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What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a digital crypto-currency with no single point of failure due to its decentralized peer-to-peer architecture. The source code is publicly available and changes to the reference Bitcoin client are made via concensus within the community. Advantages of Bitcoin include irreversible transactions (i.e. no possibility of chargebacks as with credit cards), pseudo-anonymous, limited and fixed inflation, near instant transactions, multi-platform, no double-spend and little to no barriers to entry and more. It was created by an anonymous person known as Satoshi Nakamoto. Find out more at WeUseCoins.com.

Bitcoin Latest News

Perks of a Follower? HKEX Seeks Second-Mover Advantage on Blockchain

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange is comfortable watching and learning from the sidelines while other securities' exchanges adopt blockchain.

Posted on 24 October 2017 | 4:00 am

Stock picker who predicted $5000 bitcoin says it's on track to top Apple's market cap - CNBC


CNBC

Stock picker who predicted $5000 bitcoin says it's on track to top Apple's market cap
CNBC
One market observer told CNBC on Tuesday that at the rate the price of bitcoin was moving, its market capitalization could overtake Apple within five years. "People need to start taking this seriously because today bitcoin caught up with Goldman Sachs ...

and more »

Posted on 24 October 2017 | 1:19 am

Russia's interest in bitcoin is overestimated, says head of VTB International - CNBC


CNBC

Russia's interest in bitcoin is overestimated, says head of VTB International
CNBC
Russia's appetite for bitcoin has been overblown by the media, the head of Russian bank VTB International told CNBC Tuesday. "There was some speculation that there was some buying coming from Russian investors, but more than these reports, as a bank, ...

and more »

Posted on 24 October 2017 | 12:53 am

Intel Partners With Ledger to Integrate Bitcoin Wallet Software and SGX Tech

Blockchain wallet hardware startup Ledger has announced a new partnership with tech giant Intel.

Posted on 24 October 2017 | 12:00 am

Why everyone's talking about bitcoin and Zimbabwe - CNBC


CNBC

Why everyone's talking about bitcoin and Zimbabwe
CNBC
A surge in demand for digital currency in Zimbabwe has highlighted an interesting quirk in the trading of bitcoin, as well as the current economic woes the African country is facing. "Zimbabwe panic sends bitcoin soaring over $6,000?" asked a report on ...

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Posted on 23 October 2017 | 11:16 pm

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Overstock to Release Blockchain Product to Curb Naked Short Sales

Overstock.com will soon release software designed to help alleviate the very problem that got its founder involved in blockchain in the first place.

Posted on 23 October 2017 | 10:05 pm

Jeff Garzik Startup Bloq to Launch New Cryptocurrency in Token Sale

The figure at the center of bitcoin's scaling debate is launching a new cryptocurrency, one he hopes will quell longstanding issues with public blockchains.

Posted on 23 October 2017 | 9:33 pm

Why Bitcoin Matters More Than Blockchain - Forbes


Forbes

Why Bitcoin Matters More Than Blockchain
Forbes
The banker's mantra of “blockchain not bitcoin” has caught fire on Wall Street – everybody loves blockchain, they may not know what it is, but they love it! Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan, hates Bitcoin, but loves blockchain, Goldman Sachs CEO, Lloyd ...
JPMorgan Head Jamie Dimon Should Learn About Bitcoin, Says Wamda Capital's CEOCoinTelegraph

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Posted on 23 October 2017 | 6:12 pm

Abra Closes $16M in Funding and Looks to Venture Into Consumer Product Space

Abra Foxconn

Abra, a mobile payment and digital currency platform that relies on Bitcoin, closed $16 million in series B funding, led by Foxconn, the electronics supplier for Apple and other tech giants.  

Bill Barhydt, founder and CEO of Abra, made the announcement on October 23, 2017, at Money20/20 in Las Vegas, where he also outlined his vision for how consumer product companies will use Bitcoin in the future.

Other investors in the round include Silver Capital and IGNIA, as well as previous investors Arbor Ventures, American Express Ventures, Jungle Ventures, Lerer Hippeau and RRE Ventures. Total funding to date for the company now stands at nearly $35 million.

“We believe that Abra represents the future of digital payments and banking,” Jack Lee, founding managing partner at HCM, the investment arm of Foxconn, said in a statement, adding that Abra could potentially usher in a new era of financial inclusion to billions of people.

In speaking with Bitcoin Magazine, Barhydt explained that Abra plans to use the funds to expand globally and invest in future product development. “We have a lot of project announcements we will be making on a rolling basis,” he said.

Three-Part Vision

Though Barhydt did not offer exact details on what Abra’s new products will be, he did drop several hints in his three-part vision for how consumer products will implement Bitcoin in the future.

The first part, he explained, involves cross-border and consumer payments, which he said has been Abra’s focus for a couple of years now.

The second part involves using Bitcoin as an investment vehicle, in which smart contracts built on top of Bitcoin’s ledger would enable more complicated if-then types of financial transactions — payments that go through only if specific conditions are met.

Abra already relies on smart contracts to hold fiat currency and manage bitcoin price fluctuations, Barhydt explained.

He went on to describe the third part of his vision: “A new model of consumer asset finance,” which he said is where consumer product companies like Foxconn enter into the picture.

It was an idea that he conceived while recently traveling to Africa. There, he saw how a company was leasing solar panels to people who were making regular micro-payments via M-Pesa, a mobile money transfer service.

“They give solar kits to people who use them only if they make a weekly lease payment from M-Pesa wallet,” he explained. If a borrower does not make the payment, a SIM card in the phone communicates with the battery in the solar panel, shutting it off.

His idea was to extend the concept to other consumer appliances, like refrigerators, flat-panel TVs and washing machines, that people in developing countries struggle to afford.

“Using this model of embedding this cellular technology combined with a Bitcoin-based payment system like Abra, you now have a new model where people can do instant on-lease payments,” he said, calling it a “new trillion-dollar business” that can only be done on scale using something like Bitcoin.

Continuing to remain tight-lipped about future product launches, Barhydt said, “Our goal is to be the best digital currency wallet in the world for the average consumer, starting with real cash and bitcoin, and we’ll see how it evolves from there.”


The post Abra Closes $16M in Funding and Looks to Venture Into Consumer Product Space appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 23 October 2017 | 4:25 pm

Saudi Prince Al-Waleed: Bitcoin Is 'Going to Implode'

A senior member of the Saudi royal family struck a critical tone about bitcoin during a media appearance today.

Posted on 23 October 2017 | 2:35 pm

What's With All the Bitcoin Hate? - NBCNews.com


NBCNews.com

What's With All the Bitcoin Hate?
NBCNews.com
It's a "fraud," "an index of money laundering," and "an Enron in the making." Are they talking about Bitcoin or the latest Mafia bust? The "digital gold" has seen its price shoot up this year alone by about 500 percent to $5,700. But in the past few ...
Bitcoin price may "implode," Saudi Prince Alaweed saysCBS News
Saudi Billionaire Prince Alwaleed Predicts Bitcoin Will 'Implode' Like EnronFortune
Saudi Prince Al-Waleed: Bitcoin Is 'Going to Implode'CoinDesk
MarketWatch -Economic Times -CNBC
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Posted on 23 October 2017 | 12:49 pm

Canada Court Holds ICO Organizer in Contempt

A Canadian court ruled against the organizer of an ICO after it was alleged that they repeatedly violated orders to cease soliciting investors.

Posted on 23 October 2017 | 12:47 pm

Ether Price Hits One-Month Low Below $280

The price of ether hit its lowest point in one month on Monday, falling to $275 despite strong gains observed elsewhere in the cryptocurrency market.

Posted on 23 October 2017 | 12:00 pm

Quantum Computing and Building Resistance into Proof of Stake

Particl Thumb 4

While both mining via Proof of Work (POW) and staking are two of the most popular ways to perform work to earn income, cryptocurrencies are also susceptible to advances in computing, which could undercut the value of the coins by making them much easier and less expensive to mine. The dawn of quantum computers is upon us. And while this causes many to fear the loss of income potential, the truth is that an increase in difficulty to mine or stake is factored into the underlying algorithms in blockchain systems which have adjusted accordingly from central processing units to graphics processing units. From field-programmable gate array to application-specific integrated circuits.

 

The real threat quantum computing has for cryptocurrency work systems is in attacking the public-key cryptography.

Quantum Computing and Bitcoin

Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin on the unspent transaction output (UTXO) model. In basic terms, think of all bitcoins in your wallet as change. When making a payment, this change is combined and sent. Once bitcoin is spent, the public keys of that address are broadcast to the entire network so that they can verify that you signed the coins over to a new address. Quantum computers have the ability to reverse your private key from your public key, so address reuse becomes a problem.

 

With the UTXO model, any change you have from a transaction will go to a newly generated address. All addresses which have never been spent are safe from a public-key attack because the key has not been broadcast. This does not change the fact that many basic users reuse addresses for convenience and many work protocols like POS reuse addresses as well.

Vulnerabilities in POS

To generate passive income by POS, this process is called staking. During staking, some of your coins are locked and unavailable to spend. Similar to a savings account in a bank, these coins are reserved by the network for a short period of time. In return for borrowing these coins the owner receives interest (coins) just like banks pay customers interest. POS coin supplies are inflationary at a variety of yearly rates; providing stakers better interest than local banks or credit unions.

 

In most cases, your coins need to be available to the network (online) in order to be staked. However, if you lack guaranteed internet connectivity or just prefer not to keep your wallet online all the time in order to mitigate potential exposure to security risks, you are at a disadvantage because you can’t earn passive income on your coins while they are offline.

 

While staking is considerably less energy intensive, POW is still considered by many to be superior to POS. One of the chief arguments for that position is a security flaw in staking systems — POS gives away your public key when you stake.

This argument has merit because in most cases coins are stored in a small amount of addresses, mostly one, and that address is unlocked (unencrypted) for staking. The public key of these unlocked staking addresses is regularly being broadcast to the network.

One project building resistance to quantum computing is Particl, the open-source privacy framework built on blockchain technology. Here’s a look at how that project leverages innovations like cold staking, multi-signatures and HD wallets to improve POS security, maximize income-generation  and provide secure, private, flexible spending options for owners of its token, PART.

Cold Staking

In its most basic terms, cold staking keeps your spend public key and private key private.


While you still need to be online to generate stakes, cold staking leverages multi-signature addresses so you can stake from multiple computers. A person earning passive income on a network with cold staking, like Particl’s, can set up a dedicated stake-only machine while simultaneously spending those coins around the world on any mobile HD wallet like Ledger or Particl’s own Copay App.

 

In terms of quantum resistance, this makes reversing private keys to public keys nearly impossible. For beginners, the stake-only machine is broadcasting a public key that is different than the mobile wallet key. In order to steal coins, both private keys would need to be known when using multi-signature. The more computers broadcasting stakes and spending stakes the greater the resistance becomes.

 

On November 10, the Particl network will have a planned hard fork to activate cold staking on the main blockchain. The team has been community testing this new feature on its test network since the beginning of August.

Summary

Although most cryptocurrencies lack cold staking support, Particl is not the only platform to support it. A few others, such as BlueCoin and BlackHalo, also enable cold staking.


If you’re seeking to build a reliable passive income stream over the long-term using cryptocurrency, a feature like quantum resistance is important. If the past half-century is any indication, computers will always grow more and more powerful. A sudden advance in computing technology could practically wipe out the value of coins that lack quantum resistance.

 

As the cryptocurrency world evolves and grows more complex, generating income reliably using cryptocurrency is also becoming more challenging. Features like cold staking and quantum resistance provide income-generation benefits and guarantees that are now available from core cryptocurrency platforms like Particl.

The post Quantum Computing and Building Resistance into Proof of Stake appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 23 October 2017 | 11:59 am

Bitcoin highest price is in Zimbabwe, due to a forex shortage — Quartz - Quartz


Quartz

Bitcoin highest price is in Zimbabwe, due to a forex shortage — Quartz
Quartz
Interest in bitcoin trade is soaring in Zimbabwe and so is the price of the crypto-currency, which hit new record highs of nearly $10 000 earlier this month in a ...
Bitcoin Sells at $9.5k in Zimbabwe as Venezuela Gains '100k' New ...CoinTelegraph

all 6 news articles »

Posted on 23 October 2017 | 11:46 am

Will This Battle For The Soul Of Bitcoin Destroy It? - Forbes - Forbes


Forbes

Will This Battle For The Soul Of Bitcoin Destroy It? - Forbes
Forbes
The cypherpunks who created Bitcoin face off against the Silicon Valley CEOs who popularized it. But could the battle doom the original cryptocurrency itself?
Sell 'ShitCoin2x' Immediately for Best Profit: Bitcoin Exchange ...CoinTelegraph

all 6 news articles »

Posted on 23 October 2017 | 11:36 am

Mark Cuban-Backed Unikrn Raises $31 Million in E-Sports Token Sale

Unikrn, an e-sports betting site, has raised roughly $31 million in an initial coin offering, or ICO.

Posted on 23 October 2017 | 10:15 am

Upside Ahead? Stellar Rally Fizzles But Lumen Could Regain Luster

The price of Stellar's lumen cryptocurrency has seen ups and downs of late – but gains could be ahead if a key indicator holds.

Posted on 23 October 2017 | 9:45 am

Bitcoin Exchange Operator Given 16-Month Prison Sentence

Coin.mx operator Yuri Lebedev has been sentenced to 16 months in prison, according to a new report.

Posted on 23 October 2017 | 8:15 am

Blockchain for Inclusion? Gates Foundation Strikes Tepid Tone at Money2020

While it sees potential for distributed ledgers in supporting its mission, the Gates Foundation also notes limitations to the technology.

Posted on 23 October 2017 | 6:30 am

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Prepping for a Pullback? Bitcoin Price Drops Below $6,000

Bitcoin prices are trending down, but is this the sign of a developing trend?

Posted on 23 October 2017 | 5:45 am

American Express Eyes Blockchain for Customer Rewards System

New patent filings from American Express suggest the credit card provider is looking at blockchain as part of a consumer rewards system.

Posted on 23 October 2017 | 4:00 am

R3 Files Patents for 'Dynamic' DLT Recordkeeping

Consortium startup R3 has filed two patent applications detailing ways to apply distributed ledger tech to agreements between financial institutions.

Posted on 23 October 2017 | 3:00 am

Big money stays away from booming bitcoin - CNBC


CNBC

Big money stays away from booming bitcoin
CNBC
Bitcoin is booming, digital currency hedge funds are sprouting at the rate of two a week and the value of all cryptocurrencies has surged tenfold this year to more than $170 billion. Yet for all the hype, mainstream institutional investors are steering ...
A Second Bitcoin Fork Is Looming and Battle Lines Are Being DrawnMotherboard
Bitcoin Gold Initiates Hard Fork Split to Create New Cryptocurrency ...CoinDesk
New, imminent Bitcoin Gold fork met with skepticismZDNet
Bitcoin News (press release) -Seeking Alpha -CoinTelegraph -Coinbase | Support
all 160 news articles »

Posted on 23 October 2017 | 12:31 am

Bitcoin Price Analysis: Potential Wyckoff Distribution May Spring New All-Time Highs

Bitcoin Price Analysis

A potential Wyckoff Distribution phase is under way as bitcoin continues to climb on shaky ground. Days after having a strong $1,000 climb and nearly reaching $6,000 on most exchanges, we saw a strong rejection of the upper limits of the market as it plunged $600 over the course of a few short hours. Let’s take a look at the macro pattern and draw a few similarities to the Wyckoff Distribution schemes:

Figure_1.JPG

Figure 1: BTC-USD, 2-Hour Candles, Potential Wyckoff Distribution Phase

In order for the current distribution phase to be reliable, there are certain milestones the market must reach. As shown above, we previously established a point of Preliminary Supply, a strong Buying Climax, a knee-jerk reaction into an Automatic Reaction low, and a weak rally that ultimately led to a Sign of Weakness that pushed us down several hundred dollars. The rebound from this low was strong and occurred on very high volume. However, over the length of the rally post-sign-of-weakness, the volume has begun to taper as the momentum indicators are showing signs of bullish exhaustion as it finds its local high at around the $5,700 values.

One of the following milestones for the Wyckoff Distribution phase is one last dip as it tests the previous support around the Automatic Reaction low. As of the the time of this article, the current market trend is showing signs of bearish divergence on the 120-minute candles.  Zooming in closer, we can see clear signs of a potential small reversal:

Figure_2.JPG

Figure 2: BTC-USD, 30-Minute Candles, Waning Momentum

Both the RSI and MACD are showing signs of bullish exhaustion throughout the length of this rally. Any pullback will likely be supported by the Automatic Reaction support level. Historically, this has been a strong point of support and is made more evident on the 60-minute time frame:

Figure_3.JPG

Figure 3: BTC-USD, 60-Minute Candles, Strong Support Zone

The 200 EMA on the 1-hour candles is historically a great support level and provides traders a pulse on the market health. As of the time of this article, the 200 EMA is lining quite nicely with the support zone offered by the Automatic Reaction Zone. A test of these price levels would take a strong push to break and hold below. If the price continues through the Wyckoff Distribution, we can expect a test of the 200 EMA and a subsequent bounce triggering an Upthrust to new all-time highs. As mentioned in the last BTC-USD market analysis, we are trending along a macro channel:

Figure_4.JPG

Figure 4: BTC-USD, 1-Day Candles, Macro Ascending Channel

An Upthrust in this potential Distribution Phase would have a price target testing the upper channel in the $6,200–$6,300 price range.

Summary:

  1. A potential Wyckoff Distribution Phase is playing out.

  2. If the Distribution Phase plays as expected, we will see a test of the 200 EMA and a subsequent spring to new all-time highs.

  3. If an Upthrust to new all-time highs occurs, we can expect a price target in the $6,200s.

Trading and investing in digital assets like bitcoin, bitcoin cash 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: Potential Wyckoff Distribution May Spring New All-Time Highs appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 19 October 2017 | 2:57 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Blockchain?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tale of Two Koins

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

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

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

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

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

ESPN Meets Esports Meets Vegas

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 19 October 2017 | 12:24 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 19 October 2017 | 11:10 am

Connecting the Luxury Fine Art Industry with the Modern Digital Economy

Connecting the Luxury Fine Art Industry with the Modern Digital Economy

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

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

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

Dadiani & Partners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maecenas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 18 October 2017 | 9:29 am

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October 24, 2017 -
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