told a conference in Frankfurt that replacing cash with bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies is too risky and inefficient to be an effective medium of exchange. "For a stable monetary and financial system, we need no crypto-tokens, but rather central banks obligated to price stability and effective banking regulation, and we have both in the eurozone," Jens Weidmann, the head of the Bundesbank, said. His remarks (German) come as other top European bankers are making aligned public statements expressing skepticism about bitcoin and related digital currencies. On Tuesday, the ECB put out a graphic dubbing bitcoin not a currency but a "speculative asset." Carl-Ludwig Thiele, a member of the executive board of the Deutsche Bundesbank, recently slammed bitcoin for being too "energy intensive." "The website Digiconomist estimates that the entire bitcoin network currently consumes just over 46 terawatt hours of energy every year," he wrote in an op-ed in the Frankfurter Allgemeine … [Read more...] about European bankers scoff at bitcoin for its risk, huge energy inefficiency
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Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency to beat, has found its way into well over a million digital wallets worldwide but it's yet to hit mass adoption. Finnish technology co-operative Koodilehto believes the answer to Bitcoin's search for wider accessibility and reliability could lie in TV and radio signals. "We want to improve the availability of the Bitcoin network and offer an alternative that doesn't require an internet connection," Koodilehto's Tuomo Sipola says. "TV networks are very reliable, as they have been designed to work in challenging conditions almost anywhere." Since early September, a pilot of 'Kryptoradio' — a data transmission protocol developed by Sipola and Joel Lehtonen — has been successfully transmitting Bitcoin transaction and exchange rate data in real time through Finland's digital national TV network. The network, which covers the entire Finnish population, is run by Digita, which describes the partnership as an "interesting and exciting" way to … [Read more...] about Bitcoin for the unconnected: The Finnish protocol that lets you buy and sell currency through your TV
What is the blockchain exactly? A big ponzi scheme or an opportunity and a new technology that we can all use to transform society? Depends on who you're asking, but a good starting point is to disassociate crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin from blockchain, the underlying data structure and related protocols. One thing to note for crypto-currencies is that they implement what is called Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). DLT is essentially a distributed database where records of transactions are kept. However the difference with traditional distributed databases that have been around for years is that DLTs are open networks in which nodes are not controlled by a single entity. The way this typically works for blockchain-based DLTs is through what is called mining. Mining is a process through which transactions are verified, and also new coins are added to the coin deposit. In Bitcoin for example this is achieved by solving a cryptographic challenge which requires intense … [Read more...] about A better blockchain: Bitcoin for nothing and transactions for free?
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has resumed accepting bitcoins donations, saying some of the legal ambiguity around the virtual currency has disappeared.The influential digital watchdog stopped accepting bitcoins two years ago citing a raft of complex legal questions that could have inadvertently thrust the nonprofit as a defender rather than an observer of an emerging technology.The EFF wrote on its blog that its own research along with recent guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) "have confirmed that, as a user of Bitcoin or any virtual currency, EFF itself is likely not subject to regulation."It's still early days for how bitcoin will be viewed under the law. But FinCEN found in March that users of bitcoin do not need to register with the organization, but those exchanging bitcoins for U.S. dollars qualify as money services businesses and do need to register. The largest bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, has already run into trouble … [Read more...] about After Two-year Hiatus, EFF Accepts Bitcoin Donations Again
Anthony Gallippi, CEO of BitPay, has started paying his gardener -- in BitCoins.His gardener carries a card with a QR code with the needed information for Gallippi to transfer BitCoins to his account once he's finished tending the lawn. The gardener has chosen to get 90 percent of the money in cash, delivered by bank transfer by BitPay the next day, and keep 10 percent in BitCoins."Every time I pay him, he gets BitCoins in his wallet right away, and next day he gets a direct deposit in his bank account," Gallippi said.BitPay, a Florida-based company, is seeing rising interest in BitCoin, the fledgling digital currency that is a small, yet interesting wild card challenger to traditional payment systems.BitPay is one of a handful of companies trying to make it easier for merchants to accept BitCoins and people to use them. BitCoins are essentially encrypted numbers that have fluctuating value according to open-market trading. It has been referred to as a crypto-currency for the complex … [Read more...] about Interest in Bitcoin, Fledgling Electronic Currency, Grows
A small New York-based company that specializes in exchanging Bitcoins is back online after hackers stole about US$250,000 worth of the virtual currency earlier this month.Roman Shtylman, founder of BitFloor, said by phone from London on Monday he reported the theft to the FBI and that he intends to pay back victims whose Bitcoins were stolen.How long that will take I dont know," Shtylman said. "Certainly for me this is a long-term plan, and Im mostly doing this because I feel it's important to try and be clear of my intention to try and recover the coins."Bitcoin is a virtual currency, created by a mysterious person who went by the name "Satoshi Nakamoto" and has extensive knowledge of cryptography. Bitcoins are transferred using software programs that connect to a peer-to-peer system that cryptographically verifies the transaction.Bitcoin "miners" are people who have built heavy-duty computing systems which maintain the integrity of the transaction system. For their work, they are … [Read more...] about After Hack, Bitcoin Exchange Comes Back Online
The take-down of Liberty Reserve, which authorities described as a multibillion-dollar online money-laundering operation, raises the question whether Bitcoin could evolve into an alternative for cybercriminals.The U.S. attorney's office in New York on Tuesday unsealed an indictment against the operators of Liberty Reserve, which provided the financial infrastructure for criminal activity ranging from credit-card fraud and identity theft to child pornography and narcotics trafficking. Five of the seven defendants, including founder Arthur Budovsky, were in custody in Spain, Costa Rica and New York.What made Liberty Reserve so successful was the anonymity it provided its users. The company's complex system used third-party exchangers that actually handled the transactions and credited or debited Liberty Reserve accounts. As a result, Liberty Reserve collected no banking information.With Liberty Reserve out of business, what else could support anonymous transactions? The answer is … [Read more...] about Online Money Laundering Bust Casts Light on Bitcoin
As the tech industry grapples with the potential benefits and risks of the digital currency Bitcoin, policymakers should take care not to impose heavy-handed restrictions on an innovative platform that could transform global commerce, a pair of researchers at George Mason University's Mercatus Center argue in a new policy paper. As a starting point, the researchers suggest that the proper way to evaluate Bitcoin is "not necessarily as a replacement for traditional currencies, but rather as a new payments system," and acknowledge that it "exists in something of a legal gray area." "This is largely the case because Bitcoin does not exactly fit existing statutory definitions of currency or other financial instruments or institutions, making it difficult to know which laws apply and how," write Mercatus Center researchers Jerry Brito and Andrea Castillo. The researchers credit Bitcoin for achieving, at a large scale, what no other payments system has been able to do: provide direct, … [Read more...] about Does Bitcoin Promote Illicit Ecommerce?
The controversy roiling the Bitcoin community continues with the outing and then cloaking of the man fingered by Newsweek as Bitcoin’s Louis Pasteur. But the unassuming Dorian S. Nakamoto, a Japanese-American man in California, denied having anything to do with the digital currency in an interview with the Associated Press! Get the Free Tracker App to find a Nintendo Switch in Stock So who is Bitcoin’s Keyser Söze, or if you prefer, its Walter White? As the search for the inventor, er founder, er messiah continues, I’d say the IRS and FinCEN, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Well, neither may have founded Bitcoin, but either or both could turn out to be its Keyser Söze. It’s not Warren Buffett, though he did say Bitcoin is “not a currency.”FinCEN is on to Bitcoin, requiring some to register as Money Service Businesses. FinCEN is part of the Treasury Department with a mission of safeguarding the financial system, combating … [Read more...] about Bitcoin’s Keyser Söze Revealed?
Bitcoin, the first and most popular form of cryptocurrency, recently hit record highs, surpassing $4,000 per coin. Bitcoin relies on peer-to-peer (P2P) technology, and as such, it is completely decentralized – in other words, no central bank or government regulates or backs it. Buyers transfer funds directly to sellers, without a third-party middleman to process payments between the parties' financial institutions.Though primarily used in online stores, bitcoin is quickly gaining wide popularity amongst brick-and-mortar shops, food establishments, service-based businesses and even car dealerships. Big-name companies that currently accept bitcoin include Overstock and Virgin Galactic."Cryptocurrencies cut out the middleman in a transaction," said Chris Poelma, president and GM of NCR Silver. "Rather than store your money somewhere where you're dependent on an organization to safeguard it, you hold on to it through an encryption only you have a key to. As we hear more stories of … [Read more...] about Should Your Small Business Accept Bitcoin?