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BlackCoin Subreddit

BlackCoin is a digital currency similar to Bitcoin. It is a pure Proof of Stake coin, except stage of initial distribution, when it was mixed PoW and PoS coin. For more info, go to http://blackcoin.org/
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Putting $400M of Bitcoin on your company balance sheet

Also posted on my blog as usual. Read it there if you can, there are footnotes and inlined plots.
A couple of months ago, MicroStrategy (MSTR) had a spare $400M of cash which it decided to shift to Bitcoin (BTC).
Today we'll discuss in excrutiating detail why this is not a good idea.
When a company has a pile of spare money it doesn't know what to do with, it'll normally do buybacks or start paying dividends. That gives the money back to the shareholders, and from an economic perspective the money can get better invested in other more promising companies. If you have a huge pile of of cash, you probably should be doing other things than leave it in a bank account to gather dust.
However, this statement from MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor exists to make it clear he's buying into BTC for all the wrong reasons:
“This is not a speculation, nor is it a hedge. This was a deliberate corporate strategy to adopt a bitcoin standard.”
Let's unpack it and jump into the economics Bitcoin:

Is Bitcoin money?

No.
Or rather BTC doesn't act as money and there's no serious future path for BTC to become a form of money. Let's go back to basics. There are 3 main economic problems money solves:
1. Medium of Exchange. Before money we had to barter, which led to the double coincidence of wants problem. When everyone accepts the same money you can buy something from someone even if they don't like the stuff you own.
As a medium of exchange, BTC is not good. There are significant transaction fees and transaction waiting times built-in to BTC and these worsen the more popular BTC get.
You can test BTC's usefulness as a medium of exchange for yourself right now: try to order a pizza or to buy a random item with BTC. How many additional hurdles do you have to go through? How many fewer options do you have than if you used a regular currency? How much overhead (time, fees) is there?
2. Unit of Account. A unit of account is what you compare the value of objects against. We denominate BTC in terms of how many USD they're worth, so BTC is a unit of account presently. We can say it's because of lack of adoption, but really it's also because the market value of BTC is so volatile.
If I buy a $1000 table today or in 2017, it's roughly a $1000 table. We can't say that a 0.4BTC table was a 0.4BTC table in 2017. We'll expand on this in the next point:
3. Store of Value. When you create economic value, you don't want to be forced to use up the value you created right away.
For instance, if I fix your washing machine and you pay me in avocados, I'd be annoyed. I'd have to consume my payment before it becomes brown, squishy and disgusting. Avocado fruit is not good money because avocadoes loses value very fast.
On the other hand, well-run currencies like the USD, GBP, CAD, EUR, etc. all lose their value at a low and most importantly fairly predictible rate. Let's look at the chart of the USD against BTC
While the dollar loses value at a predictible rate, BTC is all over the place, which is bad.
One important use money is to write loan contracts. Loans are great. They let people spend now against their future potential earnings, so they can buy houses or start businesses without first saving up for a decade. Loans are good for the economy.
If you want to sign something that says "I owe you this much for that much time" then you need to be able to roughly predict the value of the debt in at the point in time where it's due.
Otherwise you'll have a hard time pricing the risk of the loan effectively. This means that you need to charge higher interests. The risk of making a loan in BTC needs to be priced into the interest of a BTC-denominated loan, which means much higher interest rates. High interests on loans are bad, because buying houses and starting businesses are good things.

BTC has a fixed supply, so these problems are built in

Some people think that going back to a standard where our money was denominated by a stock of gold (the Gold Standard) would solve economic problems. This is nonsense.
Having control over supply of your currency is a good thing, as long as it's well run.
See here
Remember that what is desirable is low variance in the value, not the value itself. When there are wild fluctuations in value, it's hard for money to do its job well.
Since the 1970s, the USD has been a fiat money with no intrinsic value. This means we control the supply of money.
Let's look at a classic poorly drawn econ101 graph
The market price for USD is where supply meets demand. The problem with a currency based on an item whose supply is fixed is that the price will necessarily fluctuate in response to changes in demand.
Imagine, if you will, that a pandemic strikes and that the demand for currency takes a sharp drop. The US imports less, people don't buy anything anymore, etc. If you can't print money, you get deflation, which is worsens everything. On the other hand, if you can make the money printers go brrrr you can stabilize the price
Having your currency be based on a fixed supply isn't just bad because in/deflation is hard to control.
It's also a national security risk...
The story of the guy who crashed gold prices in North Africa
In the 1200s, Mansa Munsa, the emperor of the Mali, was rich and a devout Muslim and wanted everyone to know it. So he embarked on a pilgrimage to make it rain all the way to Mecca.
He in fact made it rain so hard he increased the overall supply of gold and unintentionally crashed gold prices in Cairo by 20%, wreaking an economic havoc in North Africa that lasted a decade.
This story is fun, the larger point that having your inflation be at the mercy of foreign nations is an undesirable attribute in any currency. The US likes to call some countries currency manipulators, but this problem would be serious under a gold standard.

Currencies are based on trust

Since the USD is based on nothing except the US government's word, how can we trust USD not to be mismanaged?
The answer is that you can probably trust the fed until political stooges get put in place. Currently, the US's central bank managing the USD, the Federal Reserve (the Fed for friends & family), has administrative authority. The fed can say "no" to dumb requests from the president.
People who have no idea what the fed does like to chant "audit the fed", but the fed is already one of the best audited US federal entities. The transcripts of all their meetings are out in the open. As is their balance sheet, what they plan to do and why. If the US should audit anything it's the Department of Defense which operates without any accounting at all.
It's easy to see when a central bank will go rogue: it's when political yes-men are elected to the board.
For example, before printing themselves into hyperinflation, the Venezuelan president appointed a sociologist who publicly stated “Inflation does not exist in real life” and instead is a made up capitalist lie. Note what happened mere months after his gaining control over the Venezuelan currency
This is a key policy. One paper I really like, Sargent (1984) "The end of 4 big inflations" states:
The essential measures that ended hyperinflation in each of Germany,Austria, Hungary, and Poland were, first, the creation of an independentcentral bank that was legally committed to refuse the government'sdemand or additional unsecured credit and, second, a simultaneousalteration in the fiscal policy regime.
In english: *hyperinflation stops when the central bank can say "no" to the government."
The US Fed, like other well good central banks, is run by a bunch of nerds. When it prints money, even as aggressively as it has it does so for good reasons. You can see why they started printing on March 15th as the COVID lockdowns started:
The Federal Reserve is prepared to use its full range of tools to support the flow of credit to households and businesses and thereby promote its maximum employment and price stability goals.
In english: We're going to keep printing and lowering rates until jobs are back and inflation is under control. If we print until the sun is blotted out, we'll print in the shade.

BTC is not gold

Gold is a good asset for doomsday-preppers. If society crashes, gold will still have value.
How do we know that?
Gold has held value throughout multiple historic catastrophes over thousands of years. It had value before and after the Bronze Age Collapse, the Fall of the Western Roman Empire and Gengis Khan being Gengis Khan.
Even if you erased humanity and started over, the new humans would still find gold to be economically valuable. When Europeans d̶i̶s̶c̶o̶v̶e̶r̶e̶d̶ c̶o̶n̶q̶u̶e̶r̶e̶d̶ g̶e̶n̶o̶c̶i̶d̶e̶d̶ went to America, they found gold to be an important item over there too. This is about equivalent to finding humans on Alpha-Centauri and learning that they think gold is a good store of value as well.
Some people are puzzled at this: we don't even use gold for much! But it has great properties:
First, gold is hard to fake and impossible to manufacture. This makes it good to ascertain payment.
Second, gold doesnt react to oxygen, so it doesn't rust or tarnish. So it keeps value over time unlike most other materials.
Last, gold is pretty. This might sound frivolous, and you may not like it, but jewelry has actual value to humans.
It's no coincidence if you look at a list of the wealthiest families, a large number of them trade in luxury goods.
To paraphrase Veblen humans have a profound desire to signal social status, for the same reason peacocks have unwieldy tails. Gold is a great way to achieve that.
On the other hand, BTC lacks all these attributes. Its value is largely based on common perception of value. There are a few fundamental drivers of demand:
Apart from these, it's hard to argue that BTC will retain value throughout some sort of economic catastrophe.

BTC is really risky

One last statement from Michael Saylor I take offense to is this:
“We feel pretty confident that Bitcoin is less risky than holding cash, less risky than holding gold,” MicroStrategy CEO said in an interview
"BTC is less risky than holding cash or gold long term" is nonsense. We saw before that BTC is more volatile on face value, and that as long as the Fed isn't run by spider monkeys stacked in a trench coat, the inflation is likely to be within reasonable bounds.
But on top of this, BTC has Abrupt downside risks that normal currencies don't. Let's imagine a few:

Blockchain solutions are fundamentally inefficient

Blockchain was a genius idea. I still marvel at the initial white paper which is a great mix of economics and computer science.
That said, blockchain solutions make large tradeoffs in design because they assume almost no trust between parties. This leads to intentionally wasteful designs on a massive scale.
The main problem is that all transactions have to be validated by expensive computational operations and double checked by multiple parties. This means waste:
Many design problems can be mitigated by various improvements over BTC, but it remains that a simple database always works better than a blockchain if you can trust the parties to the transaction.
submitted by VodkaHaze to badeconomics [link] [comments]

Bitcoin Newcomers FAQ - Please read!

Welcome to the /Bitcoin Sticky FAQ

You've probably been hearing a lot about Bitcoin recently and are wondering what's the big deal? Most of your questions should be answered by the resources below but if you have additional questions feel free to ask them in the comments.
It all started with the release of the release of Satoshi Nakamoto's whitepaper however that will probably go over the head of most readers so we recommend the following videos for a good starting point for understanding how bitcoin works and a little about its long term potential:
Some other great resources include Lopp.net, the Princeton crypto series and James D'Angelo's Bitcoin 101 Blackboard series.
Some excellent writing on Bitcoin's value proposition and future can be found at the Satoshi Nakamoto Institute.
Some Bitcoin statistics can be found here and here. Developer resources can be found here. Peer-reviewed research papers can be found here.
Potential upcoming protocol improvements and scaling resources here and here.
The number of times Bitcoin was declared dead by the media can be found here (LOL!)

Key properties of Bitcoin

Where can I buy bitcoins?

Bitcoin.org and BuyBitcoinWorldwide.com are helpful sites for beginners. You can buy or sell any amount of bitcoin (even just a few dollars worth) and there are several easy methods to purchase bitcoin with cash, credit card or bank transfer. Some of the more popular resources are below, also check out the bitcoinity exchange resources for a larger list of options for purchases.
Here is a listing of local ATMs. If you would like your paycheck automatically converted to bitcoin use Bitwage.
Note: Bitcoins are valued at whatever market price people are willing to pay for them in balancing act of supply vs demand. Unlike traditional markets, bitcoin markets operate 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Preev is a useful site that that shows how much various denominations of bitcoin are worth in different currencies. Alternatively you can just Google "1 bitcoin in (your local currency)".

Securing your bitcoins

With bitcoin you can "Be your own bank" and personally secure your bitcoins OR you can use third party companies aka "Bitcoin banks" which will hold the bitcoins for you.
Note: For increased security, use Two Factor Authentication (2FA) everywhere it is offered, including email!
2FA requires a second confirmation code to access your account making it much harder for thieves to gain access. Google Authenticator and Authy are the two most popular 2FA services, download links are below. Make sure you create backups of your 2FA codes.
Google Auth Authy OTP Auth
Android Android N/A
iOS iOS iOS

Watch out for scams

As mentioned above, Bitcoin is decentralized, which by definition means there is no official website or Twitter handle or spokesperson or CEO. However, all money attracts thieves. This combination unfortunately results in scammers running official sounding names or pretending to be an authority on YouTube or social media. Many scammers throughout the years have claimed to be the inventor of Bitcoin. Websites like bitcoin(dot)com and the btc subreddit are active scams. Almost all altcoins (shitcoins) are marketed heavily with big promises but are really just designed to separate you from your bitcoin. So be careful: any resource, including all linked in this document, may in the future turn evil. Don't trust, verify. Also as they say in our community "Not your keys, not your coins".

Where can I spend bitcoins?

Check out spendabit or bitcoin directory for millions of merchant options. Also you can spend bitcoin anywhere visa is accepted with bitcoin debit cards such as the CashApp card. Some other useful site are listed below.
Store Product
Gyft Gift cards for hundreds of retailers including Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, Whole Foods, CVS, Lowes, Home Depot, iTunes, Best Buy, Sears, Kohls, eBay, GameStop, etc.
Spendabit, Overstock and The Bitcoin Directory Retail shopping with millions of results
ShakePay Generate one time use Visa cards in seconds
NewEgg and Dell For all your electronics needs
Bitwa.la, Coinbills, Piixpay, Bitbill.eu, Bylls, Coins.ph, Bitrefill, LivingRoomofSatoshi, Coinsfer, and more Bill payment
Menufy, Takeaway and Thuisbezorgd NL Takeout delivered to your door
Expedia, Cheapair, Destinia, Abitsky, SkyTours, the Travel category on Gyft and 9flats For when you need to get away
Cryptostorm, Mullvad, and PIA VPN services
Namecheap, Porkbun Domain name registration
Stampnik Discounted USPS Priority, Express, First-Class mail postage
Coinmap and AirBitz are helpful to find local businesses accepting bitcoins. A good resource for UK residents is at wheretospendbitcoins.co.uk.
There are also lots of charities which accept bitcoin donations.

Merchant Resources

There are several benefits to accepting bitcoin as a payment option if you are a merchant;
If you are interested in accepting bitcoin as a payment method, there are several options available;

Can I mine bitcoin?

Mining bitcoins can be a fun learning experience, but be aware that you will most likely operate at a loss. Newcomers are often advised to stay away from mining unless they are only interested in it as a hobby similar to folding at home. If you want to learn more about mining you can read more here. Still have mining questions? The crew at /BitcoinMining would be happy to help you out.
If you want to contribute to the bitcoin network by hosting the blockchain and propagating transactions you can run a full node using this setup guide. If you would prefer to keep it simple there are several good options. You can view the global node distribution here.

Earning bitcoins

Just like any other form of money, you can also earn bitcoins by being paid to do a job.
Site Description
WorkingForBitcoins, Bitwage, Cryptogrind, Coinality, Bitgigs, /Jobs4Bitcoins, BitforTip, Rein Project Freelancing
Lolli Earn bitcoin when you shop online!
OpenBazaar, Purse.io, Bitify, /Bitmarket, 21 Market Marketplaces
/GirlsGoneBitcoin NSFW Adult services
A-ads, Coinzilla.io Advertising
You can also earn bitcoins by participating as a market maker on JoinMarket by allowing users to perform CoinJoin transactions with your bitcoins for a small fee (requires you to already have some bitcoins.

Bitcoin-Related Projects

The following is a short list of ongoing projects that might be worth taking a look at if you are interested in current development in the bitcoin space.
Project Description
Lightning Network Second layer scaling
Blockstream, Rootstock and Drivechain Sidechains
Hivemind and Augur Prediction markets
Tierion and Factom Records & Titles on the blockchain
BitMarkets, DropZone, Beaver and Open Bazaar Decentralized markets
JoinMarket and Wasabi Wallet CoinJoin implementation
Coinffeine and Bisq Decentralized bitcoin exchanges
Keybase Identity & Reputation management
Abra Global P2P money transmitter network
Bitcore Open source Bitcoin javascript library

Bitcoin Units

One Bitcoin is quite large (hundreds of £/$/€) so people often deal in smaller units. The most common subunits are listed below:
Unit Symbol Value Info
bitcoin BTC 1 bitcoin one bitcoin is equal to 100 million satoshis
millibitcoin mBTC 1,000 per bitcoin used as default unit in recent Electrum wallet releases
bit bit 1,000,000 per bitcoin colloquial "slang" term for microbitcoin (μBTC)
satoshi sat 100,000,000 per bitcoin smallest unit in bitcoin, named after the inventor
For example, assuming an arbitrary exchange rate of $10000 for one Bitcoin, a $10 meal would equal:
For more information check out the Bitcoin units wiki.
Still have questions? Feel free to ask in the comments below or stick around for our weekly Mentor Monday thread. If you decide to post a question in /Bitcoin, please use the search bar to see if it has been answered before, and remember to follow the community rules outlined on the sidebar to receive a better response. The mods are busy helping manage our community so please do not message them unless you notice problems with the functionality of the subreddit.
Note: This is a community created FAQ. If you notice anything missing from the FAQ or that requires clarification you can edit it here and it will be included in the next revision pending approval.
Welcome to the Bitcoin community and the new decentralized economy!
submitted by BitcoinFan7 to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Your Choice To Make

TL;DR: Wakey wakey, give a crap about freedom, or accept the consequences.
Another Sunday afternoon, another news item about Monero being delisted from a centralized exchange, this time in Australia.
Last year it was OKEx and others.
Just a few days ago it was Coinspot.
It is sort of an open secret that Coinbase is not listing Monero due to external pressures. Today we're hit with news that Kraken will be ceasing Monero trading for AU residents.
And you will also recall that Japan and South Korea have made similar moves.
It's a near impossibility with me, especially when powered by caffeine, which is most definitely the case today, but I will try to make this brief, sweet and to the point.
These are not isolated incidents. There is an International Organization™ in particular orchestrating, behind the scenes, the policies and requirements that financial institutions (crypto exchanges have since joined that category for this purpose) must follow, or else.
Here is what bothers me about this.
Have you been consulted about this? Anyone you know?
Heard of it in the news?
Yeah, me neither.
You have to know where to look to find some information on what they would like to see happening (we'll get to that in a moment), and often you have to read PDFs with dozens of pages to find the good stuff too.
I will leave that as an exercise to the reader. Suffice to say, I have been digging a bit deeper myself, and what I found shocked me.
FATF wants nothing less than the complete elimination of anonymity and privacy in financial affairs, even going so far as to consider BANNING peer to peer transactions so that people are forced to interact with each other through exchanges, where data collection is more reliable and certain, effectively obliterating one of the major selling points of cryptocurrency (p2p-ness) with complete disregard for the millions of people who are already onboard with the vision.
No privacy and no anonymity, imagine that.
Many of you probably already use plastic cards for everything, day in day out, and don't think too much about this stuff.
But the fact that an international organization that you have little to zero democratic control over is planning to get rid of class of financial tools that 99.99999% of people don't even realize exists yet should give you pause for concern.
The tools I speak of are, of course, digital cash-like cryptocurrencies like Monero.
I would like you to PAUSE, daydream a bit, visualize and imagine, what a world without zero financial privacy/anonymity would look like.
Consider, this has certainly not been the case in human history, ever -- yes, even today.
Today most of you still have cash as a choice. But what happens when that goes out of the window, and the only options are CBDCs, CorporateCoins, and transparent cryptocurrency ?
Needless to say, both in the case of CorporateCoins and CBDCs, there will be little to none privacy/anonymity, and even if there was (in the case of CorporateCoin), the state would obviously bully its way into it and force them to do otherwise (without being asked to do so, of course).
So, imagine that world.
Every donation you make. Every $50 transfer to a friend or family member. Every item you buy. Every service you purchase. Every money you send to help a friend you.
All of it stored, forever, to be accessed later at will for whatever reasons.
Would you make the same choices, knowing that your entire financial life is entirely exposed to powerful organizations of which you likely know very little about and almost certainly can hardly ever influence at all?
Does that seem like a good recipe for a free society?

Consequences

The people at the top either don't care about the consequences of what they're imposing worldwide, or they don't understand.
Sounds highly concerning to me either way - It comes down to either bullying or ignorance.
Would you ever have truly heart-to-heart conversations if you knew your worst enemy was potentially watching and recording everything?
Could you make passionate love knowing hundreds of strangers are analyzing your every move?
Can you be spontaneous knowing you are being recorded?
What if you did not have a choice in those matters ?!
What if someone has already decided for you, your friends, your family, your neighbors, your country, that you are all potential criminals and the thing to do is to keep records on everyone, just in case ?
Newsflash: It already happened.
It's been happening for awhile, and it seems to be picking up pace; the technology that was going to liberate us, slowly enslaving us instead -- because the general public largely does not understand the issues at hand, while the elite certainly does, and boy oh boy, are they thrilled with the technological advancements that help them cement their power.
What do I mean by cement?
Imagine trying to kick-start civil rights in a place where every social map is known, everything a person is interested in is known, every transaction they make is known, every website they have visited is known, every time they step on the street, an AI-powered camera automatically identifies them and tracks their movement.
You would be unable to organize. To exchange value. To discuss behind curtains, so to speak.
You would not have any privacy, and you would not have any anonymity.
Could you be free under these circumstances?

Conclusion

It's been a long road towards more freedom, but nowdays it is disappearing fast. Stopping to consider the implications is a most pressing issue.
They want Monero(-like tools) GONE because Monero ACTUALLY would change the paradigm.
By the time they are done with their "recommendations" (which really mean: comply, or else...), mark my words, there will be a name behind every Bitcoin address in some centralized database, query-able by partners in deciding who can and cannot use the system.
Merchants will be forced to perform chain analysis and by law they will be compelled to reject/refund/report transactions coming from "anonymous clusters" (addresses that are not known to have an identity tied to them).
This is what the normalization of the lack of privacy has brought us.
The possibility was there, and they took it. Of course they did.
I repeat, it is no accident that it's not Dogecoin and Nano, Bitcoin or Litecoin being delisted.
The star of the show (for better or for worse) is Monero, and that is because it works.
It lets you transact anonymously and privately, like cash - why the hell should FATF know that you sent $500 to your mother last week? in fact, why the hell should they know your entire financial history?!
When cash goes (and we can be fairly certain that it will be gone; would already be gone if this sort of authoritarian mindset had its way), Monero or tools like Monero, will become the only way to make any transaction outside the eyes of the state.
It's not because you have anything (nefarious) to hide. It's not because you're a criminal.
Rather, it's because to accept anything else is to bow to tyranny.
It's your choice to make - are you meekly going to accept that in perhaps less than a decade there will be zero privacy and anonymity in financial matters, or are you going to fight back?
Will you organize, campaign, email, discuss, spread awareness?
Will you spend precious summer Sunday afternoons writing for strangers on the Internet trying to help a few more see the major shit-show we're headed into?
Or will you be a good boy and do what you're told?
Tomorrow, by the way - if left unchallenged - it won't just be financial privacy that disappears.
One of the most prominent examples in the introductory part of this post (Australia) has already made quite clear that they don't like the fact that people can hide things from them (encryption).
In other words, either they know about it (and archive it forever), or you better let them know. After all, a threat - any threat! - could be lurking somewhere in that encrypted data. And you have nothing to hide anyway, yes?
This is a cryptocurrency sub though so let's not steer too far from that. It is important to remember that ultimately the issue is the same though - totalitarian control over everyone's life; mass-surveillance, and the ability to rewind and see someone's entire life exposed for the benefit of the state.
Their actions are letting you know what really works and what really threatens the status quo. That is useful information.
If you care at all about the freedom and privacy of your future self, your friends and family, children present or future, I think you would do well to think long and hard about these issues.
Because the direction assumed by the most prominent regulators seems to be headed in a uniform direction - that is no surprise, seeing as how they meet with each other.
You have to ask yourself though, is this for your benefit, your safety?
Or is it to keep the statuo quo?
How would the world be different if human beings - regardless of color, nationality, age, sexual orientation, political beliefs- with an Internet connection could freely exchange value privately and anonymously (the way we can still communicate private and anonymously in most places today - though not so in authoritarian places like China, AND THAT IS NOT A COINCIDENCE)?
It would be instant, like an instant message. It would cost very little.
Well, I have news for you: It's already possible, and a growing number of people are realizing this.
This tool is called Monero. It exists today, and the cat is out of the bag. The technology will only get better, and more interesting tools may even come along later.
In fact, barring mass persecution of open-source developers, that is very likely what is going to happen, as ultrasmart people everywhere congregate in virtual spaces to discuss better ways to do stuff.
If we keep losing our right to be left alone until suspected of a crime, life will increasingly come to resemble what the regulator types are - consciously or unconsciously - creating: a Panopticon society.
If you don't speak up, then the decision has already been made - and you're probably going to live to regret being complicit in it.
Freedom or Tyranny. It's your choice to make.
p.s: Yes, totally failed at making this short. I guess it's just not my thing.
submitted by xmr_kayront to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Play Online Poker with Bitcoins

Play Online Poker with Bitcoins
Bitcoin (or BTC) is a decentralized virtual currency which is traded in the same way as currencies or bonds, except that for the storage of Bitcoins it is necessary to download an “electronic wallet”. According to Bitcoin there is no person, company or government that controls Bitcoin, so it requires users for its operation and the greater the demand, the greater its value. One of the main attractions of Bitcoin is its possible anonymity which allows the user to buy, pay and sell products and services without the intervention of any bank or financial institution.
Best Online Casinos to Play Bitcoin Poker of October 2020
In its beginnings, in 2008, Bitcoin did not obtain great popularity, but little by little it began to be adopted by more users and companies. It was in 2011 that the newspapers began to read about Bitcoin, since then companies of great international impact have begun to open their doors to transactions with Bitcoin, some of these companies are: Dell, Overstock and Microsoft.
The increasing adoption of Bitcoin by multinational companies spurred a reaction from government entities, with each country taking very different actions. In August 2013, the German Finance Minister declared Bitcoin as a "unit of account" which can be used for private transactions, which allowed Germany to control this virtual currency. In December 2013, the Chinese government prohibited banks and financial institutions from transacting with Bitcoins due to security and transparency issues. This government action caused a considerable drop in the value of Bitcoin since users in this country could not change their Bitcoins to the local currency. The United Kingdom and the European Union have also recognized Bitcoin as a type of currency and every day this cryptocurrency is accepted by more countries. However, each specific case must be analyzed, for example: in the case of the United States; Bitcoin is not considered a digital currency but rather a taxable product.
Buying Bitcoins for the first time can seem a lot more difficult than it actually is. There are many methods to acquire Bitcoins, the most practical is to acquire them directly from an exchange house or Bitcoins exchange houses. Their names denote their difference, in exchange houses you will go to a provider who will sell you Bitcoins for your local currency, while in exchange houses you interact with other users to exchange Bitcoins for real money. Bitcoins transactions can last from 10 minutes to several hours and are made through a Bitcoin address (similar to mail methods, only the address in this case is a series of numbers and characters), once you receive the transfer you must move your Bitcoins to your electronic wallet before you can use them.
In short, that's how easy it is to use Bitcoins:
· Bitcoin is a virtual currency that is stored in an electronic wallet.
· The value of Bitcoin is decentralized so it fluctuates depending on its demand.
· You can make a Bitcoins transfer in seconds and its verification takes about an hour.
· Once a Bitcoins transfer has been made, it cannot be reversed
· For the most part, Bitcoins transactions are not subject to fees or commissions.
For more detailed information, you can consult the Wikipedia site on Bitcoin here
Sites to play online poker with Bitcoins
Online poker sites have become more popular every day and since the use of Bitcoin is anonymous, decentralized and more or less instant transfers, online casinos have recognized in this cryptocurrency an excellent potential to attract new customers.
The way Bitcoins are used to gamble online divides casinos into two categories: exclusive Bitcoin poker sites and online casinos that accept Bitcoin. So, what is the distinguish between using an online casino that accepts Bitcoins and using a Bitcoin casino to play poker?

https://preview.redd.it/wo0is3x12wu51.png?width=621&format=png&auto=webp&s=b733c7964f58ba0441de2f060fed7aaf1dbfe4ed
Differences between Bitcoin poker and poker sites that accept Bitcoins
There are several differences between using an online casino that accepts Bitcoins and a Bitcoincasino, here are the most important ones:
The great differentiation between these types of online casinos will be the total offer of payment methods to enter or withdraw funds from your casino account, Bitcoin casinos do not accept other payment methods other than Bitcoin transfer, while traditional online casinos They will offer you other payment options such as a bank account or PayPal.
The expenses for using exclusive Bitcoins casinos are minimal and normally there are no fees for withdrawal of funds, contrary to the case of online casinos that accept Bitcoins as one of their payment methods since they most likely will charge you some commission.
Another great advantage of choosing Bitcoin casinos over online casinos is anonymity since you will not need to link your email or personal data to create an account. In addition to the convenience that this anonymity provides, it also streamlines the transfer process in relation to online casinos that require documentation. You should consider that this anonymity also makes Bitcoin casinos vulnerable to security problems with other users.
The game offer does not vary much between a Bitcoin casino and a traditional online casino, the most popular are: poker, roulette, slots and dice. Some small Bitcoin casinos do not turn to typical gaming providers like Playtech and Bets off as they tend to look for smaller providers that you may not have seen before.
Some of the most relevant Bitcoin casinos are: PokerStars, SWC Poker, Bitcoin Casino and Bit casino.
Pros of using Bitcoins when playing online poker
Transfer money to and from your online casino account
The requirements are basically the same as those of any traditional form of payment, of course you must have the electronic wallet software to use Bitcoins, but remember that withdrawals with this cryptocurrency they are usually much faster.
User anonymity
This advantage applies or not depending on the online casino you use, if when you sign up they only ask for information about your Bitcoin account then you will enjoy complete anonymity, however if you need to fill in personal or banking information to register at the casino then this benefit will not apply on that platform.
American users can use Bitcoin
Since Bitcoin is not recognized in the United States as a currency, it can be used as a means to enter and withdraw funds from an online casino account, remember that in the United States the laws vary a lot from one state to another so if you are an American user make sure you know the laws of your state in relation to online gambling before registering on a platform.
The double bet with Bitcoin
Many players opt for Bitcoin to place their bets since there is the possibility of winning some money depending on the exchange rate of Bitcoin when it comes to changing it to their local currency. This is why when used as a payment method for an online casino account, it is considered a double bet.
Best Rake backs
It is normal for Bitcoin casinos to offer better rake backs to their users since their expenses when using Bitcoin as the only payment method are lower, however this applies only to exclusive Bitcoin online casinos.
Cons of using Bitcoins when playing online poker
Where there are advantages, there are also disadvantages, here are the main cons you should consider when betting with Bitcoins.
Bitcoin-exclusive online casinos are sites without regulation or oversight
In the absence of a regulatory entity, it is hard to believe the promise of these casinos to use random platforms and take care of your funds. You must be much more careful when choosing an exclusive Bitcoins casino than a traditional online casino, the reputation and opinion of other players will be very important when choosing a Bitcoin Casino.
Another factor that you should take into account is that the lack of regulation of gambling with Bitcoin does not mean that you are exempt from following the gambling regulations of the place where you live, especially in the case of the United States, where the government has previously intervened in activities of bets regardless of the means of deposit or withdrawal of funds from the companies.
The fluctuating value of Bitcoin
The value of Bitcoin can vary both upward and downward. Its value can change in a matter of hours, and the behavior of its value is not so similar to that of currencies such as euros, dollars, pounds or pesos, but is more similar to the behavior of products such as oil, gold or wheat,
Relative anonymity of Bitcoin
While it is possible to register to exclusive Bitcoin poker sites without giving personal information, the use of Bitcoins can be traced through the blockchains to a personal account.
Lack of support from financial institutions
Being a decentralized currency, Bitcoin is not backed by financial institutions or government, which gives you less support as a user. If there were to be a problem with the Bitcoins system, there would be no government intervention as would happen in the case of a bank. Of course, you should consider that it is thanks to this lack of intervention that transfers with Bitcoins do not charge fees or commissions.
Being a virtual currency it is susceptible to cyberattacks.
While the programming behind the Bitcoins System is sophisticated, so are the hackers' systems. In 2013, the UK Crime Agency reported that several users of this cryptocurrency had been victims of cyber extortion, after receiving an email their computer was infected with a virus and later they were sued for some bitcoins to repair the virus on their computers. Unfortunately there are more cases like this, in Europe a payment provider lost more than a million dollars after a cyberattack.
All transactions are final
Remembering that there is no intervention by financial institutions, it becomes evident that it will be difficult to file a dispute in the event of a transfer error, so you will have to be much more careful.
conclusion
Playing poker online is a game of both chance and strategy. For some bettors it is exceptionally alluring to utilize Bitcoins since they have the chance of expanding their benefits as indicated by the Bitcoin swapping scale.
For many, traditional online casinos play poker with bitcoin will continue to be the best option due to the reliability and regulation of their transactions.
What cannot be denied is that the use of Bitcoins grows day by day and in the world of online poker as in any cyber activity you must consider the most innovative and practical solutions that there is for you.
submitted by emani19 to u/emani19 [link] [comments]

My collection of amazing early Bitcoin comments, right here from Reddit:

On buying (or not) a gaming rig to mine Bitcoin:
With the difficulty skyrocketing and exchange rates sitting stagnant at $5~8 for the last week or so, you pretty much missed the boat to buy dedicated mining hardware, IMHO. If you already have the hardware, or are looking for an excuse to buy a couple bitchin' new graphics cards for a gaming rig, there's definitely money to be made mining when you're not using it.
But I don't think I'd drop $1k into a rig that's only to mine with unless it was $1k I'd blow on something even more retarded. I certainly wouldn't sink next month's rent into it.
https://reddit.com/AskReddit/comments/hnp7f/_/c1wuv1b/?context=1
On easily cashing out Bitcoin using mtgox:
I think getting money is not that difficult. The daily volume on mtgox is over $100K, so I think anyone can currently sell Bitcoins for USD without problems.
https://reddit.com/AskReddit/comments/hnp7f/_/c1wuhjh/?context=1
On it being $10:
Is Bitcoin 10 usd yet?
https://reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/hpq6c/is_bitcoin_10_usd_yet/
Bonus: Snapshot of the isbitcoin10usdyet website from 2011: https://web.archive.org/web/20110606125320/http://www.isbitcoin10usdyet.com/
Mtgox might disappear:
400K bitcoins is $4M dollars. Given all risks and uncertainties around bitcoins, no wonder some of the early founders exit their investments. Tomorrow mtgox or dwolla may disappear. It is the matter of one government intervention.
https://reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/hq1wj/_/c1xgesq/?context=1
Bitcoin is terrible at friendly front-end:
This is a dangerous point-of-view. The entire bitcoin ecosystem is ugly, confusing, and deeply unusable. Really think about the questions posed in the article. The client works, as in, it creates a functional front-end for some bitcoin-related tasks, but it isn't at all designed for how humans would want to interact with the currency. The point of the article isn't that the client is hard, it's that the client works pretty well for obsessive nerds (present company included), but if bitcoin is really going to succeed at the goals it sets out to accomplish, it needs to not only be usable by normal people, it needs to be exceptional. If you think it's reasonably usable, you're welcome to that opinion, but please understand that you're the exact sort of person Mr. Falkvinge was referring to. Great with complex logic, terrible at friendly front-end.
https://reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/hrqpm/_/c1xtfuy/?context=1
On wallets going out of sync:
One thing that I think is lacking is the ability to functionally use wallets on different machines as they will tend to get out of sync. This might be able to be overcome if new addresses were deterministically created from a seed contained in the wallet, but there are probably better ways.
Also, the UI for the official client is kind of a bone.
https://reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/hrqpm/_/c1y730k/?context=1
On Bitcoin’s ease of use:
In fact, BTC is in such an infant state right now only enthusiasts investors, and geeks who can actually grasp how the system truly works, are using it for real.
The usability issues raised by the article are real. No grandma, or any well respected enterprise for that matter, would accept working with this type of GUI. If anything, a REAL enterprise backend still needs to be developed to handle the BTC's ungly guts, with all transactions details, hashes, mining, wallets, proxy connections, peer discovery via IRC channels... I mean... this is all too RAW for the end user. I can see a near future where startups will begin to offer user friendly GUIs, online access, maybe even online banking for your bitcoin accounts, automated backups and safety mechanisms to protect your coins in case of theft.
All of us geeks will end up supporting the bootstrap of this network so that, later on, your grandma will be able to use this just as she would use a credit card today.
https://reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/hrqpm/_/c1xungz/?context=1
rBitcoin is not a sub for memes:
This isnt a subreddit for memes. Take it back to pics
https://reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/i7z0v/_/c21m3ld/?context=1
I think I’ll keep my money elsewhere:
This further reinforces BC's image as nothing more than a Ponzi scheme. When the distribution is skewed that heavily towards early adopters, they will have almost total control over the market. Those 32 could manipulate to their hearts content. I think I'll keep my money elsewhere....
https://reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/ifl26/_/c23e3ei/?context=1
Tulip mania:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_mania
https://www.reddit.com/AskReddit/comments/hnp7f/i_just_invested_half_of_my_next_months_rent_in/c1wuhkt/
submitted by wisequote to btc [link] [comments]

From Conspiracy to Fact: An analysis of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Information Control, and the New World Order (Appendix includes hundreds of citations) - PART 1

UPDATE: This article is now available as a printable PDF with embedded hyperlinks for navigation through sources. This link will be valid thru July 9: https://ufile.io/4mpkg4x6

PLEASE NOTE: This article may be updated periodically with new information and links as they become available. All referenced information and a whole lot more is indexed and linked in the related appendix posts. Please feel free to crosspost, share, and take from my ideas to build your own. Namaste.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Appendix A | Appendix B

Hello. My name is Chris. I am nobody, really. An average citizen. I am an overweight 42 year old white male from the Midwestern suburbs of the US who has been fortunate enough to live a pretty comfortable life. I used to be a freelance graphic designer with a focus on small businesses, but I'm coming to terms with the fact that that career and part of my life is more than likely over in light of current events. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.
I've always been concerned about social injustice and tried to stay politically informed, even dabbling in some activism here and there. At times I've stepped away from paying attention for my own mental health, or due to laziness, defeatism, whatever. But I've never stopped caring, or trying, to fight the good fight and do the right thing.
The news recently has of course swept us all up, and touched all our lives in some way or another. The world has never seen anything like the "Coronavirus Pandemic," and it's clear that our society will be changed forever when we finally come out the other end of this mess. But I've had the luxury of time recently, and in reading the news about things that were going on, I couldn't help but notice the patterns, and that a lot of stuff didn't exactly make sense.
So, here we go, with the "conspiracy theory."
I hate that term, because although it's technically accurate, it's been demonized and weaponized by the media and society at large to take on a bad connotation. Tinfoil hats, alien abductions, crazy people muttering to themselves, etc. You've no doubt got a lot of images in your mind of a conspiracy theorist.
And make no mistake, what I'm going to tell you here is all currently very popular conspiracy theory. However, I think that by removing opinions and conjecture from it, and focusing on facts and things that have already happened, I can present this huge amount of overwhelming, disparate information in a way that makes it less a "theory" and more a "research project." And so that is how I have approached this.
I have spent the last week doing little else besides reading every news and opinion article I could find, saving and organizing hundreds of links, and assembling a coherent, logical outline to organize and present these theories, and more importantly, facts. There are a lot of less-than-reputable sites and publications out there, and I have tried when at all possible to provide sources from verifiable news sites, with a wide range of slants and focuses, to illustrate that what is happening is not part of any one particular political agenda.
I hope that you take the time to check the links, really look into the information presented here, and form your own opinions. Please do not just take my word for it. To that end, there are also a few links mixed in that are labeled as having come from conspiracy. These are well-written and well-reasoned posts from other concerned citizens that I think are worth reading, and relevant to the discussion here.
One last thing - If you are new to most of these ideas, the information presented here is more than likely going to seem overwhelming at first. I encourage you now, and always, to take mental health breaks for yourself, and put down your phone or turn off your computer. The information will be here when you come back. And as you'll soon understand, what is happening is an unstoppable tide, truly a force of nature at this point, and there is nothing you can do to fight it, so try your hardest to relax, put on some chill music, hug your dog, and most of all...
BREATHE.
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If you start researching conspiracy theory, you're going to find a lot of information. Some much better or worse presented than others, and some much more plausible or unbelievable than others. Despite the seeming ridiculousness of some things you might read, I encourage you to always approach new information with an open mind.
That said though, I have one main principle that guides all my beliefs about conspiracy theories, and that is the "Filter of Likelihood." Essentially, you have to ask yourself how possible, how likely, and how feasible a piece of information is. Furthermore, you need to ask yourself what the motivation would be. In many cases, it's quite easy to see how something makes a lot of sense based on other known info, whereas some theories seem rather implausible no matter how you look at it.
I am interested only in the plausible, and where possible, the already actualized. Additionally, there's a lot to be said, and a lot that has already been written on many of these topics, so I will focus on current events and simple concepts.
I will also ask you to open your mind to possibility. Please consider this as you evaluate new information:
  1. Do you believe there are things going on in the world that you don't know about yet?
  2. Do you believe that there is technology and science you've never heard of?
  3. Do you believe that society is progressing at an increasing rate?
  4. Do you believe that as populations grow, we require new societal strategies?
  5. Do you believe that those with power and money want to retain their power and money?
Of course you believe all these things, and none of these are wild or unusual concepts. Rather, these are very basic concepts that apply to everyone, and always have. They are all part of our shared human experience, and undeniable facts of life. Populations grow, societies evolve, technology advances, and the world changes. And most important to our discussion here, people, families, and empires constantly jockey for power and control, while fighting for resources, power, fame, and...
MONEY.
We all hate TicketMaster, right? Who do they think they are, what the hell is this bullshit "service fee," etc. It's something everyone can get behind. But did you know that TicketMaster willingly cultivates that image? That venues, teams, and artists, in their pursuit of more money, raise fees and then let TicketMaster be the bad guy and take the heat so their reputations remain intact?
There are many more people, organizations, and other entities in the world playing that same role for those who really have the money, who really call the shots. And those who call the shots work very hard and spend absolutely unfathomable amounts of money, time, and blood, to make sure that you don't ever realize who's actually taking your money.
They do this in the simplest, easiest way. If you simply control information from the top down, and disseminate it when and where you see fit, you can effect great societal change without lifting a finger.
Please imagine... really, try to imagine... You just read an article, saw a video, whatever, from a very, very reputable source. And it just informed you that an asteroid was 83% likely to impact the Earth next month. What would you do? What would happen in the world?
Hopefully an asteroid will not hit next month, but it's important to really imagine what would happen and why, and how. Because a huge amount of information would be generated and published, people would panic, society would crumble, and the world as you know it would change forever in an instant, the moment you read that headline.
Control of information is one of the most powerful tools known to mankind today. A person living in 2020 can easily encounter as much information in a day as someone in Medieval times might have encountered in a lifetime. And it comes at you from all angles, in all forms, non-stop, 24/7. Much like the water in the pipe, the information is always there, and one needs but turn it on.
Disseminating the information then becomes a practice all its own, and to be sure, information processing accounts for more than half of the US GDP. And the rate at which it's spread, and way it is handled makes a huge difference in the societal repercussions. So a few different techniques are used:
It might be the greatest understatement of all time to say that there has been a lot of information passed around about COVID-19, the "Coronavirus," recently. In fact, there has never been anything like what we are currently experiencing in all of human history, and not by a long shot. And this unprecedented turn of events has caused a lot of people to react in a lot of ways, and say and do a lot of things, for better or for worse.
Full disclosure: In particular, if you look up conspiracy theory, you'll see a lot of stuff suggesting that the "Coronavirus is a hoax." (You'll also find a lot of poorly-written rambling) I want to be clear that I DO NOT believe that. I am 100% sure that there is a Coronavirus, that it is making people sick, that a lot of people are dying, and that our medical professionals and many other undervalued workers are overwhelmed, and breaking their backs every day to do their best to keep their friends, families, and loved ones safe. I am extraordinarily grateful for them and admire the resolve and bravery that so many have shown in the face of this disaster. I do not think it is a hoax at all.
However, I think that literally everything else that is happening surrounding the "pandemic" is.
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The Pandemic
In the first week of January this year, I got sick. Really sick. I know when I got it and who I got it from, and honestly the exact moment I got it (I only was in proximity of the dude for a few minutes). He had warned me that he was really sick, and I blew it off. I started feeling sick a day or two later, and a day or two after that I felt like I was dying. Fever, chills, aches, extraordinary fatigue. And literal, nonstop, 24/7 coughing. I had every single symptom of what we now know as COVID-19. I commented to anyone who would listen that I didn't recall ever feeling that sick before in my entire life. The most memorable part of it though was that after a couple days, I completely lost my sense of smell and taste. Joked a lot about how you could feed me onions and soap cause I'd have no idea. I try to have a good attitude about being sick.
I spent a week sleeping on the couch before I finally went to the doctor. She gave me a Prednisolone steroid pack (which has worked well for me in the past), some Trazodone to knock me out, and Benzonatotate for my cough. As soon as I took the first dose of steroids I started to feel pretty fucking great, and it was more or less a non-issue after that.
I spoke to a lot of people about it then and after, and man, I can't tell you how many stories I personally heard from people I know that said the exact same thing. Then I started reading the same story over and over again on Reddit:
We didn't start really hearing about the Coronavirus in the media until the beginning of March, and we didn't hear about the "Pandemic" until just a couple weeks ago. And what a couple weeks it's been since then. But I am quite certain that it's been around for a lot longer and that I, and a lot of other people I know, had it - and DID NOT DIE FROM IT - way back in January.
We now know that the first documented case in the US was on January 19th, but that word "documented" is so, so important here. That means that we had identified the virus, developed a test, and tested a person with the symptoms that day. It does NOT mean that was when the virus reached the United States. How sick do you have to be before you take a day off work? Before you go to the doctor? With America's healthcare system or lack thereof, it's almost certain that many people had this virus before we determined what it was, and how infectious it really was.
There is also the matter of the statistics of severity vs the regular flu. This is a highly contentious topic and I am no medical expert, and do not wish to make any assertions. However, what I can tell you from my personal experience is this: I had a horrible "flu" in January, got basic medicine, got better. So, either I had the flu, or perhaps I did indeed have the Coronavirus.
We will never know because I was never tested. But the important thing is that it doesn't matter. Either I (and many others) had the Coronavirus and it did not kill us (calling into question the severity of the infection) or we just had a bad cold or flu, but it had the exact same symptoms as COVID-19 (calling into question the extent of Coronavirus diagnoses). But logically, one of those two statements is true.
Furthermore, the data keeps changing, and I don't mean increasing on a daily basis. I mean up and down, back and forth, it is deadly or maybe it isn't, etc. On January 14 the WHO told you it couldn't spread from human to human. But then on Jan 19 we saw the first case of Coronavirus in the United States. Then it turns out that the Wuhan market outbreak began earlier in December. And then it's an "epidemic," but most people will only get mild symptoms. What are you supposed to believe? And it sure does seem to come at you as a firehose, and it's hard to even think about anything because OHMYGODTHECORONAVIRUS!
But let's stop and look a couple basic facts. As a matter of fact, I'm going to let Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi explain this one to you. This is a very informative 10 minute video, watch it:
Sucharit Bhakdi - Very clear math showing that the COVID statistics are being manipulated
So 80% of people only experience mild symptoms, and we're crashing the economy for this? The statistics aren't any more extreme than many other illnesses we've had over time, and we're crashing the economy for this? It doesn't make sense until you consider that there are other factors besides just the virus at play.
Wolfgang Wodard - Explaining how the statistics are being manipulated to cause panic
The media, and society at large is inundating you with terrifying information about the Coronavirus. But if it's not as bad as we originally thought, then why? We don't freak out about every illness that comes along, and we've certainly never in the history of civilization had over 1/3 of the global population locked down under mandatory quarantine.
And then there's the debate about where the virus came from. We believe it came from a meat market in China, under unsanitary conditions. The science behind a coronavirus making the leap from one species to another is well-established and researched, and it is a very likely scenario. There are also conspiracy theories that state that China released it on its people intentionally, or even that the US military released it in China. Again, we will never know exactly where this Coronavirus came from. It may be natural, it may be man made, and there are very plausible paths for both. I don't know what to believe myself. So here I ask you to make your own judgement based on likelihood.
What we do know though is that the state of the world this virus has been unleashed on has played a major factor in its spread. In 1950 the global population was 2.5 billion, and that has exploded to almost 8 billion people in 2020. As a matter of fact, population growth has been exponential since about the time of the Industrial Revolution.
With all these people on the planet there are sure to be many disagreements and conflicts, and there indeed have been. As a matter of fact, 2019 saw global protests on an unprecedented scale, in Hong Kong, France, Syria, and many other countries. Citizens have literally been fighting police and military with rocks, clubs, arrows, and molotov cocktails.
Did you know that? Despite my seeing headlines and pictures every day of the riots in Hong Kong, I have been shocked to learn that multiple of my close friends, intelligent and aware people, had no knowledge whatsoever of the protests even existing. But that is far from a coincidence; rather, it is quite by design.
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Billionaires and Coincidences
Another major talking point over the last 5 to 10 years has been the "1%" - the handful of super-rich individuals who posess and control the vast majority of the Earth's wealth and resources. Where it used to just be a numerical term, "Billionaire" is now a dirty word, and one of the nastiest. We all hate billionaires. They are evil, and profit off the exploitation of the rest of the world.
The "Illuminati" we call them, in pursuit of a "New World Order." Crazy stuff, right? Mysterious symbols and people in black robes doing nefarious things in secret meetings, and running the world from behind the scenes. We love the Illuminati, it's a huge pop culture thing now. The subject of endless speculation, they are made fun of in the media, movies, and now Taco Bell commercials. It's so far fetched it could never really be true. And the fact that you think that is by design as well.
So, we don't know where the Coronavirus came from, but it's certainly here, and there are lot of other things unfolding in the world around it. Many different current events from all different places and fields of study. Some of it seems a little too coincidental. It is certainly very coincidental that this economically destructive Coronavirus entered the world right as there were global uprisings, protests in the street, and a growing public hatred for billionaires.
Well, here are a few other coincidences: Hundreds of CEOs of major companies stepped down from their positions in recent months. Multiple US Senators sold stock right before the market crashed. Even the boss of the New York Stock Exchange sold his own stock right before the crash. Did they know something they weren't telling us?
Here's another coincidence. In 2010, The Rockefeller Foundation published a selection of future-predicting scenarios in the name of "exploring the ways that technology and development could co-evolve." One of these four scenarios, entitled "Lock Step," eerily predicts a global viral pandemic and the resulting hypothetical consequences, which almost exactly mirrors the COVID-19 pandemic we are in the midst of today.
Also coincidental: The first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in China on November 17th, 2019. Literally one month earlier, The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation hosted Event 201, a high-level pandemic exercise on October 18, 2019, in New York, NY. In this exercise, they discuss the potential implications and consequences of a novel Coronavirus, including an economic crash, martial law, and of particular interest, the control of information. (You can view some published highlights here)
The World Economic Forum is comprised of the richest of the rich. The 1%. The Billionaires. CEO's, politicians, business owners, and many other powerful and influential figures. They meet regularly to discuss topics of global concern, and strongly control the dissemination of information. And of primary concern to many of them is maintaining their wealth and power in a rapidly-changing world.
And finally, here's one more coincidence: At the exact same time as the Event 201 exercise, The World Military Games was held in Wuhan, China, Oct 18-27, 2019. It was the largest military sports event ever to be held in China, with nearly 10,000 athletes from over 100 countries competing in 27 sports. Wuhan China was, as we now believe, the source of our current global COVID-19 outbreak.
Whether you think it is a "conspiracy" or not, that is all certainly coincidental, to say the least.
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"Why didn't I hear about any of this?"
That's an excellent question, and one that likely has multiple answers. For starters, how much do you really pay attention? Where do you get your news from? Do you research things you hear or just accept them on hearsay? Critical thinking skills are paramount in making sense of the chaos unfolding all around us.
As I mentioned before, I can tell you that I personally know multiple people who had no clue whatsoever about the riots in Hong Kong last year. As you read this, you may be one of them. And it may seem like something that is happening far away, and "could never happen here." Or you may have been aware of it but just that it was happening. But please, consider for a moment: millions of average citizens risked their lives and safety in the streets of Hong Kong for months on end, fighting police and military, and transforming the city they lived in into a warzone. WHY? Why would people do something like that? Regardless of their motivations, that many people were banding together to fight for something they believed in. And that is worth considering.
It's not really your fault though that you may not catch wind of all this news. The "mainstream media" that you hear about all the time deliberately controls information - downplaying threats and overreacting to silly things - in order to make sure that you hear the version of the news that they want you to hear.
Did you know that only 6 corporations control 90% of the media In America? That number is reduced from 50 companies in the 80's. And literally all the news you see on TV, at the very least, is 100% owned and controlled by these companies. Lately, distrust is growing for cable news networks, and many people turn to their local hometown station for trusted news. The problem with that though is that your hometown station is probably owned by Sinclair Media, one of the most powerful broadcast networks in the country that you've never heard of.
Please watch this very brief video, illustrating the chokehold that Sinclair Media maintains over your nightly local news broadcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWLjYJ4BzvI
Of course, not every piece of news is pre-programmed but a lot is. The real news is out there, but sometimes you have to look a little deeper than the infographics on TV news. Even if information is being directed from the top down, the boots on the ground tend to be passionate people with a variety of interests and agendas, and they are still doing their best to do real journalism despite corporate oversight.
Think of those who are directing the information as steering an impossibly massive ship with a rudder. You can slowly adjust the course of direction, however it is slow to react. If you want to stop, you have to start thinking about stopping wayyy ahead of time. And similarly, once it gets underway, it is then influenced by an inertia all its own. Micro controls and adjustments aren't really possible.
Our society is this giant ship. There are 8 billion people on this earth - that is 8000 million. An incomprehensible number that grows rapidly every day. As civilization grows and advances, so does our medicine, our technology, our cultural norms. These are all natural processes that are necessary to manage an increasing number of societies all around the globe. And many of the advances we're making have exciting potential benefits for humanity, although as with all tools, they also inherently possess the potential for abuse.
Here are some other things happening in society right now, some you may be aware of and many you may not:
There is an interesting chicken or egg relationship between science fiction and real world science. Sci-fi writers are inspired by the real science of the day, then they apply their creativity to imagine what might be in the future. Young scientists encounter these fantastical ideas and think they are worth pursuing, and then set about to make them a reality, and the cycle continues.
Futuristic concepts are then preempted and introduced through the media to the conscious mind, as we include them in books, movies, TV, video games, and more. Eventually we start seeing headlines of these new technologies and developments happening in other places, usually Japan and China first due to their prevalence in the industrial and technological sectors of our global economy.
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Continue to Part 2

submitted by SquarePeg37 to conspiracy [link] [comments]

How To End The Cryptocurrency Exchange "Wild West" Without Crippling Innovation


In case you haven't noticed the consultation paper, staff notice, and report on Quadriga, regulators are now clamping down on Canadian cryptocurrency exchanges. The OSC and other regulatory bodies are still interested in industry feedback. They have not put forward any official regulation yet. Below are some ideas/insights and a proposed framework.



Many of you have limited time to read the full proposal, so here are the highlights:

Offline Multi-Signature

Effective standards to prevent both internal and external theft. Exchange operators are trained and certified, and have a legal responsibility to users.

Regular Transparent Audits

Provides visibility to Canadians that their funds are fully backed on the exchange, while protecting privacy and sensitive platform information.

Insurance Requirements

Establishment of basic insurance standards/strategy, to expand over time. Removing risk to exchange users of any hot wallet theft.


Background and Justifications


Cold Storage Custody/Management
After reviewing close to 100 cases, all thefts tend to break down into more or less the same set of problems:
• Funds stored online or in a smart contract,
• Access controlled by one person or one system,
• 51% attacks (rare),
• Funds sent to the wrong address (also rare), or
• Some combination of the above.
For the first two cases, practical solutions exist and are widely implemented on exchanges already. Offline multi-signature solutions are already industry standard. No cases studied found an external theft or exit scam involving an offline multi-signature wallet implementation. Security can be further improved through minimum numbers of signatories, background checks, providing autonomy and legal protections to each signatory, establishing best practices, and a training/certification program.
The last two transaction risks occur more rarely, and have never resulted in a loss affecting the actual users of the exchange. In all cases to date where operators made the mistake, they've been fully covered by the exchange platforms.
• 51% attacks generally only occur on blockchains with less security. The most prominent cases have been Bitcoin Gold and Ethereum Classic. The simple solution is to enforce deposit limits and block delays such that a 51% attack is not cost-effective.
• The risk of transactions to incorrect addresses can be eliminated by a simple test transaction policy on large transactions. By sending a small amount of funds prior to any large withdrawals/transfers as a standard practice, the accuracy of the wallet address can be validated.
The proposal covers all loss cases and goes beyond, while avoiding significant additional costs, risks, and limitations which may be associated with other frameworks like SOC II.

On The Subject of Third Party Custodians
Many Canadian platforms are currently experimenting with third party custody. From the standpoint of the exchange operator, they can liberate themselves from some responsibility of custody, passing that off to someone else. For regulators, it puts crypto in similar categorization to oil, gold, and other commodities, with some common standards. Platform users would likely feel greater confidence if the custodian was a brand they recognized. If the custodian was knowledgeable and had a decent team that employed multi-sig, they could keep assets safe from internal theft. With the right protections in place, this could be a great solution for many exchanges, particularly those that lack the relevant experience or human resources for their own custody systems.
However, this system is vulnerable to anyone able to impersonate the exchange operators. You may have a situation where different employees who don't know each other that well are interacting between different companies (both the custodian and all their customers which presumably isn't just one exchange). A case study of what can go wrong in this type of environment might be Bitpay, where the CEO was tricked out of 5000 bitcoins over 3 separate payments by a series of emails sent legitimately from a breached computer of another company CEO. It's also still vulnerable to the platform being compromised, as in the really large $70M Bitfinex hack, where the third party Bitgo held one key in a multi-sig wallet. The hacker simply authorized the withdrawal using the same credentials as Bitfinex (requesting Bitgo to sign multiple withdrawal transactions). This succeeded even with the use of multi-sig and two heavily security-focused companies, due to the lack of human oversight (basically, hot wallet). Of course, you can learn from these cases and improve the security, but so can hackers improve their deception and at the end of the day, both of these would have been stopped by the much simpler solution of a qualified team who knew each other and employed multi-sig with properly protected keys. It's pretty hard to beat a human being who knows the business and the typical customer behaviour (or even knows their customers personally) at spotting fraud, and the proposed multi-sig means any hacker has to get through the scrutiny of 3 (or more) separate people, all of whom would have proper training including historical case studies.
There are strong arguments both for and against using use of third party custodians. The proposal sets mandatory minimum custody standards would apply regardless if the cold wallet signatories are exchange operators, independent custodians, or a mix of both.

On The Subject Of Insurance
ShakePay has taken the first steps into this new realm (congratulations). There is no question that crypto users could be better protected by the right insurance policies, and it certainly feels better to transact with insured platforms. The steps required to obtain insurance generally place attention in valuable security areas, and in this case included a review from CipherTrace. One of the key solutions in traditional finance comes from insurance from entities such as the CDIC.
However, historically, there wasn't found any actual insurance payout to any cryptocurrency exchange, and there are notable cases where insurance has not paid. With Bitpay, for example, the insurance agent refused because the issue happened to the third party CEO's computer instead of anything to do with Bitpay itself. With the Youbit exchange in South Korea, their insurance claim was denied, and the exchange ultimately ended up instead going bankrupt with all user's funds lost. To quote Matt Johnson in the original Lloyd's article: “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.”
ShakePay's insurance was only reported to cover their cold storage, and “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held”. Physical theft has never, in the history of cryptocurrency exchange cases reviewed, been reported as the cause of loss. From the limited information of the article, ShakePay made it clear their funds are in the hands of a single US custodian, and at least part of their security strategy is to "decline[] to confirm the custodian’s name on the record". While this prevents scrutiny of the custodian, it's pretty silly to speculate that a reasonably competent hacking group couldn't determine who the custodian is. A far more common infiltration strategy historically would be social engineering, which has succeeded repeatedly. A hacker could trick their way into ShakePay's systems and request a fraudulent withdrawal, impersonate ShakePay and request the custodian to move funds, or socially engineer their way into the custodian to initiate the withdrawal of multiple accounts (a payout much larger than ShakePay) exploiting the standard procedures (for example, fraudulently initiating or override the wallet addresses of a real transfer). In each case, nothing was physically stolen and the loss is therefore not covered by insurance.
In order for any insurance to be effective, clear policies have to be established about what needs to be covered. Anything short of that gives Canadians false confidence that they are protected when they aren't in any meaningful way. At this time, the third party insurance market does not appear to provide adequate options or coverage, and effort is necessary to standardize custody standards, which is a likely first step in ultimately setting up an insurance framework.
A better solution compared to third party insurance providers might be for Canadian exchange operators to create their own collective insurance fund, or a specific federal organization similar to the CDIC. Such an organization would have a greater interest or obligation in paying out actual cases, and that would be it's purpose rather than maximizing it's own profit. This would be similar to the SAFU which Binance has launched, except it would cover multiple exchanges. There is little question whether the SAFU would pay out given a breach of Binance, and a similar argument could be made for a insurance fund managed by a collective of exchange operators or a government organization. While a third party insurance provider has the strong market incentive to provide the absolute minimum coverage and no market incentive to payout, an entity managed by exchange operators would have incentive to protect the reputation of exchange operators/the industry, and the government should have the interest of protecting Canadians.

On The Subject of Fractional Reserve
There is a long history of fractional reserve failures, from the first banks in ancient times, through the great depression (where hundreds of fractional reserve banks failed), right through to the 2008 banking collapse referenced in the first bitcoin block. The fractional reserve system allows banks to multiply the money supply far beyond the actual cash (or other assets) in existence, backed only by a system of debt obligations of others. Safely supporting a fractional reserve system is a topic of far greater complexity than can be addressed by a simple policy, and when it comes to cryptocurrency, there is presently no entity reasonably able to bail anyone out in the event of failure. Therefore, this framework is addressed around entities that aim to maintain 100% backing of funds.
There may be some firms that desire but have failed to maintain 100% backing. In this case, there are multiple solutions, including outside investment, merging with other exchanges, or enforcing a gradual restoration plan. All of these solutions are typically far better than shutting down the exchange, and there are multiple cases where they've been used successfully in the past.

Proof of Reserves/Transparency/Accountability
Canadians need to have visibility into the backing on an ongoing basis.
The best solution for crypto-assets is a Proof of Reserve. Such ideas go back all the way to 2013, before even Mt. Gox. However, no Canadian exchange has yet implemented such a system, and only a few international exchanges (CoinFloor in the UK being an example) have. Many firms like Kraken, BitBuy, and now ShakePay use the Proof of Reserve term to refer to lesser proofs which do not actually cryptographically prove the full backing of all user assets on the blockchain. In order for a Proof of Reserve to be effective, it must actually be a complete proof, and it needs to be understood by the public that is expected to use it. Many firms have expressed reservations about the level of transparency required in a complete Proof of Reserve (for example Kraken here). While a complete Proof of Reserves should be encouraged, and there are some solutions in the works (ie TxQuick), this is unlikely to be suitable universally for all exchange operators and users.
Given the limitations, and that firms also manage fiat assets, a more traditional audit process makes more sense. Some Canadian exchanges (CoinSquare, CoinBerry) have already subjected themselves to annual audits. However, these results are not presently shared publicly, and there is no guarantee over the process including all user assets or the integrity and independence of the auditor. The auditor has been typically not known, and in some cases, the identity of the auditor is protected by a NDA. Only in one case (BitBuy) was an actual report generated and publicly shared. There has been no attempt made to validate that user accounts provided during these audits have been complete or accurate. A fraudulent fractional exchange, or one which had suffered a breach they were unwilling to publicly accept (see CoinBene), could easily maintain a second set of books for auditors or simply exclude key accounts to pass an individual audit.
The proposed solution would see a reporting standard which includes at a minimum - percentage of backing for each asset relative to account balances and the nature of how those assets are stored, with ownership proven by the auditor. The auditor would also publicly provide a "hash list", which they independently generate from the accounts provided by the exchange. Every exchange user can then check their information against this public "hash list". A hash is a one-way form of encryption, which fully protects the private information, yet allows anyone who knows that information already to validate that it was included. Less experienced users can take advantage of public tools to calculate the hash from their information (provided by the exchange), and thus have certainty that the auditor received their full balance information. Easy instructions can be provided.
Auditors should be impartial, their identities and process public, and they should be rotated so that the same auditor is never used twice in a row. Balancing the cost of auditing against the needs for regular updates, a 6 month cycle likely makes the most sense.

Hot Wallet Management
The best solution for hot wallets is not to use them. CoinBerry reportedly uses multi-sig on all withdrawals, and Bitmex is an international example known for their structure devoid of hot wallets.
However, many platforms and customers desire fast withdrawal processes, and human validation has a cost of time and delay in this process.
A model of self-insurance or separate funds for hot wallets may be used in these cases. Under this model, a platform still has 100% of their client balance in cold storage and holds additional funds in hot wallets for quick withdrawal. Thus, the risk of those hot wallets is 100% on exchange operators and not affecting the exchange users. Since most platforms typically only have 1%-5% in hot wallets at any given time, it shouldn't be unreasonable to build/maintain these additional reserves over time using exchange fees or additional investment. Larger withdrawals would still be handled at regular intervals from the cold storage.
Hot wallet risks have historically posed a large risk and there is no established standard to guarantee secure hot wallets. When the government of South Korea dispatched security inspections to multiple exchanges, the results were still that 3 of them got hacked after the inspections. If standards develop such that an organization in the market is willing to insure the hot wallets, this could provide an acceptable alternative. Another option may be for multiple exchange operators to pool funds aside for a hot wallet insurance fund. Comprehensive coverage standards must be established and maintained for all hot wallet balances to make sure Canadians are adequately protected.

Current Draft Proposal

(1) Proper multi-signature cold wallet storage.
(a) Each private key is the personal and legal responsibility of one person - the “signatory”. Signatories have special rights and responsibilities to protect user assets. Signatories are trained and certified through a course covering (1) past hacking and fraud cases, (2) proper and secure key generation, and (3) proper safekeeping of private keys. All private keys must be generated and stored 100% offline by the signatory. If even one private keys is ever breached or suspected to be breached, the wallet must be regenerated and all funds relocated to a new wallet.
(b) All signatories must be separate background-checked individuals free of past criminal conviction. Canadians should have a right to know who holds their funds. All signing of transactions must take place with all signatories on Canadian soil or on the soil of a country with a solid legal system which agrees to uphold and support these rules (from an established white-list of countries which expands over time).
(c) 3-5 independent signatures are required for any withdrawal. There must be 1-3 spare signatories, and a maximum of 7 total signatories. The following are all valid combinations: 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7.
(d) A security audit should be conducted to validate the cold wallet is set up correctly and provide any additional pertinent information. The primary purpose is to ensure that all signatories are acting independently and using best practices for private key storage. A report summarizing all steps taken and who did the audit will be made public. Canadians must be able to validate the right measures are in place to protect their funds.
(e) There is a simple approval process if signatories wish to visit any country outside Canada, with a potential whitelist of exempt countries. At most 2 signatories can be outside of aligned jurisdiction at any given time. All exchanges would be required to keep a compliant cold wallet for Canadian funds and have a Canadian office if they wish to serve Canadian customers.
(2) Regular and transparent solvency audits.
(a) An audit must be conducted at founding, after 3 months of operation, and at least once every 6 months to compare customer balances against all stored cryptocurrency and fiat balances. The auditor must be known, independent, and never the same twice in a row.
(b) An audit report will be published featuring the steps conducted in a readable format. This should be made available to all Canadians on the exchange website and on a government website. The report must include what percentage of each customer asset is backed on the exchange, and how those funds are stored.
(c) The auditor will independently produce a hash of each customer's identifying information and balance as they perform the audit. This will be made publicly available on the exchange and government website, along with simplified instructions that each customer can use to verify that their balance was included in the audit process.
(d) The audit needs to include a proof of ownership for any cryptocurrency wallets included. A satoshi test (spending a small amount) or partially signed transaction both qualify.
(e) Any platform without 100% reserves should be assessed on a regular basis by a government or industry watchdog. This entity should work to prevent any further drop, support any private investor to come in, or facilitate a merger so that 100% backing can be obtained as soon as possible.
(3) Protections for hot wallets and transactions.
(a) A standardized list of approved coins and procedures will be established to constitute valid cold storage wallets. Where a multi-sig process is not natively available, efforts will be undertaken to establish a suitable and stable smart contract standard. This list will be expanded and improved over time. Coins and procedures not on the list are considered hot wallets.
(b) Hot wallets can be backed by additional funds in cold storage or an acceptable third-party insurance provider with a comprehensive coverage policy.
(c) Exchanges are required to cover the full balance of all user funds as denominated in the same currency, or double the balance as denominated in bitcoin or CAD using an established trading rate. If the balance is ever insufficient due to market movements, the firm must rectify this within 24 hours by moving assets to cold storage or increasing insurance coverage.
(d) Any large transactions (above a set threshold) from cold storage to any new wallet addresses (not previously transacted with) must be tested with a smaller transaction first. Deposits of cryptocurrency must be limited to prevent economic 51% attacks. Any issues are to be covered by the exchange.
(e) Exchange platforms must provide suitable authentication for users, including making available approved forms of two-factor authentication. SMS-based authentication is not to be supported. Withdrawals must be blocked for 48 hours in the event of any account password change. Disputes on the negligence of exchanges should be governed by case law.

Steps Forward

Continued review of existing OSC feedback is still underway. More feedback and opinions on the framework and ideas as presented here are extremely valuable. The above is a draft and not finalized.
The process of further developing and bringing a suitable framework to protect Canadians will require the support of exchange operators, legal experts, and many others in the community. The costs of not doing such are tremendous. A large and convoluted framework, one based on flawed ideas or implementation, or one which fails to properly safeguard Canadians is not just extremely expensive and risky for all Canadians, severely limiting to the credibility and reputation of the industry, but an existential risk to many exchanges.
The responsibility falls to all of us to provide our insight and make our opinions heard on this critical matter. Please take the time to give your thoughts.
submitted by azoundria2 to QuadrigaInitiative [link] [comments]

The Privacy Coin Guide Part 1

As interest picks up in crypto again, I want to share this post I made on privacy coins again to just give the basics of their evolution. This is only part 1, and parts 2 and 3 are not available in this format, but this part is informative and basic.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to assess what the best privacy coin in the current space is, which has the best features, or which is most likely to give high returns, then this is not that guide. My goal is to give you the power to make your own decisions, to clearly state my biases, and educate. I really wanted to understand this niche of the crypto-space due to my background and current loyalties[1], and grasp the nuances of the features, origins and timelines of technologies used in privacy coins, while not being anything close to a developer myself. This is going to be a 3-part series, starting with an overview and basic review of the technology, then looking at its implications, and ending with why I like a specific project. It might be mildly interesting or delightfully educational. Cryptocurrencies are young and existing privacy coins are deploying technology that is a work in progress. This series assumes a basic understanding of how blockchains work, specifically as used in cryptocurrencies. If you don’t have that understanding, might I suggest that you get it? [2],[3],[4] Because cryptocurrencies have a long way to go before reaching their end-game: when the world relies on the technology without understanding it. So, shall we do a deep dive into the privacy coin space?

FIRST THERE WAS BITCOIN

Cryptocurrencies allow you to tokenize value and track its exchange between hands over time, with transaction information verified by a distributed network of users. The most famous version of a cryptocurrency in use is Bitcoin, defined as peer-to-peer electronic cash. [5] Posted anonymously in 2008, the whitepaper seemed to be in direct response to the global financial meltdown and public distrust of the conventional banking and financing systems. Although cryptographic techniques are used in Bitcoin to ensure that (i) only the owner of a specific wallet has the authority to spend funds from that wallet, (ii) the public address is linked but cannot be traced by a third party to the private address (iii) the information is stored via cryptographic hashing in a merkle tree structure to ensure data integrity, the actual transaction information is publicly visible on the blockchain and can be traced back to the individual through chain analysis.[6] This has raised fears of possible financial censorship or the metaphorical tainting of money due to its origination point, as demonstrated in the Silk Road marketplace disaster.[7] This can happen because fiat money is usually exchanged for cryptocurrency at some point, as crypto-enthusiasts are born in the real world and inevitably cash out. There are already chain analysis firms and software that are increasingly efficient at tracking transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain.[8] This lack of privacy is one of the limitations of Bitcoin that has resulted in the creation of altcoins that experiment with the different features a cryptocurrency can have. Privacy coins are figuring out how to introduce privacy in addition to the payment network. The goal is to make the cryptocurrency fungible, each unit able to be exchanged for equal value without knowledge of its transaction history – like cash, while being publicly verifiable on a decentralized network. In other words, anyone can add the math up without being able to see the full details. Some privacy solutions and protocols have popped up as a result:

CRYPTONOTE – RING SIGNATURES AND STEALTH ADDRESSES

Used in: Monero and Particl as its successor RING-CT, Bytecoin
In December 2012, CryptoNote introduced the use of ring signatures and stealth addresses (along with other notable features such as its own codebase) to improve cryptocurrency privacy.[9] An updated CryptoNote version 2 came in October 2013 [10](though there is some dispute over this timeline [11]), also authored under the name Nicolas van Saberhagen. Ring signatures hide sender information by having the sender sign a transaction using a signature that could belong to multiple users. This makes a transaction untraceable. Stealth addresses allow a receiver to give a single address which generates a different public address for funds to be received at each time funds are sent to it. That makes a transaction unlinkable. In terms of privacy, CryptoNote gave us a protocol for untraceable and unlinkable transactions. The first implementation of CryptoNote technology was Bytecoin in March 2014 (timeline disputed [12]), which spawned many children (forks) in subsequent years, a notable example being Monero, based on CryptoNote v2 in April 2014.
RING SIGNATURES and STEALTH ADDRESSES

PROS

– Provides sender and receiver privacy
– Privacy can be default
– Mature technology
– Greater scalability with bulletproofs
– Does not require any third-party

CONS

– Privacy not very effective without high volume
-Does not hide transaction information if not combined with another protocol.

COINJOIN

Used in: Dash
Bitcoin developer Gregory Maxwell proposed a set of solutions to bring privacy to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, the first being CoinJoin (January 28 – Aug 22, 2013).[13],[14] CoinJoin (sometimes called CoinSwap) allows multiple users to combine their transactions into a single transaction, by receiving inputs from multiple users, and then sending their outputs to the multiple users, irrespective of who in the group the inputs came from. So, the receiver will get whatever output amount they were supposed to, but it cannot be directly traced to its origination input. Similar proposals include Coinshuffle in 2014 and Tumblebit in 2016, building on CoinJoin but not terribly popular [15],[16]. They fixed the need for a trusted third party to ‘mix’ the transactions. There are CoinJoin implementations that are being actively worked on but are not the most popular privacy solutions of today. A notable coin that uses CoinJoin technology is Dash, launched in January 2014, with masternodes in place of a trusted party.
COINJOIN

PROS

– Provides sender and receiver privacy
– Easy to implement on any cryptocurrency
– Lightweight
– Greater scalability with bulletproofs
– Mature technology

CONS

– Least anonymous privacy solution. Transaction amounts can be calculated
– Even without third-party mixer, depends on wealth centralization of masternodes

ZEROCOIN

Used in: Zcoin, PIVX
In May 2013, the Zerocoin protocol was introduced by John Hopkins University professor Matthew D. Green and his graduate students Ian Miers and Christina Garman.[17] In response to the need for use of a third party to do CoinJoin, the Zerocoin proposal allowed for a coin to be destroyed and remade in order to erase its history whenever it is spent. Zero-knowledge cryptography and zero-knowledge proofs are used to prove that the new coins for spending are being appropriately made. A zero-knowledge proof allows one party to prove to another that they know specific information, without revealing any information about it, other than the fact that they know it. Zerocoin was not accepted by the Bitcoin community as an implementation to be added to Bitcoin, so a new cryptocurrency had to be formed. Zcoin was the first cryptocurrency to implement the Zerocoin protocol in 2016. [18]
ZEROCOIN

PROS

– Provides sender and receiver privacy
– Supply can be audited
– Relatively mature technology
– Does not require a third-party

CONS

– Requires trusted setup (May not be required with Sigma protocol)
– Large proof sizes (not lightweight)
– Does not provide full privacy for transaction amounts

ZEROCASH

Used in: Zcash, Horizen, Komodo, Zclassic, Bitcoin Private
In May 2014, the current successor to the Zerocoin protocol, Zerocash, was created, also by Matthew Green and others (Eli Ben-Sasson, Alessandro Chiesa, Christina Garman, Matthew Green, Ian Miers, Eran Tromer, Madars Virza).[19] It improved upon the Zerocoin concept by taking advantage of zero-knowledge proofs called zk-snarks (zero knowledge succinct non-interactive arguments of knowledge). Unlike Zerocoin, which hid coin origins and payment history, Zerocash was faster, with smaller transaction sizes, and hides transaction information on the sender, receiver and amount. Zcash is the first cryptocurrency to implement the Zerocash protocol in 2016. [20]
ZEROCASH

PROS

– Provides full anonymity. Sender, receiver and amount hidden.
– Privacy can be default?
– Fast due to small proof sizes.
– Payment amount can be optionally disclosed for auditing
– Does not require any third-party

CONS

– Requires trusted setup. (May be improved with zt-starks technology)
– Supply cannot be audited. And coins can potentially be forged without proper implementation.
– Private transactions computationally intensive (improved with Sapling upgrade)

CONFIDENTIAL TRANSACTIONS

Used in: Monero and Particl with Ring Signatures as RING-CT
The next proposal from Maxwell was that of confidential transactions, proposed in June 2015 as part of the Sidechain Elements project from Blockstream, where Maxwell was Chief Technical Officer.[21],[22] It proposed to hide the transaction amount and asset type (e.g. deposits, currencies, shares), so that only the sender and receiver are aware of the amount, unless they choose to make the amount public. It uses homomorphic encryption[23] to encrypt the inputs and outputs by using blinding factors and a kind of ring signature in a commitment scheme, so the amount can be ‘committed’ to, without the amount actually being known. I’m terribly sorry if you now have the urge to go and research exactly what that means. The takeaway is that the transaction amount can be hidden from outsiders while being verifiable.
CONFIDENTIAL TRANSACTIONS

PROS

– Hides transaction amounts
– Privacy can be default
– Mature technology
– Does not require any third-party

CONS

– Only provides transaction amount privacy when used alone

RING-CT

Used in: Monero, Particl
Then came Ring Confidential transactions, proposed by Shen-Noether of Monero Research Labs in October 2015.[24] RingCT combines the use of ring signatures for hiding sender information, with the use of confidential transactions (which also uses ring signatures) for hiding amounts. The proposal described a new type of ring signature, A Multi-layered Linkable Spontaneous Anonymous Group signature which “allows for hidden amounts, origins and destinations of transactions with reasonable efficiency and verifiable, trustless coin generation”.[25] RingCT was implemented in Monero in January 2017 and made mandatory after September 2017.
RING -CONFIDENTIAL TRANSACTIONS

PROS

– Provides full anonymity. Hides transaction amounts and receiver privacy
– Privacy can be default
– Mature technology
– Greater scalability with bulletproofs
– Does not require any third-party

CONS

– Privacy not very effective without high volume

MIMBLEWIMBLE

Used in: Grin
Mimblewimble was proposed in July 2016 by pseudonymous contributor Tom Elvis Jedusorand further developed in October 2016 by Andrew Poelstra.[26],[27] Mimblewimble is a “privacy and fungibility focused cryptocoin transaction structure proposal”.[28] The key words are transaction structure proposal, so the way the blockchain is built is different, in order to accommodate privacy and fungibility features. Mimblewimble uses the concept of Confidential transactions to keep amounts hidden, looks at private keys and transaction information to prove ownership of funds rather than using addresses, and bundles transactions together instead of listing them separately on the blockchain. It also introduces a novel method of pruning the blockchain. Grin is a cryptocurrency in development that is applying Mimblewimble. Mimblewimble is early in development and you can understand it more here [29].
MIMBLEWIMBLE

PROS

– Hides transaction amounts and receiver privacy
– Privacy is on by default
– Lightweight
– No public addresses?

CONS

– Privacy not very effective without high volume
– Sender and receiver must both be online
– Relatively new technology

ZEXE

Fresh off the minds of brilliant cryptographers (Sean Bowe, Alessandro Chiesa, Matthew Green, Ian Miers, Pratyush Mishra, Howard Wu), in October 2018 Zexe proposed a new cryptographic primitive called ‘decentralized private computation.[30] It allows users of a decentralized ledger to “execute offline computations that result in transactions”[31], but also keeps transaction amounts hidden and allows transaction validation to happen at any time regardless of computations being done online. This can have far reaching implications for privacy coins in the future. Consider cases where transactions need to be automatic and private, without both parties being present.

NETWORK PRIVACY

Privacy technologies that look at network privacy as nodes communicate with each other on the network are important considerations, rather than just looking at privacy on the blockchain itself. Anonymous layers encrypt and/or reroute data as it moves among peers, so it is not obvious who they originate from on the network. They are used to protect against surveillance or censorship from ISPs and governments. The Invisible Internet Project (I2P) is an anonymous network layer that uses end to end encryption for peers on a network to communicate with each other.[32] Its history dates back to 2003. Kovri is a Monero created implementation of I2P.[33] The Onion Router (Tor) is another anonymity layer [34]) that Verge is a privacy cryptocurrency that uses. But its historical link to the US government may be is concerning to some[35]. Dandelion transaction relay is also an upcoming Bitcoin improvement proposal (BIP) that scrambles IP data that will provide network privacy for Bitcoin as transaction and other information is transmitted.[36],[37],[38]

UPCOMING

Monero completed bulletproofs protocol updates that reduce RINGCT transaction sizes and thus transaction fee costs. (Bulletproofs are a replacement for range proofs used in confidential transactions that aid in encrypting inputs and outputs by making sure they add to zero).
Sigma Protocol – being actively researched by Zcoin team as of 2018 to replace Zerocoin protocol so that a trusted setup is not required.[39] There is a possible replacement for zk-snarks, called zk-starks, another form of zero-knowledge proof technology, that may make a trusted set-up unnecessary for zero-knowledege proof coins.[40]

PART 1 CONCLUSION OF THE PRIVACY COIN GUIDE ON THE TECHNOLOGY BEHIND PRIVACY COINS

Although Bitcoin is still a groundbreaking technology that gives us a trust-less transaction system, it has failed to live up to its expectations of privacy. Over time, new privacy technologies have arrived and are arriving with innovative and exciting solutions for Bitcoin’s lack of fungibility. It is important to note that these technologies are built on prior research and application, but we are considering their use in cryptocurrencies. Protocols are proposed based on cryptographic concepts that show how they would work, and then developers actually implement them. Please note that I did not include the possibility of improper implementation as a disadvantage, and the advantages assume that the technical development is well done. A very important point is that coins can also adapt new privacy technologies as their merits become obvious, even as they start with a specific privacy protocol. Furthermore, I am, unfortunately, positive that this is not an exhaustive overview and I am only covering publicized solutions. Next, we’ll talk more about the pros and cons and give an idea of how the coins can be compared.

There's a video version that can be watched, and you can find out how to get the second two parts if you want on my website (video link on the page): https://cryptoramble.com/guide-on-privacy-coins/
submitted by CryptoRamble to ethereum [link] [comments]

The Privacy Coin Guide Part 1

As interest picks up in crypto again, I want to share this post I made on privacy coins again to just give the basics of their evolution. This is only part 1, and parts 2 and 3 are not available in this format, but this part is informative and basic.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to assess what the best privacy coin in the current space is, which has the best features, or which is most likely to give high returns, then this is not that guide. My goal is to give you the power to make your own decisions, to clearly state my biases, and educate. I really wanted to understand this niche of the crypto-space due to my background and current loyalties[1], and grasp the nuances of the features, origins and timelines of technologies used in privacy coins, while not being anything close to a developer myself. This is going to be a 3-part series, starting with an overview and basic review of the technology, then looking at its implications, and ending with why I like a specific project. It might be mildly interesting or delightfully educational. Cryptocurrencies are young and existing privacy coins are deploying technology that is a work in progress. This series assumes a basic understanding of how blockchains work, specifically as used in cryptocurrencies. If you don’t have that understanding, might I suggest that you get it? [2],[3],[4] Because cryptocurrencies have a long way to go before reaching their end-game: when the world relies on the technology without understanding it. So, shall we do a deep dive into the privacy coin space?

FIRST THERE WAS BITCOIN

Cryptocurrencies allow you to tokenize value and track its exchange between hands over time, with transaction information verified by a distributed network of users. The most famous version of a cryptocurrency in use is Bitcoin, defined as peer-to-peer electronic cash. [5] Posted anonymously in 2008, the whitepaper seemed to be in direct response to the global financial meltdown and public distrust of the conventional banking and financing systems. Although cryptographic techniques are used in Bitcoin to ensure that (i) only the owner of a specific wallet has the authority to spend funds from that wallet, (ii) the public address is linked but cannot be traced by a third party to the private address (iii) the information is stored via cryptographic hashing in a merkle tree structure to ensure data integrity, the actual transaction information is publicly visible on the blockchain and can be traced back to the individual through chain analysis.[6] This has raised fears of possible financial censorship or the metaphorical tainting of money due to its origination point, as demonstrated in the Silk Road marketplace disaster.[7] This can happen because fiat money is usually exchanged for cryptocurrency at some point, as crypto-enthusiasts are born in the real world and inevitably cash out. There are already chain analysis firms and software that are increasingly efficient at tracking transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain.[8] This lack of privacy is one of the limitations of Bitcoin that has resulted in the creation of altcoins that experiment with the different features a cryptocurrency can have. Privacy coins are figuring out how to introduce privacy in addition to the payment network. The goal is to make the cryptocurrency fungible, each unit able to be exchanged for equal value without knowledge of its transaction history – like cash, while being publicly verifiable on a decentralized network. In other words, anyone can add the math up without being able to see the full details. Some privacy solutions and protocols have popped up as a result:

CRYPTONOTE – RING SIGNATURES AND STEALTH ADDRESSES

Used in: Monero and Particl as its successor RING-CT, Bytecoin
In December 2012, CryptoNote introduced the use of ring signatures and stealth addresses (along with other notable features such as its own codebase) to improve cryptocurrency privacy.[9] An updated CryptoNote version 2 came in October 2013 [10](though there is some dispute over this timeline [11]), also authored under the name Nicolas van Saberhagen. Ring signatures hide sender information by having the sender sign a transaction using a signature that could belong to multiple users. This makes a transaction untraceable. Stealth addresses allow a receiver to give a single address which generates a different public address for funds to be received at each time funds are sent to it. That makes a transaction unlinkable. In terms of privacy, CryptoNote gave us a protocol for untraceable and unlinkable transactions. The first implementation of CryptoNote technology was Bytecoin in March 2014 (timeline disputed [12]), which spawned many children (forks) in subsequent years, a notable example being Monero, based on CryptoNote v2 in April 2014.
RING SIGNATURES and STEALTH ADDRESSES

PROS

– Provides sender and receiver privacy
– Privacy can be default
– Mature technology
– Greater scalability with bulletproofs
– Does not require any third-party

CONS

– Privacy not very effective without high volume
-Does not hide transaction information if not combined with another protocol.

COINJOIN

Used in: Dash
Bitcoin developer Gregory Maxwell proposed a set of solutions to bring privacy to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, the first being CoinJoin (January 28 – Aug 22, 2013).[13],[14] CoinJoin (sometimes called CoinSwap) allows multiple users to combine their transactions into a single transaction, by receiving inputs from multiple users, and then sending their outputs to the multiple users, irrespective of who in the group the inputs came from. So, the receiver will get whatever output amount they were supposed to, but it cannot be directly traced to its origination input. Similar proposals include Coinshuffle in 2014 and Tumblebit in 2016, building on CoinJoin but not terribly popular [15],[16]. They fixed the need for a trusted third party to ‘mix’ the transactions. There are CoinJoin implementations that are being actively worked on but are not the most popular privacy solutions of today. A notable coin that uses CoinJoin technology is Dash, launched in January 2014, with masternodes in place of a trusted party.
COINJOIN

PROS

– Provides sender and receiver privacy
– Easy to implement on any cryptocurrency
– Lightweight
– Greater scalability with bulletproofs
– Mature technology

CONS

– Least anonymous privacy solution. Transaction amounts can be calculated
– Even without third-party mixer, depends on wealth centralization of masternodes

ZEROCOIN

Used in: Zcoin, PIVX
In May 2013, the Zerocoin protocol was introduced by John Hopkins University professor Matthew D. Green and his graduate students Ian Miers and Christina Garman.[17] In response to the need for use of a third party to do CoinJoin, the Zerocoin proposal allowed for a coin to be destroyed and remade in order to erase its history whenever it is spent. Zero-knowledge cryptography and zero-knowledge proofs are used to prove that the new coins for spending are being appropriately made. A zero-knowledge proof allows one party to prove to another that they know specific information, without revealing any information about it, other than the fact that they know it. Zerocoin was not accepted by the Bitcoin community as an implementation to be added to Bitcoin, so a new cryptocurrency had to be formed. Zcoin was the first cryptocurrency to implement the Zerocoin protocol in 2016. [18]
ZEROCOIN

PROS

– Provides sender and receiver privacy
– Supply can be audited
– Relatively mature technology
– Does not require a third-party

CONS

– Requires trusted setup (May not be required with Sigma protocol)
– Large proof sizes (not lightweight)
– Does not provide full privacy for transaction amounts

ZEROCASH

Used in: Zcash, Horizen, Komodo, Zclassic, Bitcoin Private
In May 2014, the current successor to the Zerocoin protocol, Zerocash, was created, also by Matthew Green and others (Eli Ben-Sasson, Alessandro Chiesa, Christina Garman, Matthew Green, Ian Miers, Eran Tromer, Madars Virza).[19] It improved upon the Zerocoin concept by taking advantage of zero-knowledge proofs called zk-snarks (zero knowledge succinct non-interactive arguments of knowledge). Unlike Zerocoin, which hid coin origins and payment history, Zerocash was faster, with smaller transaction sizes, and hides transaction information on the sender, receiver and amount. Zcash is the first cryptocurrency to implement the Zerocash protocol in 2016. [20]
ZEROCASH

PROS

– Provides full anonymity. Sender, receiver and amount hidden.
– Privacy can be default?
– Fast due to small proof sizes.
– Payment amount can be optionally disclosed for auditing
– Does not require any third-party

CONS

– Requires trusted setup. (May be improved with zt-starks technology)
– Supply cannot be audited. And coins can potentially be forged without proper implementation.
– Private transactions computationally intensive (improved with Sapling upgrade)

CONFIDENTIAL TRANSACTIONS

Used in: Monero and Particl with Ring Signatures as RING-CT
The next proposal from Maxwell was that of confidential transactions, proposed in June 2015 as part of the Sidechain Elements project from Blockstream, where Maxwell was Chief Technical Officer.[21],[22] It proposed to hide the transaction amount and asset type (e.g. deposits, currencies, shares), so that only the sender and receiver are aware of the amount, unless they choose to make the amount public. It uses homomorphic encryption[23] to encrypt the inputs and outputs by using blinding factors and a kind of ring signature in a commitment scheme, so the amount can be ‘committed’ to, without the amount actually being known. I’m terribly sorry if you now have the urge to go and research exactly what that means. The takeaway is that the transaction amount can be hidden from outsiders while being verifiable.
CONFIDENTIAL TRANSACTIONS

PROS

– Hides transaction amounts
– Privacy can be default
– Mature technology
– Does not require any third-party

CONS

– Only provides transaction amount privacy when used alone

RING-CT

Used in: Monero, Particl
Then came Ring Confidential transactions, proposed by Shen-Noether of Monero Research Labs in October 2015.[24] RingCT combines the use of ring signatures for hiding sender information, with the use of confidential transactions (which also uses ring signatures) for hiding amounts. The proposal described a new type of ring signature, A Multi-layered Linkable Spontaneous Anonymous Group signature which “allows for hidden amounts, origins and destinations of transactions with reasonable efficiency and verifiable, trustless coin generation”.[25] RingCT was implemented in Monero in January 2017 and made mandatory after September 2017.
RING -CONFIDENTIAL TRANSACTIONS

PROS

– Provides full anonymity. Hides transaction amounts and receiver privacy
– Privacy can be default
– Mature technology
– Greater scalability with bulletproofs
– Does not require any third-party

CONS

– Privacy not very effective without high volume

MIMBLEWIMBLE

Used in: Grin
Mimblewimble was proposed in July 2016 by pseudonymous contributor Tom Elvis Jedusorand further developed in October 2016 by Andrew Poelstra.[26],[27] Mimblewimble is a “privacy and fungibility focused cryptocoin transaction structure proposal”.[28] The key words are transaction structure proposal, so the way the blockchain is built is different, in order to accommodate privacy and fungibility features. Mimblewimble uses the concept of Confidential transactions to keep amounts hidden, looks at private keys and transaction information to prove ownership of funds rather than using addresses, and bundles transactions together instead of listing them separately on the blockchain. It also introduces a novel method of pruning the blockchain. Grin is a cryptocurrency in development that is applying Mimblewimble. Mimblewimble is early in development and you can understand it more here [29].
MIMBLEWIMBLE

PROS

– Hides transaction amounts and receiver privacy
– Privacy is on by default
– Lightweight
– No public addresses?

CONS

– Privacy not very effective without high volume
– Sender and receiver must both be online
– Relatively new technology

ZEXE

Fresh off the minds of brilliant cryptographers (Sean Bowe, Alessandro Chiesa, Matthew Green, Ian Miers, Pratyush Mishra, Howard Wu), in October 2018 Zexe proposed a new cryptographic primitive called ‘decentralized private computation.[30] It allows users of a decentralized ledger to “execute offline computations that result in transactions”[31], but also keeps transaction amounts hidden and allows transaction validation to happen at any time regardless of computations being done online. This can have far reaching implications for privacy coins in the future. Consider cases where transactions need to be automatic and private, without both parties being present.

NETWORK PRIVACY

Privacy technologies that look at network privacy as nodes communicate with each other on the network are important considerations, rather than just looking at privacy on the blockchain itself. Anonymous layers encrypt and/or reroute data as it moves among peers, so it is not obvious who they originate from on the network. They are used to protect against surveillance or censorship from ISPs and governments. The Invisible Internet Project (I2P) is an anonymous network layer that uses end to end encryption for peers on a network to communicate with each other.[32] Its history dates back to 2003. Kovri is a Monero created implementation of I2P.[33] The Onion Router (Tor) is another anonymity layer [34]) that Verge is a privacy cryptocurrency that uses. But its historical link to the US government may be is concerning to some[35]. Dandelion transaction relay is also an upcoming Bitcoin improvement proposal (BIP) that scrambles IP data that will provide network privacy for Bitcoin as transaction and other information is transmitted.[36],[37],[38]

UPCOMING

Monero completed bulletproofs protocol updates that reduce RINGCT transaction sizes and thus transaction fee costs. (Bulletproofs are a replacement for range proofs used in confidential transactions that aid in encrypting inputs and outputs by making sure they add to zero).
Sigma Protocol – being actively researched by Zcoin team as of 2018 to replace Zerocoin protocol so that a trusted setup is not required.[39] There is a possible replacement for zk-snarks, called zk-starks, another form of zero-knowledge proof technology, that may make a trusted set-up unnecessary for zero-knowledege proof coins.[40]

PART 1 CONCLUSION OF THE PRIVACY COIN GUIDE ON THE TECHNOLOGY BEHIND PRIVACY COINS

Although Bitcoin is still a groundbreaking technology that gives us a trust-less transaction system, it has failed to live up to its expectations of privacy. Over time, new privacy technologies have arrived and are arriving with innovative and exciting solutions for Bitcoin’s lack of fungibility. It is important to note that these technologies are built on prior research and application, but we are considering their use in cryptocurrencies. Protocols are proposed based on cryptographic concepts that show how they would work, and then developers actually implement them. Please note that I did not include the possibility of improper implementation as a disadvantage, and the advantages assume that the technical development is well done. A very important point is that coins can also adapt new privacy technologies as their merits become obvious, even as they start with a specific privacy protocol. Furthermore, I am, unfortunately, positive that this is not an exhaustive overview and I am only covering publicized solutions. Next, we’ll talk more about the pros and cons and give an idea of how the coins can be compared.

There's a video version that can be watched, and you can find out how to get the second two parts if you want on my website (video link on the page): https://cryptoramble.com/guide-on-privacy-coins/
submitted by CryptoRamble to privacycoins [link] [comments]

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