A significant chunk of mining pools has taken a fierce stand against Bitcoin XT; the largest currently operating bitcoin black market has decided to halt operations due to a Tor de-anonymizing vulnerability, and more top stories for August 26.

Major Mining Pools Make a Stand against Bitcoin XT Fork

A significant chunk of mining pools has taken a fierce stand against Bitcoin XT, while others are very hesitant to make a switch too. F2Pool, BTCChina and Eligius – together accounting for some 39 percent of hashing power on the Bitcoin network – have said they will not support the alternative Bitcoin implementation designed to allow for bigger blocks on the Bitcoin network. Furthermore, a rapidly growing amount of hash power is now publicly backing BIP 100, the proposal by Jeff Garzik that grants miners the right to vote the block-size limit up or down.

Tor Vulnerability Leads Biggest Bitcoin Black Market to Pause Operations

Agora Market, which is often considered to be the largest currently operating bitcoin black market, has decided to pause operations due to a Tor de-anonymizing vulnerability discovered by MIT and Qatar Computing Research Institute. Agora felt the need to protect itself from attacks which could expose its server and user locations.

Agora explained:

“At this point, while we don’t have a solution ready it would be unsafe to keep our users using the service, since they would be in jeopardy. Thus, and to our great sadness we have to take the market offline for a while, until we can develop a better solution. This is the best course of action for everyone involved.”

Iran’s First Real-Time Bitcoin Exchange Launched

BTXCapital has launched Iran's first real-time bitcoin exchange. BTXCapital uses draglet's white label bitcoin exchange platform, which provides the Iranian exchange with the ability to offer instant deposits, real-time buy and sell orders as well as a completely customized user interface.

BTXCapital stated:

“The Iranian market only offered inconvenient ways of buying bitcoins in the past. With roughly 50 million Internet users, Iran has a huge and yet untapped market potential for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.”

Stefan Thomas: One Day We Will Decentralize Ripple

In an interview with Epicenter Bitcoin, Ripple Labs CTO Stefan Thomas cleared some misconceptions about the remittance system, which has been criticized for requiring a verified ID as well as for having a centralized system. Thomas explained how the protocol works, why the goal is for a more decentralized protocol, and how the company aims to disrupt the outdated banking system.


“One day we will decentralize. We will add more validators as soon as there are enough good ones out there that we can recommend.”

Stefan Thomas: One Day We Will Decentralize Ripple

Japanese Government Plans to Regulate Digital Currency

The Japanese government is exploring new regulations on virtual currencies in response to a report by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international anti-money laundering and terrorist funding watchdog. The FATF’s Guidance for a risk-based approach to digital currency recommended that all exchanges be registered and licensed, urging governments to require operators of digital currency exchanges to confirm the identity of clients, keep digital records of transactions, and report any suspicious behavior to authorities.

MIT Introduces Bitcoin Course

MIT Media Lab has announced a course to inspire the “next generation” of bitcoin talent. Arriving next semester, the course is open to all students at MIT and those cross-registered from institutions around the Boston area. David Shrier, a lecturer at the Media Lab and one of the brains behind the program, said the course will study topics ranging from e-commerce to market systems.


“Our course will provide students with a broad perspective on what’s going on, where success and failure has struck, and what the future looks like from various angles.”

Princeton University Launches Coursera Course on Bitcoin

While MIT is putting Bitcoin into the classroom, Princeton University has launched its own Bitcoin and cryptocurrency course on the digital education center Coursera. The university claims that the course will offer a deep technical understanding of how Bitcoin works.

Princeton writes:

“There’s a lot of excitement about Bitcoin, but also a lot of confusion about what Bitcoin is and how it works. We’re offering this course focusing on the computer science behind Bitcoin to help cut through the hype and get to the core of what makes Bitcoin unique.”

Faradam Launches Bitcoin Micropayment Service for Global Freelancers

Faradam has launched a new bitcoin micropayments tool aiming at the global freelance and on-demand services market. The service uses a simple timer to facilitate payment between two parties, with freelancers seeking to leverage the service only needing to provide their name, hourly work rate and bitcoin address. In turn, those looking to employ short-term services simply receive a link and connect a wallet.

Co-creator Demian Brener said:

“What we're now doing is focusing mainly on use cases where people have bitcoin like international freelancers, and they charge their clients in bitcoin. In Argentina, we don't have a PayPal, it's really hard to charge for freelance services from the US.”

Bitfilm Feature Film “Satoshi’s Last Will” Enters Public Crowdfunding Stage

The Bitfilm feature film “Satoshi's Last Will” has entered its public crowdfunding stage. The crowdfunding campaign will be supported by Max Keiser’s new platform StartJOIN.com, which accepts several cryptocurrencies as well as fiat money. Keiser himself has also agreed to play the role of “evil banker”, if the film gets funded. The first round of crowdfunding of US$80,000 will be used for finishing the script, for casting and for production design. The total estimated budget of the film is US$2 million.