Bitcoin History Part 15: Silk Road Is Born

Bitcoin History Part 15: Silk Road Is Born

Silk Road launched in February 2011 as the darknet’s first bitcoin-based marketplace. Within four months, it would be the darknet’s most notorious site whose reputation extended all the way to the U.S. Senate. The origins of the drugs marketplace can be traced back further, however, to a philosophical thread on the Bitcointalk forum. It was only later that the significance of this thread would be fully appreciated. Also read: Bitcoin History Part 14: The 1,000 BTC Poker Game ‘A Heroin Store’ “As a Libertarian, the thing I love most about the Bitcoin project is the chance that it could be truly disruptive,” wrote early Bitcointalk user ‘teppy.’ It was June 2010, and Bitcoin was still very much in its infancy, with its potential use cases still being figured out. “I think that drug prohibition is one of the most socially harmful things that the US has ever done, and so I would like to do a thought experiment about how a heroin store might operate, accepting Bitcoins, and ending drug prohibition in the process,” continued teppy, before outlining his idea for how such a venture would operate. The proposal was cautiously welcomed, with some users highlighting the hazards (“US government has endless resources and nothing to stop them from doing things they’re not supposed to … I think if it’s high profile enough you would still get busted somehow, something you didn’t think of”) and others elaborating on how it might work. Although the thread was provocatively titled “A Heroin Store,” one user suggested a marijuana store would be preferable because “the risk of getting caught is much more calculable. Your clients are much trustworthier, and your competitioners are not as dangerous.” A Framework for Silk Road Although they couldn’t have known, the participants in the thread were brainstorming what would become Silk Road. From the use of Tor to the way packages could be shipped, it was all laid out. It is unclear if the discussion directly inspired Dread Pirate Roberts, or merely crystallized an idea he already had forming, but within two months of the thread appearing, he had begun work on Silk Road. On Jan. 29, 2011, user “altoid” posted a since-deleted response in the heroin store thread that read: What an…

The Real Benefits of Blockchain Are Here. They’re Being Ignored

The Real Benefits of Blockchain Are Here. They’re Being Ignored

Roham Gharegozlou is the CEO of Dapper Labs, the company behind the viral blockchain game CryptoKitties. Brian Flynn works on the Dapper Labs product team.  Introducing as many people as possible to the benefits of decentralization is a cause almost everyone in this industry shares. The issue is that, in making the technology more accessible, many developers are sacrificing the benefits of decentralization for the sake of convenience. A decentralized product should keep three key promises to its customers: Censorship-resistant: your stuff is safe and can’t be tampered with Self-sovereign: you own and control your assets, identity, and data Open ecosystems: everyone gets value from new contributions Dapper Labs has a few horses in this race: we started with CryptoKitties, still the most popular blockchain game by transaction volume, and recently announced NBA Top Shot, a new blockchain-based ecosystem being developed in partnership with the NBA and NBPA. We also shipped Dapper, one of the first ‘smart wallets’ for ethereum. The value of censorship resistance and customers owning their own data is relatively well understood. Less attention is being paid to the other big benefit of crypto that centralized approaches compromise: open ecosystems. Open ecosystems are the cornerstone Open ecosystems enable anyone to contribute to a platform or someone else’s work on the platform and receive rewards for their work. On ethereum, we’re seeing open ecosystems appear in the realm of decentralized finance (DeFi). MakerDAO’s DAI, an algorithmic stablecoin, is used by dapps like Dharma, Compound Finance, and many others. These decentralized lending applications provide competitive rates using Dai to attract borrowers while enabling lenders to earn from assets they already own. Compound Finance and Uniswap make MakerDAO stronger when combined together as opposed to existing individually. These open ecosystems are even multi-layered, using smart contracts from multiple primitives to create infinite possibilities. For example, Opyn is a non-custodial trading platform built on top of Ethereum, Compound, Uniswap, and MakerDAO’s DAI. Without Compound or Uniswap, Opyn wouldn’t be able to exist. “The combination of Primitives will enable the creation of protocols and systems that weren’t possible prior to their existence. These emergent systems will be greater than any of the individual primitives on their own.” — The Emergence of Cryptoeconomic Primitives by Jacob Horne Turning creators, users and developers into stakeholders In an open ecosystem,…

Bitcoin Fights to Hold at $10,150 as US Stock Market Sees Minor Uptrend

Bitcoin Fights to Hold at $10,150 as US Stock Market Sees Minor Uptrend

Sunday, Aug. 18. — Most of the top 20 cryptocurrencies are suffering moderate losses on the day, as Bitcoin (BTC) struggles to stay over the $10,150 mark again. Market visualization courtesy of Coin360 Bitcoin price is currently down by 1.79% on the day, trading at around $10,166 at press time, according to Coin360. Looking at its weekly chart, the coin is down by about 10.4%. Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360 Ether (ETH) is holding onto its position as the largest altcoin in terms of its market capitalization, which currently stands at $19.9 billion. The second-largest altcoin, Ripple’s XRP, has a market cap of $11.3 billion at press time. Coin360 data shows that ETH has seen its value increase by about 0.04% over the last 24 hours. At press time, ETH is trading at around $185.The coin has also lost about 10.19% of its value during the week.  Ether 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360 XRP is down by about 0.15% over the last 24 hours and is currently trading at around $0.265. The coin is down by about 10.77% on the week. XRP 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360 Among the top 20 cryptocurrencies, the only ones reporting gains other than Ether are Unus Sed Leo (LEO), which is over 6% up, Chainlink (LINK), which is over 5.5% up, and Tezos (XTZ), which is over 1.5% up. At press time, the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is $264.6 billion, about 10.39% lower than the value that was reported a week ago. In traditional markets, the U.S. stock market is seeing gains so far today, with the S&P 500 up 1.44% and the Nasdaq up 12.8% at press time. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), on the other hand, lost 1.41% on the day at press time. Oil futures and indexes are seeing mixed movement today, with WTI Crude up 0.73%, Brent Crude up 0.7% and Mars U.S. up 0.61% at press time. The OPEC Basket is down 1.01% and the Canadian Crude Index has seen no change in its price over the 24 hours by press time, according to OilPrice. Keep track of top crypto markets in real time here

Philippines Increasingly Crypto Friendly – A Look at Driving Forces

Philippines Increasingly Crypto Friendly – A Look at Driving Forces

There are many reasons why the Philippines is becoming increasingly crypto-friendly. Not only has its central bank registered more crypto exchanges recently, but the Securities and Exchange Commission has also been actively finalizing crypto guidelines. The country has an active crypto community, and one of its largest banks has engaged in multiple crypto projects. Also read: Central Banks Worldwide Testing Their Own Digital Currencies Rising Number of Crypto Exchanges The number of approved crypto exchanges has been increasing in the Philippines. The country’s central bank, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), has registered 13 of them so far: Betur Inc. dba Coins.ph, Rebittance Inc., Bloomsolutions Inc., Virtual Currency Philippines Inc., Etranss Remittance International Corp., Fyntegrate Inc., Zybi Tech Inc., Bexpress Inc., Coinville Phils Inc., Aba Global Philippines Inc., Bitan Moneytech Co. Ltd., Telcoin Corp., and Atomtrans Tech Corp. The latter two were added to the BSP’s list of approved exchanges last month. The central bank adopted a formal regulatory approach to cryptocurrency through the issuance of Circular No. 944 back in 2017. It requires businesses engaged in the exchange of cryptocurrencies for fiat money in the Philippines to register with the central bank as remittance and transfer companies. Among the registered companies is Rebittance Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI), a fintech company building a blockchain ecosystem in the Philippines. Co-founder Miguel Cuneta told news.Bitcoin.com that, besides the 13 registrants, many others are in “in the process of applying.” In addition, the Philippines has a special economic zone where many overseas crypto exchanges have been licensed to operate. The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) revealed in June that it had licensed 37 crypto exchange operators. In collaboration with property developer Northern Star Gaming and Resorts, the authority has been building “Crypto Valley of Asia” for companies operating in the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport. However, CEZA’s licenses do not entitle licensees to “sell securities to Filipinos or to exchange tokens into fiat currency,” the authority clarified, noting that a BSP license is needed for such purpose. Growing More Crypto-Friendly Cuneta further shared with news.Bitcoin.com that he believes “The Philippines has always been one of the most crypto-friendly countries in the world,” highlighting several factors. Firstly, he emphasized that the Philippines…

Japan to Solarize Its Burgeoning Digital Economy, Expert Take

Japan to Solarize Its Burgeoning Digital Economy, Expert Take

Society is now witnessing the implementation of digital currencies, artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technology worldwide. These new digital technologies necessitate very high consumption of electric energy, which is currently produced with coal and fossil fuels that have adverse environmental effects. A global shift toward green energy will require the removal of the technological/infrastructural, financial and regulatory/tax-policy barriers. In this series, we evaluate the tax, digital technology and solar policies (including a space solar power satellite) of the top carbon dioxide-emitting countries. In 2009, Japan — the Land of the Rising Sun — undertook  important initiatives that set the tone for how it intended to solarize the world’s third-largest digital economy. Japan passed its Basic Space Law, which established a space power satellite (SPS) — the concept of collecting solar power in outer space and distributing it to Earth via satellites — as a national priority. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) of Japan sets the strategic energy plan for the world’s fourth-largest energy consumer and the sixth-largest emitter of CO2 — 90% of which is tied to hydrocarbon energy. METI believes that the impact of blockchain — which consumes large amounts of electricity — is huge and that its importance is similar to the emergence of the internet. According to a World Economic Forum survey, global GDP stored on blockchain technology is expected to reach 10% by 2027. Therefore, in June 2018, Japan introduced a sandbox regime to accelerate the introduction of new business models and innovative technologies such as blockchain, AI and the Internet of Things. The world’s largest technology investment fund — the $100 billion Softbank Vision Fund, which announced the launch of a second fund — and Japanese megabanks have been investing in and funding blockchain startups concerning applications in telecommunications, swift -payment system, solar energy, identity, health care, messaging, transportation, data security and fintech industries, both in Japan and globally.  Related: Is US Environmental Tax Policy Hindering Solar Power to Fuel Digital Technologies? Solar photovoltaic technology and its applications in solar energy in Japan  Japan’s Ministry of Technology and Industry (MITI) views solar photovoltaic power as an essential part of its digital economic transformation. Japanese science fiction author Haruki Murakami concurs “Japan, as an economic power, should find…

IRS Revoking Passports Shows How Government Erodes Everything We Hold Dear

IRS Revoking Passports Shows How Government Erodes Everything We Hold Dear

If you have outstanding tax debt, the IRS may now want to take your passport. For U.S. crypto holders still waiting on promised IRS guidelines for filing — especially those overseas who may have missed these warning memos — the over 400,000 agency notifications issued since February last year are troubling. This kind of behavior from government is nothing new, however, but an oft-repeating pattern of parasitism which sucks value from producers of goods, services and surplus, and punishes progress. Also Read: Elon Musk Supports Yang – But Does Andrew Yang Really Support Bitcoin? True Tyranny Is Vague It has been said that the most cruel and insufferable forms of tyranny are not those with the most rules, but those with the rules that are the most unclear. Even under extremely unfair and unjust law, if one knows what is expected, one can often survive. It’s the proverbial drunken hand of the volatile, abusive caregiver, who one day is reserved about some small matter, and the next flies into a violent rage about the same, which is truly the crushing burden to bear. In the case of the caregiver, old, unaddressed emotional wounds are likely to blame. In the case of the state, the leveraging of ambiguity to produce fear is intentional. In May, IRS commissioner Chuck Rettig wrote in a statement: “We have been considering these issues and intend to publish guidance addressing these [crypto issues] and other issues soon.” To date, no such guidance on filing crypto taxes has been issued. What has been issued, however, are vague threats and warnings to crypto holders and traders. IRS commissioner Chuck Rettig has announced that letters will be sent to crypto holders who may have misreported or neglected to file, even in the absence of promised guidelines.Since February, 2018, notifications have been going out to over 400,000 taxpayers who owe more than $51,000 (recently adjusted to $52,000) in overdue taxes. Since June this year, letters specifically targeting crypto holders have been issued. These letters also clarified inexplicably that, contrary to Rettig and the IRS’s previous statements, crypto is not simply treated as a property under U.S. policy. Every transaction except for buying crypto with fiat is a taxable event. Expats, who may not have gotten…

Crypto Markets Descending, With Bitcoin Price Sinking Below $10,200

Crypto Markets Descending, With Bitcoin Price Sinking Below $10,200

Saturday, Aug. 17 —  Most major cryptocurrency markets have seen a slight drop today, with Bitcoin (BTC) falling below the $10,200 price point, according to data from Coin360. Market visualization. Source: Coin360 BTC is trading at around $10,197 at press time, down roughly 3% on the 24-hour period to press time. Today, BTC saw a drop to as low as $9,765 before trading sideways around its current level. Bitcoin is now down almost 14% on the week, while on its monthly chart the coin is up by 6.73%. Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360 The second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, Ether (ETH) started the day at $182.96. The altcoin mirrored Bitcoin’s drop earlier today, subsequently experiencing a gradual and jagged decline over the course of the day. Ether has lost over 14% on the week and 11% in terms of its monthly performance. Ether 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360 XRP is currently trading in the green at around $0.263, leaving it up 0.46% over the past day. Earlier today, the altcoin saw an upswing to $0.267. On its weekly and monthly charts, XRP is down by 11.43% and 14.24% respectively. XRP 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360 Apart from XRP, only Cardano (ADA), UNUS SED LEO (LEO), Chainlink (LINK), and IOTA (MIOTA) are reporting gains on the day among top-20 cryptocurrencies. As reported earlier today, Bitcoin SV blockchain developer and blockchain organization service Open Directory creator synfonaut launched a consulting service called Office Hours. This service connects developers in need of assistance with experienced Bitcoin SV developers for help on Bitcoin SV projects. Also today, Cointelegraph reported that crypto lending firm Nexo had paid its token holders a total of $2,409,574.87 in dividends, reaching an annualized dividend yield of 12.73%. Keep track of top crypto markets in real time here

Bitcoiners Brace for More Performance Art and Another ‘Satoshi Reveal’

Bitcoiners Brace for More Performance Art and Another ‘Satoshi Reveal’

On Friday, a variety of paid press releases were published stemming from a company called Satoshi Nakamoto Renaissance Holdings, a firm that claims a big “reveal” is coming on Sunday, August 18. According to the announcement, Satoshi Nakamoto will divulge his “real-life identity” alongside his “country of origin, education, professional background, and why he has yet to move any of his 980,000 bitcoins.” Many cryptocurrency supporters believe the press release is nothing more than a market ploy similar to the Gotsatoshi.com ruse ‘unveiled’ last May. Also read: Another Self-Proclaimed Satoshi Appears in the High Profile Bitcoin Lawsuit Another So-Called Satoshi Plans to Reveal His Identity There have been so many self-styled Satoshi Nakamotos over the years it’s starting to get hard to keep track of them all. Now this weekend on Sunday, August 18, another person who claims to be Bitcoin’s inventor is supposedly doing a “reveal” to show the world he’s Satoshi. The press release published by a PR agency called Ivy McLemore & Associates never mentions who the mysterious man is, but claims that the person will be disclosing his true “real-life identity.” “After a decade of anonymity, Satoshi Nakamoto will break his silence in Part I of his ‘My Reveal,’” the media release explains. The statement to the press stemming from the company Satoshi Nakamoto Renaissance Holdings can be found on various paid press service websites. The reveal website.“Indicative of the compelling evidence he presents in each part of the series, Nakamoto will illustrate the role that cyphers and encryption related to his devotion to Chaldean numerology played in many decisions in his creation of Bitcoin,” the announcement claims. Moreover, the so-called Satoshi revealer aims to publicize why he registered the website Bitcoin.org 11 years ago. The statement adds: Nakamoto also will disclose why he chose the date August 18 not only to register Bitcoin.org in 2008 but also to release Part I of “My Reveal” this coming Sunday on the 11th anniversary of his registration of Bitcoin.org through Anonymousspeech.com. Here We Go Again — There’s No ‘Blank Slate’ When It Comes to All the Satoshi Marketing Ploys The company behind the reveal says that the revelations will allegedly culminate Tuesday with part II and III being published on the two websites…

Passing the Burden of Negative Rates to Bank Clients Opens Door for Cryptocurrencies

Passing the Burden of Negative Rates to Bank Clients Opens Door for Cryptocurrencies

Record low and negative interest rates have put commercial banks in a difficult spot. Across Europe, they have been passing the burden to their clients. Some have introduced fees for those with large account balances, while others are punishing everybody equally. In any case, some bankers fear this could lead to withdrawal of large amounts in cash, jeopardizing the cashless society traditional financial institutions have been building. Cryptocurrencies and their users have a lot to win in this situation. Also read: EU Members Adopt Tougher Crypto Rules Than AML Directive Requires Danske Bank Sees Risks for Society Danske Bank, the troubled Danish institution which is struggling to overcome the consequences of a large money laundering scandal, is among those European banks that have been dealing in negative interest rates the longest. Denmark was arguably the first country on the continent to introduce them after the 2008 crash. In the summer of 2012, the central bank lowered its benchmark rate to -0.2% and has kept it around or below zero ever since. Benchmark interest rate in DenmarkWith unprecedented low interest rates in Europe, many financial institutions have made a decision to pass the burden on to their account holders and even introduce fees on large cash balances. However, Danske has recently vowed not to punish its wealthy depositors with additional charges, unlike other major banks in the region. Chief Financial Officer Christian Baltzer warned in a recent interview with Bloomberg that charging customers with large deposits could pose a risk to society, as he put it. Baltzer said that Danske acknowledges the difficult conditions in the financial sector, but emphasized Denmark’s leading bank does not plan to impose negative interest rates on personal savings or current accounts. In his opinion, charging private customers to hold money in their accounts could add new risks, one of which would be the erosion of the progress toward developing a cashless society. He further commented: Doing so could have a negative impact at the societal level, including the risk of customers withdrawing more deposits in cash. Negative interest rates are becoming the norm in Denmark, and corporate clients have already felt the brunt of the shift. Some banks admit they are about to pass the costs to retail depositors as…

South Korean Crypto Exchange Coinone Releases Criteria for Crypto Listing

South Korean Crypto Exchange Coinone Releases Criteria for Crypto Listing

South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Coinone has released a set of criteria for determining whether to list new digital currency projects on the exchange. In a blog post published on Aug. 8, Coinone described nine criteria cryptocurrency projects should comply with in order to be listed on the exchange. Coinone will specifically consider such issues as sustainability of business models, transparency of governance, token distribution plan, vision and value, market size, use case, team formation, roadmap achievement rate and marketability. Focus on the South Korean market In detailing the criteria, Coinone stressed that a crypto project should have a South Korean market-focused business plan, since the majority of its users are local citizens. Coinone also emphasized that it thoroughly examines the organization of the governance structure of listed projects and associated risks. Apart from that, Coinone says that it considers a token’s future distribution plan, in addition to the project’s token issuance and circulation. Crypto projects also need to have a clear idea for what value they can offer compared with existing products and services in the market they are replacing. “Since CoinOne generates revenue only from the fees incurred from transactions, we intend to list projects that can naturally generate trading volume as the project grows,” Coinone wrote. Gradual expansion of services The development comes in the wake of Coinone’s announcement on Aug. 7, in which it revealed a partnership with cybersecurity audit company CertiK and disclosures company Xangle to provide more safety and transparency for their crypto investors. In April, Coinone announced its plans to expand with the launch of an exchange in Indonesia. The exchange’s Indonesian branch was initially set to support six cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ether (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Litecoin (LTC) and Quantum (QAU).