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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

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Posted on 22 November 2017 | 10:25 am

Bitcoin Price Holds Steady As Institutional Investors Reconsider Stance - Investopedia (blog)


Investopedia (blog)

Bitcoin Price Holds Steady As Institutional Investors Reconsider Stance
Investopedia (blog)
At 14:32 UTC, the cryptocurrency was trading at $8,179.33, up 1% in the last 24 hours. Bitcoin Cash, a bitcoin offshoot created after a hard fork in bitcoin's blockchain in August, rose 10.3% to $1,305. Within the last 24 hours, the cryptocurrency also ...
Wealth Managers Being Bombarded With Investor Requests to Buy BitcoinCointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
Uber Hacks and Bitcoin FuturesBloomberg
Can anything stop bitcoin? Price above $8000CNNMoney
CNBC -Crain's Chicago Business -Business Insider
all 72 news articles »

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 9:21 am

Bitcoin Is 'Not Actually Legal,' Says Zimbabwe Central Bank Chief

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has cast doubt on the legality of bitcoin in the country.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 8:45 am

This Bitcoin Developer Is About to Take on the Mining Hardware Industry

DragonMint

BtcDrak, the most active pseudonymous Bitcoin Core contributor to date, is making a move into the mining hardware industry. The developer, who besides having contributed to the Bitcoin Core repository also maintains the bitcoincore.org website and the Bitcoin Core Community Slack channel, has helped set up ASIC chip manufacturing company Halong Mining over the past year. The startup has now produced an initial batch of mining hardware and plans to ship to consumers in early 2018.

“We started a mining project with the aim to bring much needed competition to the market,” BtcDrak told Bitcoin Magazine. “We want to ‘make SHA256 great again.’”

The Miners

Halong Mining is launching a production line that consists of one machine for now: the DragonMint 16T. The miner — its name references the Dragon’s Den, an (in)famous private chat channel on the Bitcoin Core Community Slack — is equipped with newly designed chips and can produce a total of 16 terahashes per second. Importantly, BtcDrak claims that the machines are about 30 percent more energy efficient than the most efficient ASIC miner on the market right now, Bitmain’s AntMiner S9.

“The DragonMint will be the most advanced miner to date,” he said.

The main bottleneck to entering the ASIC market is typically capital: developing specialized chips from scratch is expensive. While BtcDrak preferred not to disclose much information about Halong Mining for now, he did note that the machines have been produced by a team with “serious expertise.”

According to the developer, Halong Mining has invested $30 million in research and development so far, with over 100 people involved, including chip designers, electronics hardware specialists and software designers.

“Research and development is not cheap, and we need a lot of diverse skills,” BtcDrak explained.

Halong Mining has now produced an initial batch of DragonMint machines, though these are still just prototypes for testing and fine-tuning. They will not be sold to the public due to risk of reverse engineering, BtcDrak said, though he emphasized that the machines are working.

“Other companies that want to enter the ASIC mining industry develop everything in simulations, and then the first presale batch tries to pay for small production. But the NRE [non-recurring engineering] and making wafers is fraught with difficulty; the first run is not easy to do well.”

Halong Mining published a video of a DragonMint on YouTube today. BtcDrak thinks the first mass-produced run of DragonMint miners will happen within about four months and begin to ship in March of 2018.

Apart from the DragonMint machines, Halong Mining will also be selling mining chips separately, in bulk.

The Competition

With the introduction of DragonMint miners, Halong Mining will offer an alternative for Bitmain’s mining hardware, which has dominated the market for the past few years. An estimated 70 percent or more of the hash power on the network today is produced by Bitmain machines, and around half of all hash power is pointed to mining pools that are either owned by or closely affiliated with Bitmain, such as AntPool, BTC.com, ConnectBTC and ViaBTC.

“One manufacturer as a monopoly is not good for Bitcoin,” BtcDrak said. “Centralization in mining is a problem regardless of how benevolent you are. If there is a center, then governments and criminals can attack it. Decentralization protects the entire system and all its participants. So I wanted to bring competition.”

Bitmain in particular has also not made itself popular within segments of the Bitcoin community over the past years. The Chinese ASIC manufacturer was at the center of the AsicBoost and Antbleed controversies, and perhaps more importantly, some speculate that the company exerted its influence over the mining ecosystem by allowing or limiting hardware sales based on how hash power from the machines was used. Bitmain has always denied this is the case, however.

Halong Mining wants to distribute ASIC miners “far and wide to help decentralize mining,” BtcDrak said, adding that the company is considering open sourcing its board designs and software. This would help new manufacturers get a foothold in the industry, building on the research already done by Halong Mining over the past year.

BtcDrak concluded:

“There is a lot at stake here. A lot of time and money has been invested … and we have a huge opportunity to bring more diversity to Bitcoin mining, and in turn help secure the network more.”

The post This Bitcoin Developer Is About to Take on the Mining Hardware Industry appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 8:40 am

Wall Street strategist Tom Lee raises bitcoin forecast, now predicts 40% rise - CNBC


CNBC

Wall Street strategist Tom Lee raises bitcoin forecast, now predicts 40% rise
CNBC
Fundstrat raises its mid-2018 price target for bitcoin to $11,500 from $6,000, representing nearly 40 percent upside to its current level. "In our view, this move to $5,600 cleaned up weak hands and we no longer feel caution is warranted. … We ...
Crypto Bull Tom Lee Doubles Bitcoin Price Target to $11500Bloomberg
Bitcoin Could Surge to $11500 By Mid-2018 Now That The Weaklings Are OutTheStreet.com
One Wall Street analyst just doubled his bitcoin forecast to $11500Business Insider UK

all 5 news articles »

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 8:24 am

Central Bank of Malaysia Plans Cryptocurrency Reporting Rules

The governor of Malaysia's central bank has provided more detail on upcoming regulations aimed to counter the illicit uses of cryptocurrencies.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 7:00 am

What's Next for Bitcoin Cash? Stopping Users From Losing Funds

Bitcoin cash may be vying for the top spot in bitcoin software, but it's still working to correct fundamental usability problems.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 6:10 am

Breaking: Paris Asset Manager Starts Bitcoin Mutual Fund - Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)


Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)

Breaking: Paris Asset Manager Starts Bitcoin Mutual Fund
Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
The company has created the fund as an unregulated alternative investment in order to provide a vehicle for allowing more regulated investors at the institutional level to gain Bitcoin exposure without the regulatory concerns. According to the business ...
Europe's first bitcoin mutual fund launched by TobamFinancial Times
A $9 billion French asset manager is launching Europe's first bitcoin mutual fundBusiness Insider
Fund Tracking Bitcoin Launches in Europe as Crypto Gains BackersBloomberg
City A.M. -Financial News
all 12 news articles »

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 5:31 am

Mike Novogratz Doubles Down on $10,000 Bitcoin

Billionaire Mike Novogratz has restated his belief that bitcoin will end the year at $10,000, while ethereum could hit $500.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 5:25 am

Bitcoin Leaves Two Tech Giants In Its Dust - Bloomberg


Bloomberg

Bitcoin Leaves Two Tech Giants In Its Dust
Bloomberg
AMD and NVIDIA shares have done better than their peers in recent years, in part because of their usefulness to the crypto crowd, but their stock didn't react much to the latest Bitcoin highs. For Bitcoin at least, it seems the only way for an ...

and more »

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 4:51 am

Two-Week Rally Pushes Monero to New Record High

Following a two-month period in the doldrums, the price of the privacy-focused cryptocurrency monero has climbed to a new all-time high of over $155.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 4:35 am

Philippine Regulators Eye New Rules for Bitcoin Exchanges and ICOs

Philippine regulators are eyeing new rules for cryptocurrency exchanges and initial coin offerings (ICOs), according to officials.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 4:00 am

Who Needs a CSD? Nivaura Issues First Regulated Ether Bond

Blockchain startup Nivaura will today initiate its first bond denominated in ether. And, notably, the issuance will be conducted on a blockchain.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 3:00 am

Italian Bank Intesa Sanpaolo Explores Ethereum Derivatives

One of Italy's largest banks is re-imagining what the $1.2 quadrillion derivatives market would look like on a public blockchain.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 1:00 am

Survey: CFOs Think Bitcoin Is 'Real' But Are Divided on Price - CoinDesk


CoinDesk

Survey: CFOs Think Bitcoin Is 'Real' But Are Divided on Price
CoinDesk
Chief financial officers (CFOs) around the world seem to distrust bitcoin, according to a CNBC survey published Tuesday. CNBC received 43 responses from their Global CFO Council to a survey about their views bitcoin, with 12 of these respondents ...

and more »

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 12:02 am

Survey: CFOs Think Bitcoin Is 'Real' But Are Divided on Price

A group of CFOs polled by CNBC are split on whether bitcoin is a bubble, according to newly published results.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 12:00 am

Bitcoin House Money - Seeking Alpha


Bitcoin House Money
Seeking Alpha
Those who love Bitcoin want to hold and those who hate won't buy, and they can't short or play with derivatives at this point in time. Perhaps there is a rational way to intelligently ride the Bitcoin wave by setting conservative selling points to ...

and more »

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 10:59 pm

Enabling or Crippling? The Risks of State-by-State Blockchain Laws

A hodgepodge of state laws intended to sanction blockchain technology could end up making nationwide solutions commercially impracticable.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 10:00 pm

BitLicense Architect Ben Lawsky Joins Ripple Board

Ben Lawsky, the former New York Superintendent of Financial Services who spearheaded the BitLicense regulatory framework while in office, has joined startup Ripple's board of directors.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 3:30 pm

Top 5 Tips For New Bitcoin Investors - Forbes


Forbes

Top 5 Tips For New Bitcoin Investors
Forbes
While Bitc0in investing can be intimidating for those just getting their feet wet, there are several tips that newcomers can use to maximize their chances of success. By following the top five tips listed below, investors can boost their chances of ...

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 3:06 pm

New Code Released for Vlad Zamfir's Ethereum 'Casper' Upgrade

The Ethereum Foundation's lead developer for the Casper upgrade, Vlad Zamfir, uploaded the first version of the protocol's code to GitHub on Tuesday.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 2:30 pm

Blockchain Data Links Tether 'Attack' to 2015 Exchange Hack

The individual or group behind the alleged Tether attack may have been involved in a previous well-known hack in the bitcoin space.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 1:00 pm

Zen Protocol’s Mission for Decentralized Finance

Zen Thumb New

In Eastern traditions, Zen is often defined as a total state of focus, a merging together of body and mind. It involves dropping illusions and seeing things as they are in the present moment.

Based in Tel Aviv, Zen Protocol recognizes that starting in the “here and now” is vital to innovation and progress. Its mission? To create a platform that allows anyone in the world find and use financial products in a highly secure manner.

Zen Protocol’s eclectic team of developers and crypto veterans aims to assist Bitcoin in sustaining its dominance while allowing it to capitalize on advancements that boost adoption. In pursuing this quest, the company has made liberal use of beta testers — a move that runs counter to the prevailing approach in much of the world of blockchain technology, where projects all too often hastily toss up a website and white paper before demonstrating a viable product.

At Zen, 2017 has been about erecting a new blockchain to fuel a marketplace that allows bitcoin holders to issue, trade and invest in stock options, futures, digital currencies, exchange-traded funds, exotic derivatives, contracts for difference and other financial instruments.

This project is predicated on the Zen blockchain functioning in parallel with Bitcoin in what is typically known as a “sidechain.” This opens up a bevy of opportunities for Zen to curate its platform, independent of any changes to the Bitcoin protocol while simultaneously being able to integrate its own set of modifications to fuel its innovative process.

The primary value proposition of the platform involves the facilitation of complex financial agreements through the use of smart contracts. This can be seen as a major breakthrough given that Bitcoin doesn’t natively support smart contracts — a major reason why the majority of blockchain app projects are launching on Ethereum instead.

Through the creation of this sidechain-style model, Zen is able to pay Bitcoin miners for executing contracts without creating a competitive scenario with Bitcoin for computational resources. Zen, therefore, sees itself as a complementary solution for Bitcoin which helps it scale and offload some of the transactional demand from the Bitcoin chain, which often struggles with high transaction costs and sluggish transactions.

A Viable Alternative to Ethereum? 

Through the strategic execution of its ambitious roadmap, Zen aims to usher in a new era for smart contracts using the Bitcoin blockchain — a space where Ethereum has, to date, shown a dominant presence.

On Ethereum, all smart contracts, in order to execute, need to use what is known as “gas.” When this vital resource is depleted, contracts may stop before they finish executing — a frequent source of frustration for both users and developers.

Zen’s smart contracts, on the other hand, always execute without stoppage, never utilizing more resources than required, thereby eliminating the need for gas entirely. Further, Zen lets miners check the computational resources needed for a contract before running it, allowing for more rapid contract execution than on Ethereum.

The Zen team is also making headway in how smart contracts engage with the real world. One major sticking point with the current iteration of smart contracts is that they exist in a walled garden on the blockchain. This prevents them from capturing external data on their own. External data feeds, known as “oracles,” are key to assessing the outcome of real-world events and to resolving any disagreements that may surface. 

By way of example, say a person wants to pay for auto insurance for a long-distance trip from Point A to Point B. A smart contract can set up for that date, with the projected mileage and other key information. Then one or more oracles could be set up to facilitate the exchange of information to the smart contracts with any payout predicated on any agreed upon conditions (such as a qualifying accident) being met. Zen’s oracles can run at a profit, without taking up too much space on the blockchain.

Token Sale and Next Steps

As a critical next step in its progression, Zen Protocol recently announced that its highly anticipated token sale will commence on November 30, 2017. This token is required to switch on smart contracts in the system, but participants can make transactions and use contracts with their bitcoins or other assets, without using any additional tokens. One advantage of Zen’s contract system is that the assets which contracts make don’t need the “native” Zen token to spend or send to other participants.

“At the end of the day, we believe 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 Adam Perlow, CEO of Zen Protocol.

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Zen 02 New

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The post Zen Protocol’s Mission for Decentralized Finance appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 12:46 pm

Hacker Allegedly Siphons $31 Million Out of Tether, Driving Further Speculations About the Cryptocurrency

Hacker Allegedly Siphons $31 Million Out of Tether, Driving Further Speculations About the Cryptocurrency

Tether, a cryptocurrency pegged 1-to-1 to the U.S. dollar, was allegedly hacked today to the tune of $31 million.

Tether functions to convert U.S. dollars to a type of cryptocurrency. The project’s token (USDT) is pegged to the dollar and is used in exchange trading. The idea behind Tether is that instead of having to sell your bitcoin or other token for a fiat currency, you can convert it to USDT, and either hold it in USDT or else transfer your USDT to another exchange and use it to purchase tokens there.

As for the exchanges, USDT allows them to trade in something akin to dollars, without requiring them to have a bank account.

Tether operates on the “Omni Layer Protocol,” which itself operates on top of the Bitcoin network, and uses Bitcoin addresses. According to a blog post on the project’s website, $31 million worth of USDT was sent to an unauthorized Bitcoin address on November 19, 2017.

In the blog post, Tether also noted it released a new version of the Omni Core software used by exchanges and wallets to support USDT transactions, thus implementing a temporary hard fork to the Omni Layer. As a result, the affected tokens are frozen in place, making them essentially worthless to the hacker.

“We strongly urge all Tether integrators to install this software immediately to prevent the coins from entering the ecosystem,” Tether wrote, adding that “any tokens from the attacker’s addresses will not be redeemed.”

Some exchanges, like Kraken, have stopped trading USDT temporarily while they upgrade to the newer software.

The heist was made in three separate USDT transfers out of Tether’s core Treasury wallet in the amounts of 23,000,000; 7,900,000; and 500,000 USDT. It is unclear why the hacker did not move all of the money out at once.

In addition to the other exchanges it trades on, USDT is widely traded on Bitfinex, an exchange that lost 119,756 BTC (worth $72 million at the time) in a hack that took place a year and a half ago.

News of the Tether attack comes at a time when some — notably the blogger “Bitfinex’ed” — are questioning whether USDTs are being issued without backing of actual U.S. dollars. Similarly, there has been growing speculation that Tether is being used in possible market manipulation to drive up the price of bitcoin.

The current market cap value of USDT is around $673 million. If that money is backed by real reserves, as Tether claims, the project would need to have at least that much in its bank account in Taiwan.

Tether publishes a bank account balance on its website’s Transparency page and claims the money is redeemable for U.S. dollars at any time directly through the Tether platform.

The project’s website has been up and down sporadically, since the hack. An archive of the site is available here.

The post Hacker Allegedly Siphons $31 Million Out of Tether, Driving Further Speculations About the Cryptocurrency appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 12:32 pm

Report Warns SAFT May Increase Legal Risk of Token Sales

Making ICOs compliant while delivering on their disruptive promise may be a harder needle to thread than the SAFT plan anticipates, a new paper says.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 10:40 am

NAGA Flourishes at the Epicenter of Blockchain’s Digital Disruption

NAGA Thumb

Blockchain technology’s disruptive force in business and commerce has been well documented. With strong momentum ensuing from its beginnings as the foundational technology supporting Bitcoin, distributed ledger technology shows great promise in terms of its potential impact on the future of our planet. 

One emerging enterprise at the nexus of these developments is The NAGA Group AG, a German fintech company. NAGA’s strategic aim is to create world-class mobile and web applications for the capital markets and gaming sectors, along with cutting edge, blockchain-based solutions.

Listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange as one of Europe’s fastest growing fintech firms, with six offices operating in five countries, NAGA’s successful IPO in July 2017 sparked a share price increase of 500 percent within less than three months.

Indicative of its strong advancement as a curator of cutting-edge concepts and business ideas, NAGA is backed by a number of high profile shareholders, including the Chinese Fosun Group and Hauck & Aufhäuser (one of Europe’s oldest banks founded in 1796).

“We Don't Copy, We Disrupt” is a key theme undergirding NAGA’s roadmap of progress. Employing a highly data-driven approach, it aims to reimagine the prevailing banking sector model through innovative, transparent and simplistic mobile-first concepts. All product development and design efforts target international expansion and a global marketing solutions.

New Collaborations, NAGA’s Acceleration Forward

NAGA’s foundational ecosystem is based on SwipeStox, an existing iOS and Android app and online trading platform that functions as a social network for traders. Operational since early 2015, this network is utilized by hundreds of thousands of registered users, facilitating over 200,000 monthly transactions at the tune of more than $4 billion.

Signaling its next significant breakthrough, NAGA Group and Deutsche Börse formed a joint venture called Switex in December 2016. This venture merges the financial trading world with the gaming world, allowing users to trade in-game merchandise. Currently under development, Switex is scheduled to launch in beta form in Q1 of 2018.

NAGA is also scheduled to launch a digital wallet that will align both platforms noted above. This will allow tokens to be stored so that individuals can use them for SwipeStox, Switex and other forthcoming projects such as the NAGA Trading Academy.

This tool will also provide a mechanism for the conversion of blockchain assets such as bitcoin, ether, litecoin and others. Moreover, NAGA plans to launch a debit card which will support users in their desire to spend cryptocurrencies both online and offline.

Prominent Figures

The NAGA Group AG was recently buoyed by the announcement that Roger Ver and Mate Tokay, Bitcoin.com’s CEO and COO respectively, had joined the company’s team of advisors.

Through the influence of these two cryptocurrency leaders, the company hopes to fuel the next iteration of barrier-free investing into stocks or virtual goods through its forthcoming proprietary token, NAGA Coin.

As arguably Bitcoin’s first angel investor, having funded the seed rounds for a majority of the entire first generation of Bitcoin-related businesses, including the Bitcoin Foundation, Bitpay, Blockchain.info, Ripple and Kraken, Ver is considered a prominent voice and strong advocate for Bitcoin adoption around the world. His philosophy and ideology of libertarianism and “voluntarism” align pretty succinctly with those espoused by NAGA.

Ver holds the view that every person on the planet has the right to freedom of choice, voluntary association and self-governance. This assertion aligns well with NAGA’s aim to build a supportive ecosystem which will allow underbanked individuals throughout the world to participate in financial and crypto markets. This opportunity for involvement in the world of trading and investing is seen as a critical step to fostering financial independence and free lifestyles.

Ver’s colleague, Tokay, is also an active and vocal proponent of Bitcoin. Having cut his teeth as a Bitcoin miner in 2013, Tokay continues to stay abreast of emerging crypto trends as part of his involvement with several successful blockchain-related projects.

“I am thrilled to join the NAGA token sale as an advisor; they already have a working product that will allow millions of unbanked people to trade on the crypto markets and with that giving them the opportunity to reach financial freedom,” Tokay said.

Dovetailing off of this news was the decision to add Bitcoin Cash (BCH) to the list of accepted cryptocurrencies for NAGA’s upcoming token sale.

“We consider BCH to represent the future of cryptocurrencies because of its small transaction cost and other benefits,” said NAGA founder Benjamin Bilski. “Thus, we believe that it will reduce the barriers for our potential investors and future customers to become a part of our ecosystem.”

Igniting the Next Frontier

With the ultimate vision to establish a cryptocurrency that allows anyone to invest and trade easily and securely, NAGA will launch a token pre-sale on November 20, 2017. The Naga Development Association Ltd. will partner with the NAGA Group to introduce the ERC20-based token, NAGA Coin (NGC), a decentralized currency unit with the purpose of bringing together all of the platforms the NAGA network through its own proprietary NAGA Wallet.

During the pre-sale, 20 million NGC tokens will be available with a 30 percent sale bonus. The main sale will then commence on December 1, 2017, and last until December 15, 2017. The maximum cap in tokens for the main sale is 200 million.

Learn more by visiting NAGA’s website as well as joining its Telegram chat. 

The post NAGA Flourishes at the Epicenter of Blockchain’s Digital Disruption appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 9:37 am

Morocco Regulators Warn of Penalties for Cryptocurrency Use

The foreign exchange office of the Moroccan government has stated that the use of cryptocurrencies can lead to penalties under existing rules.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 8:15 am

Russia Will 'Never' Consider Bitcoin Legalization, Says Minister

The Russian minister of communications and mass media said yesterday that the country will not consider the legalization of digital currencies.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 7:01 am

Untethered? Bitcoin Shrugs Off Hack to Push Above $8,000

Fears over a cryptocurrency hack revealed yesterday saw a brief crash in prices, but bitcoin soon bounced back.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 5:15 am

R3, Microsoft Expand Partnership to Boost Corda DLT Adoption

Distributed ledger startup R3 is moving to more deeply integrate its Corda platform with Microsoft's Azure cloud service.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 4:00 am

Finance chiefs say bitcoin is 'real' but many think it's in a bubble right now - CNBC


CNBC

Finance chiefs say bitcoin is 'real' but many think it's in a bubble right now
CNBC
Ninety-seven chief financial officers (CFOs) on CNBC's Global CFO Council were asked their view on bitcoin. Out of the 43 that responded, 27.9 percent said the cryptocurrency is "real but in a bubble." Another 14 percent said that bitcoin is "real and ...
30 Percent of CFOs Still Call Bitcoin a Bubble: CNBC SurveyCointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)

all 3 news articles »

Posted on 20 November 2017 | 11:25 pm

Op Ed: “We Never Thought of That” — When Venture-Backed Companies Undertake Reverse ICOs

Op Ed: “We Never Thought of That” When Venture-Backed Companies Undertake Reverse ICOs

With well over $3 billion raised this year alone, in very little time initial coin offerings (ICOs) have emerged as a major source of venture finance. Even companies that have already raised conventional venture funding will be tempted to raise additional funds through ICOs. Although not fully intuitive, some have labeled token issuances by entities that previously obtained equity financing as “Reverse ICOs.”

One prominent example of a Reverse ICO has already occurred. Recently, Kik Interactive successfully completed an ICO of nearly $100 million. With over $3 billion raised in ICOs this year alone, ICOs are not unsubstantial. What made the Kik offering far more unusual is that Kik has already raised over $100 million from venture investors.

The standard documents used for angel and venture investing predate the current ICO craze and, not surprisingly, do not expressly address ICOs. Understandably, these documents are all “share-centric.” The question that needs to be addressed, therefore, is: What rights, if any, do existing investors have when their company elects to undertake an ICO?

What makes the analysis particularly difficult is that, broadly speaking, there are three types of ICOs:

  • Equity Tokens — these tokens are essentially digital shares with the issuer specifying equity participation, voting rights and other token/shareholder rights.

  • Non-Equity Security Tokens — these tokens do not grant equity rights but under the Howey test are nonetheless classified as securities.

  • Utility Tokens — these tokens allow the purchaser to buy products or services from the issuer.

Although not the subject of this article, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued initial guidance with respect to the securities law status of tokens issued in ICOs. The SEC’s Chief Accountant has also put out guidance detailing some of the accounting issues raised by ICOs.

This article will identify several issues raised by ICOs under commonly used SAFE, Convertible Note, Series Seed and Series A documents.

Why Existing Investors Might Object to Reverse ICOs

On the surface, Reverse ICOs would seem to be a net positive for existing investors. Except for equity tokens, ICOs provide non-dilutive financing to companies. Even when tokens are classified as securities, they generally are not issued as equity  —purchasers do not have a share in the issuer, do not receive dividends and do not get voting rights. However, there are several reasons why existing investors might be concerned:

Multiple “Plays” on the Same Company

After a Reverse ICO, a venture-backed company will have both tokens and equity in the hands of investors. Prior to the ICO, the only way an investor could invest in the company was by buying its stock. After the ICO, the investor would have a choice of buying the stock or buying tokens.

At least in the current environment, there is reason to believe that demand for tokens will be greater and drive up relative prices for tokens. Equity holders may find reduced demand for their equity. Further, if the tokens remain outstanding at the time of an exit, it is difficult to predict the impact of outstanding token pools on exit valuations in either an acquisition or IPO scenario.

Impact on Follow-On Venture Funding

Many venture funds make relatively small initial investments, anticipating that they will deploy significantly more capital in subsequent rounds. ICOs may reduce companies’ needs for future equity raises. As a result, venture funds may have reduced opportunities for follow-on funding.

Delay or Elimination of Conversion Events

For holders of Convertible Notes and SAFEs, under most currently used form documents, ICOs typically will not be considered an event that triggers a conversion. In some cases, ICOs may also delay or even eliminate subsequent equity financings. Further, in successful companies, ICOs often will raise the pre-money valuation at which conversion occurs, thereby diluting SAFE/Note holders (although conversion caps in many of these instruments may mitigate the impact).

Avoiding Pre-Emptive Rights

Under the current agreement forms, tokens sold in an ICO would not trigger the pre-emptive rights of existing shareholders — thereby denying them an automatic right of participation in the ICO.

Absence of Transfer Restrictions

Under the current agreement forms, tokens sold in an ICO would not be subject to the rights of first refusal, co-sale rights and the transfer restrictions typically applicable to shareholders in venture-backed companies.

ICOs Do Not Trigger Other Typical Preferred Shareholder Provisions
  • Anti-Dilution Protection. If a company underprices its tokens, its impact on valuation could be similar to a “down round.” However, unless tokens are issued as equity, they would not trigger the anti-dilution protection clauses in the standard forms.

  • Liquidation Preferences. If token holders are given equity participation in an issuer, the issuing documentation will need to specify where they stand in the liquidation stack. For utility tokens, if the claim against the company is viewed as contractual (i.e., the holders of a pre-payment for products/services), token holders may be unsecured creditors instead of shareholders — in which case they would rank ahead of all equity classes.

  • Mandatory Conversion of Preferred Shares. Venture documents typically provide for mandatory conversion of preferred shares in an IPO of a specified minimum amount raised and minimum share price or approval by what is typically a supermajority of preferred shareholders. Several ICOs have raised in excess of $100 million. If these companies go public, it is possible that some may not need additional funding and may do so without a public offering of additional shares (i.e., a direct offering). However, if not all shareholders agree with the decision to go public, the mandatory conversion provision could not be utilized unless approved by a supermajority of the preferred shareholders, which in some circumstances could impede the ability of an IPO to proceed.

Impact on Future Cash Flow

Many ICO issuers are positioning their tokens as “utility tokens” that can be used in the future to buy the issuer’s product or service. As a result, these tokens constitute pre-pays for the future delivery of goods and services. In the future, when the products/services need to be delivered, the venture may experience cash flow issues because no new funds will be coming in to pay for the product or service.

Impact of Regulatory, Tax and Accounting Uncertainty

Currently, the regulatory status of ICOs is unclear. Issuance of tokens in a manner that does not comply with the eventual regulations that emerge could create liabilities for the company and/or limit its ability to issue equity in the future. In addition, the accounting and tax rules for ICOs have not been established, and as a result, there may be ambiguity with respect to several representations and warranties the company typically will need to make in future financings and liquidity events.

Fiduciary Uncertainty

Officers and directors of companies have fiduciary obligations to maximize shareholder value. When companies are insolvent, these duties shift to protection of the interests of creditors. What, if any, fiduciary duties a board has with respect to token holders has not been explored. If a company is facing a decision that would benefit shareholders at a cost to token holders, do board members have any fiduciary obligation to the token holders? Investor representatives on boards of companies that have conducted Reverse ICOs will not only have to deal with uncertainty but also potential conflicts of interest if they have not participated in the Reverse ICO.

Can Investors Prevent a Company from Undertaking an ICO?

While it is difficult to believe that a company would undertake an ICO without board approval, in many early-stage companies, investors do not have control of the board. However, commonly used investment documents may leave shareholders with limited recourse where boards back an ICO. In general, in SAFEs and Convertible Notes, holders do not have protective rights and, as a result, they do not have the ability to prevent an ICO.

The protective provisions in the Certificate of Incorporation for Series Seed financings would not provide Series Seed holders with the ability to prevent an ICO. In the NVCA Series A documents, ICOs do not easily fit into any of the matters for which the investor director’s approval is required. The same applies to the protective provisions for the benefit of preferred shareholders detailed in the Certificate of Incorporation.

What Now?

For blockchain startups, ICOs have become the dominant form of fundraising — far exceeding venture capital financing. Given the strength of the ICO market, “Reverse ICOs” are likely to become even more pervasive. For investors this could be very challenging. Existing form agreements in the venture space are likely to be revised to address the possibility of Reverse ICOs. However, the regulatory, tax and accounting uncertainties around ICOs may not be quickly resolved, leaving uncertainty around some of the concerns raised in this article.

Revising the form agreements will not address the thousands of venture-backed companies that were financed using pre-ICO forms. For existing investors the path forward is more difficult. Where investors control the board or have blocking rights, they will have the ability to prevent ICOs or influence their terms. For other investors, particularly in early-stage ventures with founder-dominated boards, ICOs have the potential to overturn several assumptions under which early investors funded. These investors may have to wait for situations in which their approval is needed for unrelated corporate actions or their funding is necessary and leverage that position to insist upon amendments to existing investment documents to address some of the investor challenges resulting from Reverse ICOs.

This is a guest post by Dror Futter. Views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Media or Bitcoin Magazine.

The post Op Ed: “We Never Thought of That” — When Venture-Backed Companies Undertake Reverse ICOs appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 20 November 2017 | 3:25 pm

Rublix Is Reimagining Crypto Trading

RBLX thumb


The soaring fortunes of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies is attracting massive amounts of media attention worldwide. This has led to a steady stream of traders flocking to the space amid record prices and subsequent asset returns.

In some circles, this exuberance has to raise concerns about a bubble akin to the great global recession of 2008. On a weekly basis, a seemingly endless stream of new crypto projects, many predicated on little more than a hastily developed white paper and website, are being launched and creating a crowded array of options for would-be traders.

Enter Rublix, a Canadian blockchain and smart contract technology startup that aims to eliminate many of the common concerns and uncertainties arising in the prevailing world of decentralized markets or speculative asset classes. Charting a course of transparency, while nurturing a world-class ecosystem of problem solvers and supporters, Rublix endeavors to create a new normal for trading performance among cryptocurrencies or any asset class. Bolstered by highly astute technology and investment experts, Rublix is actively unveiling a suite of products tied to an ambitious roadmap with a series of launch dates.

The Rublix platforms are being developed in collaboration with some of the top designers and coders in the world and the team is seeking to attract professionals in the finance space who desire to actively participate in the world of decentralized markets. Its target market? Traders of any sophistication level in any industry including people who believe that cryptocurrencies and the blockchain have barely scratched the surface in terms of its growth potential.

Hedge

Rublix’s flagship product is called Hedge, a platform which assists those who are interested in, yet unacquainted with, trading in making thoughtful, informed and educated decisions. Users will have the ability to track and mimic trades made by sophisticated investors on the platform with a verified ranking. The more accurate a trader, the higher their corresponding rank. The platform features an advanced block explorer that displays and records real-time trading predictions on the Rublix chain. The result is that novice traders will be able to rapidly assess and learn from more experienced counterparts with proven track records.

“The problem with many trading platforms that allow entry level traders to follow ‘successful traders’ is that they employ a month-by-month portfolio model,” said Rublix co-founder and CEO David Waslen. “Unfortunately, portfolio growth is only one piece of the puzzle when analyzing performance. A twenty percent increase in one’s portfolio is not an accurate measure as to whether a trader is highly skilled or not. Perhaps they got lucky with one trade while the balance of their portfolio is mediocre or poor.”

The goal of Rublix, Waslen added, is to change this dynamic.

“Rublix, therefore, aims to expose each trading prediction both before and after the event to increase transparency and accountability,” he said. “By making each blueprint public information with blockchain immutability, we give users a secure tool that will aid in making calculated decisions on which information to trust the we hope will help them enter the cryptocurrency space and successfully trade.”

Cryptocurrencies, with prevailing volatility in a marketplace that never closes, provide an abundance of opportunities for any trader. What is needed is a trusted source of advice to help professional and novice traders develop their knowledge base and hone their skills. That is why through integration with three inherent components of blockchain technology - transparency, decentralization, and immutability - Rublix’s Hedge platform debunks market manipulation while providing a trusted source of trader information.

“The blockchain aids in keeping our data secure and unsusceptible to intrusion or manipulation,” Waslen said. “It’s obviously a foundational element in helping us create a reliable, unbiased data source that will allow users to make calculated decisions on how to trade appropriately. A decentralized database of users’ past trade history paired with smart contract verification will give us a significant competitive advantage over other trading networks.”

Waslen goes on to note that the platform rewards users with the company’s native RBLX token on an exponential scale based on how many times they are “accurate” in their predictions. Hedge is targeted for release in Q1 2018.

TradersEdge

Rublix’s next product for helping new traders enter the cryptocurrency market is called TradersEdge. Set to launch in Q3 of 2018, it will feature a suite of tools that offer a similar feel and aesthetic to that of many well-known modern trading platforms. This attention to user experience is seen as a vital cog to building long-term interest and user adoption in the crypto-sphere as many cryptocurrency exchange platforms lack a user friendly interface.

Centurio

Finally, Rublix is building a tool called Centurio which will assist newcomers in getting up to speed with how to use cryptocurrencies for daily transactions and savings. This cross-platform solution, which doubles as a wallet and contract organizer, is targeted for release in early 2018.

Unfriendly platforms, difficulties in finding trusted information and general hesitation are what limit the growth and proliferation of cryptocurrencies. Recognizing this, Rublix is laser focused on bringing a whole new cast of entrants into the marketplace by mitigating a number of common concerns that hinder adoption. Rublix’s goal is to create an environment where embracing the blockchain and owning cryptocurrencies feels second nature.


The post Rublix Is Reimagining Crypto Trading appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 20 November 2017 | 8:47 am

Now the SegWit2x Hard Fork Has Really Failed to Activate

The SegWit2x Hard Fork Has Now Really Failed to Activate

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’t

SegWit2x 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.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 2:54 pm

Crypto Trading and Traditional Assets: New Options for Investors

cryptotrading.jpg

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.

Ankorus

Ankorus 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 Network

LAToken (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.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 1:34 pm

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

Posted on 12 June 2017 | 1:06 am

CRYENGINE now accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 29 March 2017 | 1:24 am

Consulting firm EY Switzerland accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 26 November 2016 | 12:47 am

Steam accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 29 April 2016 | 1:09 am

Major Magazine Publisher to Accept Bitcoin Payments

Posted on 18 December 2014 | 12:43 pm

Microsoft accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 11 December 2014 | 5:06 am

Mozilla accepting Bitcoin

Posted on 20 November 2014 | 1:55 pm

PayPal and Virtual Currency

Posted on 23 September 2014 | 9:52 pm

German Newspaper "taz" accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 22 July 2014 | 1:32 pm

Expedia to accept Bitcoin payments for hotel bookings

Posted on 12 June 2014 | 12:41 pm

November 22, 2017 -
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