The US Marshals are beginning the process to auction of 50,000 bitcoins seized from Silk Road, Mike Hearn warns about the dangers of autonomous machines and suggests a self-ownership solution, Google and Square rumored to be collaborating on an OTC sales platform, and much more news that happened on February18.
US Marshals announces Silk Road Bitcoin auction
The US Marshals Service looks set to begin auctioning off 50,000 bitcoins worth just under US$12 million. The funds had originally been seized as part of the Silk Road Trial, and following this month's conviction of Ross Ulbricht, the coins will now be sold off.
“Registration has already commenced for bidding on the coins, which were seized in October 2013 during a raid on Ulbricht’s computer equipment, and will run until March 2. The auction is made up of two series, 10 blocks of 20,000BTC and 10 blocks of 30,000BTC respectively.”
WizSec releases preliminary findings from unofficial Mt.Gox investigation
Security analyst group WizSec has released a preliminary report of their findings in an investigation into the events surrounding the Mt.Gox collapse. Digging deeper into the behavior of the Willy bot that was purchasing over 250,000 BTC in the days leading up to the exchange's closure, the group has found firm purchase-order patterns.
“At this point, we had strong indications that Willy was an automatic bot which was at times controlled by its operator, and [we have] already identified multiple instances of likely such interactions by this user. … [R]egular absence of any activity during certain hours of the day would be a possible indication of the user's sleep cycle, which in turn could be a clue as to in which part of the world they were located (based on the time zone).”
Mike Hearn – machines should own themselves, and get paid in Bitcoin
Bitcoin core developer, and architect of Lighthouse, Mike Hearn, has added his voice to discussions around the future of autonomous robots and the-internet-of-things. Proposing a solution in which the individual assets own themselves and earn a 'wage' in bitcoin, Hearn hopes society can avoid a situation in which one or two tech giants dominate the market.
“Hearn expressed fears that if individuals don't take their tech into their own hands, the future of ground transportation – which Hearn argues is self-driving cars – will be owned by cartelized corporations (like Google and Uber). Even when people have designed decentralized technologies, what you get is a winner-takes-all environment where one or two big Silicon Valley start-ups spend their way to dominance and then become entrenched.”
Google and Square collaboration rumors
Last week's rumors around the test deployment of an over-the-counter digital payment system being developed by Google and Square may have led to a 10 % increase in the BTC-USD trading price. The payment system is likely to be based on Bluetooth technology, with an Android based counter-top unit being developed by Square.
“Recent news that Apple Pay has just been adopted by the US Federal Government for payments by visitors at National Parks may have been the spark for the appearance of the Square-Google collaboration reports last week. The company faces an increasingly harder battle to win over merchant conversions the longer Apple Pay holds the spotlight.”
‘People in Bitcoin’ film series to feature diverse range of subjects
Filmaker Calvin “C.H.” Trans is producing a video series about people involved in Bitcoin and the way in which the cryptocurrency is fitting into people's everyday lives. Speaking to two of the interviewees in the movie, Cointelegraph has been learning more about what the film-maker is aiming to portray.
“Tran started producing and directing short videos covering the stories of people in Bitcoin while working as a journalist at CryptoCoinsNews (CCN). He published the first three installments with CCN and then realized that he wanted to create something bigger. The idea here is to talk about [Bitcoin] and bring it out into the open. Let's discuss how it helps, how it comes short, and who's trying the change that.”
More artists incorporating Bitcoin into their funding and distribution models
Catherine Bleish of @TheBitMom has written for Cointelegraph about the way in which artists and musicians are increasingly turning to new technologies such as Bitcoin as an approach to funding their art. One artist has even gone so far as to begin mining her own “TatianaCoin” as a fund raising method, and discusses some of the benefits and challenges this has led to.
“The technology is new, though, and she has faced obstacles. The drop in bitcoin prices reduced her buying power after her initial crowd sale funds came in. The front end of the CounterParty platform she used to build her coin requires multiple steps to actually acquire TatianaCoin, which left many of her pre-bitcoin fans confused about how to contribute.”
Reuters' “US$600” break-even claim for miners disputed
In a recent Reuters article, writer Edward Hadas claimed the break-even point for those mining Bitcoin “is closer to US$600 per token”. This claim is now being disputed by Australian researcher Hass McCook, who claims that the mining cost finds equilibrium between the BTC dollar price, energy costs, and the hash difficulty. Efficient miners, the researcher suggests, could be profitable at as low as US$160.
“Speaking to Cointelegraph, McCook estimates that the most innovative of the chip fabricators can break even at US$160 on the cheaper end in contrast to US$350 on the most expensive end using 30 kilowatt Antminers. But typically the cost would be about US$300 based on the cost of electricity. All other miners generally fall somewhere in between. But as we have seen lately the economics and price of bitcoin have led many mining companies across this spectrum to shut down.”
CNN reports of the growth of Bitcoin as a remittance tool in African states
Citing fees as high as 12 % for using traditional money transfer services, CNN has published an article examining the growth of Bitcoin as a tool for the US$ 14 billion remittance industry sending money into African states. Ghanaian service Beam values the national remittance income at US$1.7 billion and aims to take a slice of this market through their cryptocurrency service.
“Bitcoin is going to make a huge difference when it starts to get accepted by merchants in Ghana," says CEO Nikunj Handa. "People won't need to change Bitcoin to any other currency so there will be no broker fees involved and people can get really very low-cost transactions.”
Trezor releases firmware update release 1.31
The updated firmware for the hardware Bitcoin wallet is designed to bring greater security to the device, and also allow for more complicated operations such as colored coins. The device can also now receive a customized home screen and claims to be able to complete transaction signing faster.
“SatoshiLabs released a new TREZOR firmware today. It brings several security optimizations and updates that make TREZOR ready for Smart Property such as Colored Coins or Document Timestamping, the blockchain based notary service. Customization of the home screen is built in the firmware too and waiting for submissions from our community.”
Users stunned by speed of Bitcoin Core update 0.10.0
Users on Reddit's r/bitcoin board have been left stunned by the synchronization speeds possible with the new release of Bitcoin Core 0.10.0. Relating the time it's taking for a new client on his laptop to sync the blockchain, user carsten_ger saw three years of data obtained in 70 minutes.
“As an experiment, I just started a new Bitcoin Core client on my laptop and let it download the blockchain. The data is stored on a fast SSD, and the rest of my laptop also is up to date. The network connection offers about 100 MBit/sec (128/10 MBit/sec max).”
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