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What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a digital crypto-currency with no single point of failure due to its decentralized peer-to-peer architecture. The source code is publicly available and changes to the reference Bitcoin client are made via concensus within the community. Advantages of Bitcoin include irreversible transactions (i.e. no possibility of chargebacks as with credit cards), pseudo-anonymous, limited and fixed inflation, near instant transactions, multi-platform, no double-spend and little to no barriers to entry and more. It was created by an anonymous person known as Satoshi Nakamoto. Find out more at WeUseCoins.com.

Bitcoin Latest News

Here's why Bitcoin is rebounding - Business Insider


Business Insider

Here's why Bitcoin is rebounding
Business Insider
Bitcoin has recovered somewhat from the drop in value seen last Sunday, with the price of the cryptocurrency reaching $2,701 at the time of this writing. The stabilization seems to be the result of Bitcoin miners reaching an agreement on the enactment ...

and more »

Posted on 24 July 2017 | 7:36 am

Your ultimate guide to the upcoming fork that's splitting the Bitcoin community - TNW


TNW

Your ultimate guide to the upcoming fork that's splitting the Bitcoin community
TNW
There's a lot of fuss in the bitcoin community about what will happen on August 1. Will the cryptocurrency split into two new ones? Will it not? What is BIP 91? What is BIP 148? What is SegWit? The incredibly significant date is just around the corner ...
BIP 91 Lockin Leads Bitcoin Higher Despite Weekend WorriesCoinTelegraph
Bitcoin May Still See a Blockchain Split on August 1stThe Merkle
No Split for BitcoinPYMNTS.com
Bitcoin News (press release) -newsBTC -CryptoCoinsNews
all 40 news articles »

Posted on 24 July 2017 | 7:14 am

Crypto Assets Trade 24/7 – And That Changes More Than Uptime

New to cryptocurrency? You may want to make a closer look at how its charts and prices function.

Source

Posted on 24 July 2017 | 6:00 am

Considering using bitcoin to store wealth? Here's what you need to know - Times LIVE


Times LIVE

Considering using bitcoin to store wealth? Here's what you need to know
Times LIVE
Bitcoin is growing in popularity among hobbyists and IT geeks who trade the currency in South Africa‚ with one local expert estimating 100‚000 trade the crypto currency. The internet currency is traded on two exchanges in South Africa: Luno and Ice3X.

and more »

Posted on 24 July 2017 | 5:52 am

Visa cards could soon help Bitcoin work in the real world - The Independent


The Independent

Visa cards could soon help Bitcoin work in the real world
The Independent
A recurring challenge for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is how to make them work in the real world. A Singapore-based startup says the answer is its Visa card. TenX is pitching its debit card as an instant converter of multiple digital currencies ...
Singapore Startup Takes Bitcoin Into Real World With Visa ...Bloomberg

all 6 news articles »

Posted on 24 July 2017 | 5:39 am

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Indian Bitcoin Hotspot Bangalore Sees 50+ Merchants Added This Month - Bitcoin News (press release)


Bitcoin News (press release)

Indian Bitcoin Hotspot Bangalore Sees 50+ Merchants Added This Month
Bitcoin News (press release)
Bitcoin's popularity in India is steadily growing, particularly in the country's third most populous city, Bangalore. Leading Indian bitcoin exchange Unocoin is based in the city, and has been helping merchants accept bitcoin there. Bitcoin.com talked ...

and more »

Posted on 24 July 2017 | 5:38 am

Hashed Health Blockchain Consortium Expands With New Member

A blockchain consortium focused on healthcare and led by startup Hashed Health has attracted a notable new member.

Source

Posted on 24 July 2017 | 5:00 am

ICOs in the EU: How Will the 'Slow Giant' Regulate Tokens?

A legal expert shines a light on how ICOs might be regulated in the European Union, proposing next steps and potential challenges ahead.

Source

Posted on 24 July 2017 | 4:00 am

Kosovo's First Bitcoin ATM Sparks Central Bank Warning - CoinDesk


CoinDesk

Kosovo's First Bitcoin ATM Sparks Central Bank Warning
CoinDesk
A private business in Kosovo is gearing up to install its first bitcoin ATM amid warnings from the country's central bank. According to regional news source Balkan Insight, the ATM is expected to be placed in the center of Pristina, the country's ...

and more »

Posted on 24 July 2017 | 3:10 am

Kosovo's First Bitcoin ATM Sparks Central Bank Warning

A new bitcoin ATM installation has sparked debate in Kosovo, where regulators and entrepreneurs are splitting opinion on the launch.

Source

Posted on 24 July 2017 | 3:00 am

Bold But Cautious: London Stock Exchange's Blockchain Work Is History Repeated

CoinDesk's Noelle Acheson sheds light on the LSE Group's history of innovation in capital markets, with bold moves tempered by sensible caution.

Source

Posted on 24 July 2017 | 2:15 am

Five things to know about bitcoin - Washington Post


Washington Post

Five things to know about bitcoin
Washington Post
July 24, 2017 3:48 AM EDT - From becoming a legal currency in Japan to being vulnerable to hacks, here are five things to know about bitcoin. (Amber Ferguson / The Washington Post). RELATED LINKS. MORNING MIX: Pennsylvania police, hunting for ...

Posted on 24 July 2017 | 2:07 am

Bitcoin Split Is Nothing to Fear - Bloomberg


Bloomberg

Bitcoin Split Is Nothing to Fear
Bloomberg
Over the last week, the price of Bitcoin crashed from around $2,400 to $1,800 on fears of a so-called hard fork, which is to say the digital currency would effectively split in two due to software upgrades at the end of the month that would create ...

and more »

Posted on 24 July 2017 | 1:00 am

Details Emerge on Singapore Central Bank's Blockchain R&D

Singapore's "Project Ubin" is being built so that all cross-border payments and securities settlements can occur almost instantly.

Source

Posted on 23 July 2017 | 9:30 pm

What Coinbase's Cuba Problem Says About the Bitcoin Business

As travelers to Cuba can attest, an unfortunate reality of cryptocurrency services today is the poor customer support.

Source

Posted on 23 July 2017 | 6:40 am

Between a Rock and a Hard Fork: Jeff Garzik's Plan to Avoid a Bitcoin Split

Perhaps no coder is more at the center of bitcoin's raging scaling debate than Jeff Garzik – here he talks about the network's future.

Source

Posted on 22 July 2017 | 2:05 pm

Life in Crypto Time

Trading expert Tim Enneking compares the crypto asset space with the early days of the internet, where time just seemed to fly faster.

Source

Posted on 22 July 2017 | 1:12 am

Understanding Bitcoin's Scaling Debate: Politics Comes First

Cato Institute's Jim Harper argues that, since the scaling debate is so political, the community has something to learn from Washington, D.C.

Source

Posted on 21 July 2017 | 3:20 pm

Faster Payments? Startup Pitches Federal Reserve Group on Cryptocurrency

A new Federal Reserve report highlights creative proposals for how the central bank might adapt to changes in technology.

Source

Posted on 21 July 2017 | 2:30 pm

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NRI Subsidiary Launches Blockchain Technology Assessment Service

A subsidiary of global consulting firm NRI has announced the launch of a new blockchain system assessment service.

Source

Posted on 21 July 2017 | 10:45 am

Crypto Asset Class Clears $90 Billion as Bitcoin Price Spikes

The total value of all cryptocurrencies rose on Friday, crossing $90bn for the first time in weeks.

Source

Posted on 21 July 2017 | 7:45 am

Utility Settlement Coin Creator to Open-Source Modular Blockchain Software

The secretive firm behind the Utility Settlement Coin project has told CoinDesk of plans to roll-out new open-source offerings.

Source

Posted on 21 July 2017 | 7:00 am

ECB President: Cryptocurrency Price Boom Having Limited Effect on Economy

The president of the European Union's central bank has issued new remarks that touch on the rising price of cryptocurrencies.

Source

Posted on 21 July 2017 | 6:15 am

Trust Your Odometer? Blockchain Test Aims to Turn Tide on Car Tampering

If you've ever bought a used car you'll understand why BigchainDB has developed a platform that tracks vehicle history on a blockchain.

Source

Posted on 21 July 2017 | 5:30 am

BIP 91 Locks In: What This Means for Bitcoin and Why It's Not Scaled Yet

BIP 91 has locked in. Before you celebrate, here's what you need to know about what's happening with bitcoin's code.

Source

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 6:18 pm

White Hats Step In to Save Funds from Vulnerable Ether Wallets

White Hats Step In to Save Funds from Vulnerable Etherscan Wallets

At 11:30 a.m. (CDT) on July 19, 2017, a hacker managed to steal 153,000 ETH (approximately $32 million at the time) from three Ethereum wallets by exploiting a vulnerability within the wallets' multi-signature verification. The affected wallets include the ones using Parity client version 1.5 or later.

According to a tweet by Project Lead Manuel Aráoz, the three multisig wallets first targeted by the hack were using Parity client version 1.5 or later, and included Edgeless Casino, Swarm City and Æternity Blockchain. However, Project Blocktix also reported a loss totaling 3,916 ETH. According to ETHNews, Blocktix.io was hit by a second attacker who exploited the same vulnerability.

A Swarm City blog post revealed that a group of white hat hackers managed to secure the remaining funds from the affected ETH wallets using the same exploit. The swift response of the white hat hackers allowed them to secure the funds of other vulnerable projects. Unfortunately, funds in the wallets of Edgeless Casino, Swarm City and Æternity Blockchain are completely lost, though the “white hat response team” managed to secure 6,272 of 10,188 ETH at Blocktix.io.

The White Hat Group announced on Reddit that they will create “another multisig for you [the affected users] that has the same settings as your [the users’] old multisig but with the vulnerability removed and we will return your [the users’] funds to you [the users].” The response team warned the Reddit community to be careful with donation addresses below their post since there are “a lot of phishers in the community right now.”

On July 19, Parity Technologies published a critical security alert stating there was a vulnerability connected to Parity Wallets. The users affected by the vulnerability included “any user with assets in a multi-sig wallet created in Parity Wallet prior to 19/07/17 23:14:56 CEST.” The company urged users to move all assets from the multisig wallets to a secure address. Wallets seemingly unaffected by the breach include Geth, MyEtherWallet and single-user accounts created on Parity.

Parity updated its post as of today stating that future versions of their multisig wallets are secure:

“Future multi-sig wallets created by versions of Parity are secure (Fix in the code is https://github.com/paritytech/parity/pull/6103 and the newly registered code is https://etherscan.io/tx/0x5f0846ccef8946d47f85715b7eea8fb69d3a9b9ef2d2b8abcf83983fb8d94f5f).”

Swarm City also posted information for users affected by the hack:

“If you do have funds in the multisig contract: carefully move your funds to a new account ASAP. If your funds are no longer in your multisig, please check the Black hat and White hat addresses. They might have been saved by the White hat group.”

To check on funds held by either the black hat or the white hat hackers, see the ETH addresses below:

White Hat Group’s wallet: 0x1DBA1131000664b884A1Ba238464159892252D3a
First hacker’s wallet: 0xB3764761E297D6f121e79C32A65829Cd1dDb4D32
Second attacker’s wallet: 0x1Ff21eCa1c3ba96ed53783aB9C92FfbF77862584

The hacks have not only affected the wallets of the victims but also the overall price of ether. According to Coin Market Cap’s stats, the price experienced a 15 percent drop from $234.94 (at 0:04, July 19) to $199.70 at the end of the day. However, ETH has since recovered to around $227 today.

The post White Hats Step In to Save Funds from Vulnerable Ether Wallets appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 2:01 pm

Hansa Market Taken Down in Global Law Enforcement Operation

Hansa Market Taken Down in Global Law Enforcement Operation

After darknet market AlphaBay went offline on July 4, many of its users migrated to Hansa Market — and played right into the hands of an “Operation Bayonet,” a coordinated international law enforcement action. Today, both the U.S. Department of Justice and the Europol published press releases stating that Hansa Market has also been shut down.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the action was led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), with law enforcement authorities in Thailand, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and the Europol participating in the operation. Bayonet’s focus was takedown of both Hansa Market and AlphaBay in the course of the same multi-agency investigation.

“This is an outstanding success by authorities in Europe and the U.S. The capability of drug traffickers and other serious criminals around the world has taken a serious hit today after a highly sophisticated joint action in multiple countries. By acting together on a global basis the law enforcement community has sent a clear message that we have the means to identify criminality and strike back, even in areas of the Dark Web. There are more of these operations to come,” Rob Wainwright, the executive director of Europol, said today at a joint press conference with the U.S. Attorney General, the acting FBI director and the deputy director of the DEA in Washington, D.C.

According to Europol’s press release, the European agency provided Dutch authorities with an investigation lead on the Hansa Market in 2016. Europol allegedly acquired the information with the help of Bitdefender, an internet security company advising Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3). Investigators managed to locate the infrastructure of the darknet marketplace in the Netherlands, which resulted in the arrest of two administrators of the site in Germany. Hansa’s servers were seized in the Netherlands, Germany and Lithuania.

Furthermore, Dutch law enforcement acquired information on “high value targets and delivery addresses for a large number of orders.” With the help of Europol, the Dutch National Police collected information on approximately 10,000 foreign addresses of Hansa Market customers. In a covert action, Dutch law enforcement took control of Hansa a month ago, allowing investigators to monitor and gain information on the users of the marketplace without their knowledge.

Casting a Wider Net

It seems authorities planned their actions carefully since Hansa was already under their control when AlphaBay went offline on July 4. Europol stated that the Dutch National Police “could identify and disrupt the regular criminal activity on Hansa but then also sweep up all those new users displaced from AlphaBay who were looking for a new trading platform.”

“The Dutch National Police have located Hansa Market and taken over control of this marketplace since June 20, 2017. We have modified the source code, which allowed us to capture passwords, PGP-encrypted order information, IP-Addresses, Bitcoins and other relevant information that may help law enforcement agencies worldwide to identify users of this marketplace. For more information about this operation, please consult our hidden service at http://politiepcvh42eav.onion,” Dutch authorities wrote on the seized Hansa website.

In total, 38,000 transactions were identified by Europol, who then alerted other agencies in 600 cases. Furthermore, Europol stated they have prepared “intelligence packages” to be sent out to “law enforcement partners across 37 countries, spawning many follow-up investigations across Europe and beyond.”

AlphaBay went offline on July 4. At the time, many users suspected it was an exit scam. Authorities announced the arrest of the Alexandre Cazes, 26, the alleged administrator of the website, who was later found dead in his cell in Thailand. On the day of Cazes’s arrest, law enforcement took down servers of the dark web marketplace in Canada, the Netherlands and Thailand.

Darknet marketplaces have generated massive police heat after dangerous synthetic drugs, such as fentanyl — the substance at the heart of drug epidemics in multiple countries, including Canada and the United States — were constantly offered for sale on the websites. The statements of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions during the joint press release in Washington, D.C., confirm this assumption.

“Among other challenges, our great country is currently in the midst of the deadliest drug crisis in our history. One American now dies of a drug overdose every 11 minutes and more than 2 million Americans are addicted to prescription painkillers. Every day, as a result of drug abuse, American families are being bankrupted, friendships broken and promising lives cut short,” he said.

“As of earlier this year, 122 vendors advertised fentanyl and 238 advertised heroin, and we know of several Americans who were killed by drugs sold on AlphaBay.”

Sessions asserted that his department’s work is not yet finished and issued a warning to people still ready to engage in illegal activity on the dark web. “We will continue to find, arrest, prosecute, convict and incarcerate criminals, drug traffickers and their enablers, wherever they are. The dark net is not a place to hide. We will use every tool we have to stop criminals from exploiting vulnerable people and sending so many Americans to an early grave.”

The post Hansa Market Taken Down in Global Law Enforcement Operation appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 12:57 pm

SegWit or Not, Bitfury is Getting Ready for Lightning With Successful Bitcoin Main Net Test

BitfuryLN.jpg

While Segregated Witness (SegWit) activation is looking more likely by the hour, Bitfury is getting ready to deploy a version of the Lightning network with or without the protocol upgrade.

The blockchain technology company, perhaps best known for its Bitcoin mining pool of the same name, successfully sent real bitcoins over a test version of the Lightning Network this week. Interestingly, Bitfury’s implementation of the technology is compatible with the current Bitcoin protocol and is therefore functional even without SegWit.

“This is a major accomplishment by our technical team and an important step forward for the Lightning Network and the growth of Bitcoin,” Valery Vavilov, CEO of The Bitfury Group, said in a statement.

Lightning Network

The Lightning Network is a highly anticipated second-layer scaling solution that allows for cheap and instant (micro)payments. Cleverly leveraging Bitcoin’s basic scripting capabilities, Lightning users should be able to make a virtually unlimited number of transactions, where only a minimal proportion of them are recorded on Bitcoin’s blockchain, thereby boosting Bitcoin’s scalability. Meanwhile, all users remain in control of their own bitcoins at all times, maintaining the trustless properties of Bitcoin itself.

“The Lightning Network has the potential to solve Bitcoin’s scalability issue and provide instant payment functionality. By demonstrating that the Lightning Network can function now, Bitfury has cleared the way to increased transaction processing and further adoption of Bitcoin,” Vavilov said.

Bitfury’s Lightning implementation is based on LND, which is being developed by Lightning Labs.

For its demo, the Bitfury software team created two Lightning transactions. One of these is a straight transaction from one Lightning node to the next, effectively simulating a payment channel between two users. Since it was only a test, Bitfury only made one transaction — but it could have made thousands back and forth at no extra cost.

The other test was a single-hop transaction, which better simulates the main purpose of the Lightning Network. Users pay each other through a mutual third party, without requiring any trust in this third party. While the Bitfury software team only made one transaction on this channel as well, it could, once again, have made thousands back and forth between all three parties, at no extra cost.

Since Bitfury’s test took place on the main net, the funding and settlement transactions are recorded on Bitcoin’s blockchain and can be seen by any typical block explorer.

Tests and SegWit

Bitfury’s is not the first successful test of the Lightning Network. Several companies, including Lightning Labs, Blockstream, ACINQ as well as Bitfury itself have experimented with their implementations of the technology. But since most of these companies are working on versions of Lightning that rely on Segregated Witness, these tests were limited to Bitcoin’s testnet and Litecoin. Likewise, major wallet service Blockchain has sent “Thunder” transactions over Bitcoin’s main net. But while Thunder resembles the Lightning protocol, it isn’t quite as trustless or decentralized.

As such, Bitfury is the first company to get a version of the Lightning Network up and running on the current Bitcoin protocol.

“We released this first experimental version of the Lightning Network for Bitcoin because we think the Lightning Network is an essential technology for Bitcoin and would love to see it made available as soon as possible,” Vavilov said. “We are proud that our developers found a way to adopt the Lightning Network for Bitcoin without SegWit. It’s a huge step forward for Bitcoin scalability.”

Regardless, the CEO noted that he is hopeful that SegWit will activate on the Bitcoin network. With BIP91 currently getting close to its activation threshold, it seems increasingly likely that SegWit could be live within a month. This would allow for a version of the Lightning Network that offers an improved user experience.

Vavilov:

“The Lightning Network will be the most effective when used with SegWit, which is why we are fully committed to SegWit’s implementation, and we will continue working on a version of the Lightning Network that is compatible with SegWit.”  

Bitfury, which started out as a Bitcoin miner, has grown to become one of the largest private infrastructure providers in the Blockchain ecosystem. Part of this effort, the company has been supporting the development and implementation of the Lightning Network for well over a year. Bitfury previously also co-designed and successfully tested Flare, a payment-routing solution for the Lightning Network.

Watch the video of Bitfury’s tests here:



The post SegWit or Not, Bitfury is Getting Ready for Lightning With Successful Bitcoin Main Net Test appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 10:55 am

The Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. Is Half Full Node, Half Work of Art

The Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. Is Half Full Node and Half Work of Art

Bitcoin is a decentralized system of digital cash in which users don’t need to trust anyone else with their money; however, the full benefits of this technology are only seen when users operate a full node on the network. The vast majority of Bitcoin users do not operate their own full nodes, but one man is trying to change that with a piece of hardware he calls the Bitcoin Block Clock Jr.

There are many good reasons for individual Bitcoiners to operate a full node. Full nodes are responsible for validating transactions and blocks on the Bitcoin network. Only by running full nodes can users know with full certainty that they received a valid payment. Additionally, the more users that run full nodes, the more decentralized the Bitcoin network is, making it harder to shut down or corrupt.

And as Sia Co-Founder David Vorick pointed out in a talk at this year’s MIT Bitcoin Expo, those who do not operate their own full nodes do not get a say in the matter when hard forks are deployed on the network. “If you’re not running a full node … your opinion on whether or not you like a hard fork is less relevant because, ultimately, if you’re not validating the rules and someone gives you a transaction following a different rule set, you don’t have a way to detect that,” he explained.

Running a full node, however, has been a rather expensive proposition. As a result, larger, economically invested entities that are better able to support full nodes have had more of a say.

According to Vorick, users can be dragged along with miners and large businesses if the cost of running a full node is too high: “If full nodes are expensive to run, only people who are capable of running nodes really have any say in what happens in a contentious upgrade.”

Matthew Zipkin is the man behind the Bitcoin Block Clock. A sound engineer by trade, he has been working in his spare time on creating full nodes that are both affordable and fun to use. During a recent discussion with Bitcoin Magazine, Zipkin revealed his desire to create a piece of hardware for operating a low-cost Bitcoin full node that isn’t boring.

A Bitcoin Full Node That Isn’t Boring

When commenting on his reasoning for creating the Bitcoin Block Clock, Zipkin pointed to the full node devices made by Bitnodes before they were acquired by 21.

“I always wanted one, but they disappeared when they got bought out, so I decided to build my own,” said Zipkin.

While there are other full node options out there, such as Bitseed, Zipkin wanted to make something that was more than a piece of computer hardware that would sit on the floor next to a router. Zipkin wanted to turn a Bitcoin full node into a work of art, and that’s exactly what he did.

Zipkin built the first version of the Bitcoin Block Clock last year, and it was on display at the SF Bitcoin Meetup’s “Proof of Art” event in May of 2016. After receiving positive feedback at the event and on Reddit, Zipkin decided to make a smaller version of the full node hardware to sell.

The Bitcoin Block Clock included a screen that displayed various live information about the Bitcoin network. Zipkin put the original version of the Bitcoin Block Clock for sale on OpenBazaar and Purse.io, but it hasn’t sold.

“I priced it pretty high because it’s art and I love it and kind of want to keep it,” explained Zipkin. “So of course it still has not sold.”

Creating the Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. With Bcoin

In an effort to create a version of the Bitcoin Block Clock that could be produced at a lower price, Zipkin turned to Raspberry Pi Zero and Bcoin, which is an implementation of the Bitcoin protocol written in Node.js.

“I discovered Bcoin was super easy to install and use, and the codebase was easier for me to review because it’s in Javascript instead of C++, and was built from scratch by a small group of developers (basically just two guys), so everything is really well labeled and consistent,” explained Zipkin.

Of course, the problem with using SPV mode is that it’s not a full node and the device won’t receive all of the information related to a new Bitcoin block as it’s mined on the network. Zipkin opted for the pruned full node option in Bcoin in an effort to lower the system resources required to operate the node on Raspberry Pi Zero.

“With pruning, I get all the fun block details I wanted to display,” said Zipkin. “I even submitted a pull request (which got merged!) to Bcoin to make my application work even easier.”

Zipkin described the LED displays on the Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. as follows:

“The Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. has two LED rings. The outer ring of 24 LEDs indicates recent blocks. Each LED represents 2 minutes, and they “tick” clockwise around the ring. The color of the LED is determined by the block’s version (BIP 9 version bits combined with keywords from the Coinbase scriptSig like “/EXTBLK” or “/EB1/AD6/”). The inner 16-LED ring indicates the progress of the current difficulty period (2,016 blocks, or about two weeks). It starts blue and gradually turns more and more red as the meter fills up. The tiny little display screen indicates some details about the latest block: height, size, version (and extra scriptSig version) and the adjustment period progress. I added a little web interface so I could turn the lights off at night without having to SSH into the Pi every time.”

front-back

An Economical Way to Contribute to the Network

While Zipkin noted that the original Bitcoin Block Clock displays much more information and also comes with full wallet functionality, he also pointed out that the latest model proves that Bitcoin users only need about $20 to run their own full nodes (at least in pruned mode).

Having said that, Zipkin admitted that the Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. can struggle to keep up with the network at times.

“Bcoin plus my Python script and all the GPIO display output just barely hangs in there on this tiny underpowered computer,” said Zipkin. “The Python script has a method to restart Bcoin when it crashes and monitor it as it catches up to the network.”

All of the technical details of the Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. are open source and can be found on GitHub.

Zipkin has now placed the Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. for sale on OpenBazaar and Purse.io.

The post The Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. Is Half Full Node, Half Work of Art appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 18 July 2017 | 3:17 pm

This New Tool Can Help Bitcoin Users Deal With Stuck Transactions

This New Tool Can Help Bitcoin Users Deal With Stuck Transactions

Samourai Wallet is becoming increasingly popular as a wallet that focuses on privacy and security for its users above all else, but a recent tool released by this wallet’s team of developers has a focus on user experience. The new app, called Bitcoin Afterburner, allows users of many different bitcoin wallets to boost transactions that have become stuck due to low fees.

The app works for transactions that have been sent or received, and it is compatible with all BIP 39 and BIP 44 wallets. Examples of compatible wallets include Mycelium, Blockchain.info, Airbitz and Electrum.

To get more details about Bitcoin Afterburner and the concept of fee bumping in general, Bitcoin Magazine reached out to the anonymous CEO of Samourai Wallet.

“Afterburner is one more example of how we are experimenting and developing ways of monetizing our business without resorting to accepting fiat or exposing our users to harmful KYC/AML collection,” said the CEO.

Samourai Wallet monetizes the Bitcoin Afterburner app by adding a $5.99 fee for helping users with their stuck transactions. This fee is added to the child-pays-for-parent (CPFP) transaction that is used to bump the user’s bitcoin transaction fee. CPFP is a process by which the recipient of a transaction can spend the inputs of an unconfirmed transaction by using them in a new transaction that has a higher fee (and incentivizes miners to mine both transactions at once).

The full question and answer session with the CEO of Samourai Wallet can be read below.


Bitcoin Magazine: Will fee bumping eventually become the norm on Bitcoin?

Samourai Wallet: We believe that over time as legitimate transactions start to fill block space, and a fee market begins to mature, wallets that have implemented sophisticated fee management mechanisms such as fee bumping will provide their users with the most competitive transaction fees and confirmation times. The tech is there today, the challenge — and it isn't a small challenge — is entirely UX. We're working on this today while others are playing catch-up.

BM: Could you compare and contrast this app with the transaction accelerators offered by ViaBTC and BTC.com?

SW: The difference between the miner operated TX Accelerators is that Afterburner is not an off-chain 1-to-1 with a specific miner. Instead, Afterburner broadcasts a bitcoin transaction to all miners using the standard bitcoin p2p network. All the miners on the network compete for the new transaction with the higher fee, meaning it often works much quicker than the miner operated TX Accelerators. Afterburner was very much a defensive response to the miners who have been blocking SegWit activation and broadcasting empty blocks, some of those same miners are the ones who run the TX Accelerators.

BM: Is Bitcoin Afterburner getting much use so far?

SW: Afterburner has a good number of installs, but not many paid 'Boosts.' A few days after we released Afterburner the transaction backlog that was driving up fees and confirmation times completely dried up. The fees required for next block confirmation dropped from 300 sat/b to 25 sat/b. Once the mempool gets saturated again, we will have a much better idea of the potential utility of the app.

BM: Why do you think more wallet providers don’t offer this sort of service?

SW: Many wallet providers — inexplicably the most well-funded ones are the most guilty — haven't invested any time into proper fee estimation and management until very recently. A misguided industry-driven quest to make the bitcoin wallet for “grandma” resulted in an unusable bitcoin wallet for actual users. Samourai has focused from inception on actual bitcoin users first.

BM: Do you think this sort of fee bumping will eventually be free? Does Samourai Wallet offer fee bumping like this natively or do they need to use this separate app?

SW: Samourai Wallet provides the exact same functionality as Afterburner natively. Afterburner was designed to allow users of any other BIP 44 HD wallet to boost their stuck transaction using CPFP (Child-Pays-for-Parent) under the hood. Hopefully they move over to Samourai Wallet if they are satisfied with the service. In addition to CPFP-based boosting more advanced users may opt-in to RBF-based boosting which is also available in the wallet. Both options are available to Samourai Wallet users free of charge.

The post This New Tool Can Help Bitcoin Users Deal With Stuck Transactions appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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