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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 18 December 2017 | 12:15 pm

What is Bitcoin? Here's everything you need to know - CNET


CNET

What is Bitcoin? Here's everything you need to know
CNET
A person (or group, or company) mines Bitcoin by doing a combination of advanced math and record-keeping. Here's how it works. When someone sends a Bitcoin to someone else, the network records that transaction, and all of the others made over a certain ...
Bought Your First Bitcoin or Ether? Brace for the FeesCoinDesk
Whoever created Bitcoin is now among the world's 50 richest peopleTNW
Bitcoin's mysterious creator may become the first trillionaireIndependent Online
NEWS.com.au
all 35 news articles »

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 11:23 am

CFTC Launches Online Resources for Bitcoin Investors

The top derivatives regulator in the U.S. has created a new information portal for cryptocurrencies, a move that came just days ahead of a major bitcoin futures launch.

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 11:15 am

Of bitcoin, body snatchers and Buffett - Washington Post


Washington Post

Of bitcoin, body snatchers and Buffett
Washington Post
The most chilling movie scene ever might be the final take of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." One by one we see the human race overtaken by aliens except for the hero, played by Donald Sutherland. We lose track of Sutherland's character for a moment ...

and more »

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 11:13 am

France Wants G20 Nations to Discuss Bitcoin Regulation

France's finance minister is planning to push for a discussion on bitcoin regulation at a G-20 summit next spring.

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 9:15 am

The Only Good Bitcoin Advice Is Four Years Old Today - Motherboard


Motherboard

The Only Good Bitcoin Advice Is Four Years Old Today
Motherboard
Buying Bitcoin is a Faustian gambit; a real damned if you do, damned if you don't kind of deal. On the one hand, if you do buy you're now among the Bitcoin-holding elite and are no longer left out of the modern digital gold rush. On the other hand ...

and more »

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 8:29 am

Bitcoin Mania Lifts Rival Coins to Record Highs - Bloomberg


Bloomberg

Bitcoin Mania Lifts Rival Coins to Record Highs
Bloomberg
Ether and litecoin, the second and fourth biggest cryptocurrencies, have surged to all-time highs amid the optimism that bitcoin futures will attract institutions to the fledgling market. The rallies come as speculators flock to Coinbase.com Inc ...

and more »

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 8:26 am

Bitcoin's wild volatility could soon start shaping other markets - Business Insider


Business Insider

Bitcoin's wild volatility could soon start shaping other markets
Business Insider
On a normal day, bitcoin can shed or gain several thousand dollars of its value with double-digit percentage moves. While experts debate bitcoin's role in a world still dominated by fiat currencies, the real risk is how the cryptocurrency starts to ...

and more »

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 8:24 am

Litecoin Faces Key Hurdle in Push Back to Record Highs

The price of litecoin is up from a recent low, but Monday's chart analysis suggests it's facing a key crossroads in a bid to push much higher.

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 7:30 am

North Korea Suspected Again in Crypto Exchange Attacks

South Korea's spy agency beileves a recent run of hacking attacks on domestic cryptocurrency exchanges is linked to North Korea.

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 7:00 am

The Transformed Role of Government in the Blockchain Era

Embracing change might not be easy for governments, but it can be done, according to the head of Dubai's ambitious blockchain agenda.

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 6:35 am

Bitcoin Might Soon Face Tougher Regulations in Europe - Fortune


Fortune

Bitcoin Might Soon Face Tougher Regulations in Europe
Fortune
European governments are pushing for bitcoin regulation as alarm grows that the world's most popular digital currency is being used by money-launderers, drug traffickers and terrorists. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said he will ask his ...
'Bitcoin Question' Should Be At G20, Says France Finance MinisterCointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)

all 14 news articles »

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 6:02 am

Bull Market Breather? Bitcoin Retreats After Run on $20k - CoinDesk


CoinDesk

Bull Market Breather? Bitcoin Retreats After Run on $20k
CoinDesk
Having clocked a new all-time high of $19,783 at 12:14 GMT yesterday, CoinDesk's Bitcoin Price Index (BPI) is trading at $19,178. Further, data source CoinMarketCap shows bitcoin (BTC) has depreciated by 2.77 percent in the last 24 hours. And that ...
3 Big Reasons the Bitcoin Bubble Could Pop SoonMoney Magazine
Bitcoin trading starts on the huge CME exchangeBBC News
Bitcoin futures debut on CME, taking bigger Wall Street stageChicago Tribune
CBS New York -Fortune -CNBC -CoinDesk
all 161 news articles »

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 5:47 am

Bull Market Breather? Bitcoin Retreats After Run on $20k

Bitcoin is facing significant resistence at $20,000, potentially putting in place the possibility the cryptocurrency's bull run could cool.

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 5:45 am

The Swedish co-founder of Bitcoin.com, one of the largest websites in the industry, has sold all his bitcoins ... - Business Insider


Business Insider

The Swedish co-founder of Bitcoin.com, one of the largest websites in the industry, has sold all his bitcoins ...
Business Insider
Although Oldenburg is far from the first to criticize the cryptocurrency's viability as an investment asset, his position as an industry insider does stand out - even as he migrates to its spinoff, bitcoin cash (BCH). “I have in fact sold all my ...

and more »

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 5:14 am

Fidelity Charitable Raises $22 Million in Bitcoin in 2017

Despite the rising price of bitcoin, some investors are choosing to donate their gains to a cause, according to figures from Fidelity Charitable.

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 4:45 am

Bought Your First Bitcoin or Ether? Brace for the Fees

Frustrated by crypto transaction fees? This CoinDesk Explainer gives an overview of why they're necessary for the blockchains being built.

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 4:30 am

Boeing Eyes Blockchain in Bid to Fight GPS Spoofing

A new patent filing from Boeing suggests that the aircraft manufacturing giant is looking at how blockchain can help protect in-flight GPS receivers.

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 12:00 am

Where Have All the Private Blockchains Gone?

What's next for private blockchains? More iteration, improvement – and adoption, argues developer Gideon Greenspan.

Posted on 17 December 2017 | 10:00 pm

New Class-Action Suit Filed Against Tezos Founders

The Tezos organization is being sued for a fourth time, in this case to freeze the funds raised during its ICO.

Posted on 17 December 2017 | 8:00 pm

Bitcoin price: Ronnie Moas sees cryptocurrency at $300,000-$400,000 - CNBC


CNBC

Bitcoin price: Ronnie Moas sees cryptocurrency at $300,000-$400,000
CNBC
Bitcoin will surge past $20,000 and continue its meteoric march into six figures, according to independent research analyst Ronnie Moas. "Bitcoin is already up 500 percent since I recommended it in the beginning of July, and I'm looking for another 500 ...
Bullish Moas - Bitcoin Destined For Another 500% RiseCointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
Bitcoin price to hit $400000, analyst who predicted cryptocurrency's rise warnsExpress.co.uk

all 16 news articles »

Posted on 17 December 2017 | 7:31 pm

CME Bitcoin Futures Price Above $20k in First Day Trading

CME Group's bitcoin futures trading began today with an opening price above $20,000 for its January 2018 contract.

Posted on 17 December 2017 | 5:45 pm

Bitcoin Price Primed to Test $20k Ahead of CME Launch

The price of bitcoin is edging up, but how it will respond to Sunday's launch of futures on the CME exchange is anyone's guess.

Posted on 17 December 2017 | 5:45 am

Bitcoin Takes All? Enterprise Blockchains Need Time, Too

This is not the kind of technology where you "move fast and break things." Financial market infrastructure is too big to bet on a buzzword.

Posted on 16 December 2017 | 7:45 am

A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Blockchain Highway

Not for easily swayed, vlogger Mike in Space narrates a tour through the world of bitcoin memes (and mixed messages) of 2017.

Posted on 16 December 2017 | 7:00 am

Class-Action Suit Targets ICO Promoted By Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

An initial coin offering (ICO) promoted by boxing champion Floyd Mayweather, Jr., is at the center of a newly filed class-action complaint.

Posted on 15 December 2017 | 2:15 pm

US Treasury Report: DLT Data Storage Raises Oversight Concerns

The Financial Oversight Stability Council acknowledged that virtual currencies are becoming more common, but have a limited impact on the economy.

Posted on 15 December 2017 | 1:00 pm

'Clear and Loud': Parity to Drop First Bid for Frozen Ether Fix

After critical feedback from the ethereum community, Parity Technologies will not follow-up on any of its proposals for restoring frozen ether funds.

Posted on 15 December 2017 | 12:00 pm

Meet "Pine," the Bitcoin Philanthropist Who Set Up the $85 Million Pineapple Fund

Why One Philanthropic Early Adopter Is Donating Thousands of Bitcoins

Yesterday, one post set the Bitcoin subreddit on fire: An anonymous Bitcoiner who goes by the name of “Pine” announced that they are establishing the Pineapple Fund to donate 5,057 BTC, worth about $86 million at today’s exchange rate, to charitable causes.

“I’m very happy that I have held on to most of my bitcoins until today,” Pine told Bitcoin Magazine. “Most early adopters of bitcoin actually don’t have much. They’ve sold to pay bills and expenses.”

Indeed, last week it was revealed that Bitcoin evangelist Andreas Antonopoulos was one of those who had not been in a position to hold his early coins long enough to reap the rewards. In a subsequent outpouring of appreciation, Bitcoin enthusiasts sent him donations of more than 100 BTC, equivalent to more than $1.7 million.

In this same spirit of giving back, Pine is sharing their own newfound wealth.

“Sometime around the early days of bitcoin, I saw the promise of decentralized money and decided to mine/buy/trade some magical internet tokens,” states the Pineapple Fund website. “The expectation shattering returns of bitcoin over many years has [led] to an amount far more than I can spend. What do you do when you have more money than you can ever possibly spend? Donating most of it to charity is what I’m doing.”

Some charities that are already receiving donations from the Pineapple Fund include Watsi, The Water Project, EFF, MAPS, SENS Research Foundation, charity: water ($1 million each), BitGive ($500,000) and OpenBSD ($50,000).

Have you heard?! Yes, it's TRUE! We received an extremely generous donation of $500K from the Pineapple Fund!! HUGE THANKS!! Pineapple Fund has announced the most significant #philanthropic gesture EVER in #bitcoin to donate over 5,000 BTC! 🎉🌟🌍🚀 pic.twitter.com/fRL8NL3YzI

— BitGive® (@BitGiveOrg) December 14, 2017

Pine has a long history in the cryptocurrency world and started out mining on an old home PC. “I discovered bitcoin back when it was a small community of people trying to turn a toy project into a new decentralized monetary paradigm,” they told Bitcoin Magazine.

“It’s shorter to list the things I haven’t done in the cryptocurrency space. I’ve even created my own cryptocurrency; however, I can’t name it.”

The Pineapple Fund is planning to work with a nonprofit to help administer the fund. In spite of recent trends toward various forms of decentralized, crowdsourced decision-making, that’s not in the plans.  

“We’re not huge fans of the crowdsourcing approach,” explained Pine. “It does not solve a problem we’re facing now, and there would be many challenges we’d have to solve with crowdsourcing decision making.”

Pine is convinced that what the world needs is peace, love, unity and respect. They listed medical research, mental health, wildlife and environmental conservation, fighting domestic violence and sexual abuse, sustaining basic necessities, and technology-related causes (advocacy and open-source projects) as main areas of focus.

“Why these? Well, it’s not that I think they are the most important or have the highest impact, because I think everyone has a different set of values,” explained Pine. “They align with my values, and I think any contribution to those causes will bring some good to this world we all share.”

Pine said they won’t become actively involved in the charities and projects they support: “As much as I would like to, I have other ventures that I’m busy with,” they said.

Will Pine ever share their real identity? That’s unlikely. “I prefer keeping my identity a mystery. The Pineapple Project isn’t about publicity. In fact, zero people in my life know that I'm behind it. It’s better for people to think you are well off than super rich.

“But I can share my love for pineapple,” they added. “I once ate so much pineapple that I suffered an allergic reaction and had to go to urgent care! Don’t do that.”

The post Meet "Pine," the Bitcoin Philanthropist Who Set Up the $85 Million Pineapple Fund appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 15 December 2017 | 11:30 am

Garzik Forks UnitedBitcoin Away from "Maximalists" to Support Altcoin Communities

Garzik Forks UnitedBitcoin Away from "Maximalists" to Support Altcoin Communities

A new project called UnitedBitcoin (warning: the site autoplays audio) promises to add smart contract features using the UTXO model, support for the lightning network and SegWit, and eight-megabyte blocks. Headed up by Jeff Garzik, the lead developer behind the failed SegWit2x hard fork, along with Matthew Roszak and SongXiu Hua, this UnitedBitcoin (UB) hard fork will offer replay protection to prevent people from accidentally spending their coins on both the Bitcoin and the UnitedBitcoin blockchains.

Garzik told Bitcoin Magazine that “10% of the total worldwide SHA-256 hash power” has moved to the new UB network, with much of the support coming from China and older mining equipment that was no longer profitable due to the escalating difficulty in mining bitcoin. He noted that UB is already supported on the ZB and EXX exchanges.

The UB white paper outlines how lost bitcoins have created deflationary pressure that has pushed the price up. Because those bitcoins are out of circulation, the supply is further decreased. One of the issues that UB seeks to address is to find a purpose both for those lost bitcoins and for “inactive” wallets by creating a stable cryptocurrency linked to their addresses.

All active Bitcoin addresses will receive the same balance on the UB chain, much like previous forks. The balances of UB on inactive addresses, however, will be confiscated by the UB Foundation and used to “serve the community.”

Inactive addresses are defined in the white paper as “addresses without activity since block height #494000 (November 11, 2017) and as a result didn’t automatically receive UBTC during phase 1 of the asset allocation procedure.”

UB does not distinguish between an “inactive” address and one which is simply being used by a long-time "hodler."

“There is no difference. An inactive account is an inactive account,” said Garzik. “Like during [the] Ethereum new coin creation, you had to take a proactive step, otherwise you got zero [ether]. This is normal for new token creation — new chain, new ERC20, but different from all other Bitcoin Forks. We are trying to do something new and different.”

Anyone with a prior balance of 0.01 BTC in an “inactive” address at the time of the November 11 fork can still get UB tokens, so long as they are willing to take such a “proactive step”: that is, they make at least one transfer to their own Bitcoin address between Block 498,777 and Block 501,878 (December 12, 2017, to 12:00 GMT on January 3, 2018).

Only the original address can make the transfer to itself, and the receiving address must be used as one of the sending (input) addresses.

One privacy issue to consider is that in order to “proactively” claim BU tokens, the protocol forces users to reuse their Bitcoin addresses; this action puts privacy at risk and, unless it is done carefully, may link many of the users’ coins together.

It's a gold mine for blockchain deanonymization, merging up UTXOs and reusing addresses. Can't help but think such an artificial qualification is deliberate.

— Johnathan Corgan (@jmcorgan) December 13, 2017

User privacy protection is not the only part of the protocol that is drawing criticism, however.

“The code contains a god mode; it’s literally called that,” Blockchain developer Sjors Provoost said to Bitcoin Magazine. He said that it appears as if this “god mode” will create a multisignature address that belongs to a (yet-to-be-defined) UnitedBitcoin Foundation.

“Unlike previous airdrops, the initial coin distribution is not determined by a consensus rule,” he added. “This means that even if you were to run the full UB node software (which you should not), you will have no way of knowing for sure how many coins you get. Conversely, if you already had bitcoin, you won’t know how many of ‘your’ coins will be confiscated. You simply have to trust their promise to take and redistribute coins as their marketing promises.”

According to Provoost, the new consensus rule allows the owner of this foundation address to spend any UTXO they want. “These confiscations will be included in holy blocks, which can be created during the first 500 blocks after the fork. This is how they implement the redistribution as I just described, but they can do much more.”

Furthermore, Provoost is concerned about the quality of the code itself. “Garzik’s previous project SegWit2x tried to keep its changes relative to Core to a bare minimum. Although at the time of the planned fork their code base was about a year behind Bitcoin Core, it didn’t introduce many changes,” he pointed out.

“UnitedBitcoin on the other hand has introduced far more changes, making the task of tracking Bitcoin Core far more difficult. It’s not as many changes as Bitcoin Unlimited and Bitcoin Cash, and the problem is somewhat mitigated by them sunsetting the more complicated consensus changes like god mode. However, even the small change in SegWit2x had a widely publicized serious bug in it and there are rumors of more.”

What Happens to Those “Reclaimed” Tokens?

Garzik has plans to “build a better Tether” by using the UB reserve, funded by coins reclaimed from “inactive” addresses. According to the project, 70 percent of confiscated UB coins will be held as collateral to issue stable tokens pegged to a fiat currency.

“The UB reserve can be used as a backing asset for a stable, non-volatile currency,” said Garzik. “This is auditable and transparent and on the blockchain. It will be over-collateralized, 200–300% to maintain the stability even in the face of a volatile price of the reserve.”

The remaining 30 percent of the confiscated coins will support another new feature: owners of QTUM, H-shares and ether will receive a share of the remaining redistributed UB.  

UB is experimenting with a new model: engage multiple communities — ETH, Qtum — rather than following the tired model of rewarding Bitcoin maximalists with a coin they dislike and will just dump on day 1.

According to Garzik, the specific claim process for the redistribution of UB has yet to be determined. “The UB board is still being put in place — things are moving very fast — and this will include more specifics on governance and community allocations.”

The scheduled timeline of what has been released and what is coming breaks down as follows:

December 12, 2017:

Fork of Bitcoin to UnitedBitcoin (at block height #498,777) with support for:

  • Increased block size to 8 MB

  • SegWit support

  • Replay Protection

  • Asset Allocation

January 3, 2018:
  • End of Asset Allocation phase #2

  • Pegged currency based on color currency

February 28, 2018:
  • Launch of smart contract support

April 28, 2018:
  • Launch of lightning network support



The post Garzik Forks UnitedBitcoin Away from "Maximalists" to Support Altcoin Communities appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 2:57 pm

South Korea Moves to Regulate Domestic Bitcoin Trading, Exchanges

South Korea Moves to Regulate Domestic Bitcoin Trading, Exchanges

Since late November 2017, South Korea has looked to regulate cryptocurrency trading in domestic exchanges, including Bithumb, Coinone and Korbit,  The Korea Herald reports. Now, trying to tame the wave of wild cryptocurrency speculation in the country, South Korea is imposing trade bans for minors and looking for ways to impose taxes on investment returns.

South Korea is the world’s third largest market in bitcoin trading, after Japan and the U.S., and the largest exchange market for ether, accounting for more than 33 percent of its market share, according to a recent MIT Technology Review report. The country is also home to two of the top 15 global digital-currency exchanges (Bithumb and Coinone) and believed to have about one million registered daily traders in virtual currencies, which is equivalent to about one out of every 50 citizens.

This is worrying the South Korean government. In September 2017, the country’s Financial Services Commission (FSC) ordered a ban on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). In November 2017, the head of South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service said that the agency was monitoring cryptocurrency trading inside the country, and the country’s National Tax Agency revealed that it was considering a value-added tax, a capital gains tax or both on cryptocurrency trades. If the plan is implemented, South Korea will become one of the few countries to tax cryptocurrency-to-cash exchanges.

The government’s concern is also motivated by the risk of cyberattacks from the country’s rogue neighbor, North Korea. According to South Korea’s National Police Agency, North Korean hackers could be targeting South Korean bitcoin exchanges.

With these newest measures, North Korean banks that offer accounts for cryptocurrency trading will have to verify the identification of new account holders and prohibit minors from opening accounts. Woori Bank and Korea Development Bank will shut down virtual accounts offered to cryptocurrency exchanges before year-end, according to the banks.

The regulators will also bar financial institutions from investing in or obtaining cryptocurrencies, and is considering ways to oblige cryptocurrency exchange operators to verify users’ real names, strengthen storage security of encryption keys, and disclose purchase price and order volumes. The authorities will also take strong-handed punitive actions against the perpetrators of cryptocurrency-related scams.

In a press release, the government said that the new regulations were necessary “to prevent a general public without expertise from suffering losses by participating in virtual currency investments that have massive fluctuations.”

These issues were discussed on Wednesday, December 13, 2017, in a meeting presided over by Hong Nam-ki, minister of the Office for Government Policy coordination, and attended by officials from the ministries of justice, finance, and science and ICT, as well as from the Financial Services Commission, the Korea Communications Commission, the Fair Trade Commission and the National Tax Service.

While some news headlines are presenting this as a catastrophic development that will shut down the cryptocurrency industry in South Korea, the initiative of the South Korean authorities is in line with current trends toward stronger cryptocurrency regulations in China, Europe and the U.S.

“A right set of regulations will rather nurture the (virtual currency) market, and we would welcome that,” Bithumb representatives told Reuters, adding that such a code of conduct could add legitimacy to the market.

The post South Korea Moves to Regulate Domestic Bitcoin Trading, Exchanges appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 12:15 pm

Japan's GMO Internet Group Will Pay Thousands of Workers in Bitcoin

Japanese Firm GMO Will Pay Thousands of Workers in Bitcoin

Blockchain development companies and the cryptocurrency press have been paying their workers in cryptocurrencies for years, but one realizes that the times are truly changing when mainstream companies start paying their workers in bitcoin.

GMO Internet Group, a Japanese provider of a full spectrum of internet services for both the consumer and enterprise markets, is introducing a system for employees to receive part of their salary in bitcoin.

Headquartered in Tokyo, GMO Internet Group comprises more than 60 companies in 10 countries. In view of the group’s size and financial muscle, this initiative is likely to boost the mainstream adoption of the practice of paying salaries in cryptocurrencies.

The move is partly motivated by the desire to promote the adoption of Bitcoin, which is a strategic priority for GMO. In fact, the group is vigorously active in bitcoin trading and mining services, as well as mining hardware development. Therefore, anything that is good for Bitcoin is also good for GMO.

In May 2017, GMO launched a cryptocurrency exchange, initially dubbed Z.com Coin and later rebranded as GMO Coin, which features cryptocurrency FX and trading on both computers and smartphones. The exchange offers two types of services: cryptocurrency FX, which is an over-the-counter (OTC) bitcoin margin trading and cryptocurrency trading, which enables buying and selling of virtual currency in JPY in addition to basic features allowing customers to send and receive bitcoins.

In September 2017, GMO announced the upcoming launch of a new bitcoin mining business. “We will operate a next-generation mining center utilizing renewable energy and cutting-edge semiconductor chips in Northern Europe,” GMO stated, emphasizing that they will invest in R&D and manufacturing of hardware including the next-generation mining chip.

“We will use cutting-edge 7 nm process technology for chips to be used in the mining process, and jointly work on its research and development and manufacturing with our alliance partner having semiconductor design technology.” The mining business is scheduled to start in January 2018.

GMO expressed its belief that cryptocurrencies will develop into “new universal currencies” available to anyone from any country or region who wants to freely exchange value, “creating a new borderless economic zone.”

The option to receive part of the salary in bitcoin will initially only be available to employees of one GMO company — GMO Internet Co. Ltd. — starting in March 2018, but it will be gradually extended to more than 4,000 employees in other GMO companies based in Japan.

The minimum bitcoin payment will initially be 10,000 yen (~$88) and the upper limit will be 100,000 yen (~$881). Each salary payment in yen will be reduced by the amount of bitcoin paid, using the exchange rate at the GMO Coin exchange.

Mainichi Japan notes that Japan's labor code stipulates that businesses must pay employees in a recognized currency such as the yen, but, according to GMO, the move is in accordance with the law because any payments in bitcoin would be consensual, with a chosen amount to be deducted from paychecks and put toward purchasing bitcoin. The cryptocurrency is rising in popularity in Japan with an increasing number of retailers accepting it as a form of payment.

GMO Internet Group wants to contribute to the development of cryptocurrencies in the world by promoting cryptocurrency-related initiatives throughout the group. In particular, GMO wants to promote ownership of bitcoin among its employees — who can be the best evangelists for the group’s products and services related to the digital currency — to improve the employees’ exposure to and understanding of Bitcoin.

“Employers can now pay employees a portion of their net earnings in bitcoin by collaborating with niche payroll solution providers such as Bitwage, Wagepoint, or Bitpay, who manage the back-end mechanics, eliminate exposure to price volatility, and reduce compliance and governance risks,” noted Deloitte principal Eric Piscini.

A recent overview of cryptocurrency payroll processors and early adopting clients notes that offering salaries in bitcoin could make it easier for companies to retain and attract talent. Besides compensating current employees, “[cryptocurrencies] could help businesses more effectively tap into the open talent economy, where individual contributors may be drawn to business partners that offer payout features only cryptocurrency makes possible: fast peer-to-peer payments across country borders with minimal friction (or total freedom) from traditional banking systems,” said Piscini.

For now, the GMO press release is available only in Japanese.


The post Japan's GMO Internet Group Will Pay Thousands of Workers in Bitcoin appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 9:14 am

BANKEX’s Ambitious Crusade to Reshape Traditional Finance

BANKEX


A lack of synergistic connection points between the blockchain sector and traditional finance is currently hindering progress within the world of banking. Opportunities abound for the deployment of smart contracts and tokenization, fueling crowdfunding, chain finance and other forms of financial transactions. These efforts at boosting external infrastructure hold the key for greater efficiency and time effectiveness in today’s evolving financial ecosystem.


One firm at the cutting edge of reshaping how financial infrastructure and blockchain technology interact within markets is BANKEX.


BANKEX is solving problems in traditional finance and investment sectors such as microfinance, real estate, natural resources and futures markets, as well as historically illiquid assets such as cars, antiques and private company interests.


Headquartered in New York, with business development efforts in Singapore, a strategic partnership in Tokyo and an engineering team in Moscow, BANKEX has a well-established global presence.


Exploding demand for improved asset liquidity and transactional simplicity has led BANKEX to develop an alternative known as the Proof-of-Asset (PoA) protocol. This new advancement allows information to be delivered in real-time directly to the blockchain. Company leaders believe that this protocol will become an industry standard for organizing new decentralized markets within existing business sectors.


BANKEX CEO and Founder Igor Khmel put BANKEX’s value proposition this way: “In building an operating system for decentralized capital markets, our ultimate goal for our blockchain framework is to enable the realization of new types of asset classes that institutional investors had previously never considered due to the the highly non-heterogeneous nature of these assets, their wide decentralization and the high cost of financial and legal due diligence.”


Khmel went on to say that the BANKEX protocol radically decreases these costs by allowing better connections between traditional capital markets with historically non-fungible assets such as film and music financing, private equity shares, local municipal debt and financing for standalone real-estate objects.  

An Example to Bank On


The following hypothetical example underscores the value proposition that BANKEX is prepared to deliver in an industry such as agriculture. Picture this: a farmer from Kansas named Roger decides to expand his rabbit ranch and become a nationwide supplier. He has been in the business for over 10 years and supplies upward of 40 percent of rabbit meat across his state. Despite his successful business, Roger has been unable to secure a loan from his bank, even though his business has a steady cash flow, solid infrastructure and a clear strategic business plan.


A banker and good friend of Roger’s, Jim, has been asked for consulting advice from Roger. Jim has worked for Furry International Bank for over a decade. Furry International has a highly progressive, innovative  approach that allows the bank to understand the difficulties Roger faces when he goes around town seeking investments. Here are some of the challenges Roger is encountering:

  • While traditional banks strive to maintain a reputation for reliability, they require large collateral, enforce challenging procedures and can be tight with loans. Given that Roger’s credit score is still recovering from a student loan back in the day, offering large collateral could be problematic.
  • Private investors are difficult to locate, and a single investor may not be able to provide Roger with all of the capital he needs. Moreover, the fact that negotiations are a cumbersome process reinforces Roger’s assertion that he’s a farmer and not a financial mastermind.
  • Venture funds tend to invest in new technology with high risks and high rewards. Roger’s business involves neither.  


Jumping on the “Smart Asset” Bandwagon


Upon a tip from a friend who works in computer science, Roger decides to explore the use of a blockchain to launch a token sale for his project. He soon realizes that due to the massive regulatory requirements, running an economically viable token sale for cryptocurrency investors is just as challenging as putting his company to the stock exchange and making its shares available publically.


This leads Roger to ask Jim about Furry International’s solutions. While Furry cannot provide the solution, they can connect him to someone who does. Jim mentions an innovative company named BANKEX and their Proof-of-Asset protocol. Jim wants to assist Roger, so he agrees to represent him in the process, a process that Roger has already admitted that he doesn’t fully understand. Jim, on the other hand, has expertise in this financial area. Moreover, he’s bringing Roger as a new client to his bank.  

Jim visits BANKEX and completes the necessary information about Roger’s project. This information is collected and confirmed by professional accountants, lawyers and financial analysts. Once BANKEX validates every aspect of the business, Jim is asked to help Roger install special Internet of Things (IoT) sensors at the rabbit ranch. These sensors will help keep track of the number of rabbits automatically and assess whether the anticipated growth rate is on track.


As soon as the farm has its smart, digital system in place, BANKEX will issue “Farm Tokens” and put them on the Smart Asset Exchange, initiating the ISAO (Initial Smart Asset Offering). These Farm Tokens now represent Roger’s tokenized farm. Once these Farm Tokens hit the market, they are able to attract investors from all over the world.


Investors can trust the BANKEX ecosystem because they are consistently updated with information about the ranch. In addition, they know that the smart contract will ensure the safety of every transaction and they will receive their share of the profit as the ranch expands.


A Present Day Collaboration


BANKEX’s recent collaboration with MovieCoin LLC demonstrates a real-world application of BANKEX’s platform taking place. Led by film financier Christopher Woodrow, MovieCoin LLC is seeking to raise $100 million during 2018 to produce a portfolio of movie projects. By utilizing smart contracts and BANKEX’s proprietary PoA protocol, MovieCoin LLC will allow institutional and individual investors to invest in the motion-picture industry while lessening their financial risk.

BANKEX will also offer efficient access to decentralized capital markets and assist in building liquidity in the conventionally illiquid film financing market by tokenizing the underlying assets of MovieCoin.


Khmel, BANKEX founder and CEO, believes that BANKEX’s services will now allow the specialty finance industry to provide customizable debt and equity funding solutions with the integration of a blockchain.

“We believe that collaboration between traditional financial institutions and fintech innovators is the way forward for both sectors. The current banking system is slow and stifled by legacy issues, while at the same time the emerging fintech industry lacks scalability. Combining the strengths of traditional finance and fintech solutions will lay the foundation for a new global economy defined by diversity, security, and previously unknown dimensions of efficiency and transparency,” concluded Khmel.


MovieCoin CEO Christopher Woodrow has stated, “We are delighted to be collaborating with a company as innovative as BANKEX in introducing this transformative new film financing structure to our investors and entertainment industry partners. We believe the marriage of BANKEX’s Proof-of-Asset protocol with our experienced management team and comprehensive industry relationships will provide investors with an opportunity to realize significant returns while managing risk through leading edge technologies.”

Token Generation Event


BANKEX raised over $50 million USD during its presale and private sale period. Its token sale began on November 28 and will continue until December 28 or till retail cap of 80 million BKX tokens.


Token sale proceeds have been earmarked primarily for software research and development needed to realize the BANKEX Proof-of-Asset protocol will take 45 percent allocation of funds raised from the token sale. Promotion and B2B marketing for BANKEX and the PoA protocol will take 10 percent; legal services and licensing will require 12 percent; non-organic growth such as increased business development and outreach will require 15 percent; the BANKEX Foundation (fintech community) will take 8 percent; and finally there will be a reserve fund of 10 percent of tokens for BANKEX itself.

The post BANKEX’s Ambitious Crusade to Reshape Traditional Finance appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 2:46 pm

IcyWallet Offers a Cold Storage Bitcoin Wallet for the Visually Impaired

IcyWallet Offers a Cold Storage Bitcoin Wallet for the Visually Impaired

Safely storing cryptocurrency can be confusing, especially for newcomers to the space, but for people with visual impairments, finding an accessible option is especially challenging.

IcyWallet is a cold wallet with a difference: it is designed to make it as simple as possible for people with visual impairments to manage offline bitcoin storage.

The project got its start when Adam Newbold and his wife took a braille reading course as a learning activity. Shortly afterward, Newbold struck up a Reddit conversation with a blind Bitcoin enthusiast who expressed frustration with the lack of support for the blind community from Bitcoin software developers. None of the wallets worked correctly in his reader and he required help to perform any functions with bitcoin.

“I learned even more about practical accessibility issues and the real-world challenges that the blind encounter every day,” Newbold told Bitcoin Magazine. “This turned into a stronger personal interest that merged with my existing interest in Bitcoin when I realized that there are pretty big opportunities for improving the state of accessibility in Bitcoin software.”

He started a campaign in October 2017 to create a braille version of the original Bitcoin white paper. That campaign was successful and the document is now available for anyone wanting to get a copy.

That first success led Newbold to create the IcyWallet. His goal is to provide a 100 percent free and open source bitcoin hardware wallet for the blind. Work is currently underway with early milestones achieved, the progress of which is tracked on their website.

“One of the points you hear a lot about Bitcoin is that you can ‘be your own bank,’ which always sounds fun and empowering (and it is!),” said Newbold. “But it also means that you need to take responsibility for all of the things that banks do, like keeping your funds secure.”

He explained that even though today’s technology has solved a substantial number of issues that people with disabilities face, when it comes to bitcoin and security, there are still several missing pieces.

“There isn’t any kind of hardware wallet on the market today that’s fully accessible to people with blindness,” said Newbold, “and there are barriers to setting up secured, air-gapped solutions. This leaves people with blindness limited choices that all involve compromising security to some degree. With the IcyWallet, the private keys never leave the device.”

According to Newbold, here is how the device will work:

  • First, the transaction is generated on a (different) computer connected to the internet, so that the fee can be properly estimated;

  • Then, the transaction is signed by the IcyWallet device;

  • Finally, the transaction is broadcasted to the Bitcoin network back on the internet-connected device. This keeps the IcyWallet device completely offline, ensuring that the private keys are safe at all times.

Users simply plug in headphones and a keyboard or a refreshable braille display. The device boots directly into the wallet app with functional audio and braille support.

“Refreshable braille display support means that it will even support someone with deaf/blindness right out of the box,” said Newbold.

IcyWallet generates hierarchical deterministic wallets with mnemonic seeds for safe backup. The code is developed using the BitcoinJS library and is intended to be run on an “air-gapped” Raspberry Pi, though Newbold points out that, in theory, the software can run on other hardware.

Newbold has plans to make a demo video/audio track available soon, as well as an early release of the software (probably limited to wallet generation only) so that he can start to get more feedback and code suggestions that will improve the IcyWallet.

As Bitcoin in particular, and cryptocurrencies in general, see wider adoption, the implementation of greater accessibility systems will be important to their continued growth. IcyWallet is expected to launch at some point in 2018.



The post IcyWallet Offers a Cold Storage Bitcoin Wallet for the Visually Impaired appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 11:27 am

New In-Game Cryptocurrency Systems Let You Buy Assets in the Virtual Reality World

New In-Game Cryptocurrency Systems Let You Buy Assets in the Virtual World

High Fidelity is announcing the launch of Avatar Island, a VR domain where High Fidelity users can purchase items for their avatars, all contributed by digital artists from around the world.

High Fidelity is a next-generation platform for Virtual Reality (VR) worlds developed by Philip Rosedale, the creator of the once very popular Second Life. In September 2017, the company announced that it was developing a blockchain for intellectual property protection and an in-game cryptocurrency .

“I’ve been looking at blockchain technology since Second Life, as the Linden dollar was one of the first digital goods currencies,” said Rosedale. “At the time that Bitcoin came out, I was thinking a lot about how we could generalize what we did at Second Life. I didn’t have all of the ideas, but in the last few quarters we have been building the backend system to make all of this work.”

Different sorts of VR items, such as custom wearables for avatars (which were and still are very successful in the Second Life marketplace) will be sold and bought in Avatar Island through a new cryptocurrency running on a blockchain, which will also track the history and ownership of each item.

“[This] is the first beta release of the commerce system, which is a cryptocurrency-based content protection and payment system,” said Rosedale in the High Fidelity forum. “[Behind]  the scenes, the currency is actually stored on a ‘blockchain’ very similar to Bitcoin but supporting a higher transaction rate and lower fees. This blockchain also stores the PoP [Proof of Provenance] information for digital goods, meaning that both your currency and your digital property will exist in a public database and cannot be altered.”

Contrary to Second Life, where the only option available to external operators was to host their VR worlds on servers operated by Second Life developer Linden Lab, High Fidelity allows developers to host VR worlds independently. In November 2017, High Fidelity released an update that allows developers to rapidly deploy High Fidelity VR domains to the cloud, in collaboration with DigitalOcean. The distributed nature of the upcoming High Fidelity VR network calls for full interoperability between different servers, including network-wide recognition of ownership rights.

High Fidelity’s Digital Asset Registry (DAR), is a decentralized, publicly auditable ledger that serves as a record of transactions made by High Fidelity users. Each item is uniquely identified with a digital fingerprint (a hash algorithm) and can be purchased using High Fidelity’s blockchain-based cryptocurrency, the High Fidelity Coin (HFC). The DAR includes tamper-proof PoP services for any asset’s chain of ownership, its characteristics and its entire history, from certification onward.

This approach is designed to solve the theft and counterfeiting problems that plagued Second Life. At the apex of Rosedale’s first VR world’s popularity, thousands of independent developers around the world made a living designing and selling virtual items, and the need for more solid anti-piracy measures was widely felt.

According to High Fidelity, the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains have limited throughput (transactions per second) and high transaction fees, which makes them unsuitable for HFC. Therefore, Rosedale’s team opted for a new, public but “permissioned” blockchain.

In a promotional video that predicts a booming future for the VR sector, with a billion users, 50 million servers and a trillion dollar economy, Rosedale explains the design and implementation criteria for High Fidelity’s blockchain.

“As of today, the blockchain is one node using the [Elements] codebase from Blockstream,” said Rosedale. “We’re going to federate it to a managed group of blocksigners and also provide a block explorer and a full read-only node as well, so that we have many backups of the blockchain. This is similar to the [DPoS] (Delegated Proof of Stake) model being used by [EOS] and others for upcoming public blockchains.”

For now, the High Fidelity Commerce system is in closed beta, and High Fidelity is giving HFCs to anyone interested in participating in the beta. Eventually, HFC will be traded on public exchanges like other cryptocurrencies.

“In the coming weeks and months, we will be attaching the HFC blockchain in several ways to the major cryptocurrency networks to enable you to freely trade HFC for other currencies like Bitcoin or Ether, or to use exchange markets to convert it back to real-world currency if you like,” said Rosedale. Considering high price volatility as a roadblock, High Fidelity will try and stabilize the value of HFC at 100 HFC = $1 USD.

Before getting too excited and rushing to buy HFC, it’s worth bearing in mind that Second Life never achieved mass-market appeal, and that could become the fate of High Fidelity as well. However, it can be argued that Second Life was launched too early, and modern VR interfaces, like the headsets and hand controllers developed by Facebook’s Oculus VR, could be the game changer that will permit High Fidelity to succeed where Second Life failed. As always, time will tell.

Crytek

Another VR game developer and technology provider, Crytek, is announcing a partnership with cryptocurrency startup Crycash to create a new cryptocurrency for gamers. Crytek is the maker of the high-performance game development platform CryEngine and publisher of many highly realistic VR games that are popular among hardcore gamers.

“The Crycash ecosystem solves two problems at once: it gives gamers a way to monetize game time by completing in-game tasks, set by game developers, while providing developers with decentralized sales options for games and other virtual items,” said Crycash CEO Wachtang Budagaschwili. “Crycash will consist of four major components: Plink, a communications app for gamers and Crycash wallet; an advertising platform; an eSports platform for gaming tournaments and other events; and a virtual asset marketplace.”

“We see a lot of potential in the Crycash concept, and we were impressed by the Crycash team’s innovative approach to creating practical products and tools for gamers,” said Crytek Managing Director Faruk Yerli.

Crycash will hold a token sale from December 12, 2017, to January 15, 2018, and add Crycash payment options to games from Crytek and other developers.



The post New In-Game Cryptocurrency Systems Let You Buy Assets in the Virtual Reality World appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 10:23 am

A Vibrant Community: Viberate’s Key to ICO and Product Success

Viberate

For most of the year, a heated debate has been raging across markets and industries about the regulation, speculation and proper utilization of cryptocurrencies and, more specifically, ICOs. With the increased popularity of ICOs and the overall phenomenon of digital currencies, more business professionals than ever before want to know what it takes for a company to launch an ICO and, subsequently, what they’ll need for success and legitimacy.


Live music platform Viberate’s record-breaking ICO raised $11 million in under five minutes. One key to their success was the concept of their VIB token — a live music industry token any user can earn and spend. Viberate’s first and current phase after raising money is to implement the VIB token into their ecosystem as an incentive mechanism.


It’s all about the community


Viberate’s successful initial coin offering is best seen as a reflection of the VIB token’s unique value compared with what else is offered in the live music industry. As with most blockchain-powered marketplaces, user engagement is the most essential part of Viberate’s platform and that is why the company has maintained a persistent vision of giving a voice to their community members and supporters. Based on the belief that live music should be accessible to all, Viberate reached out to users so they could contribute to the community and the community responded.


How to Earn VIB Tokens


Users in the Viberate ecosystem earn VIB tokens through social engagement such as posting on forums and across social media; inviting friends to join the community; publishing promotional content, provided by Viberate; and making contributions to Viberate’s database, such as adding new artists, venues or events to the database and suggesting changes to the existing profiles (provided it’s approved by the editorial team).


Moving Forward


Viberate managed to create a demand for their product by offering a secure, easily traceable token that offers real value, not just in fiat currency but in Viberate’s community. The company transfers 5,000 VIBs into the pool each day for the first 2,000 days during which the bounty pool will be drained in different time periods. Subsequently, at the end of each period, the total amount of VIB will be distributed among contributors, whose awarded actions will be marked valid by the editorial team in the respective period.


Users are able to see their VIBs balance and the value in fiat, as with most digital wallets, but that’s not all - users are able to spend VIB tokens in freshly launched VIB store, selling celebrity merchandise, Viberate merchandise and selected event tickets. In the future users will be able to spend VIBs for paying booking fees, subscribing to premium services, and even advertising on Viberate. But what is the roadmap for the next few months? By end of 2017, Viberate is scheduled to launch booking agency profiles and in Phase 2, Viberate plans to expand their service with event organizer profiles and marketplace features.


With the goal of becoming the go-to digital currency and biggest talent marketplace for the live music industry, Viberate is setting out to engage its users through empowerment one phase at a time.


The post A Vibrant Community: Viberate’s Key to ICO and Product Success appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 1 December 2017 | 10:17 am

Bitcoin tops $10,000 milestone

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Bitcoin price climbs over $4,000

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

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Consulting firm EY Switzerland accepts Bitcoin

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Steam accepts Bitcoin

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Major Magazine Publisher to Accept Bitcoin Payments

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Microsoft accepts Bitcoin

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Mozilla accepting Bitcoin

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PayPal and Virtual Currency

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Wikimedia Foundation Now Accepts Bitcoin

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German Newspaper "taz" accepts Bitcoin

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airBaltic - World’s First Airline To Accept Bitcoin

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December 18, 2017 -
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