get a hardware wallet. Any of the hardware wallets listed on bitcoin.org will keep your private keys secure. However, these wallets typically don’t let you easily access your private keys directly. It’s not clear that all these wallets will let you access BTG in particular, and not all of them have given a guarantee for B2X either. So while these wallets will safely store your private keys, it could be a bit more tricky (but probably not impossible) to get ahold of all three coins later.

In any case: Be sure to make backups of your keys! Most wallets require you to do this when installing; don’t skip this step.

Shortly After the Bitcoin Gold Fork (and Before the SegWit2x Fork)

The Bitcoin Gold fork is sometimes referred to as a “friendly fork.” This is mainly because it has no intention of claiming to be the “real” Bitcoin, and it plans to implement strong replay protection.

In short, this replay protection means that you won’t accidentally send your BTG when you mean to send BTC (or the other way around). So even after you’ve spent your BTC, you can still access your BTG.

If you want to transact with your BTC before the SegWit2x fork, it could come in handy later to write down which of your Bitcoin addresses and/or private keys had BTG attributed to them — in other words, which of your Bitcoin addresses had any BTC on them at the time of the Bgold fork on October 25th.

But there’s no rush to actually access your BTG. In fact, it will probably take at least a week before this is even possible, and maybe longer. It’s therefore probably best to ignore this fork until after the SegWit2x fork. That way you’ll only need to go through the process of claiming all your new coins once.

After the SegWit2x Fork

Unfortunately, the SegWit2x fork could play out a bit more messily.

For one, several of the companies backing SegWit2x consider this fork an upgrade of Bitcoin itself. They therefore currently have no intention to adopt a new name for it. Some of them will call or list (what this article refers to as) SegWit2x and B2X, as "Bitcoin" and "BTC". Meanwhile, they might call or list (what this article refers to as) BTC as "B1X", or another ticker.

And of course, all coins will command their own exchange rates. So as different exchanges list a different coin as "BTC", the price for "BTC" could differ vastly across exchanges: they're actually different coins! You should therefore not buy or sell any coin listed as "BTC", unless and until you are very sure which coin your exchange lists as "BTC".

Additionally, it currently seems SegWit2x will fork without strong replay protection. This means that post-fork, BTC transactions and B2X transactions will look identical and could both be valid on both blockchains.

Therefore, spending coins on the BTC blockchain could make you accidentally spend the “equivalent” B2X on the SegWit2x blockchain, and the other way around. Instead of paying someone only BTC, you may unintentionally send B2X as well — or vice versa. The BTCs and B2Xs are initially “stuck together.”

To be on the safe side, you should probably not spend an coins after the SegWit2x fork at all. As explained below, you'll first need to "split" your coins.

Furthermore, some light wallets (mobile wallets) will display whichever blockchain has more hash power attributed to it. This means that the balance on your screen could be a BTC balance or a B2X balance, and there will be no way to tell the difference. (Even if the wallet says it’s a BTC balance!)

To be on the safe side, you should not accept any payments with light wallets, since you could receive B2X when you’re expecting BTC, or the other way around. At the very least, you should make absolutely sure that your wallet displays what you think it displays. (Wallets like Electrum and GreenAddress should display BTC as "BTC" regardless of hashpower distribution.) If you use a full-node wallet like Bitcoin Core or Bitcoin Knots and you want to accept BTC, that should also be fine.

Depending on how much hash power is dedicated to each chain, it is possible that transactions will confirm (significantly) slower than usual for some time and will require higher fees to confirm at all.

Claiming Your Coins

If all three chains survive, and you control your private keys, you should be able to access BTC, BTG and B2X around mid-November.

Claiming your BTG should be relatively easy, assuming there are wallets available for it. Most likely, you’d simply need to insert your private keys (or private key seed) into such a wallet.

However, there are some security and privacy risks in doing so. It’s too soon to tell exactly what these risks will look like as it’s unclear which wallets will support BTG. (It’s not even certain that any wallets will.) But in general, you’ll first want to move your BTC (and B2X) to new addresses or whole new wallets before accessing your BTG.

Since there’s no need to rush, it’s probably best just to wait on claiming your BTG until there is more clarity. By that time, Bitcoin Magazine will publish a follow-up article explaining how to do this.

Securely accessing and using your B2X (and BTC) might prove a bit more tricky, mostly because of the risk of replay attacks. This requires that the BTC and B2X are split from each other, which will be possible but could prove a bit complex.

Some wallets might split the coins for you, but it's too soon to know which wallets will. Additionally, exchanges will likely set up coin-splitting services and take care of most of this complexity behind the screens. You’d then just need to send your BTC or B2X to an exchange, and the exchange will credit your account with both BTC and B2X. (They should even replay the transaction for you to make sure they indeed receive both your coins and can split them for you.) There may also be other solutions to split your coins, but that remains to be seen.

By mid-November, there will probably also be dedicated wallets for both BTC and B2X. Of course, you may need to upgrade your existing wallet or download a new wallet. This also remains to be seen.

Further specifics on what to do after the forks will be announced on Bitcoin Magazine once the forks have occurred and we have a better understanding of the post-fork situation.

So, to Recap ...

1. It’s best to control your private keys yourself before October 25, and hold on to them until after the SegWit2x fork, mid-November.

2. To be on the safe side, avoid buying or selling any "BTC" and don't make any transactions shortly after the SegWit2x fork.

3. As the dust settles after the SegWit2x fork, access and split your coins. (How to do this will be explained on Bitcoin Magazine once there is more clarity.)

This article was last updated on October 14th. This article will be updated as the news develops.

The post A Bitcoin Beginner’s Guide to Surviving the Bgold and SegWit2x Forks appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 13 October 2017 | 7:22 am

Advertise with Anonymous Ads

Bitcoin price climbs over $4,000

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

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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 »

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PayPal and Virtual Currency

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airBaltic - World’s First Airline To Accept Bitcoin

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October 19, 2017 -
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