Bitpay Plans to Suspend All Services During the Segwit2x Hard Fork

Technology

With roughly fifteen days left bitcoin-based businesses all around the world have been preparing their users for the possible hardfork expected to take place on or around November 16. Now the world’s largest bitcoin merchant service provider, Bitpay, has revealed its contingency plans for the upcoming Segwit2x hard fork.

Also readTrump to Appoint Bitcoin-Skeptic Powell as Fed Chair

Bitpay Will Follow the Chain With the Most Accumulated Difficulty

Bitpay Plans to Suspend All Services During the Segwit2x Hard ForkThe Atlanta-based company Bitpay has announced its plans for operations during and after the hard fork scheduled to occur at block height 494784. The firm says the company’s top priority is the safety and security of its users. With this in mind during some protocol upgrades, Bitpay says it “must take precautions to protect our users.” Bitpay details that while a good majority of miners and businesses support Segwit2x, it understands that not everyone is supporting a hard fork.      

“While most miners signaled their support of this protocol change, not all support it. If miners are divided over this change, there is a significant risk of a chain split,” explains Bitpay.  

If that occurs, Bitpay’s services will follow the chain with the most accumulated difficulty.

A Suspension of Services for 24-hours or Longer

Bitpay Plans to Suspend All Services During the Segwit2x Hard ForkBitpay’s Visa card services will also suspend services.

The company’s contingency plan applies to its merchant services, its Copay wallet software, and Bitpay Visa card users as well. Bitpay says they will continue to do their best to provide services using the Bitcoin blockchain. However, the company is telling its users not to utilize the Bitcoin network during block 494784 until everything is resolved. Unlike the Bitcoin Cash hard fork in August, this time Bitpay is stopping all operations for 24 hours and maybe longer.

“We will suspend payment acceptance, payment disbursement and debit card reloads approximately 24 hours prior to activation of Segwit2x — We are currently communicating with all of our affected users with preparation instructions.”

If you have a Bitcoin wallet and use Bitcoin during this period of uncertainty, you should assume that there will be a chain split and that any Bitcoin you send will be included in both chains. In addition, any Bitcoin you receive will be at a higher than normal risk of double spend.

Lastly, the company says if there is a prolonged or permanent chain split and the minority chain still has value, it will provide users with access to those specific tokens. As far as naming the chains, they will refer to the minority chain as BC1 if the Segwit2x chain receives the most accumulated proof of work. If the Segwit2x chain does not get the most proof-of-work, that specific chain will be called BC2, explains Bitpay. “Beyond that, we have no plans to offer our services on the minority chain,” Bitpay emphasizes.

Backlash for Supporting Segwit2x

Of course, those who are against Segwit2x did not appreciate Bitpay’s latest contingency announcement. In fact, many anti-Segwit2x supporters have been rallying against the company for a few weeks now. For instance, bitcoin developer Nicolas Dorier is creating a Bitpay compatible API for users who dislike the company’s decisions. Further, on October 26, Satoshi Lab’s (Trezor) CTO, Pavol Rusnak, told his Twitter followers the company cannot tolerate Bitpay.

“We’re replacing Bitpay exchange rates API in Trezor web wallet because they plan to play games with the BTC ticker — Can’t tolerate this,” explains Rusnak.

Bitpay doesn’t seem to be phased by the backlash for supporting Segwit2x and joins other large companies who’ve decided to follow the most accumulated hashrate. Other businesses following the same plan include Coinbase and Xapo.

What do you think about Bitpay’s decisions to support the most accumulated proof of work after the fork? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


Images via Shutterstock, Bitpay, and Visa. 


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Bitcoin Price Captures Another All-Time High Surpassing $6,400

Markets and Prices

The price of bitcoin has reached another all-time high this week touching an average of $6,420 across popular exchanges. The decentralized currency continues to rise upwards this year, the value of one bitcoin has climbed more than 500 percent in 2017.

Also Read: Extreme Cold Storage: A Fortress of Solitude for Bitcoins

The Decentralized Cryptocurrency Bitcoin Reaches Another All-Time High

2017 has become bitcoin’s year of consecutive all-time highs (ATH), and the currency’s value hasn’t slowed down yet. At press time, bitcoin traders have swapped over $2B in BTC trade volume over the course of the past 24-hours. Additionally, since the price surpassed the most recent $6,300 ATH, the bitcoin economy has added another $5B to its market capitalization. Since then the price has dropped a bit, and is currently hovering around the $6,320-6,360 range. Many people think that individuals are buying bitcoin at an exponential rate due to the upcoming Segwit2x forks. News.Bitcoin.com spoke with Crypto Compare’s Charles Hayter who believes the expectation of getting a 1:1 Segwit2x payout is driving a lot of demand.     

“This has led to the expectation that forks are a good thing as by hiving of fanatical elements progress can be driven forward more swiftly as well as the opportunity for private key holders to have stakes in both chains with their independent policies and tenets,” Hayter tells news.Bitcoin.com.

The result is demand buying bitcoin and price moves prior to the fork as participants clamour to claim their free money with Illiquid futures markets acting as proxy for value. The value depends on the community assessment of the veracity of the plan which often are marketing drives combined with overtures based around one key point.

Bitcoin Price Captures Another All-Time High Surpassing $6,400The price per bitcoin reached an all-time high of $6,420 on October 31, 2017.

Last Month’s Demand Stemmed from Japan and the Previous Fork

Bitcoin Price Captures Another All-Time High Surpassing $6,400Charles Hayter, founder of the cryptocurrency data site Crypto Compare.

The same situation took place during the Bitcoin Cash hard fork this past August which led to quite a bit of bitcoin trade volume and increased value. After the fork, bitcoin’s price remained stable and then continued to rise further a few days later. Additionally, Japan is bringing a lot of bitcoin demand to the table, as the yen is still dominating markets by 62 percent. Moreover, bitcoin enthusiasts also believe the bitcoin gold fork pushed BTC to its most recent $6,180 ATH.  

“The lure of free bitcoin gold is thought to have contributed to the recent rise to $6200,” Hayter emphasizes.

The capacity for the crypto-community to create value out of ‘thin air’ is well founded. The ability of Bitcoin forks certainly has a lifespan but investors, opportunists and the community will most likely lose their appetite for such hard forks as it is logical to focus innovation on one primary chain.

While Bitcoin’s Price Continues to Rise Altcoin Valuations Slump

Over the course of the next fifteen days until the fork, traders are forecasting the price to cross $7K or higher. At the moment, that prediction doesn’t seem too far off, but traders are fully aware that the aftermath of this specific fork could be entirely different than last August’s fork. Furthermore, the BTC rise has definitely affected altcoins who are not experiencing the traditional price spikes they usually get when BTC rallies. This confirms the theory that traders are dumping altcoins for BTC to get in on the possible 1:1 Segwit2x token distribution in two weeks.

What do you think about bitcoin’s price reaching yet another ATH? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


Images via Shutterstock, Bitstamp, and Charles Hayter. 


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Technology

The Bitcoin ABC development team has announced its plans for the November 13 Hard Fork upgrade of Bitcoin Cash. The upgrade is designed to stabilize the problematic difficulty adjustment algorithm (DAA). News.Bitcoin.com talked to Bitcoin ABC lead developer Amaury Séchet and Bitprim CEO Juan Garavaglia about what to expect.

Also read: Bitcoin Cash Community Preps Hard Fork Slated for November 13

Statement on November 13 Hard Fork

Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork Upgrade Plans - Difficulty Adjustment Algorithm ChosenThe Bitcoin ABC development team issued a statement on Monday regarding the upcoming hard fork of Bitcoin Cash (BCC). The upgrade is intended to address the cryptocurrency’s problematic DAA, which makes Bitcoin Cash’s blocktimes slow to a crawl at times and work several times too fast at others. According to the announcement:

Activation of the new consensus rules will be done on a median time stamp basis on blocks that occur after timestamp 1510600000, which corresponds to November 13th, 2:06 PM GMT.

In addition, “this activation code has been merged,” the statement continued, adding that a new software version containing an updated DAA will be published on or before November 1.

Bitcoin ABC’s lead developer, Amaury Séchet, told news.Bitcoin.com on Monday that “nodes need to upgrade. Some wallets need to [upgrade], others do not. It depends on the technology powering the wallet.” He believes that the upgrade “is unlikely to result in a split this time, so the overall risk is reduced.” However, the developer suggested that “users should double check their transactions on an explorer such as blockdozer.com or blockchair.com if they have doubts.”

It is up to the decentralized Bitcoin Cash development community, especially the other node and wallet development teams, to upgrade their software before November 13 in order for the hard fork to proceed smoothly. Project developers stated that they “have been in communication with Bitcoin Cash miners and they are expecting this upgrade.”

Competition for the New DAA

The Monday statement describes five criteria which the new DAA algorithm seeks to accomplish. It needs to “adjust difficulty to hash rate to target a mean block interval of 600 seconds”; “avoid sudden changes in difficulty when hash rate is fairly stable”; “adjust difficulty rapidly when hash rate changes rapidly”; “avoid oscillations from feedback between hash rate and difficulty”; and “be resilient to attacks such as timestamp manipulation”.

These criteria address problems with the cryptocurrency’s original DAA, called the Emergency Difficulty Adjustment (EDA). The statement explained:

The original Bitcoin Cash “EDA” allowed Bitcoin Cash to survive as a minority chain but produces wild fluctuations of hashrate. This is problematic because it prevents consistently fast confirmations for users, and radically shifts the coin issuance schedule.

Three algorithms satisfying the criteria from developers in the greater Bitcoin Cash community were tested. They were D578 from Neil Booth; D601 from Amaury Séchet; and D622 from Tom Harding.

Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork Upgrade Plans - Difficulty Adjustment Algorithm ChosenTwo development teams in the Bitcoin Cash space that did not submit proposals, Bitprim and Nchain, reviewed the three proposed algorithms. After weeks of testing to judge their performance, Séchet’s DAA was chosen to replace the EDA.

Séchet told news.Bitcoin.com that the testing showed another algorithm, Harding’s D622, performed “slightly better overall, but is also more complex to analyze from a security point of view and as a result was put aside for now.” He also believes the D622 algorithm could be improved upon and replace his own in the future, but he feels that “we must not delay solving a problem that is currently live on the network for too long.”

According to the Monday statement, Nchain found that Séchet’s DAA “is the logical choice,” despite the fact that D622 “is 3.1% (+/- 1.2% at 95% CI) better in most instances.” However, the faster algorithm lacked safety in their estimation. “For example, a large miner can set fluctuations into the timing,” Nchain mentioned, adding that:

We acknowledge that D601 (proposal from Amaury Séchet) may not necessarily have the highest performance, but since all 3 had similar performance, D601 was selected because it appears to have the least risk.

Why the Upgrade is Needed

Since its launch at the beginning of August, Bitcoin Cash has displayed a highly variable time between blocks being mined. With both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, this blocktime is supposed to average out to six blocks per hour, no matter how much hashrate is pointed at it.

Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork Upgrade Plans - Difficulty Adjustment Algorithm ChosenThe fluctuation in the time between blocks on the newer chain is so strong that production can jump between one block every four hours to a high of 61 blocks the following hour, like it did on October 12. With such a fast production rate, the Bitcoin Cash chain has lept over 7,800 blocks (55 days) ahead of the legacy chain recently. At that rate, it would be time for the next mining reward halving event much earlier than planned. Once halved, the Bitcoin Cash blockchain would be far less profitable than Bitcoin’s blockchain and profit-driven miners would likely abandon Bitcoin Cash.

The EDA, which is responsible for these wild fluctuations, was created to help keep the mining hashrate steady during its first few weeks. Soon after the Bitcoin Cash community’s developers realized the EDA problem, a debate ensued about how to remove it and what to replace it with in order to keep the miners interested in mining bitcoin cash.

Juan Garavaglia, the CEO and founder of the Bitprim project, told news.Bitcoin.com that “we expect the new algo will mitigate fluctuations in block generation, giving Bitcoin Cash users a better user experience and is one step forward aligned with Satoshi original vision.”

Séchet shared the sentiment, telling new.Bitcoin.com that, after the upgrade:

The hashrate on the BCH chain should be more stable, as well as the block production. We should see a split of the hashrate between BTC and BCH that is close to the split in term of price.

What do you think will be the result of the Bitcoin Cash hard fork? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Bitcoin ABC.


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Hacken Award Ceremony

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.

The crowdsale will last for one month or until the hardcap of 20 million HKNs are distributed

Hacken, an ecosystem of white-hat hackers and a bug bounty marketplace with a focus on blockchain security, announces its crowdsale is set to start on October 31. The company has already raised an equivalent of $900,000 during the pre-sale in September. Having distributed 800,000 tokens they’re now looking forward to a successful token sale with over 1,000 contributors registered in the Whitelist.

Dmytro Budorin, Hacken Co-Founder and CFO, says: “We designed Hacken to motivate hackers to make legitimate profits by being involved in white-hat penetration testing and research. Today the supply of сybersecurity services fails to meet the demand and we’re happy to see great public support for our efforts to create a unique blockchain-based cybersecurity hub”.

The alpha version of HackenProof, the bug bounty marketplace and the first component of Hacken Ecosystem, will be released during the first week of the token sale. While it has already been successfully tested with several e-commerce businesses during the HackIT cup finals, a team of developers headed by Andrii Matyukhin, Hacken CTO, are polishing the platform to have it completely ready by mid-December.

In addition to working on the product in preparation for the token sale, the Hacken team has established several strategic partnerships. Among them are:
• TaaS Fund, the first-ever tokenized closed-end fund dedicated to crypto-assets designed to reduce the risks and technical barriers of investing in the blockchain space. The cooperation includes advisory support and provides traction for Hacken in the expert community. This is extremely valuable, considering Hacken’s primary focus on blockchain security.
• Confideal, a visual smart contract builder that makes creating, managing and enforcing smart contracts easier than ever. The cooperation will provide discounted services of penetration testing and vulnerabilities analysis to Confideal and their clients, as well as broader opportunities on using smart contracts for Hacken and their clients.
• Neuromation, a technology platform that creates synthetic learning environments for deep learning of neural networks. Neuromation is building a platform of distributed computing for creating artificial worlds where AI algorithms are trained on simulated sensory input.
• SmartOne, a marketplace for legal advice, automated document preparation and individual legal consulting. SmartOne partnered with Hacken for security auditing to ensure its legal services marketplace and its clients are protected using the best security standards in the industry.

The initial price for 1 HKN is $1 in fiat equivalent. The minimum amount to be purchased is an equivalent of 1 ETH. The currencies to be accepted are BTC, ETH, DASH, LTC, USD, EUR, TaaS. 80% of the funds raised are kept in an escrow account. To manage volatility risks and increase HKN liquidity in the future, Hacken will apply its unique innovation dubbed ‘the burning principle’: once the platform is launched, Hacken will charge on average a 30% fee for each transaction and then eliminate half of it from the system. Thus, the amount of Hackens available will be constantly reducing, thereby bringing greater value for community members. The initial total amount of HKNs is limited to 20 mln with no future emissions currently planned.
Visit hacken.io to buy HKN and to contribute to Hacken token sale by subscribing to our email newsletter. Follow us on Twitter or ask your questions on Telegram or on our Facebook page.

* * *
The Hacken Ecosystem is a community-based business organization consisting of the HackenProof bug bounty marketplace, Zero-day Remuneration Platform, Hacken Accelerator and Cybersecurity Analytics Center. The Hacken Ecosystem utilizes its own cryptocurrency HKN — a dedicated cryptocurrency for white hat hackers, to incentivize users to interact with its ecosystem. Hacken’s vision is to launch a movement that in several years will become one of the main driving forces deterring and countering international cybercrime.

Contact Email Address
media@hacken.io
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https://hacken.io/

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.

Citizens of Zimbabwe Use Bitcoin to Access International Markets

Emerging Markets

According to Yeuki Kusangaya of Zimbabwe-based bitcoin exchange Golix, an increasing number of Zimbabweans are adopting bitcoin as a means to access a variety of international markets. The increasing popularity of bitcoin combined with significant liquidity issues have led to heavily inflated prices in the African nation, with a single bitcoin currently trading for approximately $9900 USD on Golix.

Also Read: Bitcoin Prices Skyrocket to $7200 on Zimbabwean Exchange During Economic Turmoil

A Single Bitcoin Is Trading for Nearly $10,000 USD in Zimbabwe

Citizens of Zimbabwe Use Bitcoin to Access International MarketsYeukai Kasangaya, a representative of Golix, has discussed the growing bitcoin adoption that is taking place in Zimbabwe. Golix rebranded from BitFinance on the 1st of October this year, a decision that was prompted by the company’s belief that “bitcoin will not be the only digital currency that succeeds,” according to Golix CEO, Tawanda Kembo.

Mrs. Kasangaya recently told local media that “the general trend shows an increase in interest in the bitcoin,” describing such as the “normal upward-growth trajectory of most innovations.” Due in large part to the financial crises brought about by ongoing cash shortages and hyperinflation that has crippled large parts of Zimbabwe’s economy, Mrs. Kasangaya reports that the majority of transactions on Golix occur electronically.

“It is not necessary to have cash to buy bitcoin. Most people just use the generally available electronic means. As such, the buying of bitcoin is not affected by the prevailing cash shortages… in the event that a seller wants cash for bitcoin, they will have to identify such a buyer with cash on their own and do a peer to peer trade.”

Zimbabwean Citizens Turn to Bitcoin

Citizens of Zimbabwe Use Bitcoin to Access International MarketsMrs. Kasangaya states that Zimbabwean citizens are adopting bitcoin in order to access a variety of international markets. “Some use it to pay for services provided outside the country, such as software. For example, a local software engineer developing an app can use bitcoin to pay for necessary software tools. Others use bitcoin to, say, import a car they can use to run a small business …. The good news with using bitcoin for such purposes is that no foreign currency leaves the country, unlike a situation where the same person was to ask their bank to do a telegraphic transfer… [which] reduces the country’s pressure on nostro balances.”

Speaking to Quartz last week, Mrs. Kasangaya said that “there is currently more demand than supply of bitcoins… Interest in bitcoin has peaked as people cannot send money outside or pay for international transactions using formal banks. People have had to look for alternatives and bitcoin has been a useful solution which can be used to purchase goods on Amazon or to pay for vehicles from international suppliers and traders.”

Do you think that the price of bitcoin in Zimbabwe will come to relative parity with prices in other markets? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Golix


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Featured

Also read: How Money Got Free: Bitcoin and the Fight for the Future of Finance

Bitcoin-Related Jobs Fastest Growing Category of International Employment

Annie Lin of CNBC writes “Bitcoin-related jobs are the fastest growing category of role on international employment marketplace [website] Freelancer.” In fact, data shows an “82 percent growth in the third quarter,” Ms. Lin continues, with “work related to cryptocurrency” an upward trend, citing the “company’s periodic report, [which] tracks top trends in online jobs based on the listings on its Freelancer.com platform.”

The Australian-based company claims to be “the world’s largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace,” connecting “over 25,986,955 employers and freelancers globally from over 247 countries, regions and territories,” according to its website.

In an recent company Fast 50 Report, Freelancer noted “China’s ​banning ​of ​[initial coin offerings] hasn’t ​stopped ​cryptocurrency ​bitcoin ​and ​Cryptography ​emerging ​as ​hot ​trends ​to ​watch ​for next ​quarter.” ​

Bitcoin-Related Jobs Fastest Growing Sector of International Employment

Under the report’s sub-heading, One to watch, the company details how “Bitcoin ​topped ​the Freelancer.com ​Fast ​50 ​Report’s ​emerging ​skills ​in ​the ​third ​quarter ​of ​2017, ​up 82% ​in ​the ​last ​three ​months ​alone. ​Cryptography ​is ​also ​up ​59%, ​as ​reports ​of ​the ​digital ​gold rush ​continue ​to ​flood ​in.”

“Our ​global ​community ​has expertise ​across ​over ​1,000 ​areas, ​so ​if ​you ​are ​living ​in ​Poland ​but ​would ​like ​help with ​setting ​up ​your ​ICO, ​then ​we ​give ​entrepreneurs ​a ​place ​to ​turn,” remarked company CEO Matt Barrie.

The report continues with a market round-up, stressing how cryptocurrencies “​have ​soared ​in ​recent ​months, ​bitcoin ​passing ​USD$6,000 ​mark ​at ​the ​time ​of releasing ​this ​Fast ​50 ​Report. ​But ​it’s ​not ​just ​mining ​and ​rigging ​jobs ​that ​are ​being ​posted,” they write.

Bitcoin-Related Jobs Fastest Growing Sector of International EmploymentCEO Matt Barrie

“Recent ​projects ​include ​an ​opportunity ​for designs ​for ​an ​Initial ​Coin ​Offering,” Freelancer reveals, “a ​CTO ​with ​Bitcoin ​knowledge, creating ​new ​altcoin ​currencies, blockchain ​whitepapers, cryptocurrency ​content ​writers, help ​with ​a ​gambling ​blockchain.”

Emphasizing the international flavor of bitcoin-related job growth, the report also notes support “​for ​the ​trend ​is ​coming ​from ​the ​highest ​places ​in ​traditional ​finance, ​with ​the ​IMF’s ​chief Christine ​Lagarde ​recently ​devoting ​a ​third ​of ​her ​speech ​to ​the ​potential ​of cryptocurrencies when ​addressing ​the ​world’s ​bankers.”

Trend: Jobs Nearly Doubled

Another web-based employment search site, Angel List, agrees with the above sentiments, declaring, “Money is pouring into cryptocurrency startups. From the Angel List data we looked at, in the first half of 2017 alone there was more money invested in cryptocurrency startups than in all of 2016 combined.”

Bitcoin-Related Jobs Fastest Growing Sector of International Employment

“As cryptocurrency companies are growing, raising larger amounts of money at higher valuations, so are their hiring needs for finding top talent,” Angel List concludes. “The number of job listings on AngelList by cryptocurrency companies have nearly doubled in the last six months.”

And it’s not just engineers the Bitcoin ecosystem needs. “There are also open positions needing to be filled in marketing, business development, operations, customer support, and other job functions that don’t require a technical background,” Angel List encourages.

Would you work for bitcoin? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!


Images courtesy of: Pixabay, Freelancer.com, ICMI, Angel List. 


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Former US Presidential Candidate Ron Paul:

Featured

Former presidential candidate Ron Paul recently urged legalization of all competing currencies, crypto and otherwise, during a televised phone interview. He discussed his views on prices going forward, particularly of gold versus the dollar, and warned about government involvement with regard to the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, bitcoin.  

Also read: Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission Forbids Bitcoin Campaign Donations To Politicians

Former Presidential Candidate is Worried about Government Surveillance of Bitcoin Users

Two-time Republican candidate for President of the United States, and former congressman from Texas, Dr. Ron Paul, MD, explained there is “too much surveillance already on how [cryptocurrencies] are transferred, [and how] the reports have to be made by the exchanges to the IRS.”

Former US Presidential Candidate Ron Paul: "Government should stay out of" BitcoinThen-Republican Presidential Candidate Ron Paul at a campaign stop.

Dr. Paul might have been referring to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) attempt to compel popular bitcoin exchange Coinbase into handing-over names of its customers in an effort to prosecute possible tax evasion. The San Francisco-based company has refused the IRS request.

Also in the interview with Daniela Cambone, Editor-in-Chief for Canadian outlet Kitco News, Dr. Paul noted how the trend seems to be of the government waiting until something grows successful enough, and then attempts to severely restrict it or punish it. “If [bitcoin] is a really good deal and a good process,” he said, “rest assured the government will be looking at it very carefully.”

Government interest in bitcoin “makes me a little bit nervous,” he added, “people should be very cautious.”

As for currency competition, “If the people want [bitcoin] and want to use it, the government should stay out of it,” he told Ms. Cambone.

Nuanced, Subtle Views on Bitcoin

Unlike other prominent political and financial media celebrities, Dr. Paul doesn’t give a lot of flash and bombast when it comes to cryptocurrencies generally and bitcoin in particular. Instead, he takes a wait-and-see approach, humbling himself enough to admit he doesn’t quite understand the technology.

The Kitco News Editor-in-Chief put questions to him bluntly about bitcoin, asking “Are you a believer in the cryptocurrencies?”

“Well,” Dr. Paul began, “I’d have to talk about the world ‘believable.’ I take some very strong political positions on competing currencies. I want to legalize all competing currencies. And if you can come up with a competing currency, and there is no fraud, I think it should be,” he stressed.

“Quite frankly,” he admitted, “I don’t understand the technology of cryptocurrencies. I just want to make sure no fraud is involved. But I am also concerned about the government involvement.”

Former US Presidential Candidate Ron Paul: "Government should stay out of" BitcoinKitco News Editor-in-Chief, Daniela Cambone

“Does it represent real money to you?” Ms. Cambone followed up.

“Not to me, no, it doesn’t,” Dr. Paul answered. “But if it serves the voluntary exchanges of people, and [serves] the purpose of exchanging wealth, … it could act as if it were money ….” he elaborated.

“Some say bitcoin is stealing the thunder away from gold,” Ms. Cambone continued, “and that’s one of the reasons the yellow metal is not rallying further. Do you agree with this?”

“I think that’s a very strong possibility,” he considered. “I am amazed,” he laughed, “at all the capitalization on these cryptocurrencies. It’s a huge amount of money,” Dr. Paul emphasized.

Returning to the subject of bitcoin, “Only time will tell if it’s going to survive as something they call money,” he said.

What do you think of Ron Paul’s comments? Tell us in the comments below!


Images courtesy of: Pixabay, Kitco News, People and Places blog . 


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Russia Picks Pilot City to Launch Two Cryptocurrency Agencies

Featured

A city in Russia has been selected as a pilot city to launch two cryptocurrency agencies, following mandates by president Vladimir Putin. Seminars will be offered where participants can receive certificates allowing them to engage in crypto professions as well as learn to protect themselves from cyber attacks.

Also read: Japan’s Financial Authority Clarifies Stance on Initial Coin Offerings

Vladivostok Chosen

Russia Picks Pilot City to Launch Two Cryptocurrency AgenciesVladivostok.

Following a mandate by Russia’s president Vladimir Putin for cryptocurrency regulations to be finalized by July of next year, Vladivostok was chosen as a pilot city to launch two cryptocurrency agencies, according to local publications.

One is a crypto-advisory agency; the other is a crypto-detective agency. Victor Fersht, the director of the Inter-University Center for the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Russia explained, as quoted by Prima Media:

At the last meeting of the State Duma, a decision was taken to establish a state structure – a crypto-detective agency, the first pilot branch of which will be opened in Vladivostok and an advisory center for all those who want to start working with cryptocurrency.

Vladivostok is the largest city and the capital of Primorsky Krai, the largest federal subject in the Far East in terms of economic size and population.

Russia Picks Pilot City to Launch Two Cryptocurrency AgenciesThe Roundtable Devoted to Cryptocurrency Discussions.

A roundtable devoted to cryptocurrency discussions was held at the end of last week in Vladivostok to detail the plans for the two agencies, the news outlet reported. The crypto-advisory agency will be located in the main building of the Vladivostok State University of Economics and Service (VSUES).

“A few months ago I did not hear anything about cryptocurrency and did not know these words – blockchain, mining, bitcoins,” VSUES director Tatyana Terentyeva was quoted saying. “But now even President Vladimir Putin has set a task to develop a legislative base for regulation in this sphere.” Noting that this presents new directions in the university’s educational programs, she emphasized, “this is now topical, important and timely.”

The Two Crypto Agencies

Russia Picks Pilot City to Launch Two Cryptocurrency AgenciesThe Vladivostok crypto-advisory agency will be the first in Russia aimed at providing advice to citizens who want to work with cryptocurrencies, Tass reported. Fersht said that it will be established by VSUES in conjunction with the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU), the Ministry of Internal Affairs for Primorsky Krai and the Federal Tax Service.

The agency “will begin work on November 15 and will be open to all, anyone will be able to come and get advice,” he noted. Moreover, there will be regular seminars starting on that day for people who want to work with cryptocurrencies, such as advisors and mentors, Fersht revealed, adding that:

If you want to get more information in depth, then sign up for the seminar, it lasts 36 hours, and you will receive a certificate and will [be allowed to] work with cryptocurrency or with clients as a professional.

The other agency is “a pilot project of Russia’s first crypto-detective agency for the Far East based on Interpol,” Prima Media described. It will help citizens “learn to protect themselves from fake cyber-wallets, phishing sites, and hacker attacks,” the publication noted. According to Fersht, “if this project proves [to be] successful, then in the middle of next year, this structure will join the federal crypto-detective agency.”

What do you think of Russia establishing a pilot city to launch crypto agencies? What do you think of the two agencies? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Prima Media.


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30% of Bill Miller's Hedge Fund Is Invested in Bitcoin

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Bill Miller, former chairman of Legg Mason Value Trust mutual fund, and current chairman of Miller Value Partners LLC, has revealed that bitcoin holdings comprise approximately 30% of the assets in Miller Value Partner’s MVP 1 hedge fund.

Also Read: Wall Street Hedge Funds Rush to Cryptocurrencies, 90 Bitcoin-Like This Year Alone

The Share of Bill Miller’s Hedge Funds’ Assets Invested in Bitcoin Has Gone From 5% to 30% in Just 12 Months

30% of Bill Miller's Hedge Fund Is Invested in BitcoinIn a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Bill Miller has revealed that roughly 30% of the assets in Miller Value Partners LLC’s $154 million USD MVP 1 hedge fund are invested in bitcoin. The share of the fund’s total that is represented by bitcoin holdings has significantly increased following bitcoin’s price gains of approximately 600% this year – as bitcoin represented just 5% of MVP 1’s assets in 2016. Mr. Miller states that the MVP 1 hedge fund has gained in value by approximately 72.5% so far during 2017.

In a letter sent to investors last week, Mr. Miller estimated that the average price paid for the fund’s bitcoins was approximately $350 USD per coin. Although Mr. Miller has stated that the fund will not purchase any additional bitcoin at current prices, he is reported to have said that he would be willing to “put 1% of [his] liquid net worth” into bitcoin if he were not privately exposed to the bitcoin markets.

Mr. Miller First Invested in Bitcoin During 2014

30% of Bill Miller's Hedge Fund Is Invested in BitcoinMr. Miller’s letter presents a balanced and impartial outlook for bitcoin’s future, describing bitcoin as “a technological experiment that may or may not prove to have any long lasting value.” Mr. Miller states “bitcoin has a market capitalization greater than 90% of the companies in the S&P 500, but it still might fail. I don’t know and neither does anyone else, no matter how certain they are of their opinion… I believe there is still a nontrivial chance bitcoin goes to zero, but each day it does not, that chance declines as more venture capital flows into the bitcoin ecosystem and more people become familiar with bitcoin and buy it.”

In Mr. Miller’s letter he notes that a “Murderers’ Row” of prominent investors have been predicting an imminent popping of the bitcoin ‘bubble’., including Warren Buffett, Jamie Dimon, and Howard Marks. In an interview 2014 with CNBC, Mr. Miller rejected Warren Buffett’s then-recent criticisms of bitcoin, stating “if [bitcoin] becomes only 10 percent as popular gold, then it’s an 800 billion market value.”

In June of this year, Mr. Miller described bitcoin as a “true disruptor and true innovation in money.”

Do you think the growing prevalence of bitcoin exposed hedge funds is positive for the bitcoin ecosystem? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Miller Value Partners LLC, Wikipedia


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Localbitcoins User Charged with Unlicensed Money Transmitting

Security

A regular user of Localbitcoins (a facilitator of exchanging fiat currencies for bitcoin) was formally charged in United States District Court. The Michigan man is accused of violating money transmitting business licensing requirements.  

Also read: Localbitcoins Trading Volume Sets New Global All-Time High

Localbitcoins User Indicted by Homeland Security Investigations

A criminal complaint filed 25 October 2017 against Bradley Anthony Stetkiw, a Localbitcoins user, accuses the man of buying, selling and brokering “deals for hundreds of thousands of dollars in bitcoin while failing to comply with money transmitting business registration requirements set forth in Title 31, United States Code, Section 5330.”

Localbitcoins User Charged with Unlicensed Money TransmittingScene of the ‘crime.’

United States of America v. Bradley A. Stetkiw asserts that from Summer of 2015 through Fall of this year, Mr. Stetkiw ran a bitcoin exchange under the handle ‘SaltandPepper’.

The next few paragraphs of the seventeen page document detail a basic understanding of bitcoin, concluding in an odd equivocation in ‘Part F’, “Bitcoin is not inherently illegal and has known legitimate uses, much like cash; bitcoins, however, are also used to facilitate illicit transactions and to launder criminal proceeds.”

Further into the document, the complaint retreats to an awkward appraisal by agent Randall and the HSI concerning the deep web, dark web, and TOR browsing – none of which seem to have anything to do with the case against Mr. Stetkiw.

At a stop in the document, agent Randall insists any transaction of 3,000 USD or more must comply with existing know-your-customer (KYC) regulations. There, it does seem to point to issues for anyone selling so much as one bitcoin at its present value.

For the next couple of paragraphs, the complaint gives a general overview of Localbitcoins and its business model. At page 9, Mr. Stetkiw comes into focus. SaltandPepper describes himself as an honest broker, asking to meet at a restaurant for potential transactions. The pages that immediately follow are dissections of Mr. Stetkiw’s identification, from phone numbers to license pictures and the vehicle he is known to drive.

Localbitcoins User Charged with Unlicensed Money Transmitting

Sell Bitcoin, Face Jail Time

Readers soon learn that Mr. Stetkiw charged a five percent premium for his services. HSI undercover agents exploited his easy trade methods, meeting with him six times. In two dozen transactions, HSI gained over one hundred and twenty-six bitcoin, totaling more than 50,000 USD. Mr. Stetkiw allegedly helped HSI agents broker a 35,000 USD out-of-state deal, a nearby passage also documents.

It goes on in this manner for a while.

HSI undercovers urge him to deal in more than his set 2,500 USD limit, which Mr. Stetkiw is quoted as saying is an arbitrary amount that makes him “comfortable.” Other quotes have Mr. Stetkiw telling agents he really does not want to know what they’re doing with bitcoin, as he desires to not run afoul of laws. Mr. Stetkiw mentions not being able to trade with a person he knew to be breaking the law with bitcoins purchased from him.

Other one-sided, out of context quotes are attributed to Mr. Stetkiw. HSI alleges that Mr. Stetkiw broke his own policy by selling an amount over 13,000 USD, along with other incidents of a similar nature.

Exactly in no part of the complaint does Mr. Stetkiw encourage hurting someone. He never solicits agents for drugs. He never urges weapons be purchased with bitcoin. He never steals from agents or undercuts them in transactions. No deep, dark web. No TOR.

He sells them bitcoin, no questions asked.

Are peer-to-peer bitcoin transactions too dangerous? Tell us in the comments below!


Images courtesy of: Pixabay, Localbitcoins, Tim Hortons Restaurant


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