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Goldman Sachs Has Big Predictions for the Blockchain

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Goldman Sachs is bullish about blockchain, the underlying distributed ledger technology that powers the cryptocurrency – Bitcoin. Leading investment banking firm Goldman Sachs has – in a research note sent to clients today – raved about the decentralized platform by stating that “the Blockchain, can change…well everything.” In a report by Business Insider, the bank sent its “Emerging Theme Radar” note to clients on Wednesday. The note, titled ‘Themes, Dreams and Flying Machines’ has deemed that the blockchain is “taking center stage” these days, noting that it is pulling the spotlight away from Bitcoin. Goldman Sachs’ analyst and author of […]

The post Goldman Sachs Has Big Predictions for the Blockchain appeared first on CCN: Financial Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency News.

Blockchain Startup Chain Kills Free Bitcoin API Service

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Blockchain technology startup Chain will be shutting down its free bitcoin API service at the end of this year.

Check Out This Crazy Trailer for a Vietnamese Bitcoin Action Movie

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

A flashy “action comedy” debuting next year in Vietnam uses bitcoin as a plot element amid a story of international intrigue and crime.

GreenAddress: Increasing Bitcoin's Block-size Limit is not Scaling; it's Pivoting

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Bitcoin wallet provider GreenAddress was always critical of raising Bitcoin's block-size limit. As one of the first in the space in May of this year, the European multisig-wallet and software company publicly opposed Bitcoin XT and Bitcoin Core developer Gavin Andresen's initial plans to increase the maximum block size.

Now, more than six months later, GreenAddress CEO Lawrence Nahum still holds firm, telling Bitcoin Magazine, “We are approaching this issue with an open yet conservative mind, and with the idea that first and foremost Bitcoin should be censorship resistant, and thus decentralized to achieve that. In the future it may be possible and healthy to increase the block size without compromising Bitcoin’s decentralization, but we're not convinced solutions such as BIP [Bitcoin Improvement Proposal] 101 fit the bill.”

The long-lasting block-size dispute, representing a trade-off between thenumber of transactions the Bitcoin network can handle and its decentralization, might be entering a decive month. A large segment of Bitcoin's academic and engineering community will discuss this and other issues at the upcoming Scaling Bitcoin workshop in Hong Kong on the 6th and 7th of December, while several prominent Bitcoin companies have stated they intend to change their code to allow for bigger blocks this month.

Nahum strongly maintains that scaling Bitcoin shouldn't happen at the cost of further centralization.

As the size of the blocks increase so does mining and node centralization,” Nahum argued. “It is already quite evident in the industry that even Bitcoin companies have been reluctant in running Bitcoin nodes, and as the resource requirements are ever increasing less and less people run nodes. If we were to further accelerate the rate of resource requirements we would soon end up in a situation where people can’t validate transactions and have to rely on a few big companies providing sync services over big data centers – that’s not very censorship resistant.”

Nahum did, however, acknowledge that Bitcoin should scale to allow for more than a handful of transactions per second on Bitcoin's blockchain – as long as it doesn't hurt Bitcoin's current properties.

“Scaling Bitcoin is important, and it is urgent in the sense that the earlier Bitcoin can scale the better it is, and the sooner new use cases can be adopted, such as micro-payments, instant transactions, better privacy, and more,” Nahum explained, emphasizing, “'Scale' being the keyword here.

Increasing the block size is not scaling; it's pivoting Bitcoin from a decentralized currency into a centralized one that can handle more transactions,” he said. “We know how that looks – see PayPal, Visa, etc. – and we wouldn’t have adopted Bitcoin if it’s primary function wasn’t censorship resistance.”

Andresen's latest proposed solution, BIP 101, was implemented into Bitcoin XT last summer, and is programmed to increase the maximum block size to 8 megabytes if a threshold of 75 percent of mining power accepts the change. Once activated, this limit is set to double every two years for 20 years, ultimately leading to an 8-gigabyte block-size limit. This solution was since endorsed by major industry players, such as Coinbase, Bitstamp, Slush Pool and others.

Nahum, however, maintains that BIP 101 is a bad idea, and disregarded the idea of GreenAddress willfully adopting the proposal.

We think BIP 101 is ill-advised, because it tries to predict the future on wishful thinking in terms of resources, while the simulations provided were insufficient. And perhaps even more important: It doesn’t use consensus to activate, but a mere 75 percent majority. This means it can be activated out of sheer luck, and cause problems with hard fork and consecutive blockchain reorganizations,” Nahum said.

Nahum further explained that GreenAddress might support block increase solutions that are more conservative than BIP 101 – as long as they're not rushed through under pressure just to get things done. The CEO does not think haste is needed, as he believes full blocks are inevitable, and even needed for a healthy fee market to establish on the Bitcoin network.

And, importantly, Nahum believes that Bitcoin's real scaling solutions should ultimately be built on top of the protocol, as additional layers.

We think Lightning is very promising,” Nahum said. “At a high level it allows to transfer bitcoin using Bitcoin transactions, but skipping the blockchain until it is actually necessary, effectively compressing or netting the transactions. This provides instant transactions, micro-payments, and scale! We could do thousands of transactions per second without requiring every Bitcoin node to validate and store all these transactions – which may even improve privacy, too.”

Photo sacks08 / Flickr(CC)

The post GreenAddress: Increasing Bitcoin's Block-size Limit is not Scaling; it's Pivoting appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Exclusive: Barclays' boss wants Blythe Masters to run investment bank - source

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The Barclays logo is seen outside a branch of the bank in central London October 30, 2014.  REUTERS/Toby Melville

By Michael Erman and Steve Slater

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) - New Barclays Plc Chief Executive Jes Staley has approached his former JPMorgan colleague Blythe Masters to run the British bank's investment bank division, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Staley has spoken to Masters about joining the bank late next year but it is not clear if she will, the source said. He declined to be named because details of the approach were confidential.

A spokesman for Barclays declined to comment.

Masters, best known for helping to create the credit-derivatives market in the 1990s, was the most high profile woman on Wall Street when she left JPMorgan last year after a 27 career with the bank.

She is currently the chief executive of Digital Asset Holdings, a startup designed to speed the trading of derivatives by using technology associated with bitcoin. She joined that company in March.

Barclays is shrinking its investment banking business and its current boss, Tom King, threatened to quit in the summer during a row with then-CEO Antony Jenkins over the future of the division, people familiar with the matter told Reuters at the time.

Chairman John McFarlane persuaded King to stay, but the row contributed to the ousting of Jenkins shortly after by McFarlane, the sources said.

There has been speculation in the media that King would retire next year.

Masters, King and Digital Asset Holdings did not respond to Reuters requests for comment.

The potential hire would be the latest step in Barclays' efforts to remake itself after being rocked by a series of scandals, including its role in fixing the benchmark interest-rate known as Libor.

Staley, who used to run JPMorgan's investment bank, only started as Barclays chief executive on Tuesday and is under pressure to set out a clear vision for the investment bank, where returns are the weakest in the group and costs need to be cut.

There have been multiple shifts in its strategy in recent years, and it is now focusing on its core U.S. and UK markets and cutting about 7,000 jobs.

CONTROVERSY

If Masters joined Barclays, the bank's top three executives, including Finance Director Tushar Morzaria, would all be JP Morgan veterans.

The U.S. bank's alumni feature heavily in the upper echelons of financial services, including Bill Winters, the new chief executive at Standard Chartered, Peter Hancock, the boss at insurer AIG and Charlie Scharf, the chief executive of Visa.

Masters, who was born in Oxford and grew up in Britain, started off in JP Morgan as an intern and worked her way up to run the bank's commodities trading operation, delivering pep talks to New York traders with a cut glass English accent.

A controversial figure, she helped develop and market credit derivatives, which were meant to insure investors if a loan went into default but instead blew huge holes in the balance sheet of financial firms such as insurer AIG during the 2007-08 financial crisis.

She was the chief financial officer of JP Morgan's investment bank from 2004 to 2007 before switching to run the commodities business, which she built into one of the biggest players in the industry.

She was back in the spotlight in July 2013, when JP Morgan agreed to pay $410 million to settle U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission allegations that units Masters oversaw manipulated power markets, enriching itself at the expense of California and Midwest residents from 2010 to 2012.

JPMorgan sold its physical commodities arm in 2014 as regulatory changes made it a less profitable business for banks, and Masters left the bank.

(Editing by Carmel Crimmins and Andrew Hay)

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The Rediscovery of Bitcoin's Blockchain: The World's Most Powerful Anchor

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Blockchains are set to go mainstream. As opposed to bitcoin – the currency – the underlying blockchain technology is embraced by prominent companies, banks, and even governments. A brand new industry is emerging based on this technological advancement that allows multiple entities to agree on a single version of a database with no need for a trusted third party.

However, much of this blockchain industry does not actually use Bitcoin's blockchain. Rather, several startups are building various types of blockchains, or shared-ledger technology that uses some of Blockchain's efficiencies. There is a simple reason for this strategy: Bitcoin's architecture is limiting in scope.

However, some properties of Bitcoin's blockchain are unmatched; it is, by far, the most secure open and decentralized ledger out there. That's why a new wave of blockchain-startups, including companies such as Factom, Tierion and DocuSign, is now seeking to marry the best of both worlds.

They use Bitcoin as an anchoring technology, used to secure alternative chains and data layers.

Limitations & Security

Peter Kirby is the CEO of Factom, a well-known blockchain startup which is building a data layer on top of Bitcoin, and working on a land registry program with the Honduran government. Speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, Kirby explained why it makes sense for companies to avoid using Bitcoin in some cases.

You don't see a lot of really, really advanced stuff being built on Bitcoin, because Bitcoin has some major limitation,” Kirby said. “Obviously there's a speed limitation; you need to wait 10 minutes for transactions to confirm, and sometimes you want three, maybe six confirmations. But you don't always have an hour to wait on an application. Additionally, there's a cost issue. If bitcoin's value goes way, way up, it means all your costs change. And finally, the most important one, there is a capacity issue. Bitcoin can't handle more than, like, seven transactions per second.”

But that does not mean Bitcoin's blockchain is useless, Kirby emphasized. One property of Bitcoin's blockchain has been impossible to copy so far: its unique security proposition. Bitcoin's immutability relies on mining power to secure the network against 51 percent attacks. In other words, it uses computing power to stop anyone from “changing the past.”

And, over the last six years, Bitcoin has garnered a record amount of hashing power.

Bitcoin is an amazing network, and it's got a lot of horsepower; some 500 petahash worth,” Kirby continued. “If you think of blockchains as a brick-stacking machine, where every time you write something you stack bricks on top of that, Bitcoin stacks the most bricks by 100,000 times. For every brick that another system stacks, Bitcoin stacks a ton.”

Anchoring

This unique security proposition has opened the door to a new application of the original Bitcoin blockchain: anchoring. Rather than transmitting and processing all information, some of the newer blockchains and alternative data-layers do most of the work on their own chain or ledger, and simply tap into Bitcoin's security without putting a big footprint into the system.

This is done using cryptographic tools called Merkle trees. Data – any type of data – can be scrambled and compressed into a hash: a seemingly random string of numbers. This hash can be much shorter than the original data, but is also impossible to unscramble, deeming it useless to anyone who doesn't have the original data. But anyone who does have the original data can scramble that data in the exact same manner. If the hash turns out the same, it essentially verifies that the original hash was made using the same data.

A Merkle tree, then, consists of multiple hashes hashed together into a new hash, called a Merkle root. As such, hundreds of pieces of data can all be compressed into a Merkle root. And using the magic of cryptography, anyone who has any of the original data can use the Merkle root to check whether that original data is part of the Merkle tree.

Major companies such as Philips are experimenting with Bitcoin’s blockchain using Merkle trees. The electronics and health care giant recently established a partnership with Tierion, a blockchain startup that lets users create a verifiable record of any data, file, or business process on the Bitcoin blockchain.

Elaborating on the specifics of this approach, Tierion CEO Wayne Vaughan told Bitcoin Magazine:

Tierion can anchor millions of records in the blockchain, even though Bitcoin can only handle seven transactions per second. Every 10 minutes we construct a Merkle tree of the recently received records and publish the Merkle root in a Bitcoin transaction. Tierion uses information from this process to create a blockchain receipt for each individual record. Anyone with a blockchain reciept can verify the contents and timestamp of a record, without even needing to know about Tierion. They can just check the Bitcoin blockchain.”

Explaining why this might be useful, Vaughan said:

Imagine you're a manufacturer with a complex purchasing process. You can connect your existing procurement systems to Tierion, or one of the other tools that anchors data in the Bitcoin blockchain, to timestamp and verify the contents of each purchase order and approval. This lets you create a verifiable audit trail of a purchasing process that spans multiple partners.”

This strategy is even being adopted by legacy payment systems. Visa recently announced a partnership with DocuSign to publish contracts on Bitcoin's blockchain while using the existing payments rails as provides by Visa itself.

In our DocuSign/Visa connected car example, we’re generating transaction information and posting it to an open system which provides a secure, tamper-proof container which is also time-stamped,” DocuSign founder and Chief Strategy Officer Tom Gonser said. “This container can then be accessed by any application to pick up our transaction and process it, knowing that it is authentic.”

The future of Bitcoin 2.0

These companies, therefore, believe anchoring could very well be the future of Bitcoin as a 2.0 technology. Bitcoin itself might never be the platform that's used to record every single stock trade, or all the world's data. But it could evolve to be a fundamental and secure base layer, on which more advanced solutions are constructed. Bitcoin is being rediscovered as a building block, much like the IP layer of the internet itself.

TCP/IP moves the data packets, HTTP manages images and visualization, and then fancy stuff like Flash and HTML5 get built on top of that,” Kirby said. “We think that blockchain technology will be built the same way. Bitcoin at the core, and a data layer on top on which you write stuff... fancy applications like Storj and distributed computing like Ethereum on top of that...”

He added, “The world of banking and finance is kind of apprehensive about Bitcoin in general; they're always coming up with reasons why Bitcoin is not perfect. But it doesn't need to be perfect, it just needs to be there.”

Vaughan agreed.

The world has never really had something like this before,” he said. “The Bitcoin blockchain provides a global consensus engine that databases can use to verify information. I think people are just starting to recognize its potential.

The post The Rediscovery of Bitcoin's Blockchain: The World's Most Powerful Anchor appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Bitcoin Gaming Brand LimoPlay Casino Celebrates Launch With 100% Match Bonus

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Bitcoin Press Release: New online casino platform LimoPlay.com features a sleek luxurious design, state-of-the-art games and incorporates the use of Bitcoin for the ultimate player experience. A new online gambling house has emerged in the vast expanding online casino industry. LimoPlay.com offers a first-class gaming experience with a luxurious limousine inspired casino platform. LimoPlay offers a sleek user interface, generous bonuses, an array of payment options, 24/7 support and other services of ‘limousines’ calibre.  One of the highlighted features during LimoPlay’s launch was the Bitcoin casino games. LimoPlay Casino allows players to deposit and withdraw funds quickly through Bitcoin and […]

The post Bitcoin Gaming Brand LimoPlay Casino Celebrates Launch With 100% Match Bonus appeared first on CCN: Financial Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency News.

Sia Launches Decentralized Blockchain-based Storage Platform Similar to Filecoin and Storj

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Decentralized cloud file hosting service operator Sia has announced the launch of an automated peer-to-peer blockchain-based collaborative cloud for data storage, allowing users to create tailored storage plans with robust security protocols. Similar to decentralized storage projects Filecoin and Storj, Sia aims to create a trustless, fault-tolerant, file storage service.

The Sia platform stores personal and user data across multiple nodes and tracked by automated smart contracts. Files are protected through a multiple-stage process and encrypted with an algorithm called Twofish.

The strength of the platform relies on its Reed-Solomon-based file distribution system. All user data is split into several pieces as it enters the Sia client, leaving very few fractures necessary to recover the original data. These pieces of sensitive user information are padded to 4 megabytes, to protect user privacy. Finally, each padded piece is encrypted using unique encryption keys in the client side.

These security protocols are designed to prevent hackers from seizing user data of the Sia platform in an event of a data breach.

“Hosts receive an encrypted blob and are not given any information about where the other pieces of the file are. Even if they found out, they would still have to crack multiple encryption keys to recover the file. Cryptographic checksums are maintained by the client that alert the user to any tampering that the hosts may have attempted,” the Sia team told Bitcoin Magazine in an interview.

According to the team, the sophisticated encryption and decentralized file distribution system of the Sia platform could be used for decentralized application development. Its API enables developers to store files of the application directly into the Sia client, allowing third-party app users to directly access their customized data storage systems without revisiting the original client.

The company also announced a partnership with flexible back-end application development platform Crypti to allow its engineers to integrate the Sia API to grant access to its data storage client.

“Crypti has integrated with Sia as a storage layer for their decentralized application development. Sia provides an API that can be used to upload files to the storage network. Crypti is a flexible platform that can integrate with multiple backends, but Sia is the first decentralized offering, allowing developers to build truly trustless Crypti apps,” the Sia team told Bitcoin Magazine.

Both third-party application and the Sia platform users are given the permission to issue smart contracts for file storage. The feature allows an uploader and a host to agree on storage terms including duration of storage, payment scheduling and amount and embed the information onto the blockchain, creating an unalterable contract automatically.

“When the contract ends, the host must submit a storage proof to the blockchain, demonstrating that it still has the file specified by the contract. If the proof is valid, the uploader’s money is transferred to the host, and the host’s collateral is returned. But if the host submits an invalid proof, or no proof at all, then all of the money is given to the uploader,” explained the Sia team.

“The extraordinary parallelism of the Sia network means that upload and download speeds can saturate most connections. The vast array of distributed nodes means that Sia would make an excellent CDN. The erasure coding algorithms over the global network make Sia much more resistant to block swan outages such as power failures and natural disasters. The specifications of the Sia network are superior across the board,” claimed the team.

Currently, Sia’s cloud storage network is being sold at at $3 per terabyte per month. According to its website, the network is hosting over 1 terabyte at time of publication.

Now that the project has officially launched, the Sia team aims to onboard developers and enterprise customers. As the platform gains traction, the team plans to continue to improve the core Sia protocol and hire talented engineers to improve the platform’s security protocols and user experience.

The post Sia Launches Decentralized Blockchain-based Storage Platform Similar to Filecoin and Storj appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Goldman Sachs: Blockchain Is Ready For Centre Stage

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Goldman Sachs notes in a research note sent to clients today, that bitcoin might just be the "opening act" for blockchain technology.

Co-Operative Internet : How Bitcoin Can Help Change Internet Business Models

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Bitcoin Press Release: SearchTrade is a search engine on the surface but a whole lot more than just another search engine. It rewards advertisers, keyword owners and the end-user using SearchTrade, with Bitcoin. Bitcoin could be the start of a trend whereby technology works for humanity rather than against it. Wait... technology is working against humanity? There are many examples where technological innovations enriches large corporations like Google, Facebook and mobile service providers – but often at the expense of everyday users. People play a role similar to farm animals, used as mere resources. Bitcoin signals a turning point to […]

The post Co-Operative Internet : How Bitcoin Can Help Change Internet Business Models appeared first on CCN: Financial Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency News.

Lightning Network Implementation ‘Amiko Pay’ Currently in Development

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The Lightning Network is a design improvement for Bitcoin that could allow users to make micropayments in a decentralized manner and help the entire network scale more efficiently over time. While this proposal has received a large amount of attention in the Bitcoin community, there is another, similar option currently in development by C.J. Plooy.

Plooy recently gave a presentation on his alternative implementation, Amiko Pay, at Scaling Bitcoin Montreal. During his talk, Plooy noted:

“If you look at the basic design of the Lightning Network -- a network of payment channels. This is actually quite an old idea. There have been several variations of this, and the Lightning Network just happens to be the best so far.”

Different Types of Payment Channels Within the Same Network

Although there are strong similarities between Amiko Pay and the Lightning Network, Plooy was quick to point out some key differences between the two payment channel networks during his Scaling Bitcoin Montreal presentation. One of Plooy’s first points had to do with Amiko Pay’s ability to offer more flexibility when it comes to the types of payment channels that can be found on the network:

This kind of design makes it possible to have different kinds of channels within the same network, and that opens up a couple of possibilities. One thing is these channels can be different in technology, so they can offer different tradeoffs in terms of security versus convenience.”

Plooy went on to add:

Another difference is they could actually be running on different blockchains.”

The ability to construct a blockchain-agnostic network of payment channels is noteworthy when applied to sidechains. That sort of setup would allow transfers between sidechains to take place instantaneously. Plooy also added that nodes on Amiko Pay could essentially act as a decentralized exchange as different assets could be found on the same network.

Ripple-Style IOU Channel Already Implemented

Although Amiko Pay is still very much a work-in-progress, a channel prototype already is available. Plooy described this channel during his presentation:

What has been implemented right now is a Ripple-style IOU channel that is not a real microtransaction channel. It is just an object that fills in the place of a microtransaction channel and only does some bookkeeping of who owes what. Of course, this gives no protection or security whatsoever, but for software testing it is really useful because it is trivial to implement.”

Although the currently available channel is essentially used only for software testing right now, Plooy added that it could also be useful for connections between trusted parties in the future.

What About a True Lightning Channel?

The developers behind the Lightning Network currently are working on a sidechain implementation of the concept because the network requires some changes to Bitcoin Core. Plooy decided to take a different approach with his system. He noted, “I don’t want to depend on the Bitcoin developers to give me those new features.”

Plooy described his alternative approach to implementing a lightning channel in Amiko Pay:

I designed a different channel type that emulates these missing features with an escrow service, so now you sort of have to depend on the escrow service to correctly evaluate all of the things that are not evaluated by a Bitcoin script.”

Plooy has written a white paper, which explains his escrow-based approach in greater detail.

I think it is actually good enough for real-world usage,” he said.

Plooy closed his talk by discussing a few of the remaining issues with payment channel networks, such as unresolved security holes and economic modeling that could hinder development over the near term. For now, it does not appear that these problems will prevent Amiko Pay or the Lightning Network from existing in the real world.

The post Lightning Network Implementation ‘Amiko Pay’ Currently in Development appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Lightning Network Implementation ‘Amiko Pay’ Currently in Development

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The Lightning Network is a design improvement for Bitcoin that could allow users to make micropayments in a decentralized manner and help the entire network scale more efficiently over time. While this proposal has received a large amount of attention in the Bitcoin community, there is another, similar option currently in development by C.J. Plooy.

Plooy recently gave a presentation on his alternative implementation, Amiko Pay, at Scaling Bitcoin Montreal. During his talk, Plooy noted:

“If you look at the basic design of the Lightning Network -- a network of payment channels. This is actually quite an old idea. There have been several variations of this, and the Lightning Network just happens to be the best so far.”

Different Types of Payment Channels Within the Same Network

Although there are strong similarities between Amiko Pay and the Lightning Network, Plooy was quick to point out some key differences between the two payment channel networks during his Scaling Bitcoin Montreal presentation. One of Plooy’s first points had to do with Amiko Pay’s ability to offer more flexibility when it comes to the types of payment channels that can be found on the network:

This kind of design makes it possible to have different kinds of channels within the same network, and that opens up a couple of possibilities. One thing is these channels can be different in technology, so they can offer different tradeoffs in terms of security versus convenience.”

Plooy went on to add:

Another difference is they could actually be running on different blockchains.”

The ability to construct a blockchain-agnostic network of payment channels is noteworthy when applied to sidechains. That sort of setup would allow transfers between sidechains to take place instantaneously. Plooy also added that nodes on Amiko Pay could essentially act as a decentralized exchange as different assets could be found on the same network.

Ripple-Style IOU Channel Already Implemented

Although Amiko Pay is still very much a work-in-progress, a channel prototype already is available. Plooy described this channel during his presentation:

What has been implemented right now is a Ripple-style IOU channel that is not a real microtransaction channel. It is just an object that fills in the place of a microtransaction channel and only does some bookkeeping of who owes what. Of course, this gives no protection or security whatsoever, but for software testing it is really useful because it is trivial to implement.”

Although the currently available channel is essentially used only for software testing right now, Plooy added that it could also be useful for connections between trusted parties in the future.

What About a True Lightning Channel?

The developers behind the Lightning Network currently are working on a sidechain implementation of the concept because the network requires some changes to Bitcoin Core. Plooy decided to take a different approach with his system. He noted, “I don’t want to depend on the Bitcoin developers to give me those new features.”

Plooy described his alternative approach to implementing a lightning channel in Amiko Pay:

I designed a different channel type that emulates these missing features with an escrow service, so now you sort of have to depend on the escrow service to correctly evaluate all of the things that are not evaluated by a Bitcoin script.”

Plooy has written a white paper, which explains his escrow-based approach in greater detail.

I think it is actually good enough for real-world usage,” he said.

Plooy closed his talk by discussing a few of the remaining issues with payment channel networks, such as unresolved security holes and economic modeling that could hinder development over the near term. For now, it does not appear that these problems will prevent Amiko Pay or the Lightning Network from existing in the real world.

The post Lightning Network Implementation ‘Amiko Pay’ Currently in Development appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

GOLDMAN SACHS: 'The Blockchain can change... well everything'

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

A supermassive black hole with millions to billions times the mass of our sun is seen in an undated NASA artist's concept illustration. In this illustration, the supermassive black hole at the center is surrounded by matter flowing onto the black hole in what is termed an accretion disk. This disk forms as the dust and gas in the galaxy falls onto the hole, attracted by its gravity. Also shown is an outflowing jet of energetic particles, believed to be powered by the black hole's spin, according to a NASA news release.

Goldman Sachs is a big bull on blockchain, the distributed ledger software that underpins digital currency bitcoin.

In an "Emerging Theme Radar" note sent to clients on Wednesday, the bank says: "While the Bitcoin hype cycle has gone quiet, Silicon Valley and Wall Street are betting that the underlying technology behind it, the Blockchain, can change... well everything."

In its most basic form, the blockchain records ownership of bitcoin and transactions involving the cryptocurrency across a wide network of computers, as opposed to a centralized ledger.

Transactions are signed off by the parties involved using the software, checked by the network or the "crowd," then added to the blockchain — a long string of code that records all activity. Encryption in the software ensure these "blocks" can't be tampered with or altered. And the decentralized nature means the "crowd" police the whole system.

Here's a diagram Goldman produced to explain how it works:blockchainThe software cuts out the need for a "trusted middleman" to sit in between parties in a transaction, such as a bank or clearinghouse. This makes transactions quicker, cheaper, and easier when compared to the current systems banks use.

Banks like Goldman are therefore keen to see if it can be adapted for use with traditional currency, rather than just bitcoin. Beyond that, there's excitement that it could be used for everything from issuing shares to "smart contracts" that only unlock funds once certain pre-conditions are met.

Or as Goldman's analyst Robert D. Boroujerdi puts it:

It [blockchain] has the potential to redefine transactions and the back office of a multitude of different industries. From banking and payments to notaries to voting systems to vehicle registrations to wire fees to gun checks to academic records to trade settlement to cataloguing ownership of works of art, a distributed shared ledger has the potential to make interactions quicker, less-expensive and safer.

It's not clear whether Boroujerdi is talking about using the specific blockchain that underpins bitcoin for all these uses, or replicating the technology to build separate blockchains.

I noted in a recent piece that some of the best-funded bitcoin startups are pivoting their businesses or tweaking their messaging to make it more about selling the benefits of bitcoin's blockchain to consumers or companies, rather than the bitcoin itself.

Boroujerdi says: "Bitcoin was just the opening act, with the Blockchain ready to take center stage."

Despite Boroujerdi's seeming runaway optimism, he does note that there are some drawbacks. One worry is the potential cost of developing and maintaining the network. Another is the lack of a regulatory framework. And a third is concerns over the capacity of the blockchain.

But the big trends are encouraging — venture capital funding for the sector is growing, as is usage of bitcoin's blockchain.

Goldman Sachs isn't the only big bank excited about the blockchain — in fact, most of them are. Thirty banks have now signed up to the R3 or R3CEV partnership, which Goldman name-checks in the note. R3, based out of New York, is trying to establish industry-wide standards and protocols for using the technology, as well as exploring potential use cases.

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NOW WATCH: JAMES ALTUCHER: The American Dream is a lie

The SEC Is Accusing a Former Bitcoin Entrepreneur of Running a $20 Million Ponzi Scheme

Inc, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Josh Garza, the CEO of now-defunct GAW Miners, allegedly defrauded customers by promising larger returns than it was capable of providing.








Bitcoin Price Support May Be Temporary

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The bitcoin price decline halted at the BTCC 4-hour 200-period moving average. The market has spent most of the day milling around this area in the chart and, unless there is a surprise development, seems destined to resume decline. This analysis is provided by xbt.social with a 3-hour delay. Read the full analysis here. Not a member? Join now and receive a $29 discount using the code CCN29. Bitcoin Price Analysis Time of analysis: 13h00 UTC BTCC 4-Hour Chart From the analysis pages of xbt.social, earlier today: The 4-hour chart above highlights instances where decline had either struck a low […]

The post Bitcoin Price Support May Be Temporary appeared first on CCN: Financial Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency News.

Goldman Sachs Files Patent For Securities Settlement With Cryptocurrency

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Goldman Sachs has filed a patent application for a cryptographic currency called SETL Coin to be used for securities settlement. The application, which signifies the New York-based global bank’s growing interest in cryptocurrency, has been filed with the U.S. Patent & Trade Mark office. Paul Walker and Phil J. Venables, both of New York, N.Y., are listed as the inventors. The technology provides a virtual, multi-asset wallet for a traditional cash and securities account for an investor or trader. The technology facilitates transactions between non-virtual wallets and a virtual wallet and vice versa on the same peer-to-peer network. A trader […]

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Expectations High For Blocksize Debate Ahead of Hong Kong Summit

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Bitcoin's block size debate will be given renewed life this weekend when some of the industry’s most influential stakeholders gather in Hong Kong.

US investigators are accusing a bitcoin entrepeneur of running a $20 million Ponzi scheme

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Police US United States $100 Dollar Bills Money Counterfeit

US investigators are accusing a bitcoin entrepeneur of running a Ponzi scheme that brought in nearly $20 million (£13.2 million).

Josh Garza, former CEO of GAW Miners, allegedly defrauded customers by promising vastly larger returns than it was capable of providing in an attempt to trick them into signing up, the US Securities and Exchange Commission says.

New bitcoins are created through "mining" — using computers to solve complex algorithms, helping to contribute to the upkeep of the network powering bitcoin in the process. It can be profitable — but requires costly specialised hardware to get started.

GAW Miners operated a "cloud" mining service: Users could pay for a share of the profits generated by the company's hardware, meaning they don't need to buy any kit of their own. These shares were called "hashlets."

A criminal complaint filed on Tuesday by the SEC, which we saw over at CoinDesk, alleges that "hashlet sales had many of the hallmarks of a Ponzi scheme. Because defendants sold far more computing power than they owned and dedicated to virtual currency mining, they owed investors a daily return that was larger than any actual return they were making on their limited mining operations."

The SEC says that GAW Miners "earned about $19 million in revenue from the sale of the hashlets." The company closed down earlier this year.

Garza's lawyer told CoinDesk in a statement: "Josh Garza is disappointed that the SEC has filed a lawsuit against him. Any further comments will be through the court process."

Speaking to Business Insider earlier this year, Marco Streng — CEO of Genesis Mining, another cloud mining company — said that fraud was a problem within the industry. "Cloud mining has a major trust issue ... [fraudulent companies] don’t ever even own their own mining facilities. They just take pictures from other companies, photoshop them, then pretend they are theirs." Streng did not accuse any specific companies of fraud.

"Though cloaked in technological sophistication and jargon, defendants’ fraud was simple at its core," The SEC's complaint about GAW Mining says. "Defendants sold what they did not own, and misrepresented the nature of what they were selling."

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NOW WATCH: Your smartphone may be stunting your child’s development

‘Glomads’ Marriage Marks First Official Act Of Estonia E-Residency/Bitnation

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

A marriage between two self-described “glomads” Tuesday marked the first official act by the new Estonia e-residency/Bitnation partnership. The marriage, for better or for worse, of Edurne Lolnaz and Mayel de Borniol will not be recorded anyplace else other than on the block chain. Bitnation recently agreed to extend its notarization services to Estonia’s e-residency program. The wedding was held Dec. 1 at 3 p.m. GMT. A party is planned for June 18, 2016 on the Island of Santorini, Greece, and there is an invitation form on the couple’s website for anyone interested in attending. Wedding broadcast live The wedding […]

The post ‘Glomads’ Marriage Marks First Official Act Of Estonia E-Residency/Bitnation appeared first on CCN: Financial Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency News.

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