Andreas Antonopoulos blocked from being an expert witness at the Silk Road trial, Bitpay proposes new protocol to create zero-confirmation instant payments, Capetown to host first Afircan Bitcoin conference and much more news that happened on February 2.

1 -  Silk Road judge blocks Antonopoulos from appearing as expert witness at trial

Katherine B. Forrest, the judge in Ross Ulbricht's Silk Road trial, has blocked the defense from calling Andreas Antonopoulos as an expert witness. First highlighting the late stage the decision to call Antonopoulos up, the judge went on to question his qualifications to testify as an expert.

“Lacking also is any indication that Antonopoulos has any expertise in the areas in which he seeks to testify. His resume lists that he has worked as a consultant in crypto-currencies and published unnamed “articles” in that area (not a single publication of the alleged group of “200” is listed, let alone information sufficient to assess the seriousness or depth of such articles). Of course, not all consultants are experts.”

2 - Bitpay proposes zero-confirmation instant payment solution

Bitpay introduced the concept of trusted clearing partners to enable Bitcoin transfers that receiving partners could trust before confirmations appear on the blockchain. The Impulse protocol would lock funds with a 'trusted' operator for later use in a two signature confirmed transaction.

“In the Bitcoin world, this would take the form of users pre-confirming their funds with such intermediaries and then using the confirmed “payment channel” funds to pay a receiving merchant or second user.”

BitPay Proposes Zero-Confirmation Instant Payments Solution

3 – Capetown announces the first Bitcoin conference to be held on the African continent

Scheduled for April 16-17 2015, the conference aims to bring “together merchants, investors, venture capitalists, start-ups and Bitcoin enthusiasts who are all looking to move Bitcoin forward in Africa.” Sponsored by BitX and Bankmoon, the two day event will also feature lectures by “Brock Pierce and Elizabeth Rossiello, the latter having founded Kenya’s BitPesa remittance and domestic money transfer provider.”

Africa to Hold Its First Ever Bitcoin Conference

4 – Open Bitcoin Privacy Project founder Kristov Atlas joins

The security expert and Bitcoin enthusiast signed up with as their new Security Engineer back in December and is now fully embracing the position. infamously lost 255 BTC when attacked by White Hat hacker “Johoe” last year, and is looking to boost security.

“Atlas explained the step in his blog. He noted that shares his goals: They have maintained a reputation for handing control to the users. And they have kept a clean record.”

OBPP Founder Kristov Atlas Joins

5 – Arnhem Bitcoincity enrolls 50th merchant to accept Bitcoin

The Dutch city of Arnhem has signed up its 50th merchant to the local Bitcoincity initiative, one that has seen the city of 150,000 grow one of the densest concentrations of bitcoin acceptance in the world.

“[N]ow, a little over seven months after the original Arnhem Bitcoincity event, the project has more than tripled in size as it reached its fiftieth participant with the country’s first dentist to accept bitcoin.”

Arnhem Bitcoincity enrolls 50th merchant to accept Bitcoin

6 – Harvard Business Review hails Bitcoin as one of the most powerful financial inventions

Taking to Twitter, the magazine re-tweeted the Wall Street Journal article from Saturday January 23 that suggested Bitcoin represents “the future of money and global finance.”

7 – Raspberry Pi 2 Model B unveiled at US$50, capable of running a full blockchain node

Powered by an upgraded 900mhz ARM Cortex-A7 quad-core processor and stocked with 1GB ram, the popular micro-computer should be capable of running a full blockchain node with the addition of a 64GB SD card. Reddit user Introshine claims the device is capable of running the non-mining version of “Bitcoind.”

“I once ran a full node on a normal B model - it works but runs out of RAM very quick. With a swapfile it was do-able but not fast. This new Version 2 B+ model has 1GB of ram and a 900Mhz quad-core. Combined with a 64GB SD card it should be able to run a bitcoind full node.”

8 – UK - Controversial Snoopers' Charter dropped amidst fears of banning crypto

The controversial legislation proposed in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris has been dropped after review by a cross-party group from the House of Lords. Reporting on the bill in January, Cointelegraph combed through, and found that for “Bitcoin users, the logging of devices against IP addresses and the content they access would in many cases allow the authorities to tie individuals to certain wallet addresses, allowing for an easy monitoring of transaction data.”

UK May Attempt to End Anonymity in Bitcoin Transactions, May Cause a Rise in the Use of DarkWallet

9 – Irish students developing Bitcoin credit-check utility

Working out of Trinity College, Dublin, a team of students is developing a service designed to “paint a picture” of a particular Bitcoin wallet address over time. The system will use only publicly available ledger information, but aims to present it in a convenient and useful way for merchants.

“Our trawl gave us a unique insight into some very high-profile Bitcoin fraud cases that were being conducted across the world. Regulation is further down the line, but a database of accounts could certainly protect people and raise the appeal of Bitcoin for legitimate businesses.”

10 – US tipping encouraged ever higher, as internet micro-tipping takes off

Digital point of sale (POS) devices are being blamed for suggesting tips as high as 75 % of the transaction value for small over-the-counter purchases in America. This is in contrast to the advent of micro-tipping online which is based more on user desire to offer gratuity.

“The difference between the POS tipping and ChangeTip experiences, however, may come partly from a perception of whether the act of tipping, and deciding how much to tip, is voluntary.”

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