A group of people are on a mission to bring Bitcoin back to the state of Wyoming after unfriendly laws made it impossible to transact with cryptocurrencies there more than two years ago.The Wyoming Blockchain Coalition announced its formation this week. Its volunteer members aim to create a legal and regulatory environment in the state that welcomes cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology companies with open arms.Among the group’s advisors are Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock — Byrne lives in Utah but has been a Bitcoin advocate for years — a former Wyoming governor, and two deans and a computer science department head from the University of Wyoming.Outdated LawsBitcoin used to be welcome in Wyoming. But a 2015 interpretation of the Wyoming Money Transmitters Act (which the state passed in 2003, years before Bitcoin even existed) by the Wyoming Division of Banking made it impractical for cryptocurrency exchanges to operate in the state. Cryptocurrencies are not specifically included on the list of “permissible investments” within the Act, as stocks or securities would be. As a result, after learning it would have to put up huge financial backing to stay in operation in the state, Coinbase suspended its operations in Wyoming indefinitely in June 2015. But a lot of people think the law doesn’t make sense. They see cryptocurrency as the future, and they think Wyoming would benefit from being more progressive.Caitlin Long is one of those people. Now living in New York, where she serves as chairman and president at smart contracts platform company Symbiont, Long grew up in Laramie, Wyoming.Over the summer, she wanted to give back to her alma mater. But when she went to personally fund an endowment for female engineers at the University of Wyoming, she found out the school was unable to accept her bitcoin as an appreciated asset. Fortunately, Long was able to find a charity outside of Wyoming that could legally liquidate the bitcoin and send it to the university through a donor-advised fund.“They still got the cash, but it prompted a lot of discussion internally in the university about ‘what just happened here?’” Long told Bitcoin Magazine.Long would not disclose how much she donated, but typically, donations to an endowment are $50,000 and up. “When universities have donors that are interested in donating properties, they usually try to find ways to accept the properties,” she said. The event prompted a lot of discussion among some of the people within the university and eventually led to the formation of a coalition aimed at educating about and advocating for the adoption of blockchain technology in the state. Long offered up her services as an advisor member. “I’m in the business,” she said. “So I volunteered to help with both the bitcoin and the blockchain education efforts.”No Time to LoseThe coalition is moving quickly. Within a week, the group formed an LLC, sent out a press release stating its goals and launched a website. “This is very, very new, and it is happening in real time,” said Long.They have good reason to make haste. The new legislative session begins in February. If the coalition wants to push through a bill that will get digital currencies recognized as a “permissible investment” under the Wyoming Money Transmitters Act, they will need to move quickly.Currently the group is working on legislative language with local attorneys and legislators. Next, they need to educate the citizens of Wyoming and the legislators about the benefits of Bitcoin and blockchain technologies. Some of that will involve webinars and live events, as as well as organizing a dinner in Cheyenne during the legislative session. Last year, a similar regulatory effort, Wyoming House Bill 26, did not pass, but that was due to lack of knowledge and some “unrelated political feuds,” Robert Jennings, another one of the group’s advisor members, told Bitcoin Magazine. This time around, he thinks “blockchain [technology] and cryptocurrency will stand on its own merits.” Jennings added, “There is already a groundswell of support in the state due to the rise in popularity of Bitcoin.”But, he cautioned, it will require “an extensive education campaign, which is why we formed the Wyoming Blockchain Coalition.”The post Blockchain Coalition Seeks to Make Bitcoin Welcome in Wyoming appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.
In case there were any remaining doubts, it now seems clear that the SegWit2x hard fork will not happen.The SegWit2x project, a product of the New York Agreement signed onto by a long list of companies and miners in May, had scheduled a hard fork to double Bitcoin’s block weight limit today. And while the controversial effort was suspended by leaders of the project last week, this would not have stopped anyone else from proceeding with it. Companies like Coinbase were indeed taking into account that the SegWit2x hard fork could still happen.The Fork That Wasn’tSegWit2x nodes — most notably btc1 — were programmed to fork away from the Bitcoin blockchain this afternoon (UTC) to create the SegWit2x blockchain and a new currency, often referred to as B2X. However, not a single SegWit2x block has been mined since fork point, nor is there any indication that this is likely to happen. For all intents and purposes, there is no SegWit2x — nor a B2X.Further, software bugs in the btc1 codebase made all btc1 implementations grind to a halt even before it reached the expected fork point. While Bitcoin and SegWit2x nodes were widely expected to share a single blockchain up until block 494783 and then to go their own ways at block 494784, btc1 nodes never made it past block 494782.This is mainly because the first block on the SegWit2x chain was required to have a “base block” larger than one megabyte. This is how the chain would diverge from the original Bitcoin protocol. But due to what is referred to as an “off-by-one error,” SegWit2x blocks started to reject smaller-than-one-megabyte blocks one block too soon — at block 494,783 instead of 494,784.Moreover, another btc1 bug prevented miners from mining a big enough block when it was needed. So even if some miners did want to proceed with the fork, they accidentally wouldn’t have done so — at least not automatically. Miners would instead have had to manually configure their block weight settings, but it’s unlikely they knew about this step. Btc1 maintainer Jeff Garzik (while also denying there was a problem) has since released a patch to resolve this issue.But judging by the absence of any SegWit2x blocks, the patch hasn’t made a difference, most likely because few, if any, miners were interested in mining on the SegWit2x chain in the first place.NO2X?Despite the seeming failure of SegWit2x to take off in any way, it should be noted that there is technically no way to declare a fork like SegWit2x officially “dead” or “failed.”While unlikely, it’s always possible that the SegWit2x hard fork could proceed at some point in the future. In fact, there is no way to tell whether the SegWit2x chain is currently being mined with a little bit of hash power right now, and it is strictly impossible to foresee whether it will be mined later on. Perhaps a SegWit2x block will be found a day from now, a week from now or even ten years from now, at which point SegWit2x and B2X will technically come into existence.However, since the SegWit2x chain did not include a mining difficulty reset, it will be as hard to mine a B2X block as it currently is to mine a BTC block. Meanwhile, market support for B2X appears to be extremely low, with B2X futures trading below 2 percent of BTC. So even if miners decide to mine B2X blocks, they’d almost certainly be earning far less than they would by mining BTC. Or, more accurately, they’d spend more on electricity bills than they’d be able to earn by mining B2X. The financial incentive to mine the SegWit2x chain just isn’t there.Alternatively, SegWit2x could see a bit of a rebirth in the form of “BitcoinX” (BTX). This project, supposedly started by disappointed SegWit2x supporters, will take a snapshot of bitcoin balances at block height 494,783 and start a SegWit2x-like altcoin that offers all BTC holders the equivalent amount in BTX. Though, while this coin is arguably more viable than B2X thanks to a mining difficulty reset and more, it really is a new coin — arguably even more so than B2X would have been.The post Now the SegWit2x Hard Fork Has Really Failed to Activate appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.
While trading of crypto-assets is booming, some investors are looking for options to trade traditional assets like stocks via cryptocurrencies. Three new operators are among those developing trading platforms to meet this need, with blockchain-based tokens pegged to the underlying assets.AnkorusAnkorus is establishing a platform that will permit trading traditional assets, including stocks, bonds, futures, options, gold, silver, commodities, ETFs, FX and bitcoin futures with cryptocurrency. “Ankorus will establish an online exchange populated by any financial asset currently available worldwide,” reads the Ankorus white paper. “Various auditing measures will be taken to establish transparency, and customers will be able to validate that tokenised assets are fully backed and held by Ankorus.”To enable cryptocurrency holders to buy real-world financial assets, Ankorus will create and allocate tokens that are exactly value-pegged to the underlying assets in exchange for cryptocurrency. Ankorus will hold its “fundraising contribution” or “Token Generation Event” (TGE) between November 25 and December 25. The ANK token will be distributed to contributors during the TGE. “The ANK is a utility token, used for commissions, for datafeeds, professional technical charting software, webinars, financial education materials and also membership for those who wish,” Ankorus CEO John Cruz told Bitcoin Magazine. “The ANK token will be allocated during our TGE and later listed on exchanges, beginning with EtherDelta. It is an ERC20 token.”Another token, the Anchor Token, will be the asset value-pegged token, separately created to tokenize specific securities using a yet-to-be-determined technology.“Anchor Tokens will come later, after we receive the requisite regulatory approval,” said Cruz. “Anchor Tokens will be created for our customers when they wish to tokenize specific assets. For example, if a customer wishes to purchase and tokenize Apple stock, we create an Apple Anchor Token (known as AAPL.A) or simply credit the customer with them if we created one earlier.”One of the most interesting asset classes that Ankorus is targeting is that of traditional financial instruments based on cryptocurrencies, such as futures and derivatives. A few weeks ago Bitcoin Magazine reported that CME Group, one of the world’s largest derivatives exchanges, will launch a bitcoin futures product before the end of Q4 2017. In a video, Cruz explains why he considers CME bitcoin futures as a breakthrough that could soon push bitcoin’s price up to $50,000, and expresses confidence in Ankorus’s ability to offer CME bitcoin futures trading soon. It’s worth noting that Ankorus’s offering can be seen as the reverse of CME bitcoin futures: while CME will offer a traditional financial instrument tied to cryptocurrencies to investors that prefer not to hold and trade cryptocurrencies directly, Ankorus wants to make CME bitcoin futures and other traditional financial instruments available to cryptocurrency holders.One is left to wonder how Ankorus will navigate the compliance minefield, which has blocked similar initiatives before. The Ankorus team insists that they will be totally SEC-compliant and follow all KYC (Know Your Customer), AML (Anti-Money Laundering) and CTF (Counter-Terrorist Financing) regulations. According to the white paper, Ankorus intends to become a fully registered broker-dealer, acquire membership on a large and reputable exchange, follow best practices for insurance and auditing on a regular basis, and establish a compliant trading platform that will bridge the crypto and finance worlds. “By becoming a broker-dealer entity, we will get SEC blessing,” said Cruz. “Everyone else is trying to tokenize assets by not being a broker-dealer entity; this is where they run into trouble with the SEC.” “Within the team we have experience of complying with different market regulators’ KYC, AML and CTF requirements for an FX remittance company,” Ankorus COO Haldane Marnoch told Bitcoin Magazine. “PEP [Politically Exposed Persons] lists are vetted and we check against a suite of sanctions lists too. Documents supplied by our customers for proof of identity or proof of address expire and need to be renewed on a regular basis. Source of funds also needs to be proven for larger transactions.“Our team is familiar with all the provisions required for operating across multiple jurisdictions,” continued Marnoch. “We’ll use as our primary reference the standards set by the SEC and the CFTC, but naturally we’ll be implementing processes to comply with each and every market we trade in, for instance the FCA in the U.K.”“We will become a division of a Futures Commissions Merchant (FCM), expected early March, and will be able to fill orders for CME bitcoin futures at that time,” added Cruz.LAToken and Jibrel NetworkLAToken (LAT), which recently raised $19.6 million in a token sale, wants to broaden the use of cryptocurrencies in the real economy and allow cryptocurrency holders to diversify their portfolio by getting access to tokens linked to the price of real assets. The LAT platform is already operational: asset tokens can be created, listed for sale and traded on the LAT platform. At this time, tokens linked to the price of stocks (e.g., Apple, Amazon, Tesla), commodities (oil, gold, silver) and real estate are already being traded on the LAT platform. Tokens linked to artwork are soon to follow.According to the white paper, the LAT platform provides cryptocurrency holders with transparent price discovery and diversification across multiple asset classes, allowing for the creation or listing of third-party asset tokens compliant with LAToken disclosure and legal structure rules.Jibrel Network wants to provide currencies, equities, commodities and other financial assets and instruments as standard ERC20 tokens on the Ethereum blockchain. Jibrel Network’s draft white paper explains that the platform will support tokens, dubbed Crypto Depository Receipts (CryDRs), which represent ownership of an underlying traditional asset held by Jibrel. On release, Jibrel will support six fiat currencies (USD, CNY, EUR, GBP, RUB, AED) and two money-market instruments. In the future, Jibrel plans offer CryDRs pegged to a wide range of currencies, commodities, securities and derivatives. The project will hold a token pre-sale between November 27 and January 27.Both LAToken and Jibrel Network expect to be fully compliant with applicable regulations, including KYC/AML rules, and apply for relevant licenses where needed. Full compliance may prevent the companies from targeting customers in certain jurisdictions. For example, the Jibrel token sale will not be available to U.S., Chinese and Singaporean residents.The post Crypto Trading and Traditional Assets: New Options for Investors appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.
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Although still in testing phase, the lightning network can now be used to send transactions across different blockchains. The Lightning Labs development team successfully swapped testnet bitcoin for testnet litecoin through a lightning channel this week: ownership of the coins changed hands, while no transaction was recorded on either blockchain.“Previous atomic swaps that I have done were on-chain, and had the on-chain limitations of slow [transactions] and high transaction fees,” Litecoin creator Charlie Lee told Bitcoin Magazine, referring to an older trick to exchange different types of coins trustlessly. “Off-chain atomic swaps are significantly better. They are instant, [have] low fees, and better protect one’s privacy.”The successful test paves the way for trustless cryptocurrency exchanges, near-seamless multi-coin payment processors and more.Bitcoin and LitecoinThe lightning network is the highly anticipated second-layer payment network to be deployed on top of Bitcoin. And as an open protocol, it’s relatively easy to deploy lightning network support for other cryptocurrencies that are forked from Bitcoin’s codebase — like Litecoin.Interestingly, if the lightning network runs on different blockchains, these chains can effectively be linked together. If one or several peers on the network are willing to take one type of coin and forward another, it’s possible to send bitcoins on one end of a channel that will end up as the equivalent in litecoin on the other end.In a Medium post published in the first week of 2017, Lee explained that this potential to create these kinds of “bridges” between cryptocurrencies made him throw his weight behind the Segregated Witness (SegWit) soft forks on both Litecoin and Bitcoin. When SegWit activated on Litecoin last spring, Lee’s vision came one step closer to reality. Because the soft fork had not yet activated on Bitcoin at that time, Lightning Labs decided to add Litecoin support to their LND lightning network implementation. Thus, by the time SegWit activated on Bitcoin last summer, LND was already compatible with both chains.The testnet versions of these two blockchains are now made interoperable through the lightning network for the first time, allowing users to swap one type of coin for the other.“The primary advantages over previous solutions are speed, cost and privacy,” Lightning Labs developer Conner Fromknecht told Bitcoin Magazine. “Transfers are more or less instant, and don’t require the cost of an on-chain transaction. Additionally, in the cooperative case, the transactions are never broadcast, and leave no trace on the blockchain, offering privacy benefits. And with any luck, these privacy benefits will only continue to improve.”The Test (and the Potential)This week’s specific test was done on a local machine, on which Fromknecht himself created two nodes: “Alice” and “Bob.” These two nodes were modified to be able to monitor both the Bitcoin and Litecoin testnets. Fromknecht then created a single lightning channel that sent testnet litecoin from Alice to Bob and testnet bitcoin back from Bob to Alice at a fixed exchange rate. While still all in an experimental setting, the test was successful; Lightning Labs today published a blog post and a video detailing the results. In addition to offering a faster, cheaper and more private solution to exchanging coins, the successful test paves the way toward a whole new range of possibilities in the context of the lightning network. For example, peers on the network could eventually act as cryptocurrency exchanges, competing with one another to offer the best exchange rates.“Arguably the most important benefit of Lightning swaps is the ability to efficiently exchange different currencies without a custodian,” Fromknecht said. “Our ecosystem heavily depends on exchanges to fulfill this role today, but Lightning swaps offer users a choice to get the best of both worlds — instant exchanges without relinquishing control of your money.”Similarly, such exchangers could act as payment processors: it would be much easier for users to spend litecoin at merchants that only accept bitcoin (or vice versa). And it’s even conceivable that bitcoin-to-bitcoin payments over the lightning network will route via Litecoin hubs, if that’s the cheapest way to get funds from A to B. For Lee, at least, this is not as unlikely as it sounds, and the successful tests mark another step toward his vision for the lightning network on Litecoin and Bitcoin.“The Litecoin team is excited to work with Lightning Labs to explore the true potential of instant cross-chain atomic swaps,” he concluded.For a more in-depth technical explanation of these kinds of atomic swaps, see our previous article “Atomic Scaps: How the Lightning Network Extends to Altcoins” or the blog post and video published by Lightning Labs today.The post The Lightning Network Now Supports Transactions Across Blockchains appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.
Throughout the life of bitcoin’s two-year bull run, it has been confined within two macro trends: one parabolic and one linear — both on a logarithmic scale:Figure 1: BTC-USD, 1-Day Candles, Macro TrendThe parabolic envelope (black curves) has confined the entire bull run throughout the last two years. Over the weekend, we saw a test of the lower curve that proved to be proper support and propelled the market into a bounce that now has the market testing the upper linear trendline (purple lines) at the time of this article:Figure 2: BTC-USD, 2-Hour Candles, Test of Upper TrendlineAs the bitcoin market approaches the upper trendline, the price action will coincide with a test of the previous all-time high. Expect this to be a point of resistance with possible market turbulence. However, if we manage to break that resistance level and hold support above the trendline, there is no clear resistance until we test the parabolic envelope in the upper $8,000s. If we look at the macro indicators for this move, we see some signs that have proven to be indications of short-term rallies leading to corrections:Figure 3: BTC-USD, 1-Day Candles, Bollinger Band TrendThe last two corrections bitcoin has seen came on the tail of a minor pullback that rebounded to a new all-time high. The one-day candle trend is, so far, showing a repeated pattern that has led into a reversal each time it tested the upper parabolic curve. A rounding of the Bollinger bands during an upward move (shown in purple) is a forecast for decreased upward volatility that will lead to either a consolidation period or a reversal to the lower Bollinger bands. While a reversal is not required of this move upward, one can speculate that once the price tags the upper parabolic curve, we could see a pullback to the lower Bollinger bands on the one-day charts. A pullback to the lower Bollinger bands would see support quite nicely with the lower parabolic curve.One of two outcomes can be expected from this move upward: either we will test the upper parabolic trendline and reverse, or we will break above and consolidate before continuing on a very strong bullish move to new highs. However, these macro moves have become increasingly more demanding on the market as we continue to get squeezed within the parabolic envelope. The forecast of the Bollinger bands indicates we are not likely to see a sustained move higher without a consolidation period or a pullback.Summary:Over the weekend, bitcoin saw another test of the lower parabolic curve that proved to be strong support.After testing the parabolic curve, the market rebounded and has now established a new all-time high.If this trend continues, bitcoin could see prices in the mid to upper $8,000s before any noticeable resistance stands in the way of the price growth.Trading and investing in digital assets like bitcoin and ether is highly speculative and comes with many risks. This analysis is for informational purposes and should not be considered investment advice. Statements and financial information on Bitcoin Magazine and BTC Media related sites do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BTC Media and should not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation to buy, sell or hold. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.The post Bitcoin Price Analysis: BTC Pushes All-time Highs and Tests Historic Resistance appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.
This is a re-write of “A Beginner’s Guide to Claiming Your ‘Bitcoin Cash’ (and Selling It)”. Please note: Everything in this article is just advice based on our best understanding of the current situation.Bitcoin Gold (also referred to as Bgold, and trading under the ticker BTG) launched November 12, 2017. Since the Bitcoin blockchain technically forked on Bitcoin block 491407, anyone who held bitcoin (BTC) on October 24, 2017 should have an equivalent amount of BTG attributed to their Bitcoin private keys.In our beginner’s guide to surviving the Bgold and SegWit2x forks, we explained how to secure your private keys so you could be sure to access your BTG and B2X. The B2X fork has since been suspended by the leaders of that project, however, and it currently seems very unlikely to happen in any serious way.As such, this follow-up article explains how you can claim (and potentially use) your BTG — only your BTG.Be CarefulGood news: Bitcoin Gold enforces strong replay protection. This means you can’t accidentally spend your BTC when you mean to spend BTG or vice versa.As such, if you don’t care about BTG at all right now, you don’t need to do a thing. You can just keep using bitcoin as you always have. If you ever change your mind (and don’t lose your Bitcoin private keys in the meantime), you can still claim your BTG at any point in the future.Likewise, if you want to hold onto your BTG long term, you also don’t need to do anything right now. You can keep using BTC as if nothing happened; just make sure to never lose your private keys.(In both these cases, however, it could come in handy to keep a record of the Bitcoin addresses that stored your bitcoins at the time of the split. This is not strictly necessary, but your future self may thank you if you do it. You should be able to find this information in your wallet of choice, though where you find it may differ a little bit from wallet to wallet. Alternatively, you could move all your coins to a new address. If you then look up all your transactions since October 25, 2017, and note which addresses spent coins since that date, you know which addresses held coins at the time of the split.)Now let’s assume you do care about BTG right now, at least enough to want to sell your share. (1 BTG is trading around 0.02 BTC at the time of writing of this article, so you could earn a 2 percent “dividend” on your BTC if you decide to sell.)If you followed the advice outlined in our beginner’s guide, the good news is that you should be in full control of your Bitcoin private keys. This means you now hold BTC as well as BTG.The bad news is that it’s not necessarily easy or safe to claim your BTG. If you’re using insecure (or even malicious) software, you may accidentally expose your private keys. And because these are the same private keys that secure your BTC, this exposure could lead to your BTC being stolen. You stand to lose much more from losing your BTC than you stand to gain from selling your BTG.Therefore, you are going to want to take your time and make sure you understand what you are doing well enough to do it without exposing your private keys. Your BTG isn’t going anywhere.Accessing Your CoinsIn our beginner’s guide to surviving the Bgold (and SegWit2x) forks, we explained how to secure your private keys and recommended different wallet options. Here, you can find, per option, how to access your BTG.Note that while it’s not strictly necessary in all cases, it’s probably best to first move your bitcoins (BTC) to a new address, or even a whole new wallet with a new seed, before you even touch your BTG. This way you don’t add any security risks, while it’s potentially also a bit better for privacy. (More on this below.)Paper WalletThe first recommendation in our beginner’s guide to surviving the Bgold (and SegWit2x) forks was to use a paper wallet. This advice was given in the context of storing your coins long term in particular. But if you want to access your BTG, you can, of course, do this right away.However, the point of a paper wallet really is that your private keys are not stored in any device that could be hacked. Therefore, if you’re going to upload your private key into a Bitcoin Gold wallet, you should definitely create a whole new paper wallet with a new private key for your bitcoin (BTC). It’s probably best to then first sweep your private keys with a Bitcoin (BTC) wallet, and then send the coins to this new paper wallet for BTC. Electrum and Coinomi are two wallets that allow you to sweep Bitcoin private keys. Look for the “sweep” option in the menus of these wallets; that’s where you can scan the QR-code displayed on your paper wallet. (Alternatively, you could type in the private key.) Once you’ve done this, send the bitcoins to the new paper wallet.Once your bitcoins are stored safely on the new paper wallet (ideally after at least one confirmation), the old paper wallet still holds the BTG.Now, the same trick must be repeated to access your BTG. Electrum does not support BTG, but Coinomi does. Coinomi also published a blog post explaining exactly how to access your BTG. This includes instructions for paper wallets.Regular WalletOur second recommendation was to use a regular wallet, as listed on bitcoin.org.How to access your BTG if you were using a regular wallet differs from one wallet to the next. But in most cases, Coinomi is once again the best wallet to import your keys into. While originally written for Bitcoin Cash, this Coinomi blog post explains exactly how to make that switch for a number of wallets. (Just mentally replace “BCH” for “BTG” wherever relevant.)Full Node WalletOur third recommendation was to use a full node wallet, like Bitcoin Core or Bitcoin Knots.These wallets store your private keys in a dedicated folder on your computer. You can make a backup of this folder using the menu in your wallet and select “Backup wallet.” Once you’ve done this, you should be able to import this backup into the Bitcoin Gold full node, Bitcoin Gold Core.But once again, it’s a lot easier (and possibly even safer) to export your private keys from your Bitcoin full node and import them into the Coinomi mobile wallet. While originally written for Bitcoin Cash, this Coinomi blog post explains how to do that for BTG as well. (Just mentally replace “BCH” for “BTG” wherever relevant.)Hardware WalletWe also recommended using a hardware wallet to keep your private keys secure — though we also noted that these wallets don’t necessarily make it easy to access your BTG.Indeed, at the time of writing, no hardware wallet has enabled access to BTG. However, Ledger and Trezor have published blog posts indicating that they will be working on it. If you use either of these wallets, keep an eye out for announcements on their social media or blogs. Digital Bitbox and Keep Key have also published blog posts on the Bgold fork, suggesting they might support it; but they don’t support it yet. Keep an eye on their social media and blog to see if that changes.Other (Non-bitcoin.org) Wallets, Exchanges, etc.If you did not follow our advice and instead stored your BTC in any other wallet, or on an exchange, or anywhere else, you may or may not still be able to claim your BTG. In this case, you’ll have to figure out for yourself whether this is the case or not, and how to do so. This Coinomi blog post may, once again, be of help for some wallets. (Just mentally replace “BCH” for “BTG” wherever relevant.)Using (or Selling) Your BTGOnce you have claimed your BTG, you can use it however you please. Just like any other altcoin, you could, for example, sell it for BTC or perhaps spend it somewhere if it’s accepted for payment, etc.If you decide to sell your BTG, there are a number of exchanges where you can do this. The Bitcoin Gold website lists most of them here. (Which of these you decide to trust is up to you; we’re not giving any particular advice.)But there are three more factors to keep in mind before doing so.The first factor is privacy. Your public keys (which are linked to your BTC and BTG addresses) are identical for BTC and BTG. This means that whenever you spend your BTG (for example, to send them to an exchange), you do not only reveal your BTG addresses but also your BTC addresses. This can, in turn, reveal a lot about your current holdings as well as your past and future transactions and can even, by extension, reveal other data about people or entities you transact with. Make sure you are comfortable with giving up this privacy if you are going to send your BTG to an exchange or anywhere else.The second factor is mostly theoretical at this point but worth a quick mention nonetheless: security. By revealing your public key when spending BTG, you strip away one layer of cryptographic security, even for your BTC addresses. This doesn’t mean that your BTC are insecure right now, but there is an increased chance that your BTC won’t be secure at some point in the (far) future when this particular cryptographic standard is weakened. It is, therefore, best to move your BTC to a new address, at least some time within the next couple of years.The third factor was already mentioned but bears repeating: If you’re using insecure software to claim your BTG, your BTC may be at risk. It’s probably best to move your BTC to a new address or even a whole new wallet with a new wallet seed before you even start meddling with BTG — regardless of which wallet you were using. That way, if you do mess up with insecure BTG software, you shouldn’t lose your BTC.So, to Recap …1. You don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to, and there is no rush. If your private keys are secure, your BTG is secure.2. If you want to use your BTG in any way, it’s probably best to first move your BTC to a whole new address that you control, or even to a whole new wallet generated from a new seed. (But don’t lose your old private keys or seed: These still hold your BTG!)3. Once you know what you’re doing, upload your private keys into a Bitcoin Gold wallet, like Coinomi. Then you can keep it, spend it, perhaps send it to an exchange to sell or whatever it is you want to do with your “free money.”The post A Beginner’s Guide to Claiming Your Bitcoin Gold (and Selling It) appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.
Shunryū Suzuki, the Sōtō Zen monk and teacher who helped popularize Zen Buddhism in the United States, once remarked that, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”In many ways, this aphorism captures the entrepreneurial tenor of today’s emerging world of blockchain technology, as startup companies seek to address critical issues facing the distributed ledger space. Many would agree that today’s financial systems are fraught with centralization, complexity and barriers to access. While established businesses and individuals in this market can manage the paperwork and bureaucracy, many still find these barriers to participation too challenging to overcome. As a result, potential trades and deals are lost, as these financial participants, trying to get limited access to the system, turn to intermediaries. These participants are, therefore, unable to issue assets or even to trade in some asset classes. Zen Protocol, a smart contract company headquartered in Tel Aviv, is on a quest to change this trajectory, by making secure, peer-to-peer finance possible on a customized, public blockchain, removing the need for intermediaries such as banks and brokers. Zen’s approach allows anyone, anytime, anywhere to create and trade financial products on a secure platform — a Proof-of-Work blockchain protocol. It’s here where an open marketplace for options, futures, digital currencies and a myriad of other financial instruments are offered to consumers who would otherwise be left without the ability to participate. Zen Protocol, in many respects, can be viewed as an alternative to Ethereum, Bitcoin’s main market competitor. Zen’s main value proposition is the creation of a blockchain that mitigates some of the pesky issues that have adversely impacted Ethereum, while simultaneously running parallel to the Bitcoin blockchain. By way of example, one problem users on the Ethereum blockchain face is running out of “gas.” This means that transactions on its network often fizzle out, requiring that whatever currency paid to a user be returned to them. In other words, because there wasn’t enough energy to complete their transaction, it was canceled. Unfortunately, the fee for running this transaction still has to be paid.Zen addresses this issue through proven resource bounds: a protocol for attaching to each contract a proof of how long it takes to run. This completely removes the need to monitor gas.Key here is that smart contracts won’t allow a transaction to be sent without knowing how much computation it uses. This one feature alone makes Zen a noteworthy alternative to Ethereum and other smart contract platforms. With Zen miners now able to check how much computation transactions take to verify, they no longer have to run them in a virtual machine. Unlike competing platforms, Zen simply compiles its smart contracts to machine code, enabling them to run at native speed and greatly increasing transaction throughput.Zen has implemented a system called “Multi Hash Mining” which distributes mining rewards to several hashing algorithms while giving users — that is, holders of the Zen native token — the power to vote on which hashing algorithms will receive the rewards. The company believes that this approach will result in a fairer and more equal engagement between miners and token holders, with all participants incentivized to cooperate. It should also be noted that, rather than being limited to the native Zen token, any asset in Zen can be used to pay transaction fees, including those created by contracts. This reduces complexity for consumers seeking to move around and pay fees in fiat currency. With Zen, all new assets can be utilized by any existing or future contract. Zen Protocol’s Push Forward The core team at Zen protocol started working together in 2014 in the blockchain space and, after years of research, began development of the Zen Protocol in June 2016. “Our driving motivation in creating Zen is the belief that people have a right to own their financial assets, and we feel a responsibility to provide people with the necessary tools to empower themselves,” said CEO Adam Perlow. Perlow noted that rather than be exposed to counterparty risk, most individuals use financial institutions as trusted intermediaries. He says that these financial institutions facilitate the majority of economic transactions. The model employed by Zen Protocol overcomes the ability of financial institutions to limit people’s freedom to transact, providing an alternative way of accessing financial products and controlling risk. Perlow believes that Zen Protocol’s approach follows from some simple premises. “These premises are the need for increased security — provided by formal verification and a secure execution context, the need for real utility — provided, for example, by oracles, and the need for better governance [by multi hash mining],” he said. “In the long term, we think Zen provides people with a ‘Swiss bank’ in their pocket, allowing them to make use of cryptographic advancements to create, trade and store conventional financial assets such as stocks, bonds and derivatives over a decentralized network.” The post Zen Protocol Advances Smart Contracts for Financial Services appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.
Tetra, a new entrant in the cryptocurrency exchange sector, describes itself as a semi-decentralized, peer-to-peer exchange with an emphasis on security and usability: “Tetra will help create the next wave of cryptocoin adoption which will benefit all cryptocurrency users from investors to traders to businesses.”The term “peer-to-peer exchange” tends to suggest the idea of a strong emphasis on privacy and anonymity, as well as a certain level of disdain for Know-Your-Customer (KYC) rules, meddling regulators and authorities. According to Tetra’s blog post announcement, however, it appears that its approach is at odds with this philosophy: Tetra understands the importance of practices like KYC and has devoted the resources necessary to implement these processes properly. Users will be able to trade safely with the comfort of knowing that due diligence has been enacted to protect them from potential repercussions.“You may have heard the terrifying accounts of people receiving prison sentences for trading cryptocurrencies on peer-to-peer exchanges,” adds the main Tetra website. “With Tetra, that is a thing of the past. Route your payments through our fully compliant banking network for a legally sound trading process. We’re relieving traders of the burden of obtaining expensive licenses and adhering to cumbersome regulations in order to allow people to focus on what matters: their trades.”While this sounds appealing to compliance-conscious cryptocurrency users and traders, the self-description of Tetra as a “semi-decentralized P2P” raises questions. In a Reddit discussion, a Tetra representative admits that Tetra is a centralized service, but states that the exchange operates using a decentralized transaction model so that the operators never have control over users’ coins directly, and thus hackers do not have access to users’ coins.In communication with Bitcoin Magazine, Patrick O’Brien and CTO of Tetra Exchange, confirmed this practice.”Tetra is called a semi-decentralized exchange because Tetra customers maintain control over their own private keys. Customer funds are never stored on our centralized servers, users store their funds in their own client-side wallets which are built into the Tetra software, and transact through our system by utilizing the Bitcoin network’s multi-signature transaction architecture.”He explained that Tetra is described as a peer-to-peer exchange because users are trading with other individuals, and not with Tetra or against a Tetra orderbook as they would in a traditional exchange.“To elaborate further, this means that when customers are interested in making escrow payments they will participate in a multi-signature transaction, with the third party and ourselves as signing authorities,” continued O’Brien. “In the event of a dispute we can co-operate with either side to move the funds where they need to go, and in the event of a successful transaction both sides can agree to release the funds. All of this is accomplished without us ever having direct control over the flow of money as would be the case in a traditional exchange.”International Compliance IssuesBased in British Columbia, Canada, Tetra plans to operate globally with no restrictions, unless forced to by law. When a Reddit user suggested that Tetra is advising traders to flaunt U.S. money transmission laws, the Tetra representative answered that the exchange is not “ignoring U.S. laws and pretending it’s Canadian law while intending to operate in the U.S.” He added that the exchange takes compliance very seriously and stated that Tetra is circling back to their lawyers for advice.However, as the Reddit thread continues to point out, there still remains a number of compliance and personal privacy concerns related to the company’s KYC measures that U.S. users should be especially wary of, depending on the particular state requirements where they live.Some states are stricter than others, too. Always [know] one’s own jurisdictional rules/laws and not rely on what is “too good to be true.” – coin_trader_LBCUser Experience and SecurityLeaving aside the P2P interpretation and the potential compliance minefield, it’s worth noting that Tetra emphasizes easy usability and security as strong competitive advantages in the cryptocurrency exchange market. “[The] Tetra app and web platform will create a simple experience for users,” reads the announcement, adding that users won’t need to know about public key cryptography and smart contracts. “This approach will enable a new generation of users to enter the cryptocurrency space and with that bring new investors, new clients for dapps and crypto-based businesses, and in general make a great stride towards mainstream adoption that will enable the positioning of cryptocurrencies as true world-currencies.”The Tetra platform uses multisig escrow and intends to automate all aspects of the trading process to provide “incredibly secure and worry-free trading” with 2-of-2 and 2-of-3 P2SH multi-signature transactions, smart contracts and encryption of all communications.Of course, Tetra is hardly the only exchange to focus on easy usability and security, and, in fact similar measures are adopted by many exchanges today. What really seems to differentiate Tetra from many other exchanges is the fact that Tetra is explicitly targeting professional traders and cryptocurrency trading businesses that need to streamline multiple trades, by offering an easy user experience to their customers and presenting themselves as fully compliant with regulations.”The goal here is to facilitate the growth of fiat to crypto on-ramps and off-ramps, and we do this by encouraging people to operate trading businesses on our platform,” O’Brien told Bitcoin Magazine.“The features outlined so far culminate to satisfy business needs; by ensuring customers have a completely secure, legally safe, and easy to use platform Tetra will allow businesses to thrive in an otherwise hostile environment,” concludes the announcement.The first public release of the Tetra platform and apps, currently available to alpha testers, will support Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Dash. Other cryptocurrencies that support multisig transactions are planned for the future. The platform will begin its roll out in the U.S., Canada and Australia.To professional traders and businesses, Tetra offers a paid service dubbed Tetra Prime, with support for online and “brick-and-mortar” business storefronts, as well as trade matching and analytics to optimize trading profiles.The post New “Semi-Decentralized” Cryptocurrency Exchange Navigates Murky Compliance Waters appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.
Digital technology should make the advertising business more efficient. But it has not — at least not from the perspective of companies that place ads or the content publishers who sell ad space to them. Laden with middlemen and clouded by convoluted, proprietary ad placement platforms, the modern digital advertising industry faces serious challenges.New York–based MadHive is on a mission to solve them. Using blockchain technology and smart contracts, MadHive is constructing an ad tech platform, called the MAD Network, that reduces the power of the middlemen in ad tech and brings buyers and sellers closer together.At the same time, the MAD Network is designed to restore transparency to the ad tech industry. By recording information on the blockchain, encrypting it and making it available to advertisers with the requisite permissions, the MAD Network prevents fraud and ensures that advertisers can trace exactly how their money is being spent. Publishers can also sell data over the blockchain to help advertisers understand consumer behavior and plan ad campaigns more effectively.The Problems With Advertising TodaySoftware tools can automate most of the work required to match an advertiser looking to place an ad with a publisher who has ad space to sell. However, the platforms that currently connect advertisers to publishers operate as “walled gardens,” in which only the platform owners — as opposed to advertisers and publishers — can understand how dollars are spent and information is exchanged.This isn’t a problem that affects only small-time advertisers and publishers. It impacts organizations as large as The Guardian, a major British newspaper that is suing an ad tech company over allegations that the company’s proprietary ad placement service imposed “secret commissions” on the publisher and obscured information that would have helped the newspaper secure a fairer share of profits from advertisers.Put simply, advertising dollars “disappear” as they flow down the supply chain from advertisers to publishers. Middlemen soak up a majority of the revenue.How Mad Network Fixes Ad TechA better approach to ad tech is possible. MadHive is leading the way by building the MAD Network, a blockchain-based ad tech solution. The MAD Network is a complete ad tech platform that consists of several components, each of which solves an important challenge for advertisers, publishers or both.MADnet BooksMADnet Books is a blockchain-based payment system. MADnet Books does more than simply enable transactions, however. Because it is built on the blockchain, it facilitates decentralized, transparent revenue streams. Ad tech dollars can’t disappear when they are recorded on the blockchain — nor can advertisers and publishers be misled about the way money is being spent. The transparency that MADnet Books provides is just as important as the core payment functionality.MADnet Books is powered by MADtoken, the protocol’s native token. The token economy is an important tool in the MADNetwork, which aims to flip the market dynamics for the middle layer. By doing so, MADNetwork will make it more profitable to be in business and serve the interest of buyers and sellers, which is not always the case in today’s supply chain. For the buyer this results in greater reach for the cost, while publishers actually lower the margin compression that currently plagues the digital advertising ecosystem.MADnet DataA significant amount of value within the ad tech industry lies in the data that digital ad platforms create. Traditionally, this data has remained in the hands of the middlemen who control the platforms. They don’t typically share it with advertisers; instead, they may sell it to advertisers’ competitors to generate additional revenue.On the MAD Network, however, data will be shared thanks to MADnet Data, a decentralized data management platform. MADnet Data will enable advertisers and publishers to share data about ad performance and engagement directly with each other, in a secure, peer-to-peer fashion regulated by permissions and access control. Such data sharing can help to generate additional revenue streams for publishers while providing advertisers with deeper insight into the effectiveness of their ad campaigns. Here, again, it all boils down to transparency.MADnet CoreMADnet Core is the server that matches advertisers to publishers for the purpose of placing ads. This is not just another ad server, however. Like the other parts of the MAD Network, MADnet Core operates in a decentralized fashion, with the network performing the work of finding out which publishers are a good match for which ads.Because of this decentralized approach, no single party can control or manipulate the way ads are served. The core functionality of ad tech — matching advertisers with publishers — will remain open and transparent.Token SaleThe MAD Network remains under very active development. MADnet Books is slated to be the first platform component to be completed, followed by MADnet Core and, later, MADnet Data.To help support development of the MAD Network and offer the blockchain community an opportunity to invest in a platform that is poised to disrupt the ad tech industry from top to bottom, the MAD Network plans to host a token launch on November 30, 2017.The post MadHive’s Mission to Restore Transparency and Fairness to Advertising appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.