German e-bank Fidor has announced end-to-end support for Bitcoin transactions directly linked to one of their regular bank accounts alongside plans of US expansion. Samsung acquires over-the-counter payment system LoopPay. Bitcoin companies may be vulnerable to Equation Group style attacks, and other top stories for February 23.
E-bank Fidor announces ‘express’ and insured bitcoin trading, expanding to the US
German e-bank Fidor has been working with Bitcoin.de since last July aiming to launch a service offering end-to-end Bitcoin services linked to one of their regular bank accounts. This is the first time in the world a regulated bank has offered this level of support to bitcoin transactions. Fidor now aims to expand it's market to the US.
“The opening of the express trading service means the partnership can offer the fastest secure Bitcoin trading facilities in Europe, all backed by the corresponding regulatory compliance. Fidor states that this was possible through “one and a half years of development, taking regulatory requirements into account and filing of general terms and conditions.”
Rakuten ‘probably’ going to accept Bitcoin
Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani has stated that the e-commerce giant is contemplating accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment. The e-retailer is the largest in Japan, and allegedly the largest e-commerce website in the world in terms of pure sales.
“We are thinking about it, and we probably will,” Mr. Mikitani said at the Rakuten Financial Conference in Tokyo, where panelists discussed crypto-currencies and other alternatives to cash and credit cards. “We would like to be open. Mr. Mikitani declined to specify when the company might decide, saying it was a trade secret.”
Samsung buys LoopPay, aims to compete with Apple Pay
Alongside recent rumors about Google collaborating with Square on an over-the-counter payment system, the news that Samsung has acquired LoopPay confirms that a war for the mobile payment market is developing as the tech giants strive for market share.
“Launched a year ago, LoopPay already has 50 million active accounts. Its technology makes use of the existing magnetic stripe reader already available in most stores, removing the need for retailers to make any further investment in new infrastructure. This major differentiator allows LoopPay's system to work in approximately 90% of existing point-of-sale (POS) terminals, compared to the 200,000 payment terminals in the US that currently accept NFC.”
Bitcoin companies may be vulnerable to Equation Group style attacks
Based on the distribution of compromised hard drives, the cyber-espionage operation “Equation Group” has made headlines after Kasperky Labs reported the program was almost impossible to destroy. The difficulty of detecting a breach has now raised questions of whether Bitcoin companies could be vulnerable to similar assaults.
“Yes, Bitcoin organizations could definitely be subject to an Equation style attack.” said Ken Miller, former risk management for PayPal and current COO for Gem. The cyber-crime group has targeted personal hardrives as well as larger servers, he explained. Most Bitcoin institutions rely on single-signature schemes, as opposed to the more secure multi-signature, and this could be a vulnerability.
Bitrated creates 'charge-back like' process for Bitcoin
Bitrated has been working on a system for 2-of-3 multisig bitcoin transactions with the goal of creating a platform in which “charge-backs” are possible through the adjudication of the mutually selected third party in the payment. Paired with a “trustworthiness” rating for Bitcoin users, the start-up plans to match familiar options offered by credit card companies.
“Bitrated creates a new level of buyer protection, essentially allowing the ability to make chargebacks, which are not usually possible with Bitcoin because there is no third party in P2P transactions to guarantee a refund to a dissatisfied buyer. The website explains, “Our chargeback-like process allows a trusted agent to reverse payments and protect you against fraud.”
Insider Trading allegations emerge as Mt. Gox data investigation data is analyzed
Further analysis has taken place of the unofficial investigation of the collapse of Mt. Gox being carried out by security researchers WIZSEC. The discovered trading patterns conducted by the “Willy” bot appear to coincide with Mt. Gox office hours.
“The report also studied the time of user activity in order to find a pattern in the sleep cycle so as to get a clue where the user was based. Conclusive evidence was found that there was no user activity between the hours of 17:00 and 20:00 UTC. These time zones fall within the normal sleeping hours of Australasia.”
Bitcoin-Wave announces a Bitcoin based Visa debit card
Based in the Seychelles, the EU market focused Bitcoin exchange Bitcoin-Wave has announced a BTC debit card. The exchange has partnered with a French card issuer to produce the Visa card that should function as a normal debit card for day-to-day use.
“Bitcoin-Wave, which currently serves more than 300 users, admits the number is still small, but believes it has a bigger role to play in the industry. The company is looking to attract new users by providing fresh and practical ways of spending Bitcoin, while keeping in mind its ethics as being transparent and respectful of customers' privacy.”
The rise of machines as employees: Is the blockchain changing corporate structure?
Travis Patron argues that the rise of machines as “wage earning” actors within a company, for example a node working on the blockchain for their 0.25BTC payments, could be fundamentally changing our understanding of corporate structure and hierarchy.
“When we come to understand this shift in the very makeup of the corporation, we see that the core of its very function has undergone a significant alteration. The blockchain network concept is such an altering framework for conducting business, that it shakes the very foundations of what we believe to be a legitimate corporation.”
Ten tips for starting your own cryptocurrency
The developer behind the Russian origin DemocraticCoin has issued a top ten tips list for those thinking of starting their own cryptocurrency. Based on Dmitry Kharitonov’s experiences of starting the Dcoin currency, the coder is now looking to share the experiences he gained over the 3.5 year development cycle.
“1 - Define the benefit for end users – specifically. Does your new coin provide increased convenience, new thrills, or the ability to profit without much investment? Whatever the benefits are, articulate them precisely.
2 - Establish a global goal and keep it in mind. As the corny but wise ones say, “If you shoot for the moon and miss, you'll still end up among the stars.”
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