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First time accepted submitter groggy.android writes This year's biggest news about Bitcoin may well turn out not to be the repeat of its surge in value last year against the dollar and other state currencies but its impending eclipse by another independent but corporate-backed digital currency. Popularly known as Ripple, XRP shot up in value last year along with other cryptocurrencies that took advantage of the hype around Bitcoin. However, among the top cryptocurrencies listed in Coinmarketcap.com, a site that monitors trading across different cryptocurrency exchanges, Ripple is the only one that not only regained its value after the collapse in the price of Bitcoin but has more than doubled from its peak last year. In September it displaced Litecoin to become the second most valuable cryptocurrency. Even more surpising, a Ripple fork, Stellar, is one of the two other cryptocurrencies in the Coinmarketcap top ten that have risen sharply in value during the last few weeks.
What makes Ripple different from Bitcoin? Strictly speaking, Ripple isn't the name of the digital currency but of the decentralized payment network and protocol created and maintained by the eponymous Ripple Labs. Users of the Ripple system are able to transact in both cryptocurrency and regular fiat currency like the dollar without passing through a central exchange. XRP is the name of the native unit of exchange used in the Ripple network to facilitate conversion between different currency types.
121 comments | 9 hours ago
An anonymous reader writes A new page in the help guide in the payment information of Microsoft's website reveals that the Redmond giant is now accepting Bitcoin as a payment method for products and services on Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox. Currently the payments must go through to credit a Microsoft Wallet account, and the service is initially only available to U.S. users. But the wording of the new page combines with an expansive year for Microsoft and a number of positive statements about Bitcoin from Bill Gates to indicate that this first step is more than just an experiment. Microsoft is now the largest commercial entity accepting the Bitcoin currency, which it processes via the BitPay system, thus protecting the company from fluctuations in the value of Bitcoin. Also at CNN Money.
107 comments | about a week ago
1sockchuck writes The use of liquid cooling will accelerate in the next five years, according to experts in high performance computing, who cite the data-crunching requirements of scientific research, cloud computing, bitcoin and "big data" analytics. "In the HPC world, everything will move to liquid cooling," said Paul Arts, technical director of Eurotech. But there's still plenty of resistance from data center operators wary of bringing liquid near servers, and cost is also an issue. Liquid cooling can offer significant savings over the life of a project, but the up-front installation cost can be higher than those for air-cooled systems. Immersion cooling has gotten a surprise boost from the rise of bitcoin, including a large bitcoin mine inside a Hong Kong high-rise.
24 comments | about a week ago
angry tapir writes: MasterCard has used a submission (PDF) to an Australian Senate inquiry to argue for financial regulators to move against the pseudonymity of digital currencies such as Bitcoin. "Any regulation adopted in Australia should address the anonymity that digital currency provides to each party in a transaction," the company's told the inquiry into digital currencies. MasterCard believes that "all participants in the payments system that provide similar services to consumers should be regulated in the same way to achieve a level playing field for all."
111 comments | about two weeks ago
tedlistens writes In the year that bitcoin began to grow up and Apple Pay was born—and massive cyberattacks—the country's largest financial institutions want you to imagine themselves as incubators. Three of the big banks opened up innovation labs to imagine what's next in mobile banking; some are starting their own accelerators. Meanwhile, the latest research estimates that U.S. mobile payments, currently at $3.7 billion, will grow to $142 billion within five years. Now an industry not exactly known for speed is approaching 2015 with an ethos that sounds more Silicon Valley than Wall Street, touting visions of fridges that shop for you, Google Glass and Oculus Rifts, and the kind of futuristic security they hope will inspire consumers to trust them and their technology in the first place. I like that both a local book shop, and the coffeehouse nearest my house, have bitcoin kiosks.
76 comments | about two weeks ago
Taco Cowboy points out a new study that shows it is possible to figure out the IP address of someone who pays for transactions anonymously online using bitcoins. "The Bitcoin system is not managed by a central authority, but relies on a peer-to-peer network on the Internet. Anyone can join the network as a user or provide computing capacity to process the transactions. In the network, the user's identity is hidden behind a cryptographic pseudonym, which can be changed as often as is wanted. Transactions are signed with this pseudonym and broadcast to the public network to verify their authenticity and attribute the Bitcoins to the new owner. In their new study, researchers at the Laboratory of Algorithmics, Cryptology and Security of the University of Luxembourg have shown that Bitcoin does not protect user's IP address and that it can be linked to the user's transactions in real-time. To find this out, a hacker would need only a few computers and about €1500 per month for server and traffic costs. Moreover, the popular anonymization network "Tor" can do little to guarantee Bitcoin user's anonymity, since it can be blocked easily."
115 comments | about three weeks ago
An anonymous reader writes The team over at the BITCOMSEC (Bitcoin Community Security) project released a second part to their 'Tracking a Bitcoin Thief' series in which they disclose what happened to a once-rising alternate crypto currency project that promised to place guaranteed value of its MidasCoins by backing it with actual Gold. Dealing with the reality of user compromise, the projects founder ups and runs away with all of the communities coins; cashing them out at an exchange for Bitcoins. A sobering tale of trust issues within the alternate crypto currency community. (The first part is interesting, too.)
46 comments | about a month ago
coondoggie writes: The U.S. Marshals office says it will auction off almost 50,000 bitcoins (about $20 million worth) seized from alleged Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht. The auction, which is the second sale of Silk Road's bitcoin collection, will take place during a 6-hour period on Dec. 4 from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. EST. Bids will be accepted by email from pre-registered bidders only, the U.S. Marshals office said. In June more than $17 million in bitcoins seized from the Silk Road take-down were auctioned off.
119 comments | about 1 month ago
wiredmikey writes A Dutch entrepreneur has had two microchips containing Bitcoin injected into his hands to help him make contactless payments. The chips, enclosed in a 2mm by 12mm capsule of "biocompatible" glass, were injected using a special syringe and can communicate with devices such as Android smartphones or tablets via NFC. "What's stored on the microchips should be seen as a savings account rather than a current account," Martijn Wismeijer, co-founder of MrBitcoin said. "The payment device remains the smartphone, but you transfer funds from the chips." The chips are available on the Internet, sold with a syringe for $99, but Wismeijer suggested individuals should find a specialist to handle the injection to avoid infections.
77 comments | about a month ago
HughPickens.com writes: Jeremy Kirk writes at PC World that in the aftermath of U.S. and European law enforcement shutting down more than 400 websites (including Silk Road 2.0) which used technology that hides their true IP addresses, Tor users are asking: How did they locate the hidden services? "The first and most obvious explanation is that the operators of these hidden services failed to use adequate operational security," writes Andrew Lewman, the Tor project's executive director. For example, there are reports of one of the websites being infiltrated by undercover agents and one affidavit states various operational security errors." Another explanation is exploitation of common web bugs like SQL injections or RFIs (remote file inclusions). Many of those websites were likely quickly-coded e-shops with a big attack surface. Exploitable bugs in web applications are a common problem says Lewman adding that there are also ways to link transactions and deanonymize Bitcoin clients even if they use Tor. "Maybe the seized hidden services were running Bitcoin clients themselves and were victims of similar attacks."
However the number of takedowns and the fact that Tor relays were seized could also mean that the Tor network was attacked to reveal the location of those hidden services. "Over the past few years, researchers have discovered various attacks on the Tor network. We've implemented some defenses against these attacks (PDF), but these defenses do not solve all known issues and there may even be attacks unknown to us." Another possible Tor attack vector could be the Guard Discovery attack. The guard node is the only node in the whole network that knows the actual IP address of the hidden service so if the attacker manages to compromise the guard node or somehow obtain access to it, she can launch a traffic confirmation attack to learn the identity of the hidden service. "We've been discussing various solutions to the guard discovery attack for the past many months but it's not an easy problem to fix properly. Help and feedback on the proposed designs is appreciated."
According to Lewman, the task of hiding the location of low-latency web services is a very hard problem and we still don't know how to do it correctly. It seems that there are various issues that none of the current anonymous publishing designs have really solved. "In a way, it's even surprising that hidden services have survived so far. The attention they have received is minimal compared to their social value and compared to the size and determination of their adversaries."
135 comments | about a month ago
MrBingoBoingo writes In a new development in the case against Butterfly Labs, the court overseeing the case has ordered bitcoins held by Butterfly Labs to be turned over to the court-appointed temporary receiver. The order also gives the receiver authorization to convert the bitcoins "to cash on a systematic and reasoned basis." The justification for this measure is at least to ostensibly create reserves with which refunds for Butterfly Labs' customers may be paid.
66 comments | about a month and a half ago
An anonymous reader writes: Trisquel 7.0 Belenos has been released. Trisquel is a "free as in freedom" GNU/Linux distribution endorsed by the FSF. This latest release includes Linux-libre 3.13, GNOME 3.12, Abrowser 33 (based on Firefox), the Electrum Bitcoin client and many more new features and upgrades. Trisquel 7.0 will be supported until 2019.
Interested users can check out the screenshots and download the latest release. The project also accepts donations.
39 comments | about a month and a half ago
An anonymous reader writes A small group of researchers were able to publish an investigative report on the hacking of a popular Bitcoin exchange earlier this year by the name of CryptoRush.in. Close to a million dollars stolen in crypto currency lead the group to discover evidence, track down the attacker and put together a timeline of what exactly happened. A captivating read for a community desensitized by thefts, hackings and lack of reporting. With pictures, and logs to prove it all.
64 comments | about 2 months ago
FhnuZoag writes: Last year, Andrew Wilkinson, founder of MetaLab, bought a Robocoin Bitcoin ATM, figuring it would be a fun little side project and a good way to help move Bitcoin forward. It did not quite turn out that way. He has now written a timeline of the 10-month, $25,000(CAD) struggle. In short: there was a massive shipping delay, a $2,000 charge to clear customs, no knowledge base, unhelpful support, and the ATM itself flat out didn't work.
117 comments | about 2 months ago
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from Entrepreneur.com: After long remaining mostly mum on Bitcoin, Microsoft's legendary co-founder Bill Gates has spoken. At the Sibos 2014 financial-services industry conference in Boston, America's richest man just threw his weight behind the controversial cryptocash. Well, at least as a low-cost payments solution. ... "Bitcoin is exciting because it shows how cheap it can be," he told Erik Schatzker during a Bloomberg TV's Smart Street show interview yesterday (video). "Bitcoin is better than currency in that you don't have to be physically in the same place and, of course, for large transactions, currency can get pretty inconvenient." ... While he seems relatively bullish on how inexpensive transacting in Bitcoin can be, Gates isn't singing the praises of its anonymity. The billionaire alluded in an oblique, somewhat rambling fashion to some of the more nefarious anonymous uses associated with Bitcoin.
130 comments | about 2 months ago
An anonymous reader writes: PayPal today announced partnerships with three major Bitcoin payment processors: BitPay, Coinbase and GoCoin. The eBay-owned company wants to help digital goods merchants accept Bitcoin payments, although it is starting with those located in the U.S. and Canada first ("We are considering expanding to other markets," a PayPal spokesperson told TNW. "Stay tuned.")
PayPal says it chose to integrate the third-party functionality directly in the PayPal Payments Hub because the aforementioned trio already offers its customers protections when dealing with the virtual currency. The company envisions anything that can be obtained digitally, such as video games and music, being sold in Bitcoin.
56 comments | about 3 months ago
retroworks (652802) writes The BBC, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Forbes and several other business sites are buzzing with Paypal's incorporation of Bitcoin transactions. According to Wired, Paypal will be "the best thing ever to happen to Bitcoin." Paypal-owned Braintree not only brings 150 million active users in close contact with Bitcoin, it signals "mainstreaming" similar to cell phone app banking, perceived as experimental just a few years ago.
134 comments | about 3 months ago
ASDFnz writes: Satoshi Nakamoto, the respected (and currently missing) inventor of Bitcoin, seems to have had his email address compromised by an unknown agent. Satoshi exclusively used one email address when he was active in the Bitcoin community: email@example.com. If you have a look at the original Bitcoin whitepaper (PDF), you will find it there at the top just under the title. He also usually signed his correspondence with his PGP signature. Earlier today, the head administrator of Bitcointalk, Theymos, received an email from Satoshi's email address that appeared to originate from GMX's servers. Theymos made a post on the Bitcointalk forums saying he had received an email from the address without Satoshi's PGP signature. Later, the unknown agent posted to other Satoshi accounts.
65 comments | about 3 months ago
rbowen writes The Apache Software Foundation is the latest not-for-profit organization to accept bitcoin donations, as pointed out by a user on the Bitcoin subreddit. The organization is well known for their catalog of open-source software, including the ubiquitous Apache web server, Hadoop, Tomcat, Cassandra, and about 150 other projects. Users in the community have been eager to support their efforts using digital currency for quite a while. The Foundation accepts donations in many different forms: Amazon, PayPal, and they'll even accept donated cars. On their contribution page the Apache Software Foundation has published a bitcoin address and QR code.
67 comments | about 4 months ago
New submitter brokenin2 writes Hal Finney, the number two programmer for PGP and the first person to receive a Bitcoin transaction, has passed away. From the article on Coindesk: "Shortly after collaborating with Nakamoto on early bitcoin code in 2009, Finney announced he was suffering from ALS. Increasing paralysis, which eventually became near-total, forced him to retire from work in early 2011."
40 comments | about 4 months ago