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Bitcoin-Stealing Secret Service Agent Gets Nearly Six Years in Prison for Silk Road Theft 

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

Former Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges is going to prison for 71 months, or nearly six years, for stealing over $800,000 in Bitcoin from drug dealers while investigating the Silk Road.

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Secret Service Agent Gets Six-Year Prison Sentence for Bitcoin Theft

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

Former Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges has been sentenced to nearly six years in prison for stealing bitcoins during the Silk Road investigation.

Bitcoin Exchange Operator Indicted for Credit Union Capture

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

One of the operators of the now-defunct bitcoin exchange Coin.mx was indicted last week.

Did Bitcoin Investment Trust Trading Push November Price Rally?

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

Trading in the Bitcoin Investment Trust (BIT), an open-ended trust invested exclusively in bitcoin, may have contributed to the November spike in bitcoin’s price, according to The Wall Street Journal. On Oct. 21, for the first time, the spread between publicly-traded shares in the fund and the bitcoin price became negligible. On Nov. 3, 71,000 shares traded and the bitcoin price surged. A spokesman for the trust said the narrowed spread probably attracted investors to BIT. Arbitragers often try to profit from changes between assets and price, but do so, they must take a position in the asset.   On […]

The post Did Bitcoin Investment Trust Trading Push November Price Rally? appeared first on CCN: Financial Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency News.

The Security of Your Password Vault: An Interview with Keeper's Co-Founder

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

Passwords. The keys to verify your credentials on every single online platform that you use. With the multitude of social media accounts, online services, email addresses, banking logins and more, it is entirely likely that you may find remembering multiple passwords (a good security practice) to be, overwhelming.

The post The Security of Your Password Vault: An Interview with Keeper's Co-Founder appeared first on CCN: Financial Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency News.

Germany's Finance CEOs Don't Think Bitcoin Will Go Mainstream

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

95% of financial experts surveyed believe that cryptocurrencies will struggle to survive within the next ten years.

Ciphrex's Eric Lombrozo: There Is No 'December Deadline'

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

The long-lasting block-size dispute seems to be inching toward a climax.

A large segment of Bitcoin's academic and engineering community has been discussing the possibilities and tradeoffs of scaling Bitcoin at the Scaling Bitcoin workshop in Hong Kong this past weekend, while prominent Bitcoin companies such as Coinbase, BitPay, Bitstamp and others have posed a “December deadline” afterward, at which point they will change their code to allow for bigger blocks.

But not according to Ciphrex CEO and Bitcoin Core developer Eric Lombrozo: “Talk of 'deadlines' is just that: talk. In the end it is not really up to these companies to impose any such deadline.”

According Lombrozo, whose Ciphrex is the company behind the Bitcoin wallet mSIGNA, the block-size dispute represents a clash of visions. And the only way to reconcile these visions to some degree, he thinks, is through added layers on top of the Bitcoin protocol, such as payment channels and the Lightning Network.

“At one extreme – the ‘big block’ side – we have a system where anyone can transact but few can verify, and at the other we have a system where anyone can verify but few can transact,” Lombrozo explained. “The first is not really much different from exisisting centralized payment systems, and the latter is only well-suited for high-value settlement. Neither extreme is desirable. Bitcoin, in its current form, presents us with this fundamental tradeoff. To get the best of both worlds, or something close to it, will require additional technology layers.”

This assesment is not shared by Google veteran Mike Hearn and former Bitcoin Core developer Gavin Andresen. While not opposing additional layers, Hearn and Andresen maintain that Bitcoin should be allowed to scale “on-chain,” which is why they implemented BIP 101 in Bitcoin XT. BIP 101 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.

Lombrozo said he could see himself supporting a block-size limit increase, but only after critical issues with the protocol are fixed to ensure bigger blocks can be rolled out safely. Some of the ideas to do this – such as the “segregated witness” proposal – will be presented in Hong Kong over the next couple of days.

The Ciphrex CEO pointed out that Bitcoin’s base layer technology and basic research and development are underfunded compared to funding on the application level, meaning that improvent has not come as fast as it could have otherwise. But rolling out bigger blocks before proper solutions are implemented is a bad idea, Lombrozo argued.

“Continuing to subsidize transactions while externalizing the costs to the validator nodes that keep Bitcoin secure will not drive greater adoption. What made Bitcoin successful to begin with were the incentives for people to run nodes – to contribute resources to the network ... not getting a bunch of retailers to 'accept bitcoin.' Externalizing the costs to these nodes is not unlike other industry polluters trying to profit while shirking on the cost of cleanup. And – importantly – it actually works against the dynamic that made Bitcoin successful.

“A block-size increase based on political compromise that disregards serious technical concerns sets a terrible precedent. Appeasing certain interests in this manner may encourage others in the future to try the same tactics. That's actually one of my biggest concerns regarding any controversial hard fork proposal: Even if the network survives without losing some of its important characteristics, it could provide an opening for future saboteurs.“

Apart from Andresen and Hearn, BIP 101 is supported by several prominent Bitcoin companies, including some that stated they intend to change their code by December, and Bitcoin mining pool Slush Pool. Hearn, moreover, recently alleged that miners will change their code to allow for bigger blocks as well – if no solution is agreed upon after Hong Kong.

Lombrozo, however, squarely dismissed this notion.

“Hearn is known for big talk and bluffs... and misrepresentations,” Lombrozo said. “If you look at the raw statistics, by any metric, Bitcoin XT deployment has been a dismal failure. "Barely anyone is mining in favor of Bitcoin XT; far less than one percent of hashing power. Only an estimated 8 percent of all Bitcoin nodes currently run XT, and this figure has been dropping since its peak around August. The sober view is that most miners and companies are not quite ready to risk it all on a fork of Bitcoin that most of the top contributors believe is a bad idea and that has not been extensively reviewed and tested.“

Lombrozo, instead, believes that the Bitcoin industry will follow the development community, as he believes that would be the only sensible thing to to.

“Who is going to support a BIP 101 Bitcoin?” Lombrozo asked rhetorically. “Where is Hearn going to get all the skilled people to contribute? To whom will these miners and companies turn if anything breaks? The overwhelming majority of the top contributors, even in the Bitcoin XT repository, have made it clear they support neither the repository itself nor Hearn's tactics.”

The post Ciphrex's Eric Lombrozo: There Is No 'December Deadline' appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Gavin Andresen Explains Why He Prefers BIP 101 Over BIP 100

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

There have been a few proposals to increase the maximum blocksize in Bitcoin over the past year, but the two plans that are garnering the most attention right now are Jeff Garzik’s BIP 100 and Gavin Andresen’s BIP 101. While Andresen has already implemented his plan in BitcoinXT, Garzik is still working on a formal write-up and the code for BIP 100.

Andresen shared his thoughts on BIP 100 via an interview on Epicenter Bitcoin. Although he did not seem completely dismissive of the proposal, it’s clear that he would prefer to go with his own idea for increasing the blocksize, which would offer more predictability in regard to where the blocksize limit will be in the future.

How BIP 100 Works

When asked directly about BIP 100 by Epicenter Bitcoin co-host Sébastien Couture, Andresen was quick to describe the basic way in which the concept is intended to work:

“Jeff [Garzik]’s proposal is that basically the miners get to decide what the next maximum blocksize should be. There’s kind of a regular vote every -- on the order of months.”

Andresen then discussed both BIP 100 and BIP 101 in terms of which proposal would lead to a larger increase in the blocksize limit. The Bitcoin Foundation chief scientist noted that Garzik’s proposal does not come with an immediate increase after it has been implemented, but this does not necessarily mean that it would limit the size of blocks over the short term:

[Garzik] starts with the status quo, so he has no jump-up until the first miner vote. It’s more cautious there. I mean, theoretically, miners could double-up -- he has a maximum of 32 megabyte blocks -- more quickly. So, if miners wanted to and they all voted for the maximum increase every time, we could be at 32 megabytes more quickly than BIP 101, which would probably be OK if the miners are comfortable with that and they think the network can support it, then OK, so be it.”

Is BIP 100 More Conservative?

Due to the unpredictable nature of Garzik’s BIP 100 proposal, it is difficult to tell if the plan would be more or less conservative than Andresen’s BIP 101. Andresen stated:

Depending on how you look at it, it’s either less conservative or more conservative. It’s probably more conservative.”

If BIP 100 were implemented, it would take a vote from the miners to increase the blocksize limit. In other words, BIP 100 does not increase the blocksize limit by default. It’s also possible that miners could limit the blocksize to a size much smaller than Andresen’s proposed immediate increase to 8 megabytes, which is why some individuals see this proposal as a more conservative approach. On the other hand, miners could vote to increase the maximum blocksize to 32MB in a relatively short period. It is difficult to know which approach would be more conservative without seeing how miners would react to a real-world BIP 100 implementation.

BIP 101 is More Predictable

The key attribute that Andresen likes about his own plan when compared to BIP 100 is that his comes with a predictable increase in the blocksize limit. He explained the importance of this predictability during his Epicenter Bitcoin interview:

I don’t like it as much as BIP 101. I don’t really care what the rule is, but I really like predictable rules. I really like rules that are -- I know exactly what the maximum blocksize is going to be on, you know, February 15th, 2022. With BIP 101, we know that. It’s set down there in the spec. We know exactly what it’s going to be, in much the same way that we know what the supply of bitcoin is going to be on that date too -- pretty much.

[Bitcoin founder] Satoshi [Nakamoto]’s very predictable
money supply algorithm for introducing new bitcoins is kind of what inspires me to propose that we just have this limit be very predictable so people can plan...

You can do some modeling of what I think the demand for transactions is going to be. You might be able to figure out what the fees are likely to be. All those kinds of things are easier to do if you, kind of, fix this rule as opposed to letting it be miner consensus over time.”

The majority of the network hashrate is currently supporting Garzik’s BIP 100 solution via a Coinbase blocksize vote on the network. Having said that, miners are not the only Bitcoin users with a say in the matter. Many bitcoin exchanges, wallet providers, and payment processors, such as Circle and Blockchain.info, see value in Andresen’s BIP 101 -- but not necessarily the BitcoinXT fork. Coming to consensus on this matter has proven to be next to impossible up to this point, but it’s possible that we could be approaching a breaking point with all of the recent activity in the debate.

Photo Web Summit / Flickr(CC)

The post Gavin Andresen Explains Why He Prefers BIP 101 Over BIP 100 appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Gavin Andresen Explains Why He Prefers BIP 101 Over BIP 100

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

There have been a few proposals to increase the maximum blocksize in Bitcoin over the past year, but the two plans that are garnering the most attention right now are Jeff Garzik’s BIP 100 and Gavin Andresen’s BIP 101. While Andresen has already implemented his plan in BitcoinXT, Garzik is still working on a formal write-up and the code for BIP 100.

Andresen shared his thoughts on BIP 100 via an interview on Epicenter Bitcoin. Although he did not seem completely dismissive of the proposal, it’s clear that he would prefer to go with his own idea for increasing the blocksize, which would offer more predictability in regard to where the blocksize limit will be in the future.

How BIP 100 Works

When asked directly about BIP 100 by Epicenter Bitcoin co-host Sébastien Couture, Andresen was quick to describe the basic way in which the concept is intended to work:

“Jeff [Garzik]’s proposal is that basically the miners get to decide what the next maximum blocksize should be. There’s kind of a regular vote every -- on the order of months.”

Andresen then discussed both BIP 100 and BIP 101 in terms of which proposal would lead to a larger increase in the blocksize limit. The Bitcoin Foundation chief scientist noted that Garzik’s proposal does not come with an immediate increase after it has been implemented, but this does not necessarily mean that it would limit the size of blocks over the short term:

[Garzik] starts with the status quo, so he has no jump-up until the first miner vote. It’s more cautious there. I mean, theoretically, miners could double-up -- he has a maximum of 32 megabyte blocks -- more quickly. So, if miners wanted to and they all voted for the maximum increase every time, we could be at 32 megabytes more quickly than BIP 101, which would probably be OK if the miners are comfortable with that and they think the network can support it, then OK, so be it.”

Is BIP 100 More Conservative?

Due to the unpredictable nature of Garzik’s BIP 100 proposal, it is difficult to tell if the plan would be more or less conservative than Andresen’s BIP 101. Andresen stated:

Depending on how you look at it, it’s either less conservative or more conservative. It’s probably more conservative.”

If BIP 100 were implemented, it would take a vote from the miners to increase the blocksize limit. In other words, BIP 100 does not increase the blocksize limit by default. It’s also possible that miners could limit the blocksize to a size much smaller than Andresen’s proposed immediate increase to 8 megabytes, which is why some individuals see this proposal as a more conservative approach. On the other hand, miners could vote to increase the maximum blocksize to 32MB in a relatively short period. It is difficult to know which approach would be more conservative without seeing how miners would react to a real-world BIP 100 implementation.

BIP 101 is More Predictable

The key attribute that Andresen likes about his own plan when compared to BIP 100 is that his comes with a predictable increase in the blocksize limit. He explained the importance of this predictability during his Epicenter Bitcoin interview:

I don’t like it as much as BIP 101. I don’t really care what the rule is, but I really like predictable rules. I really like rules that are -- I know exactly what the maximum blocksize is going to be on, you know, February 15th, 2022. With BIP 101, we know that. It’s set down there in the spec. We know exactly what it’s going to be, in much the same way that we know what the supply of bitcoin is going to be on that date too -- pretty much.

[Bitcoin founder] Satoshi [Nakamoto]’s very predictable
money supply algorithm for introducing new bitcoins is kind of what inspires me to propose that we just have this limit be very predictable so people can plan...

You can do some modeling of what I think the demand for transactions is going to be. You might be able to figure out what the fees are likely to be. All those kinds of things are easier to do if you, kind of, fix this rule as opposed to letting it be miner consensus over time.”

The majority of the network hashrate is currently supporting Garzik’s BIP 100 solution via a Coinbase blocksize vote on the network. Having said that, miners are not the only Bitcoin users with a say in the matter. Many bitcoin exchanges, wallet providers, and payment processors, such as Circle and Blockchain.info, see value in Andresen’s BIP 101 -- but not necessarily the BitcoinXT fork. Coming to consensus on this matter has proven to be next to impossible up to this point, but it’s possible that we could be approaching a breaking point with all of the recent activity in the debate.

Photo Web Summit / Flickr(CC)

The post Gavin Andresen Explains Why He Prefers BIP 101 Over BIP 100 appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Will Bitcoin Price Respond to Wider Market Reversals?

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

Bitcoin price has traded sideways for almost two days and we look at the momentum indicators for clues as to which way next. 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: 14h30 UTC OKCoin 3Mth 1-Hour Chart From the analysis pages of xbt.social, earlier today: Three grey arrows highlight the indicator conditions at the point of advance for the last three price waves to the upside. In each case there had been common […]

The post Will Bitcoin Price Respond to Wider Market Reversals? appeared first on CCN: Financial Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency News.

Bitcoin Miner Bitfury Recruits a Former Deputy White House Press Secretary

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

A former White House employee and a close aide to President Obama has now taken the role of the Global Chief of Communications at Bitcoin miner Bitfury. A PR veteran who was previously serving as the Deputy White House Press Secretary and Special Assistant to President Obama has now accepted the role of global chief of communications at prominent bitcoin miner, Bitfury. Jamie Elizabeth Smith, has also served as Director of Public Affairs for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. She was also the Director of Communications for the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee headed by the […]

The post Bitcoin Miner Bitfury Recruits a Former Deputy White House Press Secretary appeared first on CCN: Financial Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency News.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Unseals Charges Against ‘Variety Jones’ In Silk Road Marketplace

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

A team of federal law enforcement officials in New York have announced the unsealing of charges against Roger Thomas Clark, a senior adviser to Silk Road operator Ross Ulbricht. According to the unsealed charges, Clark was a close confidante to Ulbricht and advised him on all aspects of Silk Road operations. Clark, arrested on Dec. 3, 2015 in Thailand, is pending extradition to the U.S. In announcing the charges, Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said Clark served as a trusted confidante to Ulbricht and advised him on how to maximize profits and use threats […]

The post Manhattan U.S. Attorney Unseals Charges Against ‘Variety Jones’ In Silk Road Marketplace appeared first on CCN: Financial Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency News.

Former Senior White House Staffer Joins Bitcoin Miner Bitfury

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

A former White House employee has taken up a new role at the best funded miner in bitcoin.

Cryptsy's Bitcoin Withdrawal Troubles Continue

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

A reader wrote to CCN letting us know that he has had severe withdrawal problems with Cryptsy, the exchange which recently went offline, supposedly as a result of distributed denial of service attacks. The user said that the stalled withdrawal process began on November 29th, as confirmed in the screenshot below. He was trying to withdraw 0.2 bitcoins and nearly 240,000 reddcoins. CCN is cautious about publishing these stories, in that we're aware of a policy Cryptsy has in place that unverified user accounts can only withdraw a very small amount of currency per day. However, this user indicated that […]

The post Cryptsy's Bitcoin Withdrawal Troubles Continue appeared first on CCN: Financial Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency News.

Hard Fork Question Divides Developers at Scaling Bitcoin Day 2

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

Highlights of day two of Scaling Bitcoin included the debut of segregated witnesses and a roundtable discussion between developers and China's miners.

TransferWise's CEO thinks bitcoin has been driven by 'greed'

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

TransferWise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus

Taavet Hinrikus, the CEO of fintech startup TransferWise, had harsh words for bitcoin on Monday morning, claiming that the digital currency’s growth has been driven by “greed,” and that nobody actually wants to use it.

Speaking at London tech conference TechCrunch Disrupt, Hinrikus told TechCrunch’s editor-at-large Mike Butcher: "We’re very much a consumer-led company. The trouble with bitcoin is nobody’s asking for it."

He added: "I think the growth of bitcoin has probably been driven mostly by greed, by people thinking ‘oh the value must — can only — go up.’ I think we’re kind of seeing that cool down now."

It’s certainly true that the bitcoin currency markets are full of speculators, and the price is highly volatile. During 2015, it has varied between $175 (£116) and more than $400 (£265) per bitcoin. It’s currently sitting at around $395 (£262), down from an all-time high of more than $1,100 (£730) in late 2013.

Some bitcoin startups are also starting to turn their backs on bitcoin due to a lack of consumer interest. Bitcoin wallet and exchange Bitreserve rebranded in October 2015 as Uphold, distancing itself from the currency. It now pitches itself as a more general online wallet.

CEO Anthony Watson told Business Insider that it’s the blockchain — not bitcoin itself — that’s a big deal, saying: "I don’t think bitcoin is going to be anywhere near as important as people say it is today. That’s a personal view. The blockchain is very transformative."

In June, meanwhile, bitcoin company BitPay told Business Insider: "We keep adding merchants — we’re up to over 60,000 now — but they’re selling to the same pool of bitcoin early adopters." The currency is failing to attract new users.

Harsher words come from Robert Mohland, who built dogetipbot, an tipping tool that lets users tip others with digital currencies online. He open-sourced the tool in November and moved onto a new project, calling bitcoin "a solution looking for a problem" and claiming that traditional finance is "more profitable and desirable" for ordinary users, Coindesk reported.

Bitcoin PriceBitcoin is a decentralised currency — there’s no central bank regulating transactions. Instead, it uses complex cryptography to let users send bitcoin to each other, with all these transactions recorded on the “blockchain” — a public ledger shared between everyone on the network.

Bitcoin’s advocates argue it could revolutionise the global financial system, doing away with the need for the majority of traditional financial structures. But many within finance think that the efficiencies of the blockchain can be incorporated into existing institutions. Hinrikus said at TechCrunch Disrupt that the blockchain — the technology that underpins bitcoin — is "much more exciting."

TransferWise is one of the hottest fintech — or financial technology — startups in Europe. It’s focused on transferring money abroad, and promises to be eight times cheaper than banks by using clever peer-to-peer technology.

This cross-border money transfer is one of the areas where bitcoin enthusiasts claim the digital currency has significant advantages over traditional currencies — you can send huge amounts around the world for very low costs.

Kristo Kaarman, TransferWise’s co-founder, told Business Insider earlier this year: "We’re very excited about the blockchain as a concept. I don’t think anyone’s really clocked how to use it for moving money locally, let alone internationally.

"There is a little bitcoin economy starting but all the other things... it’s just too early to know if there is a real use case for it and how people will use it. I’d say we’re monitoring the space."

The mainstream financial industry is currently looking closely at the blockchain as a way to revolutionise finance. Goldman Sachs says in a recent note that the blockchain "can change … well everything" and 30 banks have joined an industry-wide partnership looking for use cases for the blockchain.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The biggest security mistakes people make with online banking

TransferWise's CEO thinks bitcoin has been driven by 'greed'

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

TransferWise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus

Taavet Hinrikus, the CEO of fintech startup TransferWise, had harsh words for bitcoin on Monday morning, claiming that the digital currency’s growth has been driven by “greed,” and that nobody actually wants to use it.

Speaking at London tech conference TechCrunch Disrupt, Hinrikus told TechCrunch’s editor-at-large Mike Butcher: "We’re very much a consumer-led company. The trouble with bitcoin is nobody’s asking for it."

He added: "I think the growth of bitcoin has probably been driven mostly by greed, by people thinking ‘oh the value must — can only — go up.’ I think we’re kind of seeing that cool down now."

It’s certainly true that the bitcoin currency markets are full of speculators, and the price is highly volatile. During 2015, it has varied between $175 (£116) and more than $400 (£265) per bitcoin. It’s currently sitting at around $395 (£262), down from an all-time high of more than $1,100 (£730) in late 2013.

Some bitcoin startups are also starting to turn their backs on bitcoin due to a lack of consumer interest. Bitcoin wallet and exchange Bitreserve rebranded in October 2015 as Uphold, distancing itself from the currency. It now pitches itself as a more general online wallet.

CEO Anthony Watson told Business Insider that it’s the blockchain — not bitcoin itself — that’s a big deal, saying: "I don’t think bitcoin is going to be anywhere near as important as people say it is today. That’s a personal view. The blockchain is very transformative."

In June, meanwhile, bitcoin company BitPay told Business Insider: "We keep adding merchants — we’re up to over 60,000 now — but they’re selling to the same pool of bitcoin early adopters." The currency is failing to attract new users.

Harsher words come from Robert Mohland, who built dogetipbot, an tipping tool that lets users tip others with digital currencies online. He open-sourced the tool in November and moved onto a new project, calling bitcoin "a solution looking for a problem" and claiming that traditional finance is "more profitable and desirable" for ordinary users, Coindesk reported.

Bitcoin PriceBitcoin is a decentralised currency — there’s no central bank regulating transactions. Instead, it uses complex cryptography to let users send bitcoin to each other, with all these transactions recorded on the “blockchain” — a public ledger shared between everyone on the network.

Bitcoin’s advocates argue it could revolutionise the global financial system, doing away with the need for the majority of traditional financial structures. But many within finance think that the efficiencies of the blockchain can be incorporated into existing institutions. Hinrikus said at TechCrunch Disrupt that the blockchain — the technology that underpins bitcoin — is "much more exciting."

TransferWise is one of the hottest fintech — or financial technology — startups in Europe. It’s focused on transferring money abroad, and promises to be eight times cheaper than banks by using clever peer-to-peer technology.

This cross-border money transfer is one of the areas where bitcoin enthusiasts claim the digital currency has significant advantages over traditional currencies — you can send huge amounts around the world for very low costs.

Kristo Kaarman, TransferWise’s co-founder, told Business Insider earlier this year: "We’re very excited about the blockchain as a concept. I don’t think anyone’s really clocked how to use it for moving money locally, let alone internationally.

"There is a little bitcoin economy starting but all the other things... it’s just too early to know if there is a real use case for it and how people will use it. I’d say we’re monitoring the space."

The mainstream financial industry is currently looking closely at the blockchain as a way to revolutionise finance. Goldman Sachs says in a recent note that the blockchain "can change … well everything" and 30 banks have joined an industry-wide partnership looking for use cases for the blockchain.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The biggest security mistakes people make with online banking

Safe Exchange Initial Coin Offering

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

Bitcoin Press Release: Safe Exchange, The People's Exchange

San Francisco, CA -- December 5, 2015 The Safe Exchange is proud to release 99% ownership of the Decentralized Board of Trade (DBOT), a blockchain based exchange governance system that oversees the anonymous exchange built on the SAFE Network. This sale is taking place on the website http://safex.io/sale. The Safe Exchange itself is a platform which anyone can use to arrange and settle Safe Contracts which can be as private or public, as identified or anonymous as the participants chose. The result is a marketplace capable of allowing purchase and sale of goods […]

The post Safe Exchange Initial Coin Offering appeared first on CCN: Financial Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency News.

Blockchain Notarization Service Stampery Simplifies Lawyers’ Tasks

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

Stampery, a service that certifies records and documents on the blockchain, says lawyers working with sensitive documents are one of its main user groups, according to International Business Times. The other two main groups are creatives looking to establish ownership rights and companies that generate prior art of intellectual property.   Lawyers receive a lot of documents and have to do a lot of due diligence, including getting documents notarized. By using Stampery, they can drag and drop zip documents to Stampery rather than sending them in a CD to a notary. Stampery provides irrefutable proof of the documents' existence and the day they […]

The post Blockchain Notarization Service Stampery Simplifies Lawyers’ Tasks appeared first on CCN: Financial Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency News.

Purse Raises $1 Million, Plans ‘Secret Bitcoin Project’

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

Bitcoin e-commerce startup Purse has raised $1m in seed funding in a round led by investor Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group.

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