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October 20, 2018

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Wendy McElroy: Crypto Anarchism and Civil Society – The Technology is the Revolution

The Satoshi Revolution: A Revolution of Rising ExpectationsSection 5: Saving the World Through AnarchismChapter 11, Part 3Crypto Anarchism and Civil Society. The Technology is the Revolution.by Wendy McElroy
Not only is democracy mystical nonsense, it is also immoral. If one man has no right to impose his wishes on another, then ten million men have no right to impose their wishes on the one, since the initiation of force is wrong (and the assent of even the most overwhelming majority can never make it morally permissible). Opinions—even majority opinions—neither create truth nor alter facts. A lynch mob is democracy in action.
–Morris Tannehill, The Market for Liberty
The simplicity of anarchism is stunning: live and let live. Do not use force against those who also pursue their own lives.
Most people are anarchists in how they conduct daily life with family, associates, and strangers. Whether or not law enforcement is present, most people behave peacefully, and being violent never occurs to them. It is not a police presence that makes people wake their children for breakfast or greet their neighbors on the sidewalk. Legislation does not persuade them not to murder strangers. Civil society does. It manifests the natural harmony of interests between human beings as they interact and separate to pursue their own self-interests.
Violence is the greatest obstacle to the functioning of civil society, especially violence in the form of a state. Just as society consists of individuals cooperating to achieve their own goals, the state consists of individuals who use force for the same purpose; they want wealth and status without earning it. That’s the key difference between the two forms of social organization. With cooperation, both sides benefit from an exchange, or else it does not occur. With violence, one side benefits at the expense of the other; it is might versus the right of people to enjoy their own bodies and property.
In order to continue the flow of unearned benefits, a state must continue to use force or the threat thereof. A successful state does two things: it institutionalizes violence; and it mimics civil society by monopolizing valuable services that would otherwise exist commercially and competitively, such as the adjudication of disputes. The monopoly itself is an act of violence against competitors and so-called customers. The two maneuvers allow the state to embed and to legitimize its power. Individual consent is gradually replaced by state coercion, and the principles of civil society are slowly eroded.
Individuals are vulnerable to the institutionalized and well-organized violence of the state. This is a paradox. The state exists only because individuals produce wealth that it confiscates and regulates. How does the impotent state retain its control over the power of individuals? Why don’t people say “no”?
Part of the answer is the centralization of state violence that intimidates people into the mockery of ongoing cooperation that is called obedience. State violence is centralized into institutions that coordinate the control of society; that is, they control individual exchanges and whatever benefits result. By contrast, individuals are decentralized; most people go about their own business and sleep in their own beds at night. They band together in larger homogeneous groups only when there is an advantage to doing so, such as producing goods or enjoying community. Banding together—centralizing–against state violence means that the violence has become egregious enough for people to disrupt their own lives and risk injury in order to oppose it.
Modern technology is more than a game changer in this dynamic; it is a game reversal. Cryptocurrency epitomizes this. The state centralizes control of wealth through institutions, such as central banking, and a monopoly on the services they provide. Crypto decentralizes the locus of power down to the level of individuals; it gives them back control over their own exchanges. Remember: civil society is the cumulative exchanges of the individuals within it; the state is the cumulative use of force to control those exchanges. Technology returns individuals to the conditions of civil society without a need to relinquish its benefits or to fear violence from the state.
Decentralizing The Revolution
Civil society is empowered and state violence is rendered impotent by three revolutionary steps, each of which occurs due to a radical decentralization of power.
Encryption returns privacy to the individual. Strong cryptography is the antithesis of the massive data collection that states rush to establish. Centralized data allows the state to regulate every activity within a society; gradually, society and the state merge into one unit called the total state. But individuals who control their own data can control their own lives.
The impact of this decentralization is much more than economic. It does more than deprive the state of taxes and other forms of revenue. The technology is a political revolution in and of itself. Consider one example. Modern technology—from encryption to the blockchain to 3-D printers—obsoletes the geographical borders that define a state; namely, a state is the organization that claims a monopoly or jurisdiction of force over a given territory. Its jurisdiction is defended through harsh border policies and tariffs, as well as through military force, if necessary or opportune. But what happens when individuals can leap continents at will to conduct the daily business of exchanging information and wealth? What happens when they do so without permission and privately, simply by pressing a button? Borders become meaningless. How long before states follow suit?
The founding crypto anarchist, Timothy May, considered the boundary-breaking feature important enough to be the opening paragraph of his pivotal 1994 work “Crypto Anarchy and Virtual Communities.” May wrote, “The combination of strong, unbreakable public key cryptography and virtual network communities in cyberspace will produce interesting and profound changes in the nature of economic and social systems. Crypto anarchy is the cyberspatial realization of anarcho-capitalism, transcending national boundaries and freeing individuals to make the economic arrangements they wish to make consensually.”
Technology sidesteps trusted third parties. The state exerts control through monopoly institutions with which individuals must comply if they want to participate in what remains of civil society. The central banking system is an example. In partnership, the state and the banks create money and monetary policies that are enforced by draconian laws; some nations punish counterfeiting with death. The money monopoly offers the state more than economic benefits, such as taxation and inflation. The data collected by banks is a mainstay of social control in two ways. The information and detailed records of every financial transaction are shared with the state, which uses it for social control. Those who eschew the banking system, along with those who are denied access by the system itself, are shut out of important aspects of civil society and from “services” offered by the state; they become secondary citizens. This, too, is social control.
Again, peer-to-peer technology is a game changer here. It sidesteps the trusted third party problem by providing banking services without an intermediary. Individuals become self-bankers, who exchange wealth through their own wallets and an autonomous network. If sophisticated monetary exchanges are desired, then a self-banker can hold an amount in a decentralized and reputable exchange for as long as the transaction requires. Privacy is maintained, and control of specified wealth is temporarily relinquished in exchange for a benefit. This is as close as crypto comes to needing a trusted third party. And, ideally, the decentralized exchange is worthy of trust, in the same manner as a private lawyer who facilitates a contract.
Bypassing unwanted intermediaries was the intent behind the blockchain. Satoshi Nakamoto announced this feature in the first lines of his 2008 White Paper, “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.” Satoshi wrote, “A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution. Digital signatures provide part of the solution, but the main benefits are lost if a trusted third party is still required…”
Freedom no longer requires consensus or groundswell support. This is a comparatively unacknowledged aspect of crypto’s revolutionary impact: the decentralization of revolution down to the individual level. In traditional revolutions, masses of people take to the street after being convinced of the need to rebel. A crypto revolution does not require the centralization of political awareness or resistance within crowds of people who become powerful enough to confront the state. Decentralized individuals can free themselves, one by one, even if they remain a small minority. The more individuals who choose digital exchanges and decentralizing technology, the greater the impact on society will be.
But crypto will never appeal to everyone. Nor should it. The diversity of human beings is too vital and productive to be reined in. The beauty of a radically decentralized revolution is that it succeeds on an individual level; it has no need for consensus rebellion in the streets or collective action at the ballot boxes. Just as crypto anarchy sidesteps trusted third parties, it also bypasses the traditional means by which individuals can achieve freedom.
Everyone can be a self-banker. Everyone can be a self-revolution.
A Mystery Is Solved
The vision of crypto anarchism makes sense of what must be a mystery to many observers: Why did the creators of crypto, the blockchain, and associated technology release their inventions for free? Why was highly-valuable technology thrown to the wind and dispersed like seeds? It was not because crypto anarchists didn’t realize the technology’s potential. Quite the opposite. They saw it clearly.
Crypto anarchists believe that enabling others to control their own lives is an unalloyed “good.” Each person’s peaceful freedom benefits that of everyone else. It creates the community and world in which the crypto anarchists wish to live. The crypto revolutionaries released the technology in the same manner and for the same reason that people teach others how to read. Literacy enriches both individuals and society as a whole. It is not possible for a cynic to explain why the the incredibly valuable phenom of crypto was given away for free. It is a trivial task for idealists.
The State’s Main Chance
Violence. Violence is how the state maintains itself; it is also the main hope to defeat the threat of crypto freedom. To do so, the state needs to convince people that crypto is the violent factor. Then, the state must convince people that it is what stands between them and “anarchy,” in every bad sense of that word.
There is a grain of truth to the statist claim. All societies contain violence because it is an aspect of human nature. With crypto, the violence is overwhelmingly expressed through fraud and theft. “How can the damage of violence be reined in and rectified?” is always last question asked of peaceful anarchism. And, then, discussion is closed down. It is now time to consider how law enforcement and a court system could be provided by the free market.
[To be continued next week.]
Reprints of this article should credit bitcoin.com and include a link back to the original links to all previous chapters

Wendy McElroy has agreed to ”live-publish” her new book The Satoshi Revolution exclusively with Bitcoin.com. Every Saturday you’ll find another installment in a series of posts planned to conclude after about 18 months. Altogether they’ll make up her new book ”The Satoshi Revolution”. Read it here first.
The post Wendy McElroy: Crypto Anarchism and Civil Society – The Technology is the Revolution appeared first on Bitcoin News.

$50 Million Bitcoin Mining Farm Opens in Armenia

A new cryptocurrency mining facility opened in Armenia on Oct. 18. The $50 million farm will extract bitcoin and ethereum using 3,000 machines, according to local media reports. Around 120,000 more miners are to be added in the months to come.
Also read: Marks Jewelers Now Accepts Bitcoin Cash For Payments
Multi Group and Omnia Establish Landmark Armenian Mining Facility
The mining project, spearheaded by Armenian real estate investment company Multi Group Concern and Malta-registered Omnia Tech International Company, was officially launched in the Armenian capital of Yerevan on Thursday. The country’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, businessmen and entrepreneurs from China, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates attended the ceremony, Arka News Agency reported.
Gagik Tsarukyan, an Armenian businessman and politician who is also founder and head of Multi Group, said the company spent $50 million creating the facility, including the installation of industrial level cooling systems. The farm’s first floor is designed for an information technology business center that runs around the clock, he explained.
According to an earlier statement by Multi Group chief executive Sedrak Arustamyan, the farm will be operated by Omnia Tech, a mining entity that offers lifetime contracts and daily payouts. Omnia Tech has said to be in partnership with Genesis Mining, a leading cryptocurrency hashpower supplier.
“We will also help Omnia Tech with the establishment of the Financial Technology Park and the data exchange center in Armenia,” Arustamyan said in April. Robert Velghe, Omnia Tech founder, indicated at the time that the two companies were planning to invest more than $2 billion in mining projects in Armenia. “We intend to create here a blockchain-based center for the development of new information projects, which will turn Armenia into a high-tech platform,” he said.
Global Cryptocurrency Mining Operations Rise
Armenia is aiming to create its own Silicon Valley by establishing a free economic zone that will host a state-of-the-art technology center, officials have said. The new mining facility, the country’s first, comes at a time when a number of countries are implementing and expanding blockchain technologies. Georgia, Armenia’s neighbor, set up its first bitcoin mining farm two years ago.
In August, Russian company Kriptoyunivers announced it had transformed a former fertilizer laboratory into a cryptocurrency mining operation. The center, which supports the mining of bitcoin and litecoin, was built over 4,000 square meters of land in the town of Kirshi near St. Petersburg, with an investment of 500 million rubles ($7.4 million). Although Moscow has cracked the whip on illegal attempts at cryptocurrency mining, Russia is still the third largest cryptocurrency producer in the world after China and the United States.
What do you think about the new mining facility in Armenia? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi Pulse, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com
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Bitcoin Cash Merchant Directory Marco Coino Surpasses 500 Listings

Over the last year bitcoin cash adoption has been thriving and in certain regions, BCH merchants are spreading like wildfire. Thanks to a slew of cryptocurrency payment processors and people pressing for adoption there are thousands of BCH accepting merchants these days. One application called Marco Coino helps bitcoiners find BCH brick-and-mortar retailers on a global map and the platform now hosts over 500 known merchants.
Also read: New Qart Wallet Gives Bitcoin Cash QR Codes a Personal Touch
Finding Brick-and-Mortar Bitcoin Cash Merchants With Marco Coino
Getting merchants to accept bitcoin cash (BCH) and spreading global adoption is a big deal to a lot of digital asset proponents. For a while now, many retailers have been turned on to BCH because of enthusiasts spreading adoption, low fees, fast settlement and there’s also been a variety of payment processors helping progress the cause. With all the BCH accepting merchants popping up, one application called Marco Coino provides people with the means to find nearby merchants that accept bitcoin cash. The platform has been around for a few months now and has been steadily gaining more listings nearly every day. At the time of publication, there are 504 BCH accepting merchants located on the Marco Coino global map.
Marco Coino can be viewed in both ‘map’ and ‘satellite’ settings.
The Marco Coino application is available for mobile phones using Android and iOS and the platform has a desktop version as well. The desktop version explains the project is focused on “helping Bitcoin Cash become the global, instant, practically free payment network for everyday use by everyone around the world.” The Marco Coino map of the world can be viewed in ‘map’ or ‘satellite’ mode, but in order for the platform to use the user’s specific location, the owner has to approve the permissions using the operating system’s location services.
Users can submit a merchant to be added to the Marco Coino listings.
Bitcoin Cash Adoption Shines in Slovenia, Columbia, North Queensland, and Japan
Right now there are strong concentrations of merchants in the US, Europe, South America, Africa, and many countries in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region. Looking closer at the global map, people can see there are even more concentrated areas in places like Japan, North Queensland, Columbia, the east and west coasts of the United States, and a ton of merchants in Slovenia. In addition to the merchant map, Marco Coino users can also submit a specific retailer to be listed on the platform so users can easily find the location. The platform also has linking abilities where links can be tied to locations and places in Marco Coino.
Some of the most concentrated areas of BCH merchants worldwide include Japan, North Queensland, Columbia, and Slovenia.
The Marco Coino bitcoin cash merchant directory is very helpful when searching for physical locations that accept BCH for goods and services. The application’s list of merchants is regularly updated and users can literally see new merchants popping up in great number. The creator of Marco Coino, Brendon Duncan, explained to news.Bitcoin.com that most of the recent growth has stemmed from Slovenia and Colombia.
What do you think about the Marco Coino bitcoin cash merchant directory? Let us know your thoughts about this subject in the comments section below.

Images via Shutterstock, Marco Coino, Jamie Redman, and Pixabay.

Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi Pulse, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com
The post Bitcoin Cash Merchant Directory Marco Coino Surpasses 500 Listings appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Only 39 Percent Pass Malta’s Cryptocurrency Exam

The pass rate for the exam developed by the Maltese government for financial services practitioners seeking to obtain cryptocurrency agent certification is reportedly only 39 percent. The exam is part of the requirements mandated by the country’s newly established Virtual Financial Assets Act.
Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space
Low Pass Rate
Under Malta’s Virtual Financial Assets (VFA) Act, practitioners who wish to act as agents in the field that includes cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) must successfully complete a short training course and pass an exam.
Noting that the first exam took place in September, the Times of Malta reported on Thursday:

Nearly two-thirds of those applying for cryptocurrency agent certification failed the official assessment process despite last-second changes intended to boost the pass rate.

The exam was set by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) and administered by the Institute of Financial Services Practitioners.
The news outlet quoted sources revealing that about 250 lawyers, accountants, and auditors took the exam, which consisted of a series of multiple choice questions. “Once the exam papers were graded, it became clear the pass rate was extremely low,” the publication conveyed, adding that “Even after the changes the pass rate was just 39 percent.”
License Required
According to the MFSA’s consultation document for VFA service providers, “any person who is providing a VFA service … shall within twelve months apply for a license with the competent authority in terms of Article 14 to the Act,” the CBS Group described.
The MFSA wrote, “It has also become evident that certain industry players are not sufficiently prepared to register as VFA agents.” The regulator, therefore, proposes a number of additional rules for them to comply. They include increasing the initial and ongoing capital requirements as well as regulatory fees. In addition, the MFSA proposes “introducing a rigorous competence assessment” and “a mandatory requirement for Continuous Professional Education.”
The Times of Malta elaborated, “The VFA Act is one of three new laws forming part of the government’s ‘Blockchain Island’ strategy and which seek to regulate the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector,” adding that “It will enter into force in November.” Other than trading cryptocurrencies and issuing ICOs, the publication explained:

Companies looking to provide other virtual financial asset services, such as portfolio management or investment advice, also need an agent to apply for a licence.

What do you think of the low pass rate for the Maltese cryptocurrency agent certification exam? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock and MFSA.

Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.
The post Only 39 Percent Pass Malta’s Cryptocurrency Exam appeared first on Bitcoin News.

The Daily: Blockchain Surveillance vs Privacy Protocols

The battle for privacy is ramping up. Every day, in the cryptocurrency space, we learn of increased blockchain surveillance, countered by the efforts of privacy protocol developers. We’ve got stories from both sides of the divide in this episode of The Daily, plus a “bitcoin mansion” that’s up for sale.
Also read: Blockchain Surveillance Firm Partners With Cryptocurrency Exchange Binance
Flagging Bitcoin Volume – But What Does It Mean?
Trading volume in the cryptocurrency markets has been low of late, with BTC, as the market leader, particularly exposed. One analyst, who’s been studying bitcoin’s trade volume all the way back to 2012, has observed that the intraday range for the past two months ranks in the bottom decile. “It’s now the fourth longest consecutive period where volume has been this low,” he noted. While low volume is generally a bearish sign, Fundstrat’s Thomas Lee has pointed out that, based on historical data, there may soon be some relief:

Hedge Fund Chief Offers Mansion for Bitcoin
Roy Niederhoffer’s NY mansion
Roy Niederhoffer, founder of an eponymous hedge fund, has a big old mansion to sell in New York. The wealthy financier purchased the property in 2013 while renovating his Manhattan pad. Now he’s ready to put his temporary Riverside Drive mansion on the market, but there’s a twist – Niederhoffer wants BTC. The 10,720-square-foot property is on the market for $15.9 million. He will accept either cash or the equivalent in BTC.
“I’m a big believer in bitcoin. I really am so bullish on it, and I want to own more of it,” he told Bloomberg. “Whatever the obligations and brokers fees are, I would pay in cash and keep the bitcoin.”
The Battle for Privacy Heats Up
On Oct. 19, Monero upgraded its protocol to include Bulletproofs. The tech, developed by Benedict Bunz and Jonathan Bootle, reduces the size of confidential transactions, helping to minimize blockchain bloat. This is a particular problem with Monero, whose privacy tech grants anonymity at the expense of larger transaction sizes on account of Ring CT. Bulletproofs, while not technically a privacy feature, provide a more efficient means of verifying the information stored within confidential transactions. The technology is also of interest to bitcoin users, as it has the potential to be implemented on BTC and BCH in conjunction with a complementary privacy protocol.
The new Bulletproof Monero
Privacy is a key battleground in cryptocurrency, with many users resenting the trend towards blockchain surveillance. Binance is the latest exchange to have gone down this route, teaming up with Chainalysis to scrutinize the source of customer funds. A Gemini customer, meanwhile, claims to have received a probing request for information or face having his account shut down:

Gemini request for information Today – (Or my account is suspended in 10 days)
1. What equipment do you mine with?2. Provide live link to mining statistics?3. What coins do you mine?
Why do you need this information?@tylerwinklevoss @winklevoss @GeminiTrust
— Jason A. Williams (@JWilliamsFstmed) October 19, 2018

What are your thoughts on today’s news tidbits as featured in The Daily? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter and Bloomberg.

Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.
The post The Daily: Blockchain Surveillance vs Privacy Protocols appeared first on Bitcoin News.

10 Days That Shook the World of Bitcoin

When Bitcoin’s history is written, the following events will command a chapter apiece. Bitcoin is a creeping revolution that does not lend itself to listicles, and thus any such attempt is destined to fall short. What follows, therefore, is a potted history of a transformative technology whose greatest moments have yet to come. In chronological order, these are the days that shook Bitcoin to its core.
Also read: Cypherpunk Essentials: A Beginner’s Guide to Crypto Privacy
Satoshi’s Final Bow, December 12, 2010
One of the most significant days in Bitcoin happened before most people had even heard of it. Dec. 12, 2010 didn’t startle the community at the time, but the date would go down as the most pivotal since the mining of the genesis block. That’s the day when Satoshi Nakamoto composed his final Bitcointalk post and then quietly checked out, never to be publicly heard of again.
One day prior, he’d objected to Wikileaks using bitcoin to circumvent its Visa blockade, writing: “It would have been nice to get this attention in any other context. Wikileaks has kicked the hornet’s nest, and the swarm is headed towards us.” We will likely never know why Satoshi left, other than the vague message he dictated to Mike Hearn in his final email on Apr. 23, 2011: “I’ve moved on to other things.”
Silk Road Bust, October 2, 2013
It’s hard to convey just how big of a role Silk Road played in mainstreaming Bitcoin, and how indebted we are to a mild-mannered pacifist now serving life without parole for the crime of being a tech visionary. (Okay, and for creating a market where you could buy every illegal drug under the sun.) Oct. 2, 2013, is the day Ross Ulbricht’s ingenious creation fell, when an FBI bust saw the 29-year-old wrestled to the ground in a San Francisco library as he was logged in to the server.

The familiar Silk Road login screen gave way to the FBI’s smug seizure notice and bitcoin shed 25 percent of its value, falling to $109 in the aftermath. BTC has since recovered 60 times over, but for those who supported Silk Road and its swashbuckling captain Dread Pirate Roberts, things have never been the same since.
Bitcoin Hits $1,000, November 27, 2013
There are many all-time highs that might warrant inclusion in this list – BTC hitting $100, just seven months earlier, being one:

NEVAR FORGET. pic.twitter.com/bfaikQnGgW
— Bitcoin 101 (@Bitcoin101) April 1, 2013

That day felt epic, but $1,000 was entering the realm of fantasy. Bitcoiners hadn’t dreamed the milestone might be reached so soon. It was only later that Mt Gox’s role in inflating BTC with the aid of its Willy trading bot came to light. This knowledge has done nothing, however, to dampen the memories of $1,000 bitcoin sticking two fingers up at the establishment.
Bitcoinity.org was where everyone checked the price of BTC in the age before Blockfolio, widgets and push notifications. When bitcoin hit $1,000, the site moved the decimal point three places to the left because the USD price was taking up too much screen space.
The Death of Mt Gox, February 24, 2014
Despite five years having passed since Bitcoin’s Titanic event, and restitution finally made, the sinking of Mt Gox is still a sore point for early adopters who lost funds in the insolvent exchange. It had been evident for weeks that something was wrong with Gox, but its spectacular collapse still induced shock and anger followed by lingering acrimony. The demise of Mt Gox plunged bitcoin into a downward spiral it took years to recover from.
Craig Wright Is Satoshi Nakamoto, May 2, 2016
Wright, on the day he revealed himself to be Satoshi Nakamoto
Many people have identified or been doxxed as Satoshi Nakamoto, but only two incidents gained global attention. Newsweek’s false dox of Dorian Nakamoto in March 2014 was noteworthy, but it pales in significance to the day Craig Wright stepped forward to claim the mantle, after Wired had first suggested the connection a few months earlier.
Gavin Andresen verified the digital signature, mainstream media swooped and Craig Wright basked in the adulation. Then the narrative began to fall apart. The evidence linking Wright to Satoshi was quickly debunked, turning Wright into a pariah dubbed “Faketoshi.” While a dwindling band of followers still believes Wright may have been involved in Bitcoin’s creation, few grant his claim to be Satoshi himself any credence.
The DAO, June 17, 2016
Like the Silk Road bust, The DAO technically wasn’t about Bitcoin. And yet the collapse of Ethereum’s flagship project, following the theft of $50 million in ether from its smart contract, reverberated throughout the entire industry, prompting Vitalik Buterin to assemble an online crisis meeting with exchange bosses in a bid to limit the fallout. “OK can you guys stop trading,” he implored and a meme was born. Ethereum eventually recovered, but not before a chain rollback and a hard fork. Bitcoin maximalism gained some new supporters that day, many of whom have remained wary of ETH ever since.
The Fall of BTC-e, July 25, 2017
When Alexander Vinnik was arrested in Greece in July of 2017 at the behest of the U.S. Justice Department, the market didn’t even blink. By then, the Russian’s shady exchange had long ceased to be relevant, but its importance in the history of cryptocurrency remains significant.
BTC-e was where traders cut their teeth. It was a no-KYC, no-questions-asked outpost, the last wild west town of its kind. It was where the original pump and dumps were orchestrated, led by pseudonymous kids with names like Fontas manipulating shitcoins with names like peercoin, long before shitcoin was even a word. It’s also where a vast chunk of Mt Gox’s stolen bitcoins were allegedly laundered. BTC-e was a den of iniquity and it had to go, but that doesn’t mean its legendary trollbox won’t be missed by those who frequented it at its peak.
The Birth of Bitcoin Cash, August 1, 2017
The events surrounding Segwit’s lock-in, on July 21, 2017, and Bitcoin’s hard fork, less than a fortnight later, were momentous for all kinds of reasons. It had been unclear, in the run-up, whether enough miners would signal support for Segwit, but in the end the proposal comfortably passed. The sense of uncertainty was palpable, exacerbated by apocalyptic warnings, in the build-up, of fatal chain splits and market meltdown. In the end, Bitcoin became two, Segwit activated, and while the factions remain as polarized as ever, both parties got something out of the deal at least: Segwit for small blockers and Bitcoin Cash for the big.
The Cashening, December 19, 2017
For a few crazy hours last December, it looked as if Bitcoin Cash might actually cause one of the greatest upsets in the history of cryptocurrency and become the dominant Bitcoin chain by market cap. In the end, the trading frenzy, fueled by zero-fee South Korean exchanges, Coinbase botching its BCH listing announcement, and a good deal of FOMO, The Cashening lost steam around the time the price of BCH reached 0.25 BTC. A lot of cryptocurrency was won and lost on the internet that day, as the bitcoin brigades put ideological differences aside and traded like their lives depended on it.
$20,000 BTC, December 17, 2017
The weighted average for bitcoin’s all-time high officially stands at $20,089 according to Onchainfx, though on some exchanges the cryptocurrency stopped just shy of the 20k mark before backing down. Through November and December of 2017, every day was filled with giddiness, over-exuberance, ridiculous headlines and all the other signs that, in hindsight, pointed towards a market that was way overbought. It was a fun time though, for coiners, nocoiners and bemused onlookers alike. We may never see such a frenzy again … until the next bull run that is.
Bitcoin Core Fees Hit Record High, December 22, 2017
One of the reasons why Bitcoin hard-forked in the summer of 2017 was due to disagreement over increasing the block size. Blockstream and its cadre of Core developers favored a maximum of 2MB blocks, despite the fact that the network was overloaded and fees were getting ridiculous. While Bitcoin Cash provided a solution for those who favored larger blocks, Bitcoin Core doggedly stuck to its path, culminating in average fees hitting $55 on Dec. 22, and a median high of $34.10 a day later.
What other historic days in Bitcoin’s history deserved to have made this list? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.
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New Qart Wallet Gives Bitcoin Cash QR Codes a Personal Touch

There’s a new bitcoin cash wallet under construction called Qart, a light client that provides the ability to create human-recognizable QR codes using any image. The wallet is currently available for Android devices in its beta phase, but users can experiment with the application before the official launch.
Also read: Report: Emerging Markets See Sharp Growth in Cashless Transactions
Qart Personalizes QR Codes for Bitcoin Cash
Kim Jinyrul is a developer from South Korea who recently published the beta version of a new bitcoin cash (BCH) wallet that offers the ability to modify address QR codes. Jinyrul thinks that QR code technology used in traditional cryptocurrency wallets needs to change so they become more recognizable and personal to the owner. Qart wallet was created to offer this feature to bitcoin cash users and the platform’s addresses can be tied to a customized QR code with a picture of anything the user desires. In a recent interview with the blogger Jared Schlar, the Qart wallet developer explained that the idea was conceived so people can recognize which wallet is theirs by identifying the pictures attached to them.
“As you know, a person can not see any information by just looking at a QR code. I thought it would be more interesting and meaningful to share QR if it could show the personality of the owner,” Jinyrul detailed in his interview with Schlar.
The main account and settings section on Qart wallet.
Experimenting With Qart’s Beta Software
After reading about the Qart wallet, news.Bitcoin.com decided to test the BCH client and made a few custom and recognizable QR codes. The wallet is currently available on the Google Play store for Android mobile devices and tablets, but the Google store warns the app is “unreleased.” This means the platform is still in its beta phase, but can still be downloaded and tested. After opening the platform, the user must agree to a disclaimer. The statement explains the wallet needs to be backed up as it is a non-custodial client and also details the app is still in its nascent stages.
The wallet then creates a BCH wallet, which takes about 30 seconds, and the user is granted access to the first account. Like many other wallets out there, the Qart client syncs with the Bitcoin Cash chain in order to identify transactions. This process took about eight minutes to complete and subsequently less time after the first connection. The Qart wallet is very simple looking and akin to other BCH wallets like the Handcash and Cashpay platforms.
After backing up the seed phrase and observing the main account, there is a little editor pencil on the top right-hand side of the screen. This pencil tab allows you to create a custom QR code for any address on the wallet and many different addresses can be generated. At first, the wallet supplies the address with a generic bitcoin cash QR code, which can also be tethered to the wallet’s addresses. If the user wants to upload a custom image, they simply press the editor pencil and upload a fresh picture. The Qart wallet needs permission to access device files and the camera in order to execute this process.
Experimenting with Qart’s beta wallet and creating a few customized QR codes.
BCH Developers Are Using Handles and Recognizable QR Codes to Entice the Masses
Pictures can be cropped and the amount of QR code pixels can be chosen as well for a variety of different looks. After saving the custom QR codes, the user can share them online through the wallet or save the image for another use case. After making a few Banksy-esque QR codes, the images were tested with the Bitcoin.com Wallet and the codes scanned without error.
There’s been a lot of innovation in this regard, with BCH wallets using unique ways to make the software more friendly to mainstream users. Many of these concepts are using handles or names tied to a wallet’s protocol instead of using long alphanumeric addresses. Human recognizable QR codes definitely add a personal touch and provide a unique way of identifying BCH addresses.
What do you think about the Qart wallet? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
Disclaimer: Bitcoin.com does not endorse this product/service. This application is in beta and not the official launch. Review editorials are intended for informational purposes only. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com or the author is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

Images via Qart wallet, Banksy art, and Jamie Redman.

Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi Pulse, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com
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Bitconnect Faces Consolidated Class Action Complaint

More than a dozen lawsuits targeting Bitconnect have been merged into a single case, following the submission of an Amended Consolidated Class Action Complaint on Thursday. The newly combined complaint has been filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Also Read: Venezuela Authorizes 6 Exchanges to Sell National Cryptocurrency Petro
Amendment CombinesAll Lawsuits Into a Single Case
The consolidated complaint comprises a class action suit that has been filed on behalf of a range of entities and individuals. All parties in the suit claim to have suffered financially after transferring fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies to Bitconnect to invest in BCC tokens, as well as the Bitconnect Investment Programs.
According to attorney David Silver of law firm Silver Miller, which has been named the “Class Counsel” of the case, the consolidated complaint combines all of the lawsuits that have been filed against Bitconnect into one suit. Miller said that the new consolidated lawsuit also names Bitconnect owners and promoters that were not previously targeted in the initial legal complaints.
“As more information has become available, we have learned about more individuals involved in the rampant fraud associated with Bitconnect,” Silver explained. “The Amended Consolidated Class Action Complaint highlights those actors who participated in the creation of Bitconnect and the promoters of Bitconnect. The amount of fraud, and the amount of investment loss in such a short period of time is staggering. We hope to move the lawsuit along as fast as possible and hold as many people accountable both in the United States and abroad.”
Plaintiffs Accuse Youtube of Negligence
The amended lawsuit claims the Bitconnect Lending Program and the Bitconnect Staking Program were “fraudulent Ponzi/pyramid schemes.” It also accuses the company of using “multilevel affiliate markets” to promote its investment programs.
“Several of the promoter defendants had partnerships with Youtube pursuant to which the Bitconnect Defendants disseminated fraudulent and harmful content to unsuspecting victims across the globe,” the law firm stated in the amended filing. “Youtube was negligent in failing to warn those victims of the harmful content, for which Youtube compensated their creators and publishers.”
In addition, the legal team claimed that the company “cloaked” its promotional materials in “technological sophistication and jargon” to run a deceptively “simple” fraudulent operation. “Victims would invest in the Bitconnect Investment Programs after they were driven to Bitconnect as a result of profitable partnerships the promoter defendants had with Youtube,” it said. “Bitconnect would then pay existing investors with new money from new investors, who were in turn expected and incentivized to get more new investors to produce more new money for Bitconnect.”
The plaintiffs seek to recover all of the funds they claim to have lost. In a statement, Miller said such an outcome would be “ideal.”
Do you agree that Youtube was negligent in compensating Bitconnect promoters and failing to warn prospective investors of their “harmful content?” Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Marks Jewelers Now Accepting Bitcoin Cash for Payments

U.S. jewelry retailer Marks Jewelers has started accepting payments in cryptocurrency, including bitcoin cash. Shoppers can now pay for luxury goods such as fine diamonds, watches and engagement rings using BCH and seven other digital currencies.
Also read: Report: Emerging Markets See Sharp Growth in Cashless Transactions
Retailer to Cut Costs withLow BCH Transaction Fees
In addition to BCH, the company is now accepting payments in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ether. “This will allow us to make our fine jewelry available to the global market while paying lower fees and avoiding chargebacks,” Joshua Rubin, director of marketing at Marks Jewelers, said in an online statement.
Marks Jewelers is already one of the biggest jewelry retailers in the U.S. market. But Rubin said that the new payment methods, established in partnership with e-commerce platform Shopping Cart Elite, will help to expand access to its jewelry range for buyers throughout the world. The Pennsylvania-based company, which has sold diamonds and jewelry for 35 years, said that the removal of currency conversion charges will help it cut costs. It wants to pass those savings over to jewelry shoppers in the form of lower retail prices.
Cheaper Than Credit Cards
Marks Jewelers joins a growing list of jewelry retailers, including Samer Halimeh New York and Reeds, that are starting to accept payments in cryptocurrencies such as BCH. Bitcoin cash offers fast, reliable and inexpensive transactions compared with traditional means of sending money. For example, credit and debit card providers generally charge fees that are as much as 3.5 percent of every transaction. That compares with transaction fees of around $1 or less for cryptocurrency-based purchases, regardless of the amount of each transaction.
According to Coinline, which provides a directory of merchants that accept payments in bitcoin cash, more than 210 retailers throughout the world now handle transactions in the cryptocurrency. Australia is home to the greatest concentration of merchants that welcome BCH as a form of payment, with about 80 locations in total accepting it.
What do you think about using cryptocurrencies such as BCH to pay for retail goods? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi Pulse, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com
The post Marks Jewelers Now Accepting Bitcoin Cash for Payments appeared first on Bitcoin News.

US Marshals Service Announces Auction of 660 BTC

The United States Marshals Service (USMS) has announced an auction of 660 BTC that is scheduled to take place on Nov. 4. Under the auction rules, interested participants must formally identify themselves to the USMS and submit deposits of $200,000.
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USMS to Auction Forfeited BTC in Seven ‘Blocks’
The auction is scheduled to take place across two “series” and seven “blocks.” The “Series A” portion will comprise six individual auctions of 100 BTC each, while the “Series B” round will involve a single auction for the remaining 60 BTC. The bitcoins were confiscated from undisclosed parties in various federal criminal, civil and administrative cases, with many of them forfeited to the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Bidder registration will open at 8:00 a.m. EDT on Oct. 22 and is scheduled to close at noon EDT on Oct. 31. Bidders will not be permitted to view competing bids and will not be able to change the value of their bids after submission.
Deposits to Be Returned to Ineligible Bidders
The USMS is scheduled to notify all prospective bidders of their eligibility to participate in the auction process by no later than 5:00 p.m. EDT on Nov. 1. Applicants who are deemed to be ineligible to participate in the auction will have their deposits returned to them. The deposits of participants whose bids are not selected as winning bids will also be returned.
In addition, the USMS states that “bids that are contingent on financing terms of any kind will not be considered.” It is also insisting that “all bids must be made in U.S. dollars.”
Winning Bidders Expected toPay BTC Transfer Fees
The USMS will retain the deposits of the winning bidders and credit them toward their purchases. Winning bidders who fail to finalize their transactions will forfeit their deposits, as long as the USMS is not at fault.
The USMS also notes that “any transfer fees associated with the transfer of the bitcoins will be paid by the buyer.” However, buyers will be given the chance to choose the fees that are charged in the transfers.
The USMS will start to return deposits to auction participants as soon as the bitcoin transactions are finalized. It adds that it aims to process all returns within five business days. However, it acknowledges that return times could take slightly longer depending on how many people participate in the seven auction blocks.
What is your response to the United States Marshals Service’s upcoming BTC auction? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wikipedia

At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even lookup the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.
The post US Marshals Service Announces Auction of 660 BTC appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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