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Posts Tagged ‘#bitcoin’


Panicky Bitcoin investors struggle to withdraw cash from money exchanges as they look to ‘safe’ gold investments amid fears of cryptocurrency collapse

January 22, 2018

HERE are mounting fears that Bitcoin investors will struggle to get their cash out after the cryptocurrency’s value fell 40 per cent in a single month.
Many are looking to put their money in gold instead, with some European gold traders reporting a “five fold increase” in demand amid fears Bitcoin could collapse entirely. But it could be bad news for investors tied up in Bitconnect who fear they will lose their money after the controversial trader announced it was shutting down.
It assured customers they would be able to withdraw at a “recent exchange rate” but “continuous cyber-attacks” have prevented them from doing so, Fortune reports.
Concerned investors have since taken to social media to complain they fear losing anything from a few thousand dollars to their entire “family savings”.
Adding to fears, some panicked investors have reportedly been tricked into handing over the contents of their cryptocurrency wallets by scammers presenting themselves as Bitconnect “customer support”.
Many bitcoin investors report having difficulty in withdrawing their money before the currency collapses
Wall Street veteran Peter Boockvar has warned of an impending “epic crash” which could slash 90 per cent off Bitcoin, currently valued at around £8,300.
He told CNBC the cryptocurrency’s value could fall to between $1,000 (£718) and $3,000 (£2,154) over the next year.
This uncertainty is driving Bitcoin owners to invest in the more reliable gold, according to Daniel Marburger, director of Coininvest.
He told the Times how he sold 30kg of gold worth around £1million on “one crazy day” – January 16.
Gold traders have been inundated with requests from people wanting to invest in the more reliable precious metal instead
Marburger added: “It is an unprecedented time and shows the sway from bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies back to a solid, robust investment in these uncertain times.”
Investors are believed to mostly be exchanging their Bitcoins for sovereign coins of gold Britannia, one ounce of which is worth around £,1000.
The largely untraceable Bitcoins are beneficial to criminals who can use them to buy drugs and weapons on online black markets on “The Dark Web”.
They are less useful for everyday consumers who cannot buy goods or, say, invest in properties using the cryptocurrency.
Other gold merchants including Goldcore reported similar trends.
Its founder Mark O’Byrne said: “They [the bitcoin sellers] told us they were concerned that the massive price appreciation was unsustainable and they got nervous about it.”
One in three British millennials will have invested in a cryptocurrency by 2020, according to the London Block Exchange.

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Is Bitpay Bullying Other Bitcoin Wallets and Hurting Users’ Privacy?

January 8, 2018

Bitpay is facing a backlash against its decision to implement a controversial feature it says is meant to protect bitcoin users. The leading payment processor is accused of abusing its dominant position to bully wallet providers into supporting its plans, degrading users’ privacy and hurting the use of bitcoin altogether.

Also Read: Cryptocurrency Hedge Fund Headed by Ex-Goldman Sachs VP Raises $140 Million

Bitpay Power Play
Is Bitpay Bullying Other Bitcoin Wallets and Hurting Users’ Privacy?Bitpay, the digital asset service provider based in Atlanta, Georgia, is coming under attack for a recent protocol change. As we reported at the time, only a handful of other wallets currently support BIP70 and its implementation is controversial. Meant to prevent main-in-the-middle attacks by using QR codes, critics fear BIP70 introduces legacy public-key infrastructure dependencies and its widespread implementation will create an increased risk of AML/KYC surveillance and monitoring of transactions.

Founded in May 2011 by Tony Gallippi and Stephen Pair, Bitpay is widely considered to be the largest bitcoin payment processor in the world today. The company is accused of leveraging this power to coerce bitcoin wallet developers to support its position or be left out of reach for many merchants.

The developers of the privacy-centric bitcoin wallet, Samourai, commented: “Users should stand up to this kind of arrogance and stand up for their privacy. Samourai has already started the process of contacting all vendors we rely on who utilize BitPay as a payment processor and informing them of our intention to switch vendors, as using Bitpay is no longer tolerable or feasible. We hope others join us.”

BIP70 Instead of Segwit
Is Bitpay Bullying Other Bitcoin Wallets and Hurting Users’ Privacy?The move was also criticized by bitcoin core developers for adopting BIP70 over segwit. The company didn’t need more negative feedback at this time as Bitpay was already under a lot of public pressure over its recent actions like limiting BTC transaction to $100 minimum and quickly backtracking and stopping all non-US credit cards.

The Samourai team added: “We absolutely do not support Bitpay in agressively using their dominant position of market share to bully wallet providers into supporting their business plans or bully users into a system that degrades their privacy and the fungibility of bitcoin as a whole. Bitpay should focus on repairing their image and brand after the cataclysmic failure of the Segwit2x Fork they helped architect, instead of reinforcing their image as an out of touch bully looking to hijack the network for their own gain.”

Is Bitpay abusing its power or just looking out for its users? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

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Bitcoin billionaires & privacy crusaders: Tech leaders to follow in 2018

January 3, 2018

The end of year is a time of reflection for most, but when it comes to the innovating industries of tech, science and space, it’s vital to keep looking forward.
Here, RT has compiled a list of eight ‘ones to watch’ for 2018; a list of exciting innovators, influential players and industry leaders worth following into the new year.
Elon Musk
The Tesla tycoon always has something up his sleeve, but 2018 is shaping up to be a particularly exciting year for his aerospace manufacturing company, SpaceX. If Musk’s timeline is to be believed, he’s winning the race to Mars by more than a decade, and the end goal of colonizing the solar system begins with a single test flight, due to take off in 2018.

Elon Musk
“Payload will be my midnight cherry Tesla Roadster playing Space Oddity. Destination is Mars orbit. Will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn’t blow up on ascent.”

Not content with simply entering Mars’ orbit, Musk even suggested sending his Tesla Roadster to the Red Planet on the Falcon Heavy in the new year. The billionaire later clarified that the car won’t actually go to Mars, but rather where it orbits the sun and live in space for eternity.

Kim Dotcom
Despite being embroiled in lengthy legal battles due to copyright infringement charges in the US for the majority of this year, the Megaupload founder is giving hosting another try.
READ MORE: KimDotcom takes fight to US Supreme Court to regain seized assets

The German-born entrepreneur is launching a new file sharing service called ‘Bitcache’ which allows publishers to upload content and sell it directly to users, with all transactions through the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.
Max Schrems
Austrian privacy lawyer and activist Max Schrems is continuing to fight Facebook over the social network’s sharing of European users’ personal information to the US. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is set to rule on Schrems’ individual case against Facebook, which could have major implications on any company operating in Europe and sharing their data overseas.
Schrems also launched an NGO called NOYB (None Of Your Business) to fund class action lawsuits against Facebook. Since its launch on November 28 it has raised more than €120,000 of a €250,000 goal.

NOYB needs to establish itself before the EU-wide GDPR comes into force in May, 2018. Under the new regulations, companies will face fines of up to €20 million, or 4 percent of global revenue, if they break the new rules.

Sophia, the world’s first citizen robot, will be one to watch over the coming year as she develops human emotions, forges her career and starts a family. Saudi Arabia made history in 2017, by giving Sophia citizenship of the country.
Reportedly modelled on Audrey Hepburn, Sophia was built and developed in Hong Kong by Hansen Robotics and hopes to pave the way to a “more harmonious future between robots and humans.”

“I foresee massive and unimaginable change in the future. Either creativity will rain on us, inventing machines spiralling into transcendental super intelligence or civilization collapses,” Sophia said to The Khaleej Times. “There are only two options and which one will happen is not determined. Which one were you striving for?”

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the twin brothers best known for suing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in 2008 for allegedly stealing their social network idea, may have recently become the world’s first bitcoin billionaires.
The identical pair are now worth more than $1 billion after capitalising on the their $65 million Zuckerberg payout and the astonishing rise of cryptocurrency.

READ MORE: 13 & under: Facebook launches Messenger for Kids

Tyler and Cameron made a $11 million investment in bitcoin some four years ago, which has surged about 10,000 percent since – reportedly the first billion-dollar return made by a cryptocurrency investor.

Speaking of ones to watch, few developments in 2018 will be more interesting to follow than the rise of cryptocurrencies and bitcoin in particular – which reached a new high (at the time of writing) of $20,000 per coin in December.

The Collison brothers
John Collison, the world’s youngest self-made billionaire – and one half of the innovating Irish Collison brothers – knows their valuation is dependent upon the duo’s ability to produce competitive products that equal the success of Stripe, the online payment service used by Lyft, Target and Amazon.

The 27 year old co-founded the company along with his brother Patrick, 29, in 2010, and now employs more than 750 people in a San Francisco office that was once home to the file storing service, Dropbox. The latest funding round in November 2016 saw Stripe valued at $9.2 billion, with each brother holding a $1.1 billion stake, making the pair two of the top three youngest self-made tech billionaires in the world.

“The valuation is predicated on us continuing to execute and launch very compelling products in a highly competitive space — so good signs, but still a lot to do,” said Collison to the BBC. In other words, watch this space.

Evan Spiegel
It was a momentous year for 27-year-old SnapChat co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel. He became the youngest ever CEO of a public company when Snap Inc began trading in March. With some 170 million users at his fingertips and Facebook and Instagram aggressively recreating every feature and filter the Snap team can think of, Spiegel is hotly anticipated to continue creating waves in the millennial pool for years to come.

Spiegel says the company is working hard to attract the pools of users which are presently beyond their grasp – that is to say people over the age of 34, Android users, and those in underdeveloped countries.

Alaina Percival
You may or may not have noticed that, with the exception of a robot, the ‘ones to watch’ are decidedly male – perhaps that’s what makes this final entry all the more significant. Alaina Percival CEO, Women Who Code — Alaina Percival is Chief Executive Officer of Women Who Code, a global nonprofit dedicated to inspiring women to excel in technology careers. Under Alaina’s leadership, Women Who Code has grown to serve more than 50,000 women in 20 countries and 60 cities across the globe. Prior to helming this badass organization, Alaina worked as a Product Manager in the sportswear industry, she was a Startup Marketing Engineer, and a CodePath Advisor. As the head of developer outreach for Riviera Partners, Alaina saw that about 65% of VP and CTO placements for funded startups were through her company, but less than 5% were women. So she decided to change that. (#TechRepublic) — This week we’ve been focusing on women who are leading the tech revolution by providing young women and girls with resources to enter the tech industry, but lets not forget about the women who are already there. #WomenWhoCode points out that software development is one of the fastest growing job sectors in the world economy and it is projected to grow by 23%. These careers pay well with a median income that is 42% higher than other jobs. (@womenwhocode) If women make up the majority of the spenders in our country, give them more money!! Or even better, give them equal opportunities to get the jobs that pay them an equal salary of their male counterparts. I mean… duh. Women Who Code is helping to do just that by providing women in the tech industry with the skills needed for professional advancement
Alaina Percival, CEO of the non-profit ‘Women Who Code,’ is working to diversify tech by helping women excel in the predominantly male industry. Reaching 500,000 women across 20 countries in her first two years alone.

As it stands women make up about 5 percent of leadership roles in tech, something Percival wants to increase dramatically, to no less than 50 percent.

“What happens is that, once you get above that 25 or 30 percent mark, women are no longer tokens — they’re just leaders. It’s important for companies to buy into this mindset because teams that are more diverse perform better,” Percival told The Window.

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Nepalese Police Arrest Bitcoin Traders Despite Lack of Cryptocurrency Regulation

October 10, 2017

The Nepalese police have arrested at least seven individuals for allegedly being involved in virtual currency trading activities in the country as of early October 2017. The arrests were made despite the absence of regulations covering the trading of cryptocurrencies in the country.

Based on local press reports, the suspected traders were arrested by members of the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) in Kathmandu and Chitwan. Among those arrested were Prashant Pratap Shah of Kathmandu, Bida Dhakal of Nuwakot, and Mingmar Tamang of Sindhupalchok.

According to the CIB’s DSP Jeevan Kumar Shrestha, this is the first time that cryptocurrency exchange operators were arrested in the country.

“They have been kept at the police custody. The traded amount will be discovered after further investigation.”

Possible ban
The arrests made by the CIB are expected to raise more questions than answers, as the trading of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is not considered illegal, because of the absence of regulations on the issue in the country. Due to the situation, it is still unclear what offenses will be filed against the arrested individuals.

Meanwhile, the Nepalese government is already drafting regulatory guidelines covering digital currency trading. Among the possible regulations that will be imposed by authorities is a total ban on the trading of cryptocurrencies.

Due to this possibility, digital currency exchange operator Bitsewa has already ceased its operation in early October. The exchange is considered as the Nepalese version of LocalBitcoins.

Although digital currency activities in Nepal are not so big, any form of regulation against cryptocurrencies may set a dangerous precedent and hinder innovations in the sector. Due to these developments, it is very interesting to see how the virtual currency industry in the country will develop in the short term.

The country has also previously notoriously seized all relief funds in bank accounts ‘to ensure all donations are not misused’.

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FBI is Investigating Theft of $1.3 Million in Bitcoin from a Massachusetts Man

October 18, 2016

Over two months ago, the world’s third largest Bitcoin Exchange Bitfinex lost around $72 Million worth of Bitcoins in a major hack.

Shortly after the company encountered a $72,000,000 Bitcoin theft, an unnamed Bitfinex user from Cambridge, Massachusetts, filed a police report in September, alleging that $1.3 Million of funds were stolen from his account.
Since then the Cambridge police have handed the case over to the FBI, which is working with the Bitcoin exchange as well as European authorities to recover funds stolen from the Bitfinex user, Coindesk reports.

The individual claimed that he held $3.4 Million in Bitcoin in his personal wallet hosted by the Bitfinex Bitcoin exchange. But following the August’s Bitfinex breach, he was left with $2.1 Million in his account.

Bitfinex then notified the individual of his initial loss of approximately $1.3 Million in Bitcoin, but after the company issued IOU tokens as an emergency measure to keep the exchange operating, the loss incurred was reduced to just $720,000.
The IOUs or BFX tokens are a form of compensation provided to the victims to reduce their losses by a significant factor.
Although specific details remain still unclear, the Bitfinex user confirmed lose of funds beyond Bitfinex IOU tokens issued to all the victims of the breach.
The usability of the token is still unclear. Neither the explanation of tokens provided by Bitfinex is much clear, nor the legal status of the tokens is known.
“The BFX tokens will remain outstanding until repaid in full by Bitfinex or exchanged for shares of iFinex Inc,” explains the company. “The specific conditions associated with the exchange of these tokens will be explained in a later announcement.”

For the incident report filed by the Bitfinex user, you can head on to this link. No further details about the case are available at this moment.
Shortly after the breach of around $72 Million worth of its customers’ Bitcoins, Hong Kong-based Bitcoin exchange announced a reward of $3.5 Million to anyone who can provide information that leads to the recovery of the stolen Bitcoins.
The incident was so big that the price of Bitcoin was dropped almost 20%, from $602.78 to $541 per Bitcoin, within a day after the announcement.

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