All posts tagged “Bitcoin”

Who is Mr. Bitcoin and what are his demands?

Bitcoin is sponsoring a college football bowl game this year, officially dubbed the “Bitcoin Bowl.” And because sports fans love mascots, “Mr. Bitcoin” is now apparently a thing that exists. All around the game’s festivities, people are posing for photos with the rotund representation of the cryptocurrency.

But wait — as others have noticed, Mr. Bitcoin has been around for a while.

Like the Terminator, Mr. Bitcoin appeared bare and seemingly out of nowhere at the University of Texas (the site of the Texas Bitcoin Conference) about 10 months ago:

Imgur

As he…

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Microsoft now accepts Bitcoin to buy Xbox games and Windows apps

Microsoft is now accepting Bitcoin as a payment option to download digital content. The software maker quietly started supporting the digital currency earlier this week, months after adding a Bitcoin currency converter to its Bing search engine. Bitcoin can be used to fund a Microsoft Account, allowing owners to purchase content from the Windows and Xbox games, music, and video stores. While Bitcoin can be added to a Microsoft Account balance, it cannot be used to purchase services like Office 365.

It’s a surprise move from Microsoft, and it’s one of the first big tech companies to support Bitcoin fully — beating rivals Apple and Google. Microsoft is integrating BitPay to process Bitcoin transactions, and any money added through Bitcoin…

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Bitcoin Ponzi scheme operator ordered to pay over $40 million

The operator of a Bitcoin Ponzi scheme has been ordered to pay back over $ 40 million in profits and interest gained from investors’ money. The operator, Trendon Shavers, ran the scheme through his company Bitcoin Savings & Trust for at least a year and a half between 2011 and 2012. In 2012, when he shut down the company, investors began to revolt, and about a year later he was charged by the SEC with having taken bitcoins that were worth $ 4.5 million at the time of investment. The court’s says that the total loss to investors was, at yesterday’s exchange rate, closer to $ 149 million; the total that he’s ordered to repay is based on an averaging of bitcoin’s volatile exchange rate since the scheme collapsed.

Shavers, who had been…

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Charlie Shrem to plead guilty to federal charges related to Bitcoin transactions

One of the most prominent names in Bitcoin will plead guilty to multiple federal charges in a New York court next Thursday, September 4th. According to Reuters, Charlie Shrem, an entrepreneur who’s made millions off of Bitcoin, has made a plea deal with authorities regarding charges that he illicitly transacted Bitcoin with users of the underground marketplace Silk Road. Shrem’s lawyer tells Reuters that he will plead guilty to the charge of unlicensed money transmission, which carries a maximum prison sentence of five years. He was also charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and one count of willful failure to file a suspicious activity report with banking authorities. Combined, those charges carry an…

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Two men and their quest to make Bitcoin truly untraceable

For some, Bitcoin doesn’t go far enough towards truly unregulated, untraceable currency. Cody Wilson, the man behind the world’s first lethal 3D-printed gun, and Amir Taaki, a Bitcoin entrepreneur, are the two crytpo-anarchists leading the effort to build software that hopes to make Bitcoin transactions nearly impossible to track. The software, called Dark Wallet, matches different, unrelated transactions to scramble the transaction record at the center of Bitcoin, known at the blockchain. It’s currently being tested, but for Wilson and Taaki, Dark Wallet is far more than a simple business: it’s an important step towards enabling their ideal of a government-free society. Wired has an in-depth profile on the two young Bitcoin anarchists —…

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Judge in Silk Road criminal case says Bitcoin is as good as money

The New York district judge presiding over the criminal case against Ross Ulbricht, the alleged creator of underground online drug market Silk Road, has decreed that cryptocurrency Bitcoin is functionally the same thing as real money. Ulbricht had argued that he could not be charged for money laundering for his alleged part in creating Silk Road, as Bitcoin was not a real currency, but Judge Katherine Forrest rejected his defense. “The money laundering statute is broad enough to encompass use of Bitcoins in financial transactions,” Forrest wrote in a ruling released on Wednesday. “Any other reading would-in light of Bitcoin’s sole raison d’être be nonsensical.”

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Bitcoin miner’s control over minting new coins creates security risks, researchers say

A single bitcoin mining network has repeatedly supplied more than half the computational power necessary to mint new bitcoins, undermining the decentralized nature of the digital currency and creating new security concerns. Ars Technica reports on new research from Cornell University showing that GHash, a top mining pool whose leaders are unknown, performed more than 51 percent of all cryptographic hashing on at least five separate occasions beginning June 3rd. One of those periods lasted for 12 hours, according to the researchers.

GHash’s computational feat is significant because an entity with majority control over bitcoin creation — a so-called “51 percenter” — gains powers over the network that could undermine its security and…

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Read the complete collected works of Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto

Satoshi Nakamoto, the programmer who created the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, may or may not have been outed earlier this year in a by-now famous Newsweek exposé. However, whatever their provenance, it was real email exchanges, forum posts, and code written between 2008 and 2012 that served as the foundation for what would become one of the most important, confounding cryptocurrencies in the world. The Satoshi Nakamoto Institute in in the process of collecting all those original materials. You can read them all right here.

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FEC says political committees can accept bitcoin donations

The Federal Election Commission today unanimously gave its approval for political committees to accept donations in bitcoin. In a 6-0 decision, the FEC said campaigns can accept BTC donations worth $ 100 or less, which currently works out to a fraction of a single bitcoin. Even with the $ 100 limit, it’s a significant boost for the virtual currency and opens the door to bitcoin being embraced by PACs across the US. The commission says that committees should value BTC contributions “based on the market value of bitcoins at the time the contribution is received.” The topic of bitcoin is one the FEC has been grappling with for some time.

Anyone kicking in bitcoin will need to submit their name, address, occupation, and employer according to a…

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10 Best Bitcoin Wallets For Secure Bitcoin Storage

We’ve talked about ways to get your hands on Bitcoin, as well as exchanges where you can buy and sell Bitcoin, so an overview of some of the more notable Bitcoin wallets out there is probably long overdue. Generally, Bitcoin wallets, despite the name, don’t actually store Bitcoins. Instead, wallets consist of two keys, a public key and a private key, that are used to associate particular Bitcoins with your wallet. The public key allows you to receive Bitcoins, while the private key allows you to spend Bitcoins.

Blockchain

As you might imagine, the security of your private key is incredibly important, lest someone gains access to your wallet and spend all the Bitcoins you’ve mined or traded for. Which wallet you choose depends on whether utmost security or increased convenience is more important, and it’s recommended that you don’t stick to one particular type of wallet. Here’s a list of 10 different wallets for secure Bitcoin storage.

1. Bitcoin Core

Bitcoin Core is the original Bitcoin wallet, originally developed by Satoshi Nakamoto and continually updated by the core Bitcoin development team. While it doesn’t have the advanced features of Armory or the social aspect of Hive, Bitcoin Core is probably the most scrutinized and worked-on wallet out there, making it a trustworthy choice.

Bitcoin Core

One thing to be aware of is the fact that Bitcoin Core is a fully fledged node of the Bitcoin network. So it requires the entire blockchain to run. Bitcoin Core is available on Windows, Linux and Mac, and is also available as a Ubuntu PPA.

2. Multibit

Multibit is a lightweight software wallet. As with most software wallets, Multibit encrypts your private keys locally (or on a USB stick). One useful characteristic of Multibit is that it doesn’t need to download the entire blockchain to access, send and receive funds. Multibit connects directly to the Bitcoin network and downloads only a small part of the blockchain, making it very fast to use.

Multibit

Since Multibit doesn’t download the entire blockchain, it also takes up a lot less space on your hard drive, which can be important in some situations. Multibit has also been translated into more than 35 languages and is available on Windows, Mac and Linux.

3. Electrum

Electrum is another lightweight Bitcoin wallet in the vein of Multibit. Electrum supports deterministic wallets or, in other words, generating multiple wallets from one seed. It also lets you sign and create transactions offline and export what it calls a "root public key", which lets compatible applications monitor your wallet. You can also import and export private keys from other Bitcoin wallets.

Electrum

Like Multibit, Electrum lets you perform Bitcoin transactions without having to download the entire blockchain, making transactions a lot faster. Electrum uses a network of servers to achieve this. Electrum is available for Windows, Mac, Linux and Android.

4. Hive

Hive is a Bitcoin wallet targeted at new users, with some interesting features. For one, Hive has an instant messaging style interface that lets you send and receive Bitcoins quickly and easily. It also has an integrated application platform and comes with some built-in apps that give you easy access to some of the more popular Bitcoin-related services available.

Hive

Hive even has an SPV backend to speed up starting time, as well as support for the Tor network for increased anonymity. You can also schedule wallet backups onto Dropbox and Time Machine. Hive is only available on Mac OS X, but is also coming to Android in the near future.

5. Armory

Armory is one of the most feature-rich and secure software Bitcoin wallets available today. Armory offers three different user modes: Standard, Advanced and Developer. Some of it’s security features include a graphical keyboard to protect against keyloggers, support for deterministic wallets, offline transactions and extensive cold storage options, including fragmented paper wallets.

Armory

Offline transactions significantly increase your wallet’s security and protects it from most security risks. It requires the official Bitcoin Core wallet, since Armory doesn’t have any networking features. Armory is available on Windows, Mac and Linux. It’s also available as a Ubuntu PPA.

6. Blockchain Wallet

Blockchain’s wallet has a few interesting security features designed to overcome some of the security risks inherent in online wallets. For example, Blockchain implements client-side AES encryption, protecting your wallet from a server side hack. It also has support for offline transactions, a double encryption feature and two factor authentification.

Blockchain Wallet

Blockchain not only lets you back your wallet up automatically onto Google Drive or Dropbox, but also lets you download your wallet manually. Blockchain also performs regular off-site server side backups every hour. There’s even a mobile wallet version of Blockchain for Android.

7. Coinbase

Coinbase is an online Bitcoin account, somewhat similar to PayPal. Coinbase also has a built-in Bitcoin exchange where you can buy and sell Bitcoin, and lets you send and receive money directly to and from email addresses. Coinbase is a centralized operation and stores all its Bitcoins on-site, but claims to store 85% of its Bitcoins in offline cold storage.

Coinbase

There are potential security and trust issues with Coinbase, especially since its operators have control over all Bitcoins, but the fact that it’s been heavily backed by prominent venture capital firms makes it less likely that Coinbase will run away with users’ Bitcoins. There is also a Coinbase Android app.

8. Coinkite

Coinkite is somewhat similar to Coinbase, in that it provides plenty of Bitcoin-related services such as Bitcoin debit cards and payment terminals alongside an online wallet feature. Coinkite uses BIP32 Heirarchical Deterministic (HD) wallets, which are stored in a custom Hardware Security Module (HSM) that is apparently isolated from the Internet. You can even request audit reports from Coinkite.

Coinkite

In the case of closure or failure, Coinkite has promised that it will publicize a symmetric key that contains all the extended private keys that have been distributed to Coinkite users. This will allow users to reclaim their funds from Coinkite, if the service shuts down.

9. BitAddress Paper Wallet

BitAddress is a web service that generates randomized public and private keys that you can use to receive, spend and store your Bitcoin. The big appeal of BitAddress is that it can create paper wallets. Paper wallets are a particularly secure form of cold storage, since the private key is only stored on a piece of paper and not on the Internet or in any form of software.

BitAddress Paper Wallet

Bear in mind that you’ll have to import your private key into some form of digital wallet, if you want to perform transactions. Thus, it’s probably best to use a paper wallet as a complementary form of Bitcoin storage alongside a software or online wallet.

10. Pi-Wallet

Pi-Wallet is currently the only commercially available hardware Bitcoin wallet. The Pi-Wallet is basically a Raspberry Pi running a software Bitcoin wallet, namely Armory. As such, it has all of Armory’s features in addition to a few perks that only a hardware wallet of this type can provide. For instance, the Pi-Wallet doesn’t have direct Internet access, adding another layer of protection.

Pi-Wallet

The Pi-Wallet is also portable, and as it’s built on a Raspberry Pi that makes it much less susceptible to viruses and trojans that can be used to steal Bitcoin from your average Windows computer. The site also has instructions on building your own Pi-Wallet.





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