Chinese exchange BTER loses up to US$1.75 million in cold wallet hack. Meanwhile, fiat banks may have lost over US$300 million in the last 15 months through hacking. Bitcoin Core updated to version 0.10.0 and much more news that happened on February 15.

BTER hacked for over US$1.75 million

China-based digital currency exchange BTER has admitted that 7,170 BTC has been stolen from what was reportedly a cold storage wallet. The firm has since issued a 720 BTC bounty for anyone who manages to recover the funds.

“According to China-based exchange BTER, 7,170 bitcoin have been stolen from a wallet. What makes matters more interesting is that the stolen coins were in cold storage.”

US$ 300 million bank heist dwarfs losses from three exchanges

A 15 month long story has emerged about the theft of funds directly from a number of traditional fiat based banks. Detected by an internet security company, and with no current confirmation from the banks themselves, the losses could be higher than first expected.

“[C]ybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab has compiled evidence of a coordinated attack beginning 2013, which has seen institutions worldwide become the victim of untold rates of theft. According to the Times, Kaspersky Lab “says it has seen evidence of US$300 million in theft through clients, and believes the total could be triple that.”

Bitcoin Core update 0.10.0 released

A core update for Bitcoin has been released, allowing for header first synchronization as well as scaling payments based on demand. The update makes a number of other changes including easier access to the blockchain's consensus library for developers, and easier following of wallet addresses.

“Bitcoin Core now uses ‘headers-first synchronization’. This means that we first ask peers for block headers (a total of 27 megabytes, as of December 2014) and validate those. In a second stage, when the headers have been discovered, we download the blocks. However, as we already know about the whole chain in advance, the blocks can be downloaded in parallel from all available peers.”

Netagio closes Bitcoin exchange to focus on wealth storage

Netagio, the UK Bitcoin, GBP, USD and EUR exchange, today announced a restructuring of its current business with a view to launching a wealth storage business in March 2015.  Netagio will provide physical vault safekeeping options globally, for retail and institutional investors, high net worth individuals and family offices.

“We look forward to bringing our experience and established credibility to bear in the new wealth storage venture. At the time when trust in banks is low and potential bank bail-outs across Europe are a reality, the need for alternative ways to safeguard savings is clear, with cash savings significantly on the increase. Our heritage in gold and Bitcoin storage puts us on the right path to work with our partners to provide highly secure, globally located vaults to fulfill our customers’ cash safekeeping needs.”

'Grexit' may lead to hyperinflation in Europe

Drawing on work by a Swedish economist, the risk of hyperinflation in post-Greek-exit Europe may be a strong possibility for the region. Arguing that the risk of capital flight from a national (or regional) economy is heightened by the instability of the fiat currency, George Samman suggests the EU may not survive such an event.

“Aslund believes a Greek or Spanish exit would not be possible without dire consequences. “Exit from the EMU cannot be selective: It is either none or all,” he writes. “The breakup of a currency zone is far more serious than a devaluation.” 

Could Bitcoin save Iran from an economic crisis?

The continued economic sanctions against Iran mean that modern Iranians find their online financial worlds are strongly restricted. With payment providers like PayPal blocking any transaction believed to be associated with the Persian state, ordinary Iranian's may start looking to Bitcoin as a solution.

“There is very good communication infrastructure in the country and many people are connected to 4G internet these days. When people realize that instead of paying an extra 10% fee to transfer their money or relying on travel agencies to purchase their flight tickets and hotel rooms, there is a payment system with a really low transaction fee they can have on their mobile phone, it will be like inviting a starving man to a BBQ buffet.”

Australian Bitcoin mining company in trouble for breaching IPO rules

Bitcoin Group Limited of Australia has been criticized by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission for publicizing its Initial Public Offering, before the correct forms had been completed. The Bitcoin mining company has been aiming to be the first Bitcoin IPO in Australia, but falling foul of the regulations so early, may cause increased scrutiny in the process.

“[The] concerns relate to publications posted by the company via a social media application ‘Wechat’ seeking expressions of interest from potential investors to subscribe for shares if there isa proposed listing on the Australian Securities Exchange. The publications were made before Bitcoin Group Limited was registered as an Australian company.”

Bitcoin gold exchange launches

Based on a supply of gold held in Switzerland by a physical precious metal dealer, the start-up Vaultoro aims to allow Bitcoin users trade in the gold market. Armed with a full audit trail and with guarantees over the company's stock of gold, the firm hopes to reassure users about the security of their funds.

"The blockchain has given us the perfect tools to enable total transparency, easily giving creditors absolute proof of solvency. Sadly the Bitcoin community needed the MtGox fiasco to force a change in mindset. [...] In a post Mt Gox world, the free market is demanding higher transparency and Vaultoro is an example of the next generation of fully transparent exchanges."

New York artist starts mining her own altcoin BitchCoin as art

Aiming to raise questions about the value of art and how an artist is funded, a New York photographer and artist, Sarah Meyohas, has installed a shipping container in a Brooklyn gallery to mine her altcoin BitchCoin. 2000 of the coin will be sold during the exhibition, each corresponding to 25 inches of physical printed art.

“BitchCoin will be ‘mined’ inside of Where, a gallery/shipping container in Brooklyn. Meyohas will be camped inside producing her work, while being streamed live via a webcam. Coin buyers will receive a certificate with key number encryption allowing access to an account on a free BitchCoin software program in which BitchCoins can be sent and received.”

Bitcoin created more jobs in 2014 that the US government

Bitcoin may have created 250,000 more jobs than the US government. Arguing that the US government created zero jobs in 2014, the article is based on the premise that because federal jobs are paid for via taxes they don't create additional wealth.

“If you think the thief of our story did, in fact, create jobs, you've fallen prey to one of the most persistent economic fallacies in history: the Broken Window Fallacy. The fallacy is that the spoils from destruction or theft are the equivalent of new wealth having been created. This, of course, isn't true.”

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