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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.

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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

Some Bitcoin Investors Are Mortgaging Their Homes to Buy More Digital Currency - Fortune


Fortune

Some Bitcoin Investors Are Mortgaging Their Homes to Buy More Digital Currency
Fortune
As Bitcoin continues to soar in valuation, new investors are joining the craze, even if they don't initially have the money to pay for the cryptocurrency. Securities regulator Joseph Borg says he has seen people doing everything from running up credit ...
People are mortgaging their houses to buy BitcoinEngadget
Bitcoin Is An Insult To Markets. So Are The GOP Tax Cuts.HuffPost
People are putting their homes at risk to buy BitcoinBusiness Insider
Bitcoin News (press release) -City A.M.
all 27 news articles »

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 8:33 am

Bitcoin Investing: A 10000-Year View - CoinDesk


CoinDesk

Bitcoin Investing: A 10000-Year View
CoinDesk
My theory is that Wall Street investor interest mounted during this phase and the money that was denied an opportunity to enter via a regulated ETF, came in anyway directly through the exchange markets around March. We saw an uptick in price when it ...

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 7:53 am

Bitcoin Investing: A 10,000-Year View

Far from a bubble, bitcoin is on the path to becoming a significant part of global money supply, according to trader and analyst Willy Woo.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 7:45 am

Bitcoin Isn't Sapping Demand for Gold, Says Goldman Sachs Exec

A Goldman Sachs executive has said there is "no evidence" that bitcoin's price gains have reduced demand for gold.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 7:00 am

Blockchain's Boom Year: Job Market Grows 200%

The number of blockchain jobs posted this year increased by 207 percent, according to data provided to CoinDesk from Indeed.com.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 6:30 am

Over $300? Pullback Likely for Surging Litecoin

New users are crowding into the litecoin market, driving up one of the market's oldest and most accessible assets.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 6:00 am

No Stopping? After New High, Bitcoin Price Eyes $20k

Following yesterday's all-time high, bitcoin bulls look set to push prices as high as $20,000 over the next few days.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 4:15 am

North Korea may be making a fortune from bitcoin mania - CNNMoney


CNNMoney

North Korea may be making a fortune from bitcoin mania
CNNMoney
Experts say the attacks are likely to continue as bitcoin's price skyrockets. It started the year below $1,000 but has soared more than 1,500%, crossing $17,000 for the first time last week. It's not just bitcoin's dizzying gains that make it appealing ...

and more »

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 2:37 am

2018: Another Growth Year for Blockchain

Think 2017 was a fluke? Not according to blockchain advisor Oliver Bussmann who makes the case next year will see further growth.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 2:00 am

Bitcoin 'Sect' Stuns Online Broker in Sweden With 50-Fold Jump - Bloomberg


Bloomberg

Bitcoin 'Sect' Stuns Online Broker in Sweden With 50-Fold Jump
Bloomberg
At XBT Provider by CoinShares, a Stockholm-based platform that enables trade in bitcoin and notes based on the cryptocurrency, Managing Director Laurent Kssis says “the last 30 days have been exceptional.” Trading records have been repeatedly broken ...

and more »

Posted on 11 December 2017 | 11:35 pm

Hong Kong Regulator Issues Warning on Bitcoin Futures

A Hong Kong finance regulator has published a new circular on bitcoin futures contracts and other cryptocurrency-related investment products.

Posted on 11 December 2017 | 11:00 pm

2017: The 'Butt' of Bitcoin's Joke - CoinDesk - CoinDesk


CoinDesk

2017: The 'Butt' of Bitcoin's Joke - CoinDesk
CoinDesk
David Gerard is the author of the book "Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain" (Amazon US, Amazon UK), editor of the news blog of the same name and a contributor to crypto parody forum r/buttcoin. The following article is an exclusive contribution to ...

and more »

Posted on 11 December 2017 | 9:01 pm

2017: The 'Butt' of Bitcoin's Joke

Sanity? You weren't going to find it in the crypto world in 2017 according to author David Gerard. Insanity, though, there's plenty to go around...

Posted on 11 December 2017 | 9:00 pm

'According to Plan': CBOE Bullish on First Day of Bitcoin Futures Trading

The first day of trading for CBOE's bitcoin futures contracts is over and the day largely went according to plan, according to its CEO.

Posted on 11 December 2017 | 6:05 pm

Chicagoans are jumping into the world of bitcoin: 'Everyone thinks I'm crazy' - Chicago Tribune


Chicago Tribune

Chicagoans are jumping into the world of bitcoin: 'Everyone thinks I'm crazy'
Chicago Tribune
In January, Mike Haynes' salary was cut in half as the tech startup he worked for restructured. By spring, he had burned through most of his savings. Now he's one of the many speculators chasing their fortunes though bitcoin investing. The CBOE Futures ...
Bitcoin slips to around $16300, futures volumes dropReuters
Bitcoin: Mainstream Baby! Whales Hang Onto Their Bitcoins -- No Big Shorts YetForbes
Bitcoin futures soar as the virtual currency begins trading on a major exchangeLos Angeles Times
Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News) -Bloomberg -Fortune
all 588 news articles »

Posted on 11 December 2017 | 4:34 pm

Munchee ICO Halted by SEC for Securities Violations

Munchee ICO Halted by SEC for Securities Violations

On December 11, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC) issued a cease-and-desist to California-based Munchee Inc. to stop their ICO and return the funds that had been collected.

Munchee had been seeking $15 million in capital to improve their existing mobile app and create a restaurant review ecosystem that they described as being “Yelp meets Instagram” in their Bitcointalk announcement. The problem arose when Munchee emphasized that it would take steps to create a secondary market for the tokens as an investment vehicle, leading investors to have a reasonable belief that their tokens would rise in value, long in advance of the utility of the token being made available.

In the SEC announcement, Stephanie Avakian, co-director of the SEC Enforcement Division, said, “We will continue to scrutinize the market vigilantly for improper offerings that seek to sell securities to the general public without the required registration or exemption. In deciding not to impose a penalty, the Commission recognized that the company stopped the ICO quickly, immediately returned the proceeds before issuing tokens, and cooperated with the investigation.”

In the SEC complaint, the commission argued that the MUN tokens were considered securities because “they were investment contracts” and were deemed a security regardless of their utility at the time of the sale. Munchee consented to the SEC’s order without admitting to, or denying, the findings.

The action is significant as it shows the willingness of the SEC to step in and take action. It also illustrates a willingness on the part of the SEC to work with companies that are cooperative when they run afoul of the regulations.

The post Munchee ICO Halted by SEC for Securities Violations appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 11 December 2017 | 3:19 pm

Bitcoin Futures Are Here: The Story So Far

cboefutures.jpg

The week ahead will give better future indication of Bitcoin derivatives products as yesterday at 6 p.m. EST, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) allowed bitcoin futures to begin trading under the symbol “XBT.” Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) is set to allow futures trading in the cryptocurrency of their own accord on December 18, 2017. Bitcoin futures were up over 20 percent leading into the U.S. market open. Current appetite for the futures contracts seems to show a stronger preference for near-term bitcoin futures priced above the current spot rate. According to the CBOE twitter feed, over 800 contracts were traded in the first two hours.

47c7ff34bce0ce6132eef3b1762bee2b.png

Image source: CBOE delayed quotes dashboard as of 3:53 PM. EST

At least one outage plagued the CBOE in early trading, including two minutes of downtime from 8:31 p.m. EST to 8:33 p.m. EST, while the CBOE stated at 11:34 p.m. EST that there would be a 5-minute hiatus if the front month (January expiration) rose above 30 percent.

square cboe

Image Source: www.cboe.com

These deliberate halts in trading are known as “circuit breakers” and are meant to protect the market from unmanageable volatility.

While we wait to see how futures trading unfolds in the U.S. markets today, here are some of the notable events that got us into a world of bitcoin futures.

October 31

The CME Group gave bitcoin investors around the world a bit of a Halloween treat when they announced plans to allow bitcoin futures to be traded on their exchange. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s announcement notably coincided with the anniversary of the publication of Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakomoto’s original 2008 white paper on the cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts took this as a signal of mainstream acceptance of the asset class, and bitcoin closed the day (according to historical data provided by www.coinmarketcap.com) at $6,468.40. When futures trading opened last night, bitcoin was trading at $14,901.70.

December 1, 2017

Regulators gave bitcoin futures the green light for the CME Group as well as for self-certification by the CBOE Futures Exchange (CFE) as well as for the Cantor Exchange’s new contract for bitcoin binary options. The exchanges assured the CFTC that the new products were compliant with the self-certification process rules, and the CFTC refrained from halting the self-certification. CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo stated in a press release:  

Bitcoin, a virtual currency, is a commodity unlike any the Commission has dealt with in the past…[a]s a result, we have had extensive discussions with the exchanges regarding the proposed contracts, and CME, CFE and Cantor have agreed to significant enhancements to protect customers and maintain orderly markets.

December 4

The CBOE announced it would launch futures trading in bitcoin under the symbol “XBT” on Sunday night, December 10, 2017, at 6 p.m. EST. This move was seen as a manoever to beat the earlier announcement from the competing CME that they would allow futures trading in bitcoin beginning December 18, 2017. Not surprisingly, the CBOE’s usage of the exchange platform Gemini, owned by the Winklevoss twins, may allow the newly minted “Bitcoin Billionaires” to further capitalize on the successes of the cryptocurrencies.

December 5

A Natixis Investment Managers Survey of 500 global investors managing more than $19 trillion of assets has found that “nearly two-thirds [of survey participants] said Bitcoin was in a bubble, and this was a month before the cryptocurrency surged above $10,000 last week.”

Also bearish on bitcoin was Stephen Roach, a Yale University economist who told CNBC’s “The Rundown” that exchange legitimization makes bitcoin “somewhat dangerous [for investors],” citing a “lack of intrinsic underlying economic value to the concept.”

December 6

S3 Partners, a data research and analytics firm, sent this note to investors on GBTC ETF, the only ETF which trades bitcoin. In the note, Managing Director of Predictive Analytics at S3, Ihor Dusaniwsky, suggested that bitcoin as an asset would be “ripe for a pullback once the CBOE futures contracts go live” but also cautioned that the fees for shorting the GBTC ETF will be extremely high. While futures contracts would enable easier and safer access to both long and short positions, Dusaniwsky noted, futures trading would also carry premium costs for all GBTC ETF investors, stating:

Long GBTC holders may feel the pain of its 53% asset premium shrinking, while short sellers will probably be incurring a 50%+ stock borrow fee — both sides will be paying a premium in order to ride the Bitcoin rollercoaster once the CBOE futures start trading.

Also on December 6, 2017, trading volume for BTC nearly doubled from 6.9 billion to 12.7 billion and crosses the 10 billion volume threshold for the first time since Bitcoin crossed $10,000 (November 28, 2017). Whether this run up was related to the prospect of bitcoin futures or just normal market machinations is unclear.

historical cboe

Screenshot of historical data from Coinmarketcap.com (link above)

December 7

The Futures Industry Association, an industry organization whose primary members consist of the largest clearing houses and clearing firms for futures in the world, published an open letter it had sent to the CFTC chairman on December 6, 2017, decrying the lack of “a healthy dialogue between regulators, exchanges, clearing houses and the clearing firms who will be absorbing the risk of these volatile, emerging instruments during a default.” This is in spite of the fact that the letter also admits that, “Under law, exchanges may self-certify a product for trading by the close of business one day and then list the product for trading the next day.This process does not require CFTC approval or input…”

Also on December 7, in a joint interview with former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, stated that, “We’ll [Goldman Sachs] see. If it works out and it gets more established and it trades like a store value and it doesn't move up and down 20% and there's liquidity in it, we’ll get to it.”

That same interview includes the suggestion that, according to an unnamed source with knowledge of Goldman Sachs plans, the investment bank plans to help clear bitcoin futures contracts for certain clients when the derivatives go live and that “the decision to clear client trades will be made on a case-by-case basis.” Goldman Sachs “will act in an agency capacity” and “won’t serve as a market-maker or build inventory in the derivatives.”

December 8

As the normal trading week came to an end, Coinbase and its exchange platform GDAX sent a reminder from Coinbase CEO, Brian Armstrong, to its users via blog and email to “invest responsibly,” also noting that “there may be downtime which can impact your ability to trade.” While seemingly innocuous, it appears the Coinbase team was preparing for a surge in trading volume that would crash its platform. At 10 p.m. on December 10, 2017, Coinbase tweeted that it would be offline for one hour of scheduled maintenance to “help to prevent slow performance and login issues during larger traffic surges.”

Conclusion

The market on Bitcoin Futures is open for business. After 14 hours of premarket bitcoin futures and a full day of trading from both European and U.S. investors, “XBT” seems to be functioning as planned. While spectators of the past week have foretold of everything from rosy outlooks to apocryphal warnings, we, at least for the moment, seem to be on a path toward embracing cryptocurrency futures as a new wave of derivatives.

The post Bitcoin Futures Are Here: The Story So Far appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 11 December 2017 | 2:38 pm

Bitcoin Price Back Above $17k to Set New All-Time High

The price of bitcoin has pushed back above $17,000, hitting a new all-time high on CoinDesk's Bitcoin Price Index (BPI)

Posted on 11 December 2017 | 1:48 pm

Understanding Futures: A Primer for Bitcoiners

You may be able to trade the bitcoin cash market anonymously, but you cannot do the same with futures.

Posted on 11 December 2017 | 1:15 pm

CBOE CEO Blasts 'Uncalled For' Bitcoin Futures Critiques

CBOE's chief executive is pushing back at suggestions that the exchange's newly-launched bitcoin futures market was hastily done.

Posted on 11 December 2017 | 11:40 am

SEC Halts Multimillion-Dollar 'Munchee' ICO for Securities Violations

A California-based company has refunded a $15 million initial coin offering following an investigation by the SEC.

Posted on 11 December 2017 | 9:40 am

New Bitcoin ETF Filings Follow CBOE Futures Debut

Public filings suggest that the launch of bitcoin futures products has renewed a push to create exchange-traded funds tied to the cryptocurrency.

Posted on 11 December 2017 | 9:00 am

Bitcoin Gold Defies Gravity, But Price Rally Looks Weak

Bitcoin gold is well bid today, but chart analysis suggests the upturn in prices may be ephemeral.

Posted on 11 December 2017 | 8:00 am

Pantera Invests $3 Million in Sharing Economy Token Origin

Decentralizing Airbnb? A new blockchain protocol aims to disrupt nothing less than the entirety of the sharing economy.

Posted on 11 December 2017 | 7:30 am

BitGo Scores $43 Million as Crypto Goes Corporate

The maker of multi-signature cryptocurrency wallets turned profitable this year, as the institutional user base it had long courted finally arrived.

Posted on 11 December 2017 | 7:00 am

Op-ed: Bitcoin Is Not a Bubble; It's in an S-Curve and It's Just Getting Started

Op-ed: Bitcoin Is Not a Bubble; It's in an S-Curve and It's Just Getting Started

One of the most intriguing stories underpinning the recent rise of bitcoin prices is how financial institutions will interact with the currency.

The upcoming CBOE futures market is going to open the door for Wall Street giants to participate in the market. That could spell moon or doom for bitcoin, and everyone is speculating on what may happen next.

It is this Wall Street/BTC interaction (phenomenon) that may be driving the unbelievable price spike of the past few days — at least partially.

On the macro scale, however, we may be witnessing a more grand pattern forming; a price-correlated S-curve.

The S-curve is the classic adoption curve applied to the advent of new technologies. As a percentage of the population, adoption looks like a lag phase where the technology is utilized by the innovators of said technology, followed by an early adoption phase led by people who often take risks in order to be the first movers in a space. After the early adopter phase (~16% of the population is now participating), there comes a great “tipping point” where the wide use of the technology seems inevitable. The tipping point gives rise to the “Early Majority” joining in on the fun, followed by the late majority and, finally, the holdouts who allow the top of the S to asymptotically approach total adoption. The curve, as a factor of time and adoption, looks sort of like the following:

Screen_Shot_2017-12-08_at_9.56.44_AM.png

This curve correlates nicely with adoption of some of the greatest technological innovations in our recent history:

Screen_Shot_2017-12-08_at_9.57.15_AM.png

Some important things to note is that this is just U.S. adoption. Much of the world lagged behind the U.S. in the consumer appliance boom of the 1900s. All of these curves, however steep, do follow the same S-curve trend fairly nicely.

So what could that mean for bitcoin? It’s difficult to choose a metric to define bitcoin adoption, and, in fact, there are disputes about if one metric accurately captures it. However, for simplicity I’ll highlight Google searches for bitcoin and Coinbase user count as microcosms of the global adoption trend.

google search

Screen_Shot_2017-12-08_at_9.58.02_AM.png(from CNBC)

This seems to show a very similar pattern to what could be the transitional phase between “innovators” and “Early Adopters.” Just to harken back to the earlier statement though — it’s very difficult to put a number on bitcoin adoption.

So why is this remarkable? Bitcoin may be the first “buyable” S-curve. Because this is a capped-supply currency, more users adopting and using it necessitates an increase in price. Whether that correlation is even reflective of the current price action is a practically unanswerable question, and the obvious leaning would be towards there being a speculative additional value. However, with an increase in adoption, there seems to be a floor rising up to catch whatever “bubble burst” might occur, if and when it happens.

I'm starting to take the controversial position that I'm less looking at a financial market chart and more looking at a graph for adoption rates. $BTC pic.twitter.com/RmGFyCdwan

— Parabolic Trav (@parabolictrav) December 3, 2017

“Eternal September” is the phrase used to describe September of 1993, when widespread internet adoption began to look inevitable. It occured after AOL began a mailing campaign offering free trials of its internet service, leading to an influx of internet users that has since never ended. Hence “Eternal September.”

Always thought it would take another bubble for the #crypto equivalent, but this might be the start of #Bitcoin Eternal September https://t.co/95PaF9ZYD7

— David Bailey (@DavidFBailey) December 6, 2017

To compare bitcoin’s adoption to its complement — the internet — this may very well be the “Eternal September” episode for bitcoin.

If the S-curve adoption theory applies to bitcoin, then buckle up. I won’t pretend to be able to predict a spot price, but I will say I think we may be sitting close to another order of magnitude this time next year.

See y’all on the moon.

Corollary: Bulls sound smart in bull markets. We may look back and laugh at this thought, or it may hold true for years to come. Time will tell. ‘Til then, buy bitcoin.

Trading and investing in digital assets like bitcoin and ether is highly speculative and comes with many risks. This analysis is for informational purposes and should not be considered investment advice. Statements and financial information on Bitcoin Magazine and BTC Media related sites do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BTC Media and should not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation to buy, sell or hold. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.


The post Op-ed: Bitcoin Is Not a Bubble; It's in an S-Curve and It's Just Getting Started appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 8 December 2017 | 11:09 am

It’s A Wonderful Life for Bitcoin Evangelist as Community Expresses Its Gratitude

It’s A Wonderful Life for Bitcoin Evangelist as Community Expresses Its Gratitude


In “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the 1940s Christmas classic, George Bailey (played by Jimmy Stewart) is the guiding force of a small-town bank, who ends up sacrificing his own dreams for the betterment of his community.

Ultimately, facing financial ruin, he begins to question what it was all for. That is when his friends appear, one by one, with a flurry of donations, reminding him of how he touched each and every one of their lives, and Bailey realizes he is a rich man after all.

Bitcoin evangelist Andreas Antonopoulos recently found himself at the center of a similar outpouring of gratitude. The author and public speaker has spent the last five years of his life traversing the globe and educating people about Bitcoin. But, as it turns out, he hadn’t exactly made himself rich along the way.

WIth the price of bitcoin soaring into the $16,000s, a grateful community has decided to give Antonopoulos’s fortunes a karmic boost. A spontaneous giving spree, fueled by social media, is under way. Thus far, more than 100 BTC, valued at over $1.7 million has been sent to his bitcoin address. One individual alone sent an eye-popping 37 BTC, worth $500,000. (Update: That same individual added another 42 BTC, making for a total of 79 BTC: worth well over $1,000,000.)

Along with the money, people are tweeting under the hashtag #ThankYouAndreas and reminding Antonopoulos of the many ways he made a difference in their lives.  

“Words are my craft but tonight I am speechless,” the author of Mastering Bitcoin tweeted last night.

Never a Rich Man

Antonopoulos became involved with Bitcoin in 2012. He has written two books on the subject, describing in detail the technical rules governing Bitcoin in a way that a novice could understand, and has given more than 200 talks (many of them free) about Bitcoin.

It is easy to imagine that someone who knows so much about Bitcoin might have found a way to profit from it. A small investment in the virtual currency five years ago, when bitcoin was at around $6, would have netted the Bitcoin writer a humongous profit. (Bitcoin is currently listed at $16,000.) But Antonopoulos wasn’t really a speculator.

Indeed, as investor Roger Ver pointed out in one of his tweets, if Antonopoulos had put more money into bitcoin early on, he would have been a lot better off financially.

But Antonopoulos was too busy, too obsessed with spreading his vision of a world free from the strictures of legacy banks and payment systems. He wanted people to understand the technology and to appreciate its promise.

That early obsession, as he described in a recent blog post, led him to undo a lifetime of savings and eventually fall into credit card debt as he tumbled down the Bitcoin rabbit hole. He lived paycheck to paycheck for years until becoming debt-free at the end of 2016. Those bitcoins he’d collected and earned had to be cashed out along the way to support him and his family.

I did invest, Roger. Then I sold in 2013 to pay my rent. I didn't have disposable income to work for two years without pay and invest at the same time. I should've gone into more debt, but that would have been irresponsible towards my family who I supported

— Andreas M. Antonopoulos (@aantonop) December 5, 2017

Because most people were not aware of Antonopoulos’s earlier struggles, some were puzzled when he recently began putting videos of his talks on Patreon, a membership platform that allows users to collect monthly subscription fees for services.  

I’m not a bitcoin millionnaire [sic],” Antonopoulos responded to one follower on Twitter. “My supporters on Patreon, many at $5/month, make it possible for me to work with independence.”

Developer Adam Back quickly responded with the suggestion that “if ‘sign guy’ can get a meaningful start from tips, we should try [to] find a way for the community to fund @aantonop to a hodlers position.” And the community agreed.

Shortly thereafter, his number of Patreon supporters began to rise, and donations started to pour into Antonopoulos’s bitcoin address.

In addition to the funds that accumulated, accolades began to pour in from supporters far and wide on Twitter, Reddit and Patreon. Many credit him for getting them into Bitcoin in the first place, for helping them to understand it and for inspiring them to pursue careers in the space.

“I don’t know anyone as authentic, well-intentioned and universally respected in the industry,” wrote entrepreneur Ryan Selkis in a tweet.

#THANKYOUANDREAS for being a shining example of what a thought leader in the space should look like 👏👏

— Dan Hedl (@danheld) December 6, 2017

“@aantonop is by far the BEST advocate and most eloquent speaker on #bitcoin. His speeches had a HUGE influence on me,” wrote investor and author Brian Kelly.

“The community raised over $700,000 worth of Bitcoin in a matter of hours for Andreas from all over the world, which beautifully shows the power of Bitcoin itself, actually,” wrote Erik Voorhees, CEO at cryptocurrency exchange ShapeShift.

For Antonopoulos, the outpouring of support has been no less than overwhelming.

“I am going offline for a few days. I need time to process everything that happened,” he tweeted on Wednesday. “If you sent me a message in the last 48 hrs, thank you. If I don’t respond for a week or so, I apologize.”




The post It’s A Wonderful Life for Bitcoin Evangelist as Community Expresses Its Gratitude appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 7 December 2017 | 3:52 pm

Out of Steam: PC Gaming Platform Ends Bitcoin Payment Option

Out of Steam - PC Gaming Platform Ends Bitcoin Payment Option

The utility aspect of Bitcoin faced a setback yesterday as PC gamers heard from Valve Corporation’s Steam Team in a blog post that Bitcoin would no longer be accepted as payment on its digital distribution platform, Steam. Citing the volatility of the currency as well as the rising cost of fees, a representative of The Steam Team, known as “kurtis”, explained that the volatility of Bitcoin has created a problem for users trying to purchases games using the currency. Kurtis pointed out that:

The value of Bitcoin is only guaranteed for a certain period of time so if the transaction doesn’t complete within that window of time, then the amount of Bitcoin needed to cover the transaction can change. The amount it can change has been increasing recently to a point where it can be significantly different.

Kurtis further elaborated that the normal resolution mechanism on Steam is either to refund the original payment to the user, which would negate the transaction or to ask the user to transfer additional funds to cover the remaining balance. “In both these cases, the user is hit with the Bitcoin network transaction fee again.” Bitcoin was adopted as a means of payment via  bitcoin payment processor, BitPay, for games on Steam on April 27, 2016.


Some users commenting on the blog seem to agree and support Valve’s decision, with many calling for utilization of alternative cryptos such as Vertcoin, IOTA, and Litecoin. Others, such as one user named “Kaj Jez”, stated,

Massively disappointing. The first purchase I ever made in Bitcoin was on Steam. As long as Steam doesn't accept BTC I will prefer to do business with devs' own stores that hopefully do…But as Bitcoin will undoubtedly improve itself with scalability solutions so to will Steam hopefully improve itself by rectifying this mistake and once again accepting it.

Steam, the largest digital distribution platform for PC Games, has an active user base of over 275 million users with an average of 11 games per user, according to Sergey Galyonkin’s Steam Spy API. In a Medium article, Galyonkin elaborated that 2016 sales for PC games through the Steam Platform totaled roughly $3.47 billion dollars. While it is unclear how much of that revenue resulted from bitcoin transactions during its period of acceptance, it is clear that the PC gaming community faced a major setback in utilizing Bitcoin as a means for buying games.


At the time of this writing, neither BitPay nor Steam nor Valve Corp could be reached for additional comment.

The post Out of Steam: PC Gaming Platform Ends Bitcoin Payment Option appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 7 December 2017 | 3:11 pm

New Bitcoin Mining Centers Set to Increase North American Market Position

New Bitcoin Mining Centers Set to Increase North American Market Position

While China continues to dominate the bitcoin mining market, North America has now gained another significant player who can help decentralize mining power. Hut 8 Mining Corp (Hut 8) and the Bitfury Group (Bitfury) have announced a partnership that will create North America’s largest bitcoin mining center, located primarily in Alberta, Canada.

“We are excited to partner with Hut 8 to expand our activities in the strategic North America market,” said Bitfury CEO, Valery Vavilov, in a statement. “We believe there is a tremendous opportunity to establish North America as one of the most important cryptocurrency mining hubs in the world.”

Known for manufacturing their own Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) chips, Bitfury is the world’s largest bitcoin mining company outside of China. Their custom hardware and software solutions eliminate the reliance on any third parties, which lowers costs and improves efficiency. Their BlockBox AC datacenter product allows for significantly shorter setup time to establish a commercial bitcoin mining center.

Hut 8 is a bitcoin mining company that will provide shareholders access to the price appreciation of bitcoin. Once the partnership is finalized, Hut 8 will control what they believe to be the largest cryptocurrency mining farm in North America: Hut 8 will gain immediate control over 22 bitcoin mining datacenters spread across Alberta.

The expectation is for Hut 8 to be listed on the Canadian stock exchange during Q1 of 2018 and increasing control over an additional 35 datacenters. Hut 8 anticipates that through a combination of existing Bitfury sites and new installations, they will scale to 60 or more datacenters during 2018.

The datacenters will be comprised of Bitfury’s containerized bitcoin mining units called Blockboxes, containing Bitfury’s 16nm ASIC chip, which they claim is one of the most efficient on the market. Bitfury will be providing the infrastructure for the partnership via the aforementioned assets and Hut 8 will own and operate the centers.

On December 4, 2017, Hut 8 is made available an approximate 13,200,000 shares on a private placement basis through GMP Securities L.P., worth approximately $25.7 million ($33 million CAD); the proceeds of which will be applied towards the initial acquisitions described above.

Also making moves in the North American mining market, Giga Watt has been promoting its own modular datacenter design called “Giga Pods.” While Giga Watt doesn’t have custom hardware solutions, they do allow for new entrants to buy and run their own hosted mining rig and potentially make money. It will be interesting to watch the development of these companies in North America over the course of 2018.

The post New Bitcoin Mining Centers Set to Increase North American Market Position appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 7 December 2017 | 2:22 pm

BANKEX Aims to Boost Asset Liquidity for Businesses

BANKEX


Business is a constant flow of transactions, which are actions with assets. It can be buying, selling, exchanging, renting, lending, pledging, assigning rights, granting licenses and so on… And the easier and faster the transaction is, the better. Ease and speed often depends on the degree of liquidity of the asset involved in the transaction. The reasons for low liquidity might be the following:


Multiple asset owners — this creates barriers in which effective communication is needed so that a common understanding can be agreed upon.

  • Assets are spread so wide that there is a lack of transparency around how cash flow is generated by assets.
  • There are often long timeframes between when projects are launched and when they achieve desired liquidity.
  • Regulatory barriers obstruct non-public companies from entering financial markets or raising funds from public investors.
  • Tracking the lifecycle of an asset through cash flow is difficult.
  • There are clear complexities in asset withdrawal as well as high legal and accounting expenditures from asset transfers at peak profitability.

Enter BANKEX, a technology poised to solve the issues of asset liquidity by increasing asset auditing in real-time, decreasing the price of evaluating an asset for a particular deal and increasing the speed at which a deal is realized such as selling, loaning and sharing.

BANKEX merges the concepts of Bank-as-a-Service (BaaS), Proof-of-Asset (PoA) protocol and distributed technology to enable information to be passed in real time using a blockchain.

BaaS is a model that enables fintech services to be offered without the need for brick-and-mortar financial institutions. Through the use of application programming interfaces (APIs) and a refined technical process, BaaS unleashes unexplored possibilities for financial products in various business sectors.


The ushering in of this new model comes at a time when fintech is evolving at an unprecedented rate. The decentralized BaaS model coupled with the use of smart contracts could solve the problem of trust for traditional banks.


By utilizing the PoA protocol, BANKEX supports companies in successfully getting access to global capital with the ISAO procedure. This value for investors also includes the ability to track portfolio profitability and boost income. As a result, this protocol will be widely available for third-party fintech providers — including artificial intelligence (A.I.) and Internet of Things (IoT) labs — and traditional financial institutions, along with the broader community of asset owners.


The BANKEX PoA protocol can ensure increased liquidity of any asset while allowing it to be used as an investment tool. The technology is executed through a process called “tokenization,” which protects sensitive data through an algorithmically generated number called a token.

Tokenization is similar to how a website address represents an IP address on the internet. Through its protocol, BANKEX is able to convert the rights of an asset into a digital format on the blockchain, making it globally available to be traded on an asset exchange. BANKEX tokens have both utility and security — serving as a gateway to the platform while being backed with real-world assets. To tokenize an asset, the company must ensure that said asset generates cash flow.

This guarantees a high level of financial, legal and tech oversight throughout the tokenization process for any business at any level of maturity. The blockchain undergirds this process, ensuring that all data becomes uneditable, irreversible and always available to confirm proof of the assets’ existence and state.      

BANKEX Applied to the Real World


BANKEX is offering a new level of fintech solutions to a broad range of entities, from corporations to young entrepreneurs. The aim is to assist businesses in funding their projects through the combination of new technology coupled with the power of the global investment community.


The following hypothetical case of a retail chain store is just one example of how BANKEX’s Proof-of-Asset protocol can be applied to a wide variety of industry sectors comprised of both small and large companies.


John has a small retail chain that he would like to expand by franchising to other cities. His business model is profitable and already consists of five stores working under his franchise agreement. Supported by BANKEX, John issues tokens that are backed by revenue from new stores. This should guarantee profit in new stores by allowing token holders to purchase products with their tokens. He has installed a cash register that will be able to update the sales results of every store. Token holders will receive a return on their investments, in some cases holding enough tokens to take part in decision making. John’s business will become more attractive as BANKEX solutions assist him in opening new stores throughout the country.  


BANKEX Due Diligence


With its Head Office in New York, business development office in Singapore, strategic partnership in Tokyo and engineering team in Moscow, BANKEX offers innovative fintech products and services with far-reaching implications, including applications within the traditional finance and investment sectors, micro-financing, real estate as well as access to historically illiquid assets, natural resources, and futures markets.


BANKEX is a member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance. EEA members include financial and technology companies and funds such as JP Morgan, UBS, MasterCard, Intel and consulting companies such as Accenture. BANKEX is meanwhile honored to count Balanc3, a ConsenSys formation, as advisors.


BANKEX has also formed a number of strategic partnerships with prominent industry players including Microsoft; Symphony Software Foundation; Soramitsu; the Entrust Group; Chronobank; and the Moscow Exchange (MICEX).


BANKEX has already announced a collaboration with MovieCoin LLC. led by Hollywood Oscar-winning producer Christopher Woodrow. By utilizing smart contracts and BANKEX's proprietary Proof-of-Asset protocol (PoA), smart asset MovieCoin will allow institutional and individual investors to invest in the motion picture industry.


The BANKEX token sale started on November 28, 2017. As of December 1, BANKEX has raised more than $35 million USD. The company is listed among the top 50 token sales in the world.


The post BANKEX Aims to Boost Asset Liquidity for Businesses appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 7 December 2017 | 9:47 am

Quant Network Launches Overledger for Cross-Blockchain Data Interoperability

Quant Network Launches Overledger for Cross-Blockchain Data Interoperability

Last month, science and technology magazine New Scientist covered the Overledger project in a story titled, “The Blockchain to Fix All Blockchains.” The story emphasizes the need for data interoperability technology across different blockchains that could play a role similar to TCP/IP, which enabled the internet to thrive.

“[Overledger] seems to be a straightforward extension of the original atomic swap idea,” said Cornell University cryptocurrency expert Emin Gun Sirer, as reported by New Scientist. But instead of only supporting currencies as atomic swaps do, the Overledger works for any data that can be put on the blockchain.

Overledger_Graphic_v0.4.png

The Quant Overledger project is just coming out of stealth mode. In conversation with Bitcoin Magazine Gilbert Verdian, CEO and co-founder of Quant Network, confirmed that a patent for Overledger technology was filed in the first week of December.

"The uniqueness of our operating system is that Overledger is not another blockchain,” Quant Chief Strategist and Executive Director of the UCL Centre for Blockchain Technology at University College London, Paolo Tasca, told Bitcoin Magazine. “We do not impose new consensus mechanisms, new gateways, adapters or special validating nodes on top of existing blockchains. Overledger is a virtual blockchain that links existing blockchains and allows developers to build multi-chain applications (or in other terms blockchain-agnostic applications)."

According to Verdian, blockchain technology needs to enable next generation applications to function across multiple blockchains, not be limited to any single a vendor or technology and allow seamless communication across multiple blockchains as well as recognition of transactions and assets across blockchains.

As such, Quant is focussing on three goals: developing an API to connect the world’s networks to multiple blockchains; bridging existing networks (e.g financial services) to new blockchains; and developing a new Blockchain Operating System with a protocol and a platform to create next-generation, multi-chain applications.

Promoting the Blockchain ISO Standard

Verdian initiated the development of Blockchain ISO Standard TC 307, which will allow for interoperability, governance and reference architecture of blockchain technologies to work between blockchains as well as allowing blockchain networks to interoperate with existing systems and networks in use today.

Currently, there are 40 countries and organizations, such as the European Commission, working on developing the Blockchain ISO Standard, and the timeline is to have a published Standard in 2020, Verdian explained.

“Establishing blockchain standards will position ISO as a leading contributor to develop global solutions to facilitate data movement and information flows, thus enabling more efficient and timely transactions,” Verdian told Bitcoin Magazine. “There is no one blockchain standard or protocol currently in use. International standards will allow for interoperability and implementation and use of multiple blockchain-related protocols.”

“Quant Overledger will be compatible to the Blockchain ISO Standard when it is released, allowing a gateway to ‘talk’ a common language to other networks and existing systems such as financial services networks,” continued Verdian. “The entry and exit points of Overledger will be compatible to the ISO Standard, which any other technology vendor can also implement in future.”

Benefits of Interoperability

Verdian added that the widespread adoption and use of international blockchain standards could facilitate a new wave of innovation, productivity, employment and industry opportunities. For example, the growing burden of KYC compliance could be reduced through the development of international blockchain standards which utilize shared databases for undertaking business and transacting payments.

The development of international standards to support smart contracts has the potential to decrease contracting, compliance and enforcement provision costs. Similarly, the development of international blockchain standards could reduce transaction costs for SMEs when dealing with governments and businesses.

“Quant will completely change how people will be able to interact with blockchains in a way that’s not possible today,” concluded Verdian. “A good example is the recognition of a person’s identity by one entity on a blockchain will be recognized and understood by every other blockchain and every entity connected to those.”

Dapp Development

There are plans for a Quant App Store that will allow developers and startups to create multi-chain applications on top of Overledger and monetize their applications in unique ways, without having to rely on capabilities of only one blockchain.

“As a company, we’re also planning to release distributed applications on top of Quant in the areas of RegTech, FinTech and HealthTech,” Verdian told Bitcoin Magazine, adding by allowing businesses to directly interact with multiple blockchains, they will be better able to cope with the modern supply chain complexities.

In a pre-ICO (Initial Coin Offering) in January, followed by an ICO in February, Quant will sell Quant Tokens that will allow users to access the Quant network. Developers will be able to publish distributed apps on the Quant store and optionally monetize their apps by charging usage fees in Quant Tokens, for example.

Quant plans to release the first versions of Overledger in Q1 2018 and finalize the SDK and libraries in Q3 2018. This will be an open source and freely available software release that developers and enterprises will be able to use for creating next generation multi-chain applications. Then, Quant plans to release the Quant App Store at the end of 2018 for developers to publish their apps and earn Quant tokens.


Image courtesy of Quant Project 

The post Quant Network Launches Overledger for Cross-Blockchain Data Interoperability appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 7 December 2017 | 8:06 am

Bitcoin price climbs over $4,000

Posted on 14 August 2017 | 1:16 am

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

Posted on 12 June 2017 | 1:06 am

Bitcoin Trading Bots

There have been a wide variety of situations in which algorithmic trading programs have proven to be beneficial for investors. However, investors who only trade a cryptocurrency can also take advantage of bitcoin trading bots. Through bitcoin bot trading, traders can become more flexible and prompt, minimize errors and process information more rapidly. At this… Read More »

Posted on 8 November 2016 | 6:20 pm

Steam accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 29 April 2016 | 1:09 am

Microsoft accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 11 December 2014 | 5:06 am

PayPal and Virtual Currency

Posted on 23 September 2014 | 9:52 pm

Wikimedia Foundation Now Accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 30 July 2014 | 3:14 pm

German Newspaper "taz" accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 22 July 2014 | 1:32 pm

airBaltic - World’s First Airline To Accept Bitcoin

Posted on 22 July 2014 | 11:03 am

December 12, 2017 -
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