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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

Fresh Off Funding, R3 Moves Corda Toward Critical Pilot

With over $100m in funding, distributed ledger consortium R3 is setting its sights on moving critical projects to pilot.

Source

Posted on 30 May 2017 | 5:00 am

How a Tiny Island Could Give Cryptocurrency a Big Boost

CoinDesk's Noelle Acheson discusses how efforts in the Caribbean to harness public blockchain tech could lead to regional transformation.

Source

Posted on 30 May 2017 | 4:00 am

Skyrocketing bitcoin is more than just an investment — it could help the world, says investor - CNBC


CNBC

Skyrocketing bitcoin is more than just an investment — it could help the world, says investor
CNBC
Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency that has been on a tear of late, is not only an attractive investment, but it is also a potential solution to easing a strained global financial system, according to a top money manager. The current debt-based market with ...

and more »

Posted on 30 May 2017 | 3:35 am

Bitcoin Unites Rival Indian Politicians in Call Against Legalization - CryptoCoinsNews


Bitcoin Unites Rival Indian Politicians in Call Against Legalization
CryptoCoinsNews
According to a report by The Economic Times, India's biggest financial news daily, 'many' politicians across the political divide raised concerns about the possible legalization of bitcoin by the Indian government during a meeting of the Parliamentary ...

Posted on 30 May 2017 | 1:32 am

Bitcoin is outperforming major assets but hedge funds are still staying away from the cryptocurrency - CNBC


CNBC

Bitcoin is outperforming major assets but hedge funds are still staying away from the cryptocurrency
CNBC
Bitcoin's price has rallied as much as 180 percent this year but hedge funds are still nervous about investing. One hedge fund veteran told CNBC that the industry doesn't "know enough about it". But there has been rising interest from investors in ...

Posted on 30 May 2017 | 1:12 am

Bitcoin's Rapid Surge Raises Reasons to Question Latest Frenzy - Bloomberg


Bloomberg

Bitcoin's Rapid Surge Raises Reasons to Question Latest Frenzy
Bloomberg
The digital currency's more than 100 percent surge in the past two months looks eerily familiar, argue the bears, pointing to November 2013, when the price quintupled in short order to top $1,000 for the fist time. By Valentine's Day it was worth ...
Bitcoin: Buy This 'Crash'Seeking Alpha
Bitcoin Surge And The Future Of Digital Currency Post-WannaCry Ransomware AttackForbes

all 4 news articles »

Posted on 29 May 2017 | 9:15 pm

Bitcoin Fans Say Cryptocurrency Tokens Are the Future of Tech Funding - Fortune


Fortune

Bitcoin Fans Say Cryptocurrency Tokens Are the Future of Tech Funding
Fortune
Ever since Bitcoin first appeared on the scene several years ago, fans of the cryptocurrency have been searching for a way to apply the idea that might capture the public imagination and broaden the use of the technology beyond just geeks and programmers.
Not Right Time to Regulate Bitcoin: American Institute For Economic ResearchCoinTelegraph
Bitcoin move over - there's a new kid on the blockchainABC Online
Cryptocurrency like bitcoin is one of the hottest investments aroundThe Boston Globe
Gold Seek -Finance Magnates -MIT Technology Review
all 17 news articles »

Posted on 29 May 2017 | 3:36 pm

Should Tax on Bitcoin Be Eliminated? The Case of South Africa - CoinTelegraph


CoinTelegraph

Should Tax on Bitcoin Be Eliminated? The Case of South Africa
CoinTelegraph
Bitcoin exchanges in South Africa including Luno, one of the most widely utilized trading platforms in the country, stated that Bitcoin earnings are taxable in South Africa. When trading, the exchange suggested users consult registered tax ...

Posted on 29 May 2017 | 11:29 am

India Local Politicians Criticize Government's War On Cash, Bitcoin - CoinTelegraph


CoinTelegraph

India Local Politicians Criticize Government's War On Cash, Bitcoin
CoinTelegraph
Indian politicians have described Bitcoin as a “ransom finance platform” while criticizing the government's digital economy reforms. In a meeting of the country's Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance quoted by the Economic Times, several local ...

Posted on 29 May 2017 | 9:28 am

Baseball on the Blockchain? One Fan's Quest to Merge Two Passions

Could blockchain solve problems for America's pastime? Tech enthusiast Josh Metnick gives the idea an epic at bat.

Source

Posted on 29 May 2017 | 6:50 am

Bitcoin correction sees nearly $4 billion wiped off value of the cryptocurrency as price falls 19% - CNBC


CNBC

Bitcoin correction sees nearly $4 billion wiped off value of the cryptocurrency as price falls 19%
CNBC
Nearly $4 billion has been wiped off of the value of bitcoin in the past four days after a correction that has seen the cryptocurrency's price fall almost 19 percent from its recent record high. On May 24, bitcoin hit an all-time high of $2.791.69. But ...
Bitcoin correction as price falls 19%Seeking Alpha
Bitcoin Correction Wipes Out 4 billion in ValueDailyForex.com
Bitcoin sees $4bn in value wiped out as price of cryptocurrency falls 20%RT
Baystreet.ca
all 10 news articles »

Posted on 29 May 2017 | 5:07 am

What to Know Before Trading Monero

Monero, a privacy oriented currency that has generated widespread adoption, provides opportunities for traders. Here's what you should know.

Source

Posted on 28 May 2017 | 4:35 am

Consensus 2017 Recap: Panels Cast Wide Net for Blockchain Discussions

A look back at some of the fascinating and diverse panels that took place at Consensus 2017 this week.

Source

Posted on 28 May 2017 | 4:00 am

Cross Blockchain Trades? Lightning Gives New Life to Atomic Swaps

Opening the doors to a new form of decentralized trading, atomic swaps could replace centralized exchanges almost entirely.

Source

Posted on 27 May 2017 | 4:00 am

Consensus 2017 Recap: The Biggest Main Stage Moments

A roundup of the major events that took place on the Consensus 2017 main stage earlier this week.

Source

Posted on 27 May 2017 | 3:25 am

Vinny Lingham Embarks on Identity Management Quest With Civic

Vinny Lingham Embarks on Identity Management Quest With Civic

In January of 2016, when Vinny Lingham announced that he had stepped down as CEO of the popular mobile gift card service Gyft, speculation began to bubble up as to what innovation sandbox he would be stepping into next. A vocal advocate for Bitcoin and the blockchain movement in the media and at industry events, he has been a leading pioneer in the effort to integrate bitcoin payments at Gyft during his tenure there.

 As CEO of Civic, a new startup company focused on digital identity, Lingham is now in pursuit of a new entrepreneurial quest. Civic’s mission is to deliver secure, low-cost identity verification that’s decentralized via blockchain technology. Consumers will have the ability to share information such as their social security or identity numbers securely from any device with digital signatures that validate that the information hasn’t been tampered with.

On May 23, Lingham and Civic CTO Jonathan Smith formally announced their launch of services at Consensus 2017, offering a viable solution to ID theft, fake online profiles and bank accounts, and other data breaches that have an adverse impact on consumer identity. Civic also unveiled their plans at the Token Summit for a token offering on the Ethereum platform. A final token will be issued on the RSK platform.

Civic tokens will provide access to the product while allowing token holders to benefit from its network effect. Overall, Civic endeavors to raise $33 million through the token sale, with additional tokens beyond that allocated to enterprise partners and developers. The company has already received $2.75 million in funding via Social Leverage, an early-stage seed investment fund, as well as through various VC firms that are engaged in Bitcoin and blockchain technology, including Pantera Capital, Blockchain Capital and Digital Currency Group.

Civic’s stealth digital identity platform is designed to replace passwords, usernames and the need for biometrics. The company’s main value proposition targets the explosion of data breaches that hit both consumers and the businesses they engage with. Civic will deliver applications for securing cryptocurrencies, e-signatures, social accounts, financial services, e-commerce/credit cards and medical records. Moreover, it will have the capacity to be used as a digital replacement for passports, driver’s licenses and voter ID, among other utilities.

Consumers will install an app on their smart device, and when someone attempts to access their SSNs within their personal ecosystems, they get notified. This serves as a preventive measure for the unauthorized use of personal information. Ultimately the goal is to deliver solutions for consumers to better control their personal information while providing a positive customer service experience.

Speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, Lingham noted that ID theft is a pervasive issue, especially with the recent spate of around 2,000 data breaches per year in the U.S. alone.

Civic wants to solve this problem by granting people control of their identity and where their personal information is stored. By verifying their information and storing it on their personal devices, consumers can ensure that their identity information is only distributed to authorized parties. 

He emphasized that when a consumer or business uses the Civic login service, no usernames or passwords are created, thereby reducing the vulnerabilities associated around one hack being able to to access other accounts.

Lingham believes that blockchains are likely the most secure place to store information right now, which is why Civic is constantly assessing opportunities to leverage and capitalize on the emerging technology.

Regarding the often-knotty scenarios created around securing government acceptance and collaboration, Lingham said: “We believe that the technology we have is unique and highly differentiated. That said, as we continue to build our user base and network for acceptance, this will draw in governments. We have already had some interest in this area and believe it will only be a matter of time.”

Based in Palo Alto, California, Lingham says he plans to open an office in his native South Africa with the goal of hiring developers there. He decided to take this ambitious step following reforms to South Africa’s business regulations that have created a more favorable environment for investments.

“We’ve always believed that one of the best applications for cryptocurrencies was the ability to power something like voting, one day,” said Lingham. “In order to get there, the larger distributed mobile identity problem needed to be solved first. This is what we are focusing on now — to build the world’s largest identity platform, powered by technology that decentralizes and secures consumer identity information.”

Image of Vinny Lingham: By Sidearmslide - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9856443


The post Vinny Lingham Embarks on Identity Management Quest With Civic appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 26 May 2017 | 5:10 pm

Is the Crypto Asset Class Finally Coming Into its Own?

Cryptocurrency values have surged this year, with many posting huge percentage gains. But is it a sign they're reaching a broader audience?

Source

Posted on 26 May 2017 | 11:35 am

Advertise with Anonymous Ads

Bitcoin Is Bigger Than Ever, And Here's Why That Matters - Forbes


Forbes

Bitcoin Is Bigger Than Ever, And Here's Why That Matters
Forbes
The money you've been using all your life is backed by a government of some sort, and it exists in a tangible way. Bitcoin is neither tangible nor backed by anyone, but it's still worth a great deal to some people. This digital currency began ...
Why Bitcoin Just Dropped 30%Fortune
Bitcoin briefly plunges below $2100 as upward momentum fadesCNBC
Bitcoin Has Come Roaring Back—But So Have the RisksWIRED
CoinTelegraph -The Merkle -newsBTC
all 54 news articles »

Posted on 26 May 2017 | 10:54 am

Skeptical of ICOs? Investor Vinny Lingham Can Change Your Mind With a Marker

The blockchain startup launched by Gyft founder Vinny Lingham is planning to launch an ICO.

Source

Posted on 26 May 2017 | 6:30 am

Bitcoin Price Rebounds to Near $2,640 Following Yesterday's Losses

The price of bitcoin has rebounded after a notable fall yesterday that saw the digital currency lose over $400.

Source

Posted on 26 May 2017 | 3:29 am

Bcoin Protocol Gets Major Development Funding With New Agreement

Purse Introduces New Bcoin Protocol Agreement

Purse has announced a new agreement with Bitmain Technologies, F2Pool, Bitcoin.com and Bixin that will allocate millions of dollars to its bcoin protocol development.

When working with Bitcoin, decentralization is king. Purse CEO Andrew Lee, through bcoin, extends that logic to the Bitcoin protocol itself.

“For Bitcoin to take off, we need multiple implementations with even market share,” Lee explains in a Medium post. “Decentralizing protocol development will lead to multiple clients, diverse communities, more developers, better security and more innovation.”

So what is bcoin? Put simply, Bitcoin was written in C++ coding language, which has a steep learning curve and remains a bit out of reach for many developers. Bcoin helps to solve that problem by re-implementing Bitcoin in Javascript, arguably a more widely used language. This opens the door for more innovation in Bitcoin because more developers will be able to create apps and protocol improvements in Javascript instead of the more complex C++. In October of 2016, Purse announced that it would be running its online market service on top of bcoin.

An important feature of this new agreement is that the participants will gain no equity in any of the projects that arise from the funding. “Bitmain, Bitcoin.com, Bixin and F2Pool donated funds for a non-equity stake to specifically help with supporting the development of multiple implementations. Similar companies also donated to Parity (who is working on a Rust implementation of Bitcoin). The more client diversity Bitcoin has, the better,” explained Steven McKie, head of Growth & Product Content at Purse, in correspondence with Bitcoin Magazine. “Bcoin remains an independent project.”

As for how the funding will be allocated, McKie explains, “The funding will help directly with onboarding and training new developers to commit to the bcoin full-node implementation, open-source project.”

The timing of this announcement is important as it comes almost immediately after the announcement of the 2MBHF + SegWitSF agreement. According to McKie, “Bcoin will work to implement support for the 2MBHF + SegWitSF proposal into the codebase as we stated in our support for the proposal.” This funding agreement will go a long way toward helping that initiative.

“Bcoin is built for modularity and for developers to quickly be able to start utilizing Bitcoin’s robust global network and start hacking together useful tools and applications. Our full node is built on a stack that is attractive to as many developers as possible (node.js). Bcoin has support for all of Bitcoin’s latest features; it’s secure and production-tested by companies like Purse, BitPay, Bixin, Ripio and Bitwala — with more to come.”

The post Bcoin Protocol Gets Major Development Funding With New Agreement appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 25 May 2017 | 6:29 pm

Crypto Traders See Red As Profit Taking Fuels Price Pullback

Profit taking caused crypto prices to suffer notable declines.

Source

Posted on 25 May 2017 | 4:20 pm

Blockchain Entrepreneurs Target Apple and Google at Token Summit

The Token Summit was held today, showcasing how a blockchain-based economy may be on the horizon with real-world applications that serve actual needs.

Source

Posted on 25 May 2017 | 3:42 pm

Bitcoin's Price Tumbles More Than $400 From New High

Bitcoin prices fell sharply today after setting a new all-time high above $2,700 on the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index (BPI).

Source

Posted on 25 May 2017 | 11:43 am

LocalBitcoins Trader Pleads Guilty to Money Transmitter Charge

A Michigan LocalBitcoins trader plead guilty last week to operating an unlicensed money services business.

Source

Posted on 25 May 2017 | 10:00 am

Consensus 2017: Even Academics Can't Keep Pace With Blockchain Change

Universities have a role to play in developing a workforce with blockchain skills, but the rapid pace of innovation brings challenges, academics say.

Source

Posted on 25 May 2017 | 7:00 am

ICOs Going Mainstream? Chat App Kik to Launch Token Sale

Messaging service Kik has revealed plans to launch its own cryptocurrency and ultimately create a new ecosystem for digital services.

Source

Posted on 25 May 2017 | 6:00 am

Qtum’s Block Size Limit Will Be Governed by Smart Contracts: Here’s How

Qtum’s Block Size Limit Will Be Governed by Smart Contracts: Here’s How

Qtum is an up-and-coming smart contract platform set to launch in September of this year. Sometimes ambitiously referring to itself as “China’s Ethereum,” the project recently raised $15 million in three days through a successful crowdsale or “Initial Coin Offering” (ICO).

On a technical level, the Qtum blockchain will resemble Bitcoin, but will integrate an Ethereum-like Virtual Machine on top for smart contracting purposes. Additionally, Qtum is in the process of implementing a “Decentralized Governance Protocol” (DGP). This DGP will have smart contracts determine the blockchain’s parameter selection, like its block size limit.

Jordan Earls, also known as “earlz” online, is the co-founder and lead developer of Qtum.

“We believe this will allow for Qtum to be the first self-modifiable, self-regulating and ultimately self-aware blockchain,” he told Bitcoin Magazine.

 The Concept

Any blockchain has a number of parameters. In Bitcoin, this of course includes the 1 megabyte block size limit. But it also includes the block reward (currently 12.5), the block interval time (ten minutes) and more. These and three other parameters apply to Qtum as well.

But there are two basic problems with needing to have these parameters. First, they are very hard to get “right,” in so far as that’s even possible, since different parameters benefit different use cases. And second, in a decentralized system, these parameters can be very hard to change.

“The core rationale and problem we had when designing this is that we will release Qtum with some initial parameters that we try to make perfect,” Earls told Bitcoin Magazine. “But we don't know what the ecosystem will look like one month after release, much less one year. So, we designed DGP. That way, we can tune the blockchain to be as usable and secure as possible without needing to fork, just to change a simple number from 1 to 2.”

Qtum plans to realize this way of “tuning the blockchain” by doing what it does best: The DGP will consist of relatively straightforward smart contracts made up of blockchain-readable pieces of executable code.

“We have open-source smart contracts which implement the rules for changing the parameters, which will then be accepted by all nodes. It implements a fairly simple governance system of ‘user keys’ and ‘admin keys.’ There is a modifiable parameter in the contract which determines how many keys of each type must vote in order to approve a change to, say, the block size limit.”

Importantly, through the use of smart contracts, these keys can actually represent more than just a regular user per key: Each key can represent a defined group.

“Perhaps one key represents a majority of hash power; or a key represents coin votes by coin holders; or a key acts according to a dynamic limit based on how full blocks are. Or even oracles: a key can effectively be controlled by people or servers that act based on input not directly readable by the blockchain itself, like USD market price for transaction fees. It’s extremely flexible.”

Qtum will almost certainly include smart contracts for the block size limit, the gas schedule to determine the price of different smart contract operations (for which Ethereum hard forked several times) and the minimum gas price. Additionally, it might deploy smart contracts for block interval times, block rewards, maximum gas per block and maximum script size or signature operations per transaction or block.

Changing the Rules

Embedding the parameter selection in smart contracts is clever and having all node software adjust accordingly even more so. However, an arguably even harder problem is not so much what parameter is decided on, but who gets to decide in the first place and how.

In Qtum, the initial parameters will be set by the developers based on their testing and measurements.

“For instance, we've already determined that a block size of 2 megabytes should be reasonable,” Earls said.

After that, the initial set of rules to define the parameters can be changed themselves within the rules of the system, too.

A smart contract could, for example, start out relatively simple: It requires a majority of core developers to change the rules of the contract. Then, if a majority of core developers decides that instead of just developers, it should also include a majority of coin holders, the contract can be changed to a two-of-two multisig contract. From that moment on, one key would represent the developers, while the other key would represent the majority of coin holders. Next, if both developers and coin holders agree, hash power can have a seat at the table, too, and so forth.

As such, Qtum smart contracts can change not only the parameters of the system, but also how the parameters themselves can be changed.

That said, as Earls acknowledged, the Decentralized Governance Protocol can’t actually solve all governance problems. It’s specifically designed to make certain predefined parameters more easily adjustable, and it can indeed even change how these parameters can be adjusted to some extent.

But the Decentralized Governance Protocol does not and cannot apply to network rules that aren’t among these predefined parameters. Protocol changes outside of these specific parameters would still require a typical upgrade mechanism, like a hard fork or a soft fork.

“I believe if Bitcoin had DGP technology, then we would still see all this fighting about SegWit vs Bitcoin Unlimited, etcetera,” Earls acknowledged. “But, DGP would have been used in the meantime to increase the block size to something conservative but reasonable like 2 megabytes or 4 megabytes, to avoid all the transaction speed problems. Meanwhile, the developers and community could figure out a more permanent solution.”

The post Qtum’s Block Size Limit Will Be Governed by Smart Contracts: Here’s How appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 24 May 2017 | 6:38 pm

DCG’s Bitcoin Scaling Proposal and What it Needs to Succeed

DCG’s Scaling Proposal and What it Needs to Succeed

Spearheaded by Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group (DCG),  this week over 50 companies signed and published a “Bitcoin Scaling Agreement” on Medium. The agreement intends to put an end to Bitcoin’s long-lasting scaling debate.

Whether it actually will is a another question.

Here’s what the agreement entails, how it compares to existing scaling proposals and what it requires to succeed …

What the Agreement Entails

The DCG agreement is based on the “SegWit2MB” proposal, originally floated by RSK Founder and Chief Scientist Sergio Demian Lerner. This proposal couples activation of Segregated Witness (SegWit), the centrepiece of Bitcoin Core’s scaling roadmap, with an added block-size-increase hard fork down the road. While SegWit itself offers an increase to two to four megabytes, the added hard fork should double this to a maximum of eight megabytes.

According to the Medium post, the soft fork will be activated “at an 80% threshold,” (presumably) referring to hash power. And the hard fork will be activated “within six months.”

However, it seems that different signatories have different interpretations of what this actually means. Some claim that SegWit will be activated as a soft fork first, followed by a separate block-size-increase hard fork later. Others suggest that the soft fork will come first, but in such a way that it would trigger hard fork code, which still activates later. Yet others suggest that both the soft fork and the hard fork will be activated at the same time. And some even think the hard fork will come first, followed by SegWit activation later.

While these kinds of details may still need to be worked out, over 50 companies signed the agreement. Combined, they currently represent more than 80 percent of hash power on the network and, according to these companies, $5.1 billion USD in transaction volume as well as 20.5 million Bitcoin wallets.

But there are telling omissions, too. Perhaps most notably, no Bitcoin Core developer is party to the agreement, nor were any of them even present at the meeting. Similarly, none of the entities that fund Bitcoin Core developers — like Chaincode Labs, Blockstream or MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative — signed on. And of course, some 50 companies are only a segment of the Bitcoin industry in the first place; several big players are still missing.

Last but not least, Bitcoin’s broader user base is not involved with the agreement either, nor is the agreement in any way tied to community support.

How the Agreement Compares to Existing Scaling Solutions

Like the DCG agreement, Bitcoin Core’s scaling roadmap includes Segregated Witness as well. It also suggests that a hard fork to further increase the block size limit could be needed in the future, though it does not specify a specific point in time. Most Bitcoin Core developers also believe that a hard fork requires at least a year to prepare, perhaps more. As such, both Bitcoin Core and the DCG agreement share activation of SegWit as a first step in their scaling plans — but not the hard fork part.

However, the SegWit activation mechanism that is part of the DCG agreement slightly differs from the current activation mechanism implemented in Bitcoin Core. Most important, the DCG agreement lowers the required hash power threshold from 95 to 80 percent. And because of how SegWit is designed, activation through the DCG agreement is incompatible with all SegWit-ready Bitcoin nodes on the network.

It may be possible to work around this issue, however. As proposed by Bitmain Warranty engineer James Hilliard, SegWit activation can be made compatible between the DCG agreement and Bitcoin Core, though it’s a bit “hacky.” In short, if miners signal support for SegWit along the DCG agreement with at least 80 percent of hash power, this 80 percent can also start to completely reject any block that does not signal support for SegWit. This activates the current SegWit proposal by Bitcoin Core, as that would reach its 95 percent threshold as well.

Down the road, the DCG agreement’s hard fork is very unlikely to be implemented in Bitcoin Core for a number of reasons, but most importantly because it is contentious.

Other scaling proposals, like Bitcoin Unlimited’s Emergent Consensus or Bcoin’s Extension Blocks, are not necessarily incompatible with the DCG agreement, or at least they don’t need to be.

What the Agreement Requires to Succeed

What the agreement requires to succeed depends on your concept of “success.” But it will be a challenge by any definition.

First off, it should be noted that the proposal — which allows for blocks of up to 8 megabytes — may not be safe. While the full extent of the block size issue is outside the scope of this article, suffice it to say that some think that 8 megabyte blocks are, in fact, a significant risk.

Perhaps even more important, code needs to be written, and it is not yet clear who will actually do this. Moreover, this code should really be reviewed and tested extensively: the plan is to have it carry billions of dollars’ worth of value. This will not be easy to do within six months; perhaps impossible.

Then, this code must be brought into production. For the hard fork in particular, this means that everyone effectively needs to integrate and switch to the new protocol. If all signatories of the agreement accomplish this, it would probably be sufficient to at least get this new protocol running.

It seems obvious that the signatories of the DCG agreement hope that the rest of the Bitcoin ecosystem will also switch to the new protocol once the fork takes place. In that case, the new protocol would (probably) be considered the new "Bitcoin” by everyone.

But given the contention of the proposed hard fork, this currently seems very unlikely.

While it’s impossible to predict the future, it seems almost certain that at least some segment of Bitcoin developers, miners, companies and — most important — users will reject the fork. They will stay put on the existing protocol even if that means it takes much longer for blocks to confirm, or they will roll out a user activated soft fork, or perhaps they will even deploy a counter–hard fork. Under any of these scenarios, the Bitcoin blockchain would “split” into two chains, or more.

The real challenge, therefore, is to get people to use the new chain. And, if that is desired, to get them to consider it the “real” Bitcoin. This will probably be a much harder challenge than forking itself, even for all the companies involved in the DCG agreement.

And most important, for the agreement to succeed in any way at all (perhaps even under a different name than “Bitcoin”), it will require the signatories to follow through. The Bitcoin protocol is difficult to change, and promises or Medium posts alone don’t have any impact on it whatsoever, as several similar commitments have proven in the past.

The post DCG’s Bitcoin Scaling Proposal and What it Needs to Succeed appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 24 May 2017 | 6:21 pm

Using Blockchain Tech to Keep Concert Ticket Prices Honest

BitTicket, the First Digital Events Ticket Platform on the Blockchain

Major events, from sporting to musical, are a significant part of most people's lives, bringing individuals together to enjoy a shared interest. Unfortunately, ticket touts (scalpers) and secondary websites are taking advantage and extorting the event ticketing industry. With big names such as Mumford and Sons, Coldplay, Adele and Ed Sheeran speaking out about this problem, the issue remains. The U.K. government has introduced legislation that aims to prevent the use of bots from purchasing tickets to resell them at inflated prices. Still, more than 21,000 people in the U.K. have reported falling victim to ticket fraud in the last three years with the majority of these reports concerning secondary ticket markets, according to research.  

In order to solve the issues around fraudulent tickets and the high prices associated with them Edinburgh-based Citizen Ticket, the ethical 'David meets Goliath' event ticketing platform backed by blockchain technology, was created by CFO Harry Boisseau and COO Philip Shaw-Stewart. During their time working in the events industry for the past 10 years, the pair has worked on everything from large-scale music events and pop-up food events to underground concerts and charity fundraisers.  

The Problem

In partnership with Get Online Safe and the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR), the City of London Police's National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) found that over the last three years more than £17 million ($22 million) has been lost to ticket fraudsters.  

In April, the three organizations undertook a series of Facebook flash sales, which saw over 1,500 people attempting to buy music tickets from a fake ticket website called 'Surfed Arts.' Purporting to be a secondary ticket website, the adverts were aimed at certain locations where concerts were taking place over the summer but had sold out. The research found that women over the age of 65 and those who reside in London tried to purchase the most fake tickets; however, men and women aged 35-44 and those living in Birmingham were the least likely to click on the fake advert.

Those who did click on the Surfed Arts website were told they could not buy the sold out tickets before being informed on how they could better protect themselves from becoming a potential victim to ticket fraudsters. According to the NFIB, the idea was to get people to change their online behavior and to consider whether secondary ticket sales are legitimate.

Social media is also becoming another avenue for ticket fraudsters to advertise ticket sales. Data from Action Fraud found that in 2015 there was a 55 percent rise in ticket fraud with major sporting events such as the Rugby World Cup and the Premier League football accounting for a quarter of all incidents of ticket scams. Fraudulent tickets for gigs and festivals represented 15 percent, costing the U.K. public £5.2 million ($6.75 million).

Those who do purchase fake tickets can find that the nature of them can vary. They either don't materialize, never existed or charge hyper-inflated prices through secondary ticket websites than what's listed on a primary ticket website.

A Blockchain Solution

With the help from fellow team member Colin Palmer, CTO, Boisseau and Shaw-Stewart brought to fruition the recent launch of BitTicket, the first digital event tickets on the blockchain for public events, using the cryptocurrency Ethereum Classic. The idea was dreamt up while searching online for Ed Sheeran tickets on a secondary ticket website with high costs.

The team found that not only were there large quantities of tickets being hoarded by secondary ticket websites with increased prices attached to them, but that primary ticket websites were sending them, in bulk, to the secondary ticket websites before they went on sale. However, that wasn't the only problem the team found.

"The event ticketing monopolies own primary ticket websites and secondary ticket trading websites," said Shaw-Stewart, speaking to Bitcoin Magazine. "The secondary ticket website allows the monopolies to collect event tickets from their primary ticket website, then charge highly inflated prices for the tickets on their secondary website under the pretense of being a platform created to allow fans to resell tickets."

As an example, they cited a Robbie Williams concert that was held at the O2 Arena in London. On a primary website, the tickets were being sold for £40 ($52). However, according to Shaw-Stewart, the primary site proceeded to sell 80 percent of their tickets to the umbrella company's secondary sister site. There, the same tickets were being sold for £300 ($390) each.

"There is a problem in the industry we believe to be unethical, the resale of event tickets by secondary ticket websites, often at highly inflated prices."  

With the use of the blockchain, BitTicket is aiming to provide a secure and transparent system which is resistant to fraud and counterfeiting. With every ticket sale publicly verifiable on the blockchain, it locks and guarantees the value of the ticket in a way that is unmatched by private databases and paper systems, says Shaw-Stewart.

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It also has inbuilt anti-fraud sales rules to ensure that no secondary ticket website can hoard tickets to control the supply that allows them to charge inflated prices. If the resale rules are broken by secondary ticket websites or ticket touts (scalpers), the fraudulent accounts are frozen and the tickets are made invalid.

Still in the early stages of launching Citizen Ticket, the team is planning on rolling out a large-scale marketing campaign in the coming months to target event organizers and event goers.

The first ever event to use this new blockchain application was the Scottish Street Food Awards in Edinburgh, which took place on May 12. Utilizing the BitTicket platform, the event proved to be a success for the Citizen Ticket team, who said that the platform had performed exactly as they had expected.

"From a customer's point of view very little changed; they purchased and presented their ticket like any other digital ticket," said Shaw-Stewart. "They were asked for ID at the door to confirm ownership of their ticket and that's it, they were in."  

In keeping with the company’s commitment to ethical practices, Citizen Ticket also works with two charitable partners: the Movember Foundation and SkatePal. Through ticket sales made on the platform, donations are made to these two charities.

With an array of events already listed on the platform, as well as its fundraising initiatives, the team is hoping to level the playing field for the industry with BitTickets.

"We hope that the launch of BitTicket will usher in a new era of ethical event tickets where both fan and artist are protected from the unethical practices of ticket touts and secondary ticket websites," concluded Shaw-Stewart.

The post Using Blockchain Tech to Keep Concert Ticket Prices Honest appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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