Bitcoin Magazine

Bitcoin Magazine

Bitcoin MagazineOp Ed: Why Ethereum’s Hard Fork Will Cause Problems in the Coming YearBitcoin and Blockchain Technology: The Future of PhilanthropyDutch Tax Authority Clarifies: Bitcoin Mixing Will Not Be Banned, But Will Raise SuspicionDaimler Financial Services Acquires Bitcoin Operator PayCash Europe to Launch Mobility Service “Mercedes Pay”Why Bitcoin Unlimited’s “Emergent Consensus” Is a GambleWill Trump’s New Policies Boost U.S.–Mexico Bitcoin Remittances?P2P Talent Marketplace ChronoBank Adds ChangellyShapeShift Security Chief Michael Perklin: “2017 Will Be the Year of Blockchains”How Bitcoin Unlimited Users May End Up on Different BlockchainsReview: Cryptosteel Is a Great Way to Back Up Bitcoin Private Keys

https://bitcoinmagazine.com Fri, 3 Feb 2017 02:40:25 60 Bitcoin Magazine is the original source of information, news and commentary about Bitcoin, the blockchain and digital currencies.
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<p>After the embarrassing failure of the DAO in 2016, the Ethereum Foundation moved quickly to address the problem by implementing a hard fork. On July 20, 2016, the new code went into effect, reversing transactions that allowed a hacker to bleed $50 million  out of the $150 million venture fund in the wee hours of June 17.<br/></p><p>That DAO hard fork was not popular, but it was effective. The majority of miners moved over to the new chain, and the DAO funds went into a new smart contract, so the original investors could safely withdraw their funds.  </p><p>To be clear, the Ethereum network itself was not hacked, just the DAO smart contract. The hacker took advantage of a loophole in the contract code, written in the JavaScript-like language Solidity.</p><p>But while the hard fork was an expedient solution to a pressing problem, how the decision-making was handled has long-term consequences for Ethereum.</p><p><b>Loss of Trust</b></p><p>When the hacker drained the account, she/he put the funds in a child DAO. To extend the mandatory hold on those funds before the hacker could cash out, on June 24, the Ethereum Foundation <a href=”https://blog.ethereum.org/2016/06/24/dao-wars-youre-voice-soft-fork-dilemma/”>incented miners to soft fork</a> by releasing Geth version 1.4.8, code-named “DAO Wars.” However, the soft fork was abandoned because of the <a href=”http://hackingdistributed.com/2016/06/28/ethereum-soft-fork-dos-vector/”>risk of a denial-of-service attack</a>.</p><p> </p><p>The Foundation then began work on a hard fork to reverse the DOA transactions. Unlike a soft fork, a hard fork is a radical change in the protocol that all stakeholders in a blockchain need to agree upon to implement.</p><p> </p><p>Not everyone agreed with reversing the DAO funds. Many vehemently opposed it. Yet, as events unfolded, it became clear that Ethereum had no structure in place for settling these differences — no official forum for discussing the events, and no official voting mechanism. Instead, decisions were being made on the fly.</p><p>As a result, the broader Ethereum community was awakening to the reality that the Ethereum Foundation and its core developers were the ones holding the cards. And there were clear conflicts of interest: the DAO was founded by<a href=”https://blog.slock.it/former-ethereum-cco-stephan-tual-joins-slock-it-team-9fd956f2408#.304jmh4ee”> former Ethereum developers</a>, and <a href=”https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12005855″>several people in the Ethereum Foundation owned DAO tokens</a>.  </p><p><b>Stakeholders Not Fully Involved</b></p><p>To get the vote needed to push through a hard fork, on July 15, the Ethereum Foundation turned to <a href=”http://carbonvote.com/”>Carbonvote</a>, an ad hoc polling tool created after the DAO hack. Ether holders were given one vote per ether they held.  </p><p>But many questions arose regarding how the vote was handled: whether voters had enough time to vote (<a href=”https://aakilfernandes.github.io/users-given-less-than-24-hours-to-decide-fate-of-ethereum”>the voting window closed in less than 24 hours</a>), <a href=”https://www.reddit.com/r/ethereum/comments/4s0rz6/a_vote_that_nobody_knows_about_is_not_a_vote/d55nye3/”>who knew about the vote</a> (outside of a blog post, it was only publicized on Twitter and Reddit) and whether enough people even participated to make it legitimate. Only a small percentage of ether holders ever voted. Additionally, <a href=”https://www.reddit.com/r/ethereum/comments/4s0rz6/a_vote_that_nobody_knows_about_is_not_a_vote/d55nye3/”>questions arose</a> about whether Carbonvote was even an appropriate voting tool. (Ethereum founder <a href=”https://www.reddit.com/r/ethereum/comments/4ro2p9/options_in_the_hard_fork_slockit_blog/d52pgpn/”>Vitalik Buterin had previously referred to it</a> as an informal signaling tool to see “which way the wind is blowing.”)</p><p><img alt=”Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 3.11.03 PM.png” height=”191″ src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/eIf9wX0T0cj5_1z4WUEpLB2nur6ay1JSgFkChcYPvYyWVElaXyDEI1w-aHwzguDNVhm_911hNeeGbAac_9zkm-ZqRasJCueGdHM1Z6gix4msnjUDpVqz7H0BmyyOriIlZlYkQNtm” width=”420″/></p><p><img alt=”Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 3.11.21 PM.png” height=”308″ src=”https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/0EzTtivMNeS04gnSl9XLjWIUEbftC4l5ZtXzWTZ1Rxd0ytU0MMQEdpcklCbIc-8DO41XJJr8ahfECf5Mldtyu6zT3BoZJvhcStSP1i1KSQ8O4Q9ZKEee-j6FuPf63BDmjaV4GIu1″ width=”475″/></p><p><i>(Screenshots of <a href=”https://twitter.com/ethereumproject/status/753877284155777024″>https://twitter.com/ethereumproject/status/753877284155777024</a>)</i></p><p>The Ethereum Foundation and core developers ignored the interests of the stakeholders to push forward their own agenda for the fork.</p><p> </p><p>There’s no suggestion that the Ethereum Foundation acted out of anything other than good faith. The problem is the system depends on that good faith — and the broader Ethereum community now knows it.</p><p><b>A Fractured Network</b></p><p>When a hard fork goes through, the hope is that everyone switches over to the new protocol and that the old, deprecated chain simply dies off. But in the case of the post-DAO hard fork, that didn’t happen. Several miners, developers and stakeholders remained on the old blockchain, now called Ethereum Classic.</p><p>Now we have two Ethereums. <a href=”http://www.coindesk.com/ethereum-hard-fork-creates-competing-currencies-support-ethereum-classic-rises/”>This has divided</a> the once-unified Ethereum community and may dilute its overall influence.</p><p> </p><p>Additionally, forks create security problems. The fewer nodes a network has (when validators leave the system), the less secure it is from takeover attempts. Forks can also create <a href=”http://www.coindesk.com/rise-replay-attacks-ethereum-divide/”>opportunities for replay attacks</a>, where a valid transaction on one fork can be repeated on the other, wreaking havoc in the system.</p><p>For maximal security, and the sake of the community, hard forks need to happen in a way that reduces friction and convinces everyone to join the new fork. The fact that this didn’t happen with Ethereum shows that the process lacks consensus.</p><p><b>Hard Forks Are Not Effective for Evolutionary Change</b></p><p>A few months after the DAO fork, both Ethereum and Ethereum Classic came under a sustained denial-of-service attack. Both currencies followed up with subsequent forks to fix the security problems. Additionally, Ethereum planned three upgrade forks: Homestead (which launched in March 2016), Metropolis and Serenity.</p><p> </p><p>Soft forks and hard forks are becoming an accepted way of life for blockchains, and that is dangerous. Any fork has the potential to become controversial, and those controversies can weaken a network and stall future growth, just as with the post-DAO fork in Ethereum and the seemingly endless Bitcoin block size debate.  </p><p> </p><p>The process of evolving the Ethereum protocol needs to happen in an agreed-upon manner, so stakeholders (and core developers) don’t get hit by surprises. All parties have a right to know beforehand how issues will be resolved.</p><p>Future blockchains need built-in governance systems. Whenever possible, decisions should happen on chain, not on Reddit or Twitter or some off-site polling tool. And, as part of that governance system, blockchains also need a testnet, so stakeholders can review protocol changes before implementing them.</p><p>But whether upgrades happen on the blockchain or off, the decision-making process needs to be clear, accountable and decentralized. The fact that the post-DAO fork was none of these is what will cost Ethereum in the long run.</p><p><i>This guest post is by Kathleen Breitman, COO of Tezos (<a href=”https://tezos.com/”>tezos.com</a></i><i>), a new blockchain platform currently in development. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of </i>Bitcoin Magazine. </p><p> </p><p><br/></p><br/>

The post Op Ed: Why Ethereum’s Hard Fork Will Cause Problems in the Coming Year appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

After the embarrassing failure of the DAO in 2016, the Ethereum Foundation moved quickly to address the problem by implementing a hard fork. On July 20, 2016, the new code went into effect, reversing transactions that allowed a hacker to bleed $50 million  out of the $150 million venture fund in the wee hours of June 17.

That DAO hard fork was not popular, but it was effective. The majority of miners moved over to the new chain, and the DAO funds went into a new smart contract, so the original investors could safely withdraw their funds.  

To be clear, the Ethereum network itself was not hacked, just the DAO smart contract. The hacker took advantage of a loophole in the contract code, written in the JavaScript-like language Solidity.

But while the hard fork was an expedient solution to a pressing problem, how the decision-making was handled has long-term consequences for Ethereum.

Loss of Trust

When the hacker drained the account, she/he put the funds in a child DAO. To extend the mandatory hold on those funds before the hacker could cash out, on June 24, the Ethereum Foundation incented miners to soft fork by releasing Geth version 1.4.8, code-named “DAO Wars.” However, the soft fork was abandoned because of the risk of a denial-of-service attack.

The Foundation then began work on a hard fork to reverse the DOA transactions. Unlike a soft fork, a hard fork is a radical change in the protocol that all stakeholders in a blockchain need to agree upon to implement.

Not everyone agreed with reversing the DAO funds. Many vehemently opposed it. Yet, as events unfolded, it became clear that Ethereum had no structure in place for settling these differences — no official forum for discussing the events, and no official voting mechanism. Instead, decisions were being made on the fly.

As a result, the broader Ethereum community was awakening to the reality that the Ethereum Foundation and its core developers were the ones holding the cards. And there were clear conflicts of interest: the DAO was founded by former Ethereum developers, and several people in the Ethereum Foundation owned DAO tokens.  

Stakeholders Not Fully Involved

To get the vote needed to push through a hard fork, on July 15, the Ethereum Foundation turned to Carbonvote, an ad hoc polling tool created after the DAO hack. Ether holders were given one vote per ether they held.  

But many questions arose regarding how the vote was handled: whether voters had enough time to vote (the voting window closed in less than 24 hours), who knew about the vote (outside of a blog post, it was only publicized on Twitter and Reddit) and whether enough people even participated to make it legitimate. Only a small percentage of ether holders ever voted. Additionally, questions arose about whether Carbonvote was even an appropriate voting tool. (Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin had previously referred to it as an informal signaling tool to see “which way the wind is blowing.”)

Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 3.11.03 PM.png

Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 3.11.21 PM.png

(Screenshots of https://twitter.com/ethereumproject/status/753877284155777024)

The Ethereum Foundation and core developers ignored the interests of the stakeholders to push forward their own agenda for the fork.

There’s no suggestion that the Ethereum Foundation acted out of anything other than good faith. The problem is the system depends on that good faith — and the broader Ethereum community now knows it.

A Fractured Network

When a hard fork goes through, the hope is that everyone switches over to the new protocol and that the old, deprecated chain simply dies off. But in the case of the post-DAO hard fork, that didn’t happen. Several miners, developers and stakeholders remained on the old blockchain, now called Ethereum Classic.

Now we have two Ethereums. This has divided the once-unified Ethereum community and may dilute its overall influence.

Additionally, forks create security problems. The fewer nodes a network has (when validators leave the system), the less secure it is from takeover attempts. Forks can also create opportunities for replay attacks, where a valid transaction on one fork can be repeated on the other, wreaking havoc in the system.

For maximal security, and the sake of the community, hard forks need to happen in a way that reduces friction and convinces everyone to join the new fork. The fact that this didn’t happen with Ethereum shows that the process lacks consensus.

Hard Forks Are Not Effective for Evolutionary Change

A few months after the DAO fork, both Ethereum and Ethereum Classic came under a sustained denial-of-service attack. Both currencies followed up with subsequent forks to fix the security problems. Additionally, Ethereum planned three upgrade forks: Homestead (which launched in March 2016), Metropolis and Serenity.

Soft forks and hard forks are becoming an accepted way of life for blockchains, and that is dangerous. Any fork has the potential to become controversial, and those controversies can weaken a network and stall future growth, just as with the post-DAO fork in Ethereum and the seemingly endless Bitcoin block size debate.  

The process of evolving the Ethereum protocol needs to happen in an agreed-upon manner, so stakeholders (and core developers) don’t get hit by surprises. All parties have a right to know beforehand how issues will be resolved.

Future blockchains need built-in governance systems. Whenever possible, decisions should happen on chain, not on Reddit or Twitter or some off-site polling tool. And, as part of that governance system, blockchains also need a testnet, so stakeholders can review protocol changes before implementing them.

But whether upgrades happen on the blockchain or off, the decision-making process needs to be clear, accountable and decentralized. The fact that the post-DAO fork was none of these is what will cost Ethereum in the long run.

This guest post is by Kathleen Breitman, COO of Tezos (tezos.com), a new blockchain platform currently in development. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Bitcoin Magazine. 

The post Op Ed: Why Ethereum’s Hard Fork Will Cause Problems in the Coming Year appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Fri, 3 Feb 2017 02:40:25 1486089625 https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/op-ed-why-ethereums-hard-fork-will-cause-problems-coming-year/ https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/op-ed-why-ethereums-hard-fork-will-cause-problems-coming-year/ Kathleen Breitman Bitcoin Op-ed
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<p>Charities supporting children’s causes, victims of humanitarian disasters, the environment, scientific research or the arts raise millions of dollars in donations each year. Yet, while generous contributions continue to be made around the world, public trust and confidence in charities has been reported at its lowest recorded level.<br/></p><p>According to a 2016 report from<a href=”https://fundraising.co.uk/2016/06/28/public-trust-confidence-charities-falls-lowest-recorded-level/#.WJHLx_mLTIU”> UK Fundraising</a>, a survey of over 1,000 people found that trust in charities has fallen from 6.7 out of 10 in 2014 to 5.7 in 2016. The main reasons for this decline are distrust in how charities spend their donations, a lack of knowledge among the public about where their donations go and media coverage critical of charity practices. </p><p>Furthermore, a 2013<a href=”https://www.theguardian.com/voluntary-sector-network/2013/mar/14/charities-missing-donations-survey”> Guardian</a> report suggests that people in the U.K. would donate an extra £665 million a year to charity if organizations provided additional information about the things they care about, such as evidence of how their donations are impacting a cause and how their money is spent.</p><p>So how exactly can this issue be rectified for the benefit of charities and those who want to donate to a worthy cause? Enter bitcoin and blockchain technology.</p><p><b>Alice.si: A Blockchain Philanthropy Platform</b></p><p>According to Raphaël Mazet, CEO of<a href=”http://alice.si/”> Alice.si</a>, a U.K.-based blockchain philanthropy platform, charities are well documented with trust issues, particularly in the U.K. He believes, though, that blockchain technology is useful in addressing these issues.</p><p>“[As] donations can be made conditional to impact, and because everything is recorded immutably and transparently, anyone can verify what charities have achieved,” he said, speaking to <i>Bitcoin Magazine.</i></p><p>Alice.si is built on Ethereum’s blockchain; its name is an homage to “Alice,” who anecdotally always seems to be sending money to Bob. The “.si” stands for “social impact.” Using Alice, charities can raise donations based on the transparency of their impact. Once a donation appeal has been launched on Alice, the charity commits to delivering specific outcomes and receives payment only when those outcomes are verified and validated by an independent third party.</p><p>As part of the Nominet Trust’s <a href=”http://www.nominettrust.org.uk/how-to-apply/social-tech-seed”>Social Tech Seed</a> grant-making program, Alice received just over £45,000 in up-front funding to get the startup off the ground, thus allowing the company to build a track record of trust. </p><p>While Mazet states that the use of blockchain technology in charity cases can help to humanize the technology and introduce it to the general public, the company’s main message to donors focuses on how they can track the impact of their donations.</p><p>“Because we’re trying to reach a mainstream audience, we won’t necessarily put the tech front and center,” he said.</p><p>As such, Alice’s first pilot with St. Mungo’s, a forward-thinking U.K.-based homeless charity, due to be launched in Q1 of 2017, will be measuring its impact and working on a payment-by-results basis. </p><p>The platform will not accept donations in digital currencies just yet, however. Mazet explained that Alice is working with Tramonex Labs, which is registered within the sandbox framework of the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority, to issue electronic tokens that represent the donations on the Ethereum blockchain.</p><p>“That means they’ll collateralize and tokenize donations made in fiat on the Alice website so we can use them in our smart contracts,” he said. “In time, as people become more familiar with the technology, our plan is to empower them to interact with the smart contracts directly, and start donating with cryptocurrencies if they want to.”</p><p>Mazet says that Alice will be launching pilots in the first half of 2017 so they can test different use cases with different partners. After that, the idea is to open up to more charities, launching programs outside the U.K., such as in the U.S. and South Africa.</p><p>“The end game is really to make sure donors can trust the charities they’re funding, and see if we can help tackle some of the world’s really big issues in a demonstrable way.”</p><p><b>BitGive: Facilitating Bitcoin Donations</b></p><p>Since the establishment of the<a href=”http://bitgivefoundation.org/”> BitGive Foundation</a> in 2013, the nonprofit organization has been revolutionizing the way in which people donate to charity; in fact, it is the first 501(c)(3) registered nonprofit in the Bitcoin space.</p><p>Connie Gallippi, founder of BitGive, said to <i>Bitcoin Magazine</i> that the number of donations largely trends with the price of bitcoin; when the price is up, the organization sees more donations.</p><p>“Early on, it was a novel and interesting way to give, so there was more attention on it in the media,” she said.</p><p>For BitGive’s projects specifically, it also correlates to the amount of time and effort they have put into a charity or campaign and how much their mission and projects interest potential donors, Gallippi added.</p><p>In December, BitGive announced the<a href=”https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/bitgive-launches-givetrack-a-real-time-donation-tracking-system-1482179875/”> beta launch of GiveTrack</a>, a blockchain-based multidimensional donation platform that provides the ability to transfer, track and provide a permanent record of financial transactions across the globe from beginning to end.</p><p>By leveraging blockchain technology, GiveTrack enables a high level of confidence in donors, who can see exactly where their donation is going and how the funds are being used. By implementing the technology with charities, Gallippi believes it connects people with the technology.</p><p>“Offering them an explanation as to how this technology can improve the work of charities, and ultimately drive more impact toward causes they care about, makes the technology more approachable and more relevant to a mainstream audience,” she said.</p><p>Despite working with large organizations such as Save the Children, who now accepts bitcoin directly, Gallippi noted that it is BitGive’s role in supporting a new water well built at the Shisango Girls School in Kenya that she is most proud of.</p><p>“The well has changed so many young lives and will continue to lift up that community for many years to come.”</p><p>Gallippi added, though, that while charities will continue to receive cash donations, she believes that Bitcoin and blockchain technology will eventually become more of the norm for giving. Through a cost-effective approach where less fraud and faster transaction times are guaranteed with donor tracking, she said that these organizations will be at the forefront, leading the way to the future of philanthropy.</p><p><b>Helperbit: A Blockchain Natural Disaster Management Platform</b></p><p>According to the U.N., every year, the total number of people affected by natural disasters reaches approaches 200 million, while 100,000 of those victims die. While the Helperbit website states that 325 million people could be affected by poverty and vulnerable to natural hazards and climate extremes by 2030.</p><p>“By 2030, there could be 325 million people trapped in poverty and exposed to the full range of natural hazards and climate extremes.”</p><p>Unfortunately, the charity sector has a history of lack of transparency, inefficiency and unfair redistribution of funds, but<a href=”https://www.helperbit.com/”> Helperbit</a> is offering transparency in humanitarian aid through blockchain technology.</p><p>In December, Legambiente, a nonprofit organization in Italy, teamed up with Helperbit to adopt Bitcoin and blockchain technology. The <a href=”https://helperbit.com/donateit.php”>funds raised</a> will be donated to the “<a href=”http://rinascitacuoregiovane.it/”>Rebirth Has a Young Heart</a> campaign,” which is dedicated to youth entrepreneurs, such as young farmers, in the areas affected by the August and October earthquakes in the region.</p><p>Guido Baroncini Turricchia, CEO and co-founder of Helperbit, told <i>Bitcoin Magazine</i> that since the company’s collaboration with Legambiente, the Swiss Re Foundation and the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue have also created a multisig wallet in Helperbit and donated more than 5 bitcoins. Add that to the other donations the Legambiente charity campaign has received, and they have 6.22 bitcoins in total.</p><p>Even though it’s too early to measure the impact the donations are providing, Turricchia believes that in time they can highlight the advantages of using digital currencies.</p><p>“In the long-term, more people will buy bitcoins with the purpose of donating them,” he said. “At the moment we are mainly shaking the social sensibility of people in Italy, but with greater resources we will be able to increase our efforts worldwide.”</p><p>Through the Helperbit platform it is possible to analyze the total donations received as well as checking how the funds will be spent. This gives donors the assurance they need that their donations reach their destination, where they can monitor the impact resulting from the economic aid.</p><p>Even though Bitcoin and blockchain technology have often been negatively portrayed and debated for years, Turricchia is of the opinion that this initiative is the best way to show that it is only a tool and, as such, can be used positively.</p><p>“We are confident that an improvement of the interface for every kind of person merged with the increased social awareness of the worldwide community will bring a widespread adoption because the outcomes will be the best drivers,” he said.</p><p>While it’s unlikely to happen straightaway, Turricchia adds that the penetration of the Bitcoin ecosystem in everyday life will also be reflected in the growth of digital currency donations.</p>

The post Bitcoin and Blockchain Technology: The Future of Philanthropy appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Charities supporting children’s causes, victims of humanitarian disasters, the environment, scientific research or the arts raise millions of dollars in donations each year. Yet, while generous contributions continue to be made around the world, public trust and confidence in charities has been reported at its lowest recorded level.

According to a 2016 report from UK Fundraising, a survey of over 1,000 people found that trust in charities has fallen from 6.7 out of 10 in 2014 to 5.7 in 2016. The main reasons for this decline are distrust in how charities spend their donations, a lack of knowledge among the public about where their donations go and media coverage critical of charity practices.

Furthermore, a 2013 Guardian report suggests that people in the U.K. would donate an extra £665 million a year to charity if organizations provided additional information about the things they care about, such as evidence of how their donations are impacting a cause and how their money is spent.

So how exactly can this issue be rectified for the benefit of charities and those who want to donate to a worthy cause? Enter bitcoin and blockchain technology.

Alice.si: A Blockchain Philanthropy Platform

According to Raphaël Mazet, CEO of Alice.si, a U.K.-based blockchain philanthropy platform, charities are well documented with trust issues, particularly in the U.K. He believes, though, that blockchain technology is useful in addressing these issues.

“[As] donations can be made conditional to impact, and because everything is recorded immutably and transparently, anyone can verify what charities have achieved,” he said, speaking to Bitcoin Magazine.

Alice.si is built on Ethereum’s blockchain; its name is an homage to “Alice,” who anecdotally always seems to be sending money to Bob. The “.si” stands for “social impact.” Using Alice, charities can raise donations based on the transparency of their impact. Once a donation appeal has been launched on Alice, the charity commits to delivering specific outcomes and receives payment only when those outcomes are verified and validated by an independent third party.

As part of the Nominet Trust’s Social Tech Seed grant-making program, Alice received just over £45,000 in up-front funding to get the startup off the ground, thus allowing the company to build a track record of trust.

While Mazet states that the use of blockchain technology in charity cases can help to humanize the technology and introduce it to the general public, the company’s main message to donors focuses on how they can track the impact of their donations.

“Because we’re trying to reach a mainstream audience, we won’t necessarily put the tech front and center,” he said.

As such, Alice’s first pilot with St. Mungo’s, a forward-thinking U.K.-based homeless charity, due to be launched in Q1 of 2017, will be measuring its impact and working on a payment-by-results basis.

The platform will not accept donations in digital currencies just yet, however. Mazet explained that Alice is working with Tramonex Labs, which is registered within the sandbox framework of the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority, to issue electronic tokens that represent the donations on the Ethereum blockchain.

“That means they’ll collateralize and tokenize donations made in fiat on the Alice website so we can use them in our smart contracts,” he said. “In time, as people become more familiar with the technology, our plan is to empower them to interact with the smart contracts directly, and start donating with cryptocurrencies if they want to.”

Mazet says that Alice will be launching pilots in the first half of 2017 so they can test different use cases with different partners. After that, the idea is to open up to more charities, launching programs outside the U.K., such as in the U.S. and South Africa.

“The end game is really to make sure donors can trust the charities they’re funding, and see if we can help tackle some of the world’s really big issues in a demonstrable way.”

BitGive: Facilitating Bitcoin Donations

Since the establishment of the BitGive Foundation in 2013, the nonprofit organization has been revolutionizing the way in which people donate to charity; in fact, it is the first 501(c)(3) registered nonprofit in the Bitcoin space.

Connie Gallippi, founder of BitGive, said to Bitcoin Magazine that the number of donations largely trends with the price of bitcoin; when the price is up, the organization sees more donations.

“Early on, it was a novel and interesting way to give, so there was more attention on it in the media,” she said.

For BitGive’s projects specifically, it also correlates to the amount of time and effort they have put into a charity or campaign and how much their mission and projects interest potential donors, Gallippi added.

In December, BitGive announced the beta launch of GiveTrack, a blockchain-based multidimensional donation platform that provides the ability to transfer, track and provide a permanent record of financial transactions across the globe from beginning to end.

By leveraging blockchain technology, GiveTrack enables a high level of confidence in donors, who can see exactly where their donation is going and how the funds are being used. By implementing the technology with charities, Gallippi believes it connects people with the technology.

“Offering them an explanation as to how this technology can improve the work of charities, and ultimately drive more impact toward causes they care about, makes the technology more approachable and more relevant to a mainstream audience,” she said.

Despite working with large organizations such as Save the Children, who now accepts bitcoin directly, Gallippi noted that it is BitGive’s role in supporting a new water well built at the Shisango Girls School in Kenya that she is most proud of.

“The well has changed so many young lives and will continue to lift up that community for many years to come.”

Gallippi added, though, that while charities will continue to receive cash donations, she believes that Bitcoin and blockchain technology will eventually become more of the norm for giving. Through a cost-effective approach where less fraud and faster transaction times are guaranteed with donor tracking, she said that these organizations will be at the forefront, leading the way to the future of philanthropy.

Helperbit: A Blockchain Natural Disaster Management Platform

According to the U.N., every year, the total number of people affected by natural disasters reaches approaches 200 million, while 100,000 of those victims die. While the Helperbit website states that 325 million people could be affected by poverty and vulnerable to natural hazards and climate extremes by 2030.

“By 2030, there could be 325 million people trapped in poverty and exposed to the full range of natural hazards and climate extremes.”

Unfortunately, the charity sector has a history of lack of transparency, inefficiency and unfair redistribution of funds, but Helperbit is offering transparency in humanitarian aid through blockchain technology.

In December, Legambiente, a nonprofit organization in Italy, teamed up with Helperbit to adopt Bitcoin and blockchain technology. The funds raised will be donated to the “Rebirth Has a Young Heart campaign,” which is dedicated to youth entrepreneurs, such as young farmers, in the areas affected by the August and October earthquakes in the region.

Guido Baroncini Turricchia, CEO and co-founder of Helperbit, told Bitcoin Magazine that since the company’s collaboration with Legambiente, the Swiss Re Foundation and the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue have also created a multisig wallet in Helperbit and donated more than 5 bitcoins. Add that to the other donations the Legambiente charity campaign has received, and they have 6.22 bitcoins in total.

Even though it’s too early to measure the impact the donations are providing, Turricchia believes that in time they can highlight the advantages of using digital currencies.

“In the long-term, more people will buy bitcoins with the purpose of donating them,” he said. “At the moment we are mainly shaking the social sensibility of people in Italy, but with greater resources we will be able to increase our efforts worldwide.”

Through the Helperbit platform it is possible to analyze the total donations received as well as checking how the funds will be spent. This gives donors the assurance they need that their donations reach their destination, where they can monitor the impact resulting from the economic aid.

Even though Bitcoin and blockchain technology have often been negatively portrayed and debated for years, Turricchia is of the opinion that this initiative is the best way to show that it is only a tool and, as such, can be used positively.

“We are confident that an improvement of the interface for every kind of person merged with the increased social awareness of the worldwide community will bring a widespread adoption because the outcomes will be the best drivers,” he said.

While it’s unlikely to happen straightaway, Turricchia adds that the penetration of the Bitcoin ecosystem in everyday life will also be reflected in the growth of digital currency donations.

The post Bitcoin and Blockchain Technology: The Future of Philanthropy appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Fri, 3 Feb 2017 02:26:40 1486088800 https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/bitcoin-and-blockchain-technology-future-philanthropy/ https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/bitcoin-and-blockchain-technology-future-philanthropy/ Rebecca Campbell Bitcoin Adoption & community
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<p>As the Dutch proverb goes: “The soup is not eaten as hot as it is served.” Meaning: The threat is often not carried through as thoroughly as initially presented.<br/></p><p><i>Bitcoin Magazine</i><a href=”https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/dutch-authorities-ramp-fight-against-bitcoin-money-laundering/”> recently</a> reported that the investigative arm of the Dutch tax authority — the<a href=”http://www.belastingdienst.nl/wps/wcm/connect/nl/fiod/fiod”> FIOD</a> — wants to lower the bar for prosecution of unlicensed bitcoin traders. As part of that effort, the FIOD aims to have mixing services<a href=”https://fd.nl/economie-politiek/1181589/om-voert-strijd-op-tegen-witwassen-via-bitcoin”> recognized</a> as money-laundering indicators. Users of mixing services would be assumed guilty, Dutch financial newspaper Financieele Dagblad (FD)<a href=”https://fd.nl/economie-politiek/1181590/bitcoin-is-reservemunt-van-de-onderwereld-geworden”> wrote</a>, unless they could prove otherwise.</p><p>The FIOD has now nuanced these reports. Speaking to <i>Bitcoin Magazine</i>, the press officer for the tax authority explained that recognizing something as a money laundering indicator does not mean it will be illegal in and of itself. </p><p>“But it does mean it indicates money laundering,” he added.</p><p>Expanding on this reasoning, the press officer explained that the tax agency established a money-laundering typology that includes several factors.</p><p>These include, for example, the location where a transaction is made; a public space like a McDonald’s is more suspect than a regular office. “Similarly, whether or not the exchanger keeps an administration, what kind of compensation he charges, how the customer is verified, whether physical cash is used, the amounts involved, visibility of the exchanger on public websites or official government records, and whether communication happened in encrypted form,” the press officer said.</p><p>And soon, perhaps, also the use of bitcoin mixers.</p><p><b>Darknet Markets</b></p><p>Bitcoin can be used relatively anonymously. This has made the digital currency a popular means of exchange on darknet markets like<a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AlphaBay”> AlphaBay</a> and<a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silk_Road_(marketplace)”> Silk Road</a>, and is also increasingly used for other cybercrimes, such as<a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ransomware”> ransomware</a>. In a report<a href=”https://www.europol.europa.eu/activities-services/main-reports/internet-organised-crime-threat-assessment-iocta-2015″> published</a> last year, Europol — the law enforcement agency of the European Union — said more than 40 percent of online transactions for illegal ends is made with bitcoin.</p><p>Darknet market merchants typically do exchange their earned bitcoins for fiat currencies. While trading bitcoin for fiat is itself not illegal in The Netherlands, most exchanges apply strict Anti–Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) standards. This is usually required by the banks they work with. </p><p>Darknet merchants, therefore, often prefer to exchange their bitcoins at what the FIOD refers to as “bitcoincashers”: exchanges and dealers that do not comply with such rules. They often offer their services via largely unregulated websites like<a href=”http://localbitcoins.com”> LocalBitcoins.com</a>, and typically meet up in person to trade bitcoins for cash fiat currency. These bitcoincashers then sell the bitcoins at a regular exchange or brokerage.</p><p>That’s where some bitcoincashers are caught. If they deposit large amounts and tick too many boxes in the above-mentioned money-laundering typology, an investigation can be started against them. And since all bitcoin transactions are traceable on the blockchain, in some cases, this investigation also leads to the original criminals and their crime.</p><p>That’s why bitcoincashers as well as the darknet merchants and cybercriminals increasingly make use of bitcoin mixers. On hosted sites, like<a href=”http://bitmixer.io”> bitmixer.io</a>, these mixers exchange bitcoins for different bitcoins, to cut all links on the blockchain.</p><p>If these mixers themselves become a money-laundering indicator, using them would no longer shield the bitcoincashers as effectively.</p><p><b>Privacy</b></p><p>Within the Bitcoin community itself, many are concerned with the lack of privacy offered by Bitcoin. Not all bitcoin users want the world to know where they spend their money, what they earn or how much they own — even if they’re not breaking any laws.</p><p>As such, a series of new mixing instruments have been developed and designed over the past few years. These include<a href=”https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/coinjoin-combining-bitcoin-transactions-to-obfuscate-trails-and-increase-privacy-1465235087/”> JoinMarket</a>,<a href=”https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/valueshuffle-brings-together-the-best-of-both-worlds-for-privacy-1483557170/”> ValueShuffle</a> and<a href=”https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/with-tumblebit-bitcoin-mixing-may-have-found-its-winning-answer-1477423607/”> TumbleBit</a>, while alternative digital currencies offering increased privacy, like<a href=”https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/how-bitcoin-users-reclaim-their-privacy-through-its-anonymous-sibling-monero-1472761633/”> Monero</a> and<a href=”https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/zcash-has-launched-here-s-how-to-get-some-1477670989/”> Zcash</a>, have gained in popularity too.</p><p>When asked by <i>Bitcoin Magazine</i>, the FIOD spokesperson did acknowledge that bitcoin mixing can also be done for perfectly valid, privacy-related reasons.</p><p>He noted, however, “We believe these use cases do not represent a majority. Compare it to the 500 euro note. This is legal tender (for now). However, when someone pays you with a 500 euro bill you are going to find that suspicious. We believe the same is true for mixing bitcoins.”</p>

The post Dutch Tax Authority Clarifies: Bitcoin Mixing Will Not Be Banned, But Will Raise Suspicion appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

As the Dutch proverb goes: “The soup is not eaten as hot as it is served.” Meaning: The threat is often not carried through as thoroughly as initially presented.

Bitcoin Magazine recently reported that the investigative arm of the Dutch tax authority — the FIOD — wants to lower the bar for prosecution of unlicensed bitcoin traders. As part of that effort, the FIOD aims to have mixing services recognized as money-laundering indicators. Users of mixing services would be assumed guilty, Dutch financial newspaper Financieele Dagblad (FD) wrote, unless they could prove otherwise.

The FIOD has now nuanced these reports. Speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, the press officer for the tax authority explained that recognizing something as a money laundering indicator does not mean it will be illegal in and of itself.

“But it does mean it indicates money laundering,” he added.

Expanding on this reasoning, the press officer explained that the tax agency established a money-laundering typology that includes several factors.

These include, for example, the location where a transaction is made; a public space like a McDonald’s is more suspect than a regular office. “Similarly, whether or not the exchanger keeps an administration, what kind of compensation he charges, how the customer is verified, whether physical cash is used, the amounts involved, visibility of the exchanger on public websites or official government records, and whether communication happened in encrypted form,” the press officer said.

And soon, perhaps, also the use of bitcoin mixers.

Darknet Markets

Bitcoin can be used relatively anonymously. This has made the digital currency a popular means of exchange on darknet markets like AlphaBay and Silk Road, and is also increasingly used for other cybercrimes, such as ransomware. In a report published last year, Europol — the law enforcement agency of the European Union — said more than 40 percent of online transactions for illegal ends is made with bitcoin.

Darknet market merchants typically do exchange their earned bitcoins for fiat currencies. While trading bitcoin for fiat is itself not illegal in The Netherlands, most exchanges apply strict Anti–Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) standards. This is usually required by the banks they work with.

Darknet merchants, therefore, often prefer to exchange their bitcoins at what the FIOD refers to as “bitcoincashers”: exchanges and dealers that do not comply with such rules. They often offer their services via largely unregulated websites like LocalBitcoins.com, and typically meet up in person to trade bitcoins for cash fiat currency. These bitcoincashers then sell the bitcoins at a regular exchange or brokerage.

That’s where some bitcoincashers are caught. If they deposit large amounts and tick too many boxes in the above-mentioned money-laundering typology, an investigation can be started against them. And since all bitcoin transactions are traceable on the blockchain, in some cases, this investigation also leads to the original criminals and their crime.

That’s why bitcoincashers as well as the darknet merchants and cybercriminals increasingly make use of bitcoin mixers. On hosted sites, like bitmixer.io, these mixers exchange bitcoins for different bitcoins, to cut all links on the blockchain.

If these mixers themselves become a money-laundering indicator, using them would no longer shield the bitcoincashers as effectively.

Privacy

Within the Bitcoin community itself, many are concerned with the lack of privacy offered by Bitcoin. Not all bitcoin users want the world to know where they spend their money, what they earn or how much they own — even if they’re not breaking any laws.

As such, a series of new mixing instruments have been developed and designed over the past few years. These include JoinMarket, ValueShuffle and TumbleBit, while alternative digital currencies offering increased privacy, like Monero and Zcash, have gained in popularity too.

When asked by Bitcoin Magazine, the FIOD spokesperson did acknowledge that bitcoin mixing can also be done for perfectly valid, privacy-related reasons.

He noted, however, “We believe these use cases do not represent a majority. Compare it to the 500 euro note. This is legal tender (for now). However, when someone pays you with a 500 euro bill you are going to find that suspicious. We believe the same is true for mixing bitcoins.”

The post Dutch Tax Authority Clarifies: Bitcoin Mixing Will Not Be Banned, But Will Raise Suspicion appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Thu, 2 Feb 2017 18:36:02 1486060562 https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/dutch-tax-authority-clarifies-bitcoin-mixing-will-not-be-banned-will-raise-suspicion/ https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/dutch-tax-authority-clarifies-bitcoin-mixing-will-not-be-banned-will-raise-suspicion/ Aaron van Wirdum Bitcoin Regulation
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<p>Daimler Financial Services, the global financial services provider of <a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daimler_AG”>Daimler</a>, <a href=”http://media.daimler.com/marsMediaSite/en/instance/ko.xhtml?oid=15310294&amp;ls=L2VuL2luc3RhbmNlL2tvLnhodG1sP29pZD05MjY2MjQyJnJlbElkPTYwODI5JmZyb21PaWQ9OTI2NjI0MiZib3JkZXJzPXRydWUmcmVzdWx0SW5mb1R5cGVJZD00MDYyNiZ2aWV3VHlwZT1saXN0JnNvcnREZWZpbml0aW9uPVBVQkxJU0hFRF9BVC0yJnRodW1iU2NhbGVJbmRleD0wJnJvd0NvdW50c0luZGV4PTU!&amp;rs=1″>is acquiring</a> the electronic payment services provider PayCash Europe to develop a presence in the electronic payment (ePayment) sector. The German multinational corporation, which is one of the world’s leading automotive groups, intends to launch its own electronic payment services provider under the “Mercedes pay” brand name.<br/></p><p><a href=”https://www.daimler-financialservices.com/en/”>Daimler Financial Services</a>, which provides financing, leasing, insurance, fleet management, insurance services, banking and credit/debit cards services in more than 40 countries, recently expanded its portfolio to offer mobility services under the brands car2Go (a leading car-sharing service), mytaxi, Mercedes-Benz Rent and moovel. “Mercedes pay” will be integrated into Daimler Mobility Services, a subsidiary of Daimler Financial Services, with a number of different mobility services. The company plans to use the new payment system to facilitate car financing and related transactions.</p><p>“We invest in the future of mobility and are a pioneer in the realm of innovative mobility services,” notes the <a href=”https://www.daimler.com/products/services/mobility-services/”>mobility services</a> website. “With smartphone based mobility concepts, we optimize the use of existing transportation infrastructure and develop flexible and ecofriendly mobility solutions of the future.”</p><p>“‘Mercedes pay’ is a fundamental component of our mobility and digitization strategy,” said Bodo Uebber, member of the Daimler Board of Management. “Daimler’s new payment system underscores our ambition, as a leading provider of digital mobility services, to make the products and services we offer even more appealing.” </p><p>“Our philosophy is to provide mobility at your fingertips,” added Klaus Entenmann, chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler Financial Services. “‘Mercedes pay’ allows our customers to easily and securely pay for our mobility offerings and services using their smartphones. ‘Mercedes pay’ will mainly benefit customers who, in the future, will only need to provide their payment details one time, in order to be able to use a range of Daimler’s services. This is made possible by the eWallet function, a virtual source of payment.”</p><p><a href=”https://paycash.eu”>PayCash Europe</a>, founded in 2012 and headquartered in Luxembourg, offers a digital payment platform for mobile payments, e-money, voucher and loyalty solutions, and digital currencies. The company has an e-money license, issued by the Luxembourg financial supervisory body CSSF (Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier), which allows it to operate as a one-stop payment partner.</p><p>It’s worth noting that digital currencies, including bitcoin, are prominently featured in the service portfolio of PayCash. “Get your business ready for virtual currencies,” says the company. “Whether you are operating a bitcoin exchange or a merchant business that wants to offer its customers bitcoins as a payment solution, our backend solution provides the technical and legal platform to implement the virtual currency into the existing payment infrastructure and enables payments to be processed in all major fiat currencies.”</p><p>The PayCash platform enables bitcoin exchanges to run fiat currency accounts in the most traded currencies, managed through connections to the banking system. “We are able to offer your business a merchant account for the exchange and a dedicated E-wallet for your customers and exchange users,” claims the company. “Finally, to make our platform the best fit for your business, PayCash offers a Full KYC (Know Your Customer) service.”</p><p>Since digital currency solutions are but one component of PayCash service offerings, the acquisition does not necessarily imply that bitcoin will be part of “Mercedes pay” or other Daimler mobility services. However, the Daimler press release explicitly mentions that PayCash “offers solutions for cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and eWallet systems, in addition to mobile payment services.” Digital currencies are now part of Daimler’s infrastructure, and the company has in-house industry-standard and KYC/AML-compliant means to offer digital currency options to its customers. For example, it seems likely that, given sufficient user demand, Daimler Financial Services could offer bitcoin options for car financing and other mobility services.</p>

The post Daimler Financial Services Acquires Bitcoin Operator PayCash Europe to Launch Mobility Service “Mercedes Pay” appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Daimler Financial Services, the global financial services provider of Daimler, is acquiring the electronic payment services provider PayCash Europe to develop a presence in the electronic payment (ePayment) sector. The German multinational corporation, which is one of the world’s leading automotive groups, intends to launch its own electronic payment services provider under the “Mercedes pay” brand name.

Daimler Financial Services, which provides financing, leasing, insurance, fleet management, insurance services, banking and credit/debit cards services in more than 40 countries, recently expanded its portfolio to offer mobility services under the brands car2Go (a leading car-sharing service), mytaxi, Mercedes-Benz Rent and moovel. “Mercedes pay” will be integrated into Daimler Mobility Services, a subsidiary of Daimler Financial Services, with a number of different mobility services. The company plans to use the new payment system to facilitate car financing and related transactions.

“We invest in the future of mobility and are a pioneer in the realm of innovative mobility services,” notes the mobility services website. “With smartphone based mobility concepts, we optimize the use of existing transportation infrastructure and develop flexible and ecofriendly mobility solutions of the future.”

“‘Mercedes pay’ is a fundamental component of our mobility and digitization strategy,” said Bodo Uebber, member of the Daimler Board of Management. “Daimler’s new payment system underscores our ambition, as a leading provider of digital mobility services, to make the products and services we offer even more appealing.”

“Our philosophy is to provide mobility at your fingertips,” added Klaus Entenmann, chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler Financial Services. “‘Mercedes pay’ allows our customers to easily and securely pay for our mobility offerings and services using their smartphones. ‘Mercedes pay’ will mainly benefit customers who, in the future, will only need to provide their payment details one time, in order to be able to use a range of Daimler’s services. This is made possible by the eWallet function, a virtual source of payment.”

PayCash Europe, founded in 2012 and headquartered in Luxembourg, offers a digital payment platform for mobile payments, e-money, voucher and loyalty solutions, and digital currencies. The company has an e-money license, issued by the Luxembourg financial supervisory body CSSF (Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier), which allows it to operate as a one-stop payment partner.

It’s worth noting that digital currencies, including bitcoin, are prominently featured in the service portfolio of PayCash. “Get your business ready for virtual currencies,” says the company. “Whether you are operating a bitcoin exchange or a merchant business that wants to offer its customers bitcoins as a payment solution, our backend solution provides the technical and legal platform to implement the virtual currency into the existing payment infrastructure and enables payments to be processed in all major fiat currencies.”

The PayCash platform enables bitcoin exchanges to run fiat currency accounts in the most traded currencies, managed through connections to the banking system. “We are able to offer your business a merchant account for the exchange and a dedicated E-wallet for your customers and exchange users,” claims the company. “Finally, to make our platform the best fit for your business, PayCash offers a Full KYC (Know Your Customer) service.”

Since digital currency solutions are but one component of PayCash service offerings, the acquisition does not necessarily imply that bitcoin will be part of “Mercedes pay” or other Daimler mobility services. However, the Daimler press release explicitly mentions that PayCash “offers solutions for cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and eWallet systems, in addition to mobile payment services.” Digital currencies are now part of Daimler’s infrastructure, and the company has in-house industry-standard and KYC/AML-compliant means to offer digital currency options to its customers. For example, it seems likely that, given sufficient user demand, Daimler Financial Services could offer bitcoin options for car financing and other mobility services.

The post Daimler Financial Services Acquires Bitcoin Operator PayCash Europe to Launch Mobility Service “Mercedes Pay” appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Thu, 2 Feb 2017 17:51:59 1486057919 https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/daimler-financial-services-acquires-bitcoin-operator-paycash-europe-launch-mobility-service-mercedes-pay/ https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/daimler-financial-services-acquires-bitcoin-operator-paycash-europe-launch-mobility-service-mercedes-pay/ Giulio Prisco Bitcoin Adoption
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<p><a href=”https://www.bitcoinunlimited.info/”>Bitcoin Unlimited</a>, one of the<a href=”https://bitcoincore.org/”> Bitcoin Core</a> software forks<a href=”https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/unlimited-classic-and-bitpay-core-bitcoin-s-new-kids-on-the-blockchain-1452705977/”> introduced</a> in late 2015, garnered much attention in recent months. The project gained hash power support from several new Bitcoin mining pools, including<a href=”https://www.viabtc.com/”> ViaBTC</a>,<a href=”https://gbminers.com/”> GBMiners</a> and<a href=”http://btc.top/”> BTC.TOP</a>, while<a href=”http://xtnodes.com/#bitcoin_unlimited”> node adoption</a> appears to be on the rise as well.<br/></p><p>The central idea behind Bitcoin Unlimited — specified in “<a href=”https://bitco.in/forum/threads/closed-passed-buip001-unlimited-inspired-extensions-to-the-bitcoin-client.222/”>Bitcoin Unlimited Improvement Proposal 001</a>” (BUIP001) — is to hand control of Bitcoin’s block size limit to users and miners. Or perhaps more accurately: to make this control more explicit and easier to handle.</p><p>But as explained in “<a href=”https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/how-bitcoin-unlimited-users-may-end-different-blockchains/”>How Bitcoin Unlimited Users May End Up on Different Blockchains</a>,” BUIP001 does not include a technical consensus mechanism as reliable as in Bitcoin’s current consensus rules.</p><p>Instead, Bitcoin Unlimited relies on a philosophy often referred to as “Emergent Consensus.”</p><p>(Note: If you are not sure how Bitcoin Unlimited works, or what the technical weaknesses of BUIP001 are, make sure to first read “<a href=”https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/closer-look-bitcoin-unlimiteds-configurable-block-size-proposal/”>A Closer Look at Bitcoin Unlimited’s Configurable Block Size Proposal</a>” and “<a href=”https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/how-bitcoin-unlimited-users-may-end-different-blockchains/”>How Bitcoin Unlimited Users May End Up on Different Blockchains</a>.”)</p><p><b>“Emergent Consensus”</b></p><p>BUIP001 does not ensure machine consensus; users can configure their nodes to split into different blockchains, either intentionally or unintentionally. Instead, Bitcoin Unlimited relies on “Emergent Consensus.” This is a conviction that participants in the Bitcoin ecosystem have a strong enough economic incentive to converge on a single blockchain, such that they will converge on a single blockchain. If their software does not automatically realize this, users are expected to configure their settings to make it happen. After all, it benefits everyone to be on the same blockchain and to be able to transact with one another.</p><p>How this Emergent Consensus should form is not really documented, however. While some have made analogies — with <a href=”https://youtu.be/nAqos76JONw?t=33m7s”>flocks of birds</a>, for example — it’s not clear how these apply to Bitcoin, exactly.</p><p>That said, it is possible to draw out a scenario that many Bitcoin Unlimited proponents roughly envisage. As a first step, users should signal what size of blocks they will accept with the Excessive Block Size (EB) setting. Then, miners — incentivized to satisfy market demand — should increase (or decrease) the block size limit accordingly. Finally, if these new blocks exceed some users’ EB, these users are expected to follow regardless, either because their Excessive Acceptance Depth (AD) setting is triggered, or maybe because they’ll reconfigure their nodes manually.</p><p>As explained in “<a href=”https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/how-bitcoin-unlimited-users-may-end-different-blockchains/”>How Bitcoin Unlimited Users May End Up on Different Blockchains</a>,” this scenario does present some problems. For one, if a user’s EB signaling is trivially spoofed by an adversary, miners can be tricked into thinking a block size limit increase has more support than it does — or perhaps malicious miners can themselves trick users. </p><p>And for the (remaining) users, this scenario presents an odd choice: Either they set their AD settings low to remain in consensus, but essentially give up much of their autonomy to miners; or they set their AD settings high to protect their autonomy, but risk splitting the network.</p><p><b>Off-Chain Coordination</b></p><p>To counter some the problems described, Emergent Consensus can also be established through debate on forums, blog posts, chat rooms and other media. Realistically, it may even require this kind of off-chain coordination, to some extent.</p><p>For example, while mining pool ViaBTC wants to hard fork to a two-megabyte block size limit, that is not what the pool is currently signaling with its EB settings. If it did, that could be abused to split the network. Instead, ViaBTC signals support for one megabyte and in their “<a href=”https://medium.com/@ViaBTC/miner-guide-how-to-safely-hard-fork-to-bitcoin-unlimited-8ac1570dc1a8#.h338lp8gu”>miner guide</a>” proposes to hard fork to two megabytes once at least 75 percent of hash power acknowledges support.</p><p>However, this kind of off-chain coordination is not unique. Groups of people have coordinated and achieved consensus through discourse for a long time. But such systems often either have a leader or tend to break down and split into factions once the number of participants reaches a certain size. Other popular open-source projects, for example, sometimes consist of hundreds of incompatible forks.</p><p>And this is probably even more true under adversarial conditions. If the people in these groups don’t really know or trust one another, they have no way of knowing whether the other people are telling the truth or lying. Even a single adversary can pretend to be many users and communicate many false preferences. This makes coordination and reaching consensus a very difficult problem to solve.</p><p>In fact, this is the<a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_fault_tolerance#The_Byzantine_Generals.27_Problem”> Byzantine Generals’ Problem</a>. That is exactly the problem Satoshi Nakamoto attempted to address.</p><p>With a track record of about eight years, Bitcoin’s main technological achievement is a math-based protocol that realizes strong, fast, scalable and automated machine consensus for large groups of people who do not necessarily know or trust one another. Bitcoin is reasonably “<a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_fault_tolerance”>Byzantine Fault tolerant</a>.”</p><p>Bitcoin Unlimited proponents believe that Bitcoin’s economic incentives — the incentive for users to all remain part of the same Bitcoin blockchain — is in itself sufficiently Byzantine Fault tolerant. But that is, so far, largely unproven. No altcoin relies on similar assumptions, nor is there a publicly available testnet where the BUIP001 configurations are actively used.</p><p><b>What Bitcoin Unlimited Changes</b></p><p>That said, part of the same Bitcoin Unlimited philosophy is that Bitcoin relies on a sort of Emergent Consensus anyway.</p><p>Rather than merely relying on math, code or protocol, many really see Bitcoin as a consensus between people first and foremost. People choose to partake in the system, people give it value, and sometimes — like during the <a href=”https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Value_overflow_incident”>August 2010</a> and <a href=”https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/bitcoin-network-shaken-by-blockchain-fork-1363144448/”>March 2013</a> blockchain forks — people have to coordinate “off-chain” to determine which chain is valid.</p><br/><p>As such, BUIP001 doesn’t fundamentally change anything. Users choose to run Bitcoin Unlimited. Node software can already be (re-)compiled. And a social consensus may have to form “off-chain” either way.</p><p>But by making this control more explicit and easier to handle, and assuming users actually use these options, Bitcoin Unlimited does rely on the human consensus aspect to a much larger extent. Rather than opting into a protocol once and relying on machine consensus from then on, users need to take on a much more proactive role. As one Bitcoin Unlimited proponent noted, shortly after miners had to reconfigure their nodes in response to a bug that briefly forked the network earlier this week: “This IS part of how Bitcoin works. It’s not meant for people sleeping at the wheel.” </p><p>It is true that BUIP001 doesn’t introduce anything that wasn’t possible before. As an open-source project, users and miners could always recompile their Bitcoin software to do anything that Bitcoin Unlimited allows. But of course, that in itself is not an argument in favor of BUIP001. Just because users could, that does not mean they should.</p><p>So far, Bitcoin has had several forks that lasted for several blocks, caused by technical failures. The <a href=”https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Value_overflow_incident”>August 2010 blockchain fork</a> was needed to revert the creation of billions of bitcoins out of thin air, which required orphaning an hour-long chain. The only reason that the event wasn’t catastrophic is that bitcoin was hardly used as money back then. During the<a href=”https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/bitcoin-network-shaken-by-blockchain-fork-1363144448/”> March 2013 blockchain fork</a>, however, the network was unreliable for real users, and at least one person was double-spent, while several miners wasted valuable resources mining an orphaned chain. The same is true for the<a href=”https://bitcoin.org/en/alert/2015-07-04-spv-mining”> July 2015 blockchain fork</a>, where miners were urged to switch to fully validating mining pools, and many have learned from that mistake.</p><p>Indeed, developers, miners and the rest of the Bitcoin community have generally tried to avoid these types of crisis events as much as they possibly can.</p><p>In contrast, Bitcoin Unlimited seems to embrace them as an upgrade mechanism. </p><p><i>“Jonny1000” contributed to this article.</i></p><p><i>Author’s note: An earlier version of this article suggested there was no testnet for BUIP001 at all. Since publication, it was pointed out there actually is such a testnet, dubbed “nolnet”. This testnet is not really publicly available, however, and seems to be used only by a small group of developers close to the Bitcoin Unlimited project. And of course, by definition a testnet does not test economic incentives, so these remain unproven.</i><i><br/></i></p>

The post Why Bitcoin Unlimited’s “Emergent Consensus” Is a Gamble appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Bitcoin Unlimited, one of the Bitcoin Core software forks introduced in late 2015, garnered much attention in recent months. The project gained hash power support from several new Bitcoin mining pools, including ViaBTC, GBMiners and BTC.TOP, while node adoption appears to be on the rise as well.

The central idea behind Bitcoin Unlimited — specified in “Bitcoin Unlimited Improvement Proposal 001” (BUIP001) — is to hand control of Bitcoin’s block size limit to users and miners. Or perhaps more accurately: to make this control more explicit and easier to handle.

But as explained in “How Bitcoin Unlimited Users May End Up on Different Blockchains,” BUIP001 does not include a technical consensus mechanism as reliable as in Bitcoin’s current consensus rules.

Instead, Bitcoin Unlimited relies on a philosophy often referred to as “Emergent Consensus.”

(Note: If you are not sure how Bitcoin Unlimited works, or what the technical weaknesses of BUIP001 are, make sure to first read “A Closer Look at Bitcoin Unlimited’s Configurable Block Size Proposal” and “How Bitcoin Unlimited Users May End Up on Different Blockchains.”)

“Emergent Consensus”

BUIP001 does not ensure machine consensus; users can configure their nodes to split into different blockchains, either intentionally or unintentionally. Instead, Bitcoin Unlimited relies on “Emergent Consensus.” This is a conviction that participants in the Bitcoin ecosystem have a strong enough economic incentive to converge on a single blockchain, such that they will converge on a single blockchain. If their software does not automatically realize this, users are expected to configure their settings to make it happen. After all, it benefits everyone to be on the same blockchain and to be able to transact with one another.

How this Emergent Consensus should form is not really documented, however. While some have made analogies — with flocks of birds, for example — it’s not clear how these apply to Bitcoin, exactly.

That said, it is possible to draw out a scenario that many Bitcoin Unlimited proponents roughly envisage. As a first step, users should signal what size of blocks they will accept with the Excessive Block Size (EB) setting. Then, miners — incentivized to satisfy market demand — should increase (or decrease) the block size limit accordingly. Finally, if these new blocks exceed some users’ EB, these users are expected to follow regardless, either because their Excessive Acceptance Depth (AD) setting is triggered, or maybe because they’ll reconfigure their nodes manually.

As explained in “How Bitcoin Unlimited Users May End Up on Different Blockchains,” this scenario does present some problems. For one, if a user’s EB signaling is trivially spoofed by an adversary, miners can be tricked into thinking a block size limit increase has more support than it does — or perhaps malicious miners can themselves trick users.

And for the (remaining) users, this scenario presents an odd choice: Either they set their AD settings low to remain in consensus, but essentially give up much of their autonomy to miners; or they set their AD settings high to protect their autonomy, but risk splitting the network.

Off-Chain Coordination

To counter some the problems described, Emergent Consensus can also be established through debate on forums, blog posts, chat rooms and other media. Realistically, it may even require this kind of off-chain coordination, to some extent.

For example, while mining pool ViaBTC wants to hard fork to a two-megabyte block size limit, that is not what the pool is currently signaling with its EB settings. If it did, that could be abused to split the network. Instead, ViaBTC signals support for one megabyte and in their “miner guide” proposes to hard fork to two megabytes once at least 75 percent of hash power acknowledges support.

However, this kind of off-chain coordination is not unique. Groups of people have coordinated and achieved consensus through discourse for a long time. But such systems often either have a leader or tend to break down and split into factions once the number of participants reaches a certain size. Other popular open-source projects, for example, sometimes consist of hundreds of incompatible forks.

And this is probably even more true under adversarial conditions. If the people in these groups don’t really know or trust one another, they have no way of knowing whether the other people are telling the truth or lying. Even a single adversary can pretend to be many users and communicate many false preferences. This makes coordination and reaching consensus a very difficult problem to solve.

In fact, this is the Byzantine Generals’ Problem. That is exactly the problem Satoshi Nakamoto attempted to address.

With a track record of about eight years, Bitcoin’s main technological achievement is a math-based protocol that realizes strong, fast, scalable and automated machine consensus for large groups of people who do not necessarily know or trust one another. Bitcoin is reasonably “Byzantine Fault tolerant.”

Bitcoin Unlimited proponents believe that Bitcoin’s economic incentives — the incentive for users to all remain part of the same Bitcoin blockchain — is in itself sufficiently Byzantine Fault tolerant. But that is, so far, largely unproven. No altcoin relies on similar assumptions, nor is there a publicly available testnet where the BUIP001 configurations are actively used.

What Bitcoin Unlimited Changes

That said, part of the same Bitcoin Unlimited philosophy is that Bitcoin relies on a sort of Emergent Consensus anyway.

Rather than merely relying on math, code or protocol, many really see Bitcoin as a consensus between people first and foremost. People choose to partake in the system, people give it value, and sometimes — like during the August 2010 and March 2013 blockchain forks — people have to coordinate “off-chain” to determine which chain is valid.

As such, BUIP001 doesn’t fundamentally change anything. Users choose to run Bitcoin Unlimited. Node software can already be (re-)compiled. And a social consensus may have to form “off-chain” either way.

But by making this control more explicit and easier to handle, and assuming users actually use these options, Bitcoin Unlimited does rely on the human consensus aspect to a much larger extent. Rather than opting into a protocol once and relying on machine consensus from then on, users need to take on a much more proactive role. As one Bitcoin Unlimited proponent noted, shortly after miners had to reconfigure their nodes in response to a bug that briefly forked the network earlier this week: “This IS part of how Bitcoin works. It’s not meant for people sleeping at the wheel.”

It is true that BUIP001 doesn’t introduce anything that wasn’t possible before. As an open-source project, users and miners could always recompile their Bitcoin software to do anything that Bitcoin Unlimited allows. But of course, that in itself is not an argument in favor of BUIP001. Just because users could, that does not mean they should.

So far, Bitcoin has had several forks that lasted for several blocks, caused by technical failures. The August 2010 blockchain fork was needed to revert the creation of billions of bitcoins out of thin air, which required orphaning an hour-long chain. The only reason that the event wasn’t catastrophic is that bitcoin was hardly used as money back then. During the March 2013 blockchain fork, however, the network was unreliable for real users, and at least one person was double-spent, while several miners wasted valuable resources mining an orphaned chain. The same is true for the July 2015 blockchain fork, where miners were urged to switch to fully validating mining pools, and many have learned from that mistake.

Indeed, developers, miners and the rest of the Bitcoin community have generally tried to avoid these types of crisis events as much as they possibly can.

In contrast, Bitcoin Unlimited seems to embrace them as an upgrade mechanism.

“Jonny1000” contributed to this article.

Author’s note: An earlier version of this article suggested there was no testnet for BUIP001 at all. Since publication, it was pointed out there actually is such a testnet, dubbed “nolnet”. This testnet is not really publicly available, however, and seems to be used only by a small group of developers close to the Bitcoin Unlimited project. And of course, by definition a testnet does not test economic incentives, so these remain unproven.

The post Why Bitcoin Unlimited’s “Emergent Consensus” Is a Gamble appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Wed, 1 Feb 2017 18:14:04 1485972844 https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/why-bitcoin-unlimiteds-emergent-consensus-gamble/ https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/why-bitcoin-unlimiteds-emergent-consensus-gamble/ Aaron van Wirdum Bitcoin Technical
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<p>Last week, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to build a wall along the U.S.–Mexico border as he had promised during his presidential election campaign. Aside from the ethical and practical issues of building the border wall, the issue of how it will be financed was also raised by opponents during his campaign. Trump’s proposed solution to funding the wall is either to heavily tax U.S.–Mexico remittances or to fully prohibit them altogether, so that the funds needed to build the wall will stay in the U.S.<br/></p><p>According to the World Bank, U.S.–based <a href=”http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/BX.TRF.PWKR.CD.DT?locations=MX”>Mexican immigrants send around $26 billion</a> annually to their families back home in Mexico. Trump’s proposed legislation would hit Mexican families that rely on remittances from their U.S.–based relatives hard. The Mexican economy would also suffer as the multibillion-dollar remittance inflow to Mexico adds substantially to the country’s domestic spending.     </p><p>In light of Trump’s proposed policies to fund the border wall, <a href=”http://uk.reuters.com/article/us-mexico-economy-remittances-idUKKBN14M115″>remittances from the U.S. to Mexico jumped to a ten-year high after Trump’s election win in November</a> in anticipation of possible legislation restricting cross-border money transfers to Mexico. Remittances in the month of November jumped by almost 25 percent compared to the same month the prior year, according to data collated by the Mexican central bank. </p><p><b>Will Bitcoin Be the Answer if New Legislation Is Imposed?</b></p><p>If U.S.–Mexico remittances using traditional channels such as banks or large money transfer operators (MTOs), such as Western Union or MoneyGram, are to be heavily taxed or severely restricted, then bitcoin remittances could offer a solution. </p><p>Bitcoin allows users to send and receive money from and to anywhere in the world at a very low cost using online or mobile wallets to make the transfer. Furthermore, legal restrictions on money transfers could easily be circumvented using the digital currency, as no paperwork needs to be filed when sending money abroad. That way, both documented and undocumented Mexican immigrants would still be able to send money back home without any restrictions, should the new laws be put in place.   </p><p>Alternatively to bitcoin, anonymous digital currencies such as DASH, Monero or Zcash could also be used to make cross-border money transfers, should Trump decide to go through with his legislation and attempt to crack down on bitcoin remittances. </p><p><b>Bitcoin in Mexico</b></p><p>The main reason bitcoin hasn’t taken any notable market share of the $500 billion global remittance market is the challenge of transferring fiat currency into bitcoin and then bitcoin back into fiat currency without having to pay too much in bid/offer spread costs. Illiquid local exchanges in developing countries can easily hike up the cost of the remittance to the extent that it would make more sense to use traditional money transfer solutions. </p><p>Fortunately, for Mexican bitcoin users, there are several exchanges to choose from when needing to convert bitcoin into pesos or vice versa. Mexico’s main bitcoin exchanges include <a href=”https://bitso.com/?l=en”>Bitso</a>, <a href=”https://www.volabit.com/en”>Volabit</a> and <a href=”http://localbitcoins.com/country/MX”>LocalBitcoins</a>. </p><p>Given the liquidity of both U.S-based, Mexico-based and international exchanges that residents of the two nations have access to, the costs of converting bitcoin to and from fiat currency are reasonable low, making bitcoin remittances from the U.S. to Mexico a viable solution should Trump’s remittance restrictions be enforced. Furthermore, there are bitcoin remittance companies such as <a href=”https://www.goabra.com/”>Abra</a> and <a href=”https://cashaa.com/”>Cashaa</a> that aim to make cashing out bitcoins in local fiat currency easier.  </p><p>In terms of bitcoin regulation, Mexico has taken a stance similar to many of its international peers. In April 2014, Mexico’s National Commission for the Protection and Defense of Users of Financial Services <a href=”https://www.loc.gov/law/foreign-news/article/mexico-warning-issued-on-risks-of-using-bitcoin/”>issued a warning on the risks of using bitcoin</a> stating that it is not legal tender and not regulated by the Mexican authorities. Therefore, the commission warned, “any individual or business that uses or accepts virtual currencies as a means of payment does so at their own risk and on their own responsibility because the use of this type of asset entails high volatility and potential monetary losses.” In other words, bitcoin is not illegal but the commission warns against its use due to the risks involved in dealing in the digital currency. </p><p>Not surprisingly, following Trump’s election win in November, bitcoin trading volumes in Mexico on global peer-to-peer exchange LocalBitcoins and on the country’s leading bitcoin exchange, Bitso, increased substantially as Mexican bitcoin users moved funds away from the weakening peso and into a better-performing currency. </p><p>Should Trump succeed in imposing strict remittance restrictions from the U.S. to Mexico, this could become the first case study of bitcoin remittance succeeding and actually become a viable means to make cross-border payments.  </p>

The post Will Trump’s New Policies Boost U.S.–Mexico Bitcoin Remittances? appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Last week, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to build a wall along the U.S.–Mexico border as he had promised during his presidential election campaign. Aside from the ethical and practical issues of building the border wall, the issue of how it will be financed was also raised by opponents during his campaign. Trump’s proposed solution to funding the wall is either to heavily tax U.S.–Mexico remittances or to fully prohibit them altogether, so that the funds needed to build the wall will stay in the U.S.

According to the World Bank, U.S.–based Mexican immigrants send around $26 billion annually to their families back home in Mexico. Trump’s proposed legislation would hit Mexican families that rely on remittances from their U.S.–based relatives hard. The Mexican economy would also suffer as the multibillion-dollar remittance inflow to Mexico adds substantially to the country’s domestic spending.     

In light of Trump’s proposed policies to fund the border wall, remittances from the U.S. to Mexico jumped to a ten-year high after Trump’s election win in November in anticipation of possible legislation restricting cross-border money transfers to Mexico. Remittances in the month of November jumped by almost 25 percent compared to the same month the prior year, according to data collated by the Mexican central bank.

Will Bitcoin Be the Answer if New Legislation Is Imposed?

If U.S.–Mexico remittances using traditional channels such as banks or large money transfer operators (MTOs), such as Western Union or MoneyGram, are to be heavily taxed or severely restricted, then bitcoin remittances could offer a solution.

Bitcoin allows users to send and receive money from and to anywhere in the world at a very low cost using online or mobile wallets to make the transfer. Furthermore, legal restrictions on money transfers could easily be circumvented using the digital currency, as no paperwork needs to be filed when sending money abroad. That way, both documented and undocumented Mexican immigrants would still be able to send money back home without any restrictions, should the new laws be put in place.   

Alternatively to bitcoin, anonymous digital currencies such as DASH, Monero or Zcash could also be used to make cross-border money transfers, should Trump decide to go through with his legislation and attempt to crack down on bitcoin remittances.

Bitcoin in Mexico

The main reason bitcoin hasn’t taken any notable market share of the $500 billion global remittance market is the challenge of transferring fiat currency into bitcoin and then bitcoin back into fiat currency without having to pay too much in bid/offer spread costs. Illiquid local exchanges in developing countries can easily hike up the cost of the remittance to the extent that it would make more sense to use traditional money transfer solutions.

Fortunately, for Mexican bitcoin users, there are several exchanges to choose from when needing to convert bitcoin into pesos or vice versa. Mexico’s main bitcoin exchanges include Bitso, Volabit and LocalBitcoins.

Given the liquidity of both U.S-based, Mexico-based and international exchanges that residents of the two nations have access to, the costs of converting bitcoin to and from fiat currency are reasonable low, making bitcoin remittances from the U.S. to Mexico a viable solution should Trump’s remittance restrictions be enforced. Furthermore, there are bitcoin remittance companies such as Abra and Cashaa that aim to make cashing out bitcoins in local fiat currency easier.  

In terms of bitcoin regulation, Mexico has taken a stance similar to many of its international peers. In April 2014, Mexico’s National Commission for the Protection and Defense of Users of Financial Services issued a warning on the risks of using bitcoin stating that it is not legal tender and not regulated by the Mexican authorities. Therefore, the commission warned, “any individual or business that uses or accepts virtual currencies as a means of payment does so at their own risk and on their own responsibility because the use of this type of asset entails high volatility and potential monetary losses.” In other words, bitcoin is not illegal but the commission warns against its use due to the risks involved in dealing in the digital currency.

Not surprisingly, following Trump’s election win in November, bitcoin trading volumes in Mexico on global peer-to-peer exchange LocalBitcoins and on the country’s leading bitcoin exchange, Bitso, increased substantially as Mexican bitcoin users moved funds away from the weakening peso and into a better-performing currency.

Should Trump succeed in imposing strict remittance restrictions from the U.S. to Mexico, this could become the first case study of bitcoin remittance succeeding and actually become a viable means to make cross-border payments.  

The post Will Trump’s New Policies Boost U.S.–Mexico Bitcoin Remittances? appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 17:55:57 1485885357 https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/will-trumps-new-policies-boost-usmexico-bitcoin-remittances/ https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/will-trumps-new-policies-boost-usmexico-bitcoin-remittances/ Alex Lielacher Bitcoin Regulation
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<p>ChronoBank is an up-and-coming company that <a href=”https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/chronobank-attempts-to-untether-the-new-currency-of-talent-1479163229/”>seeks to disrupt the recruitment sector</a> just as Uber and Lyft have disrupted and reinvented the ride-for-hire business.<br/></p><p><a href=”https://chronobank.io/”>ChronoBank</a> wants to decentralize and disintermediate recruitment by creating a P2P marketplace connecting employers with freelancers. “[We] want to create a revolution in short-term recruitment within key professions,” states the company’s website. “Our goal is to make a difference to the way people find work and are rewarded for their labour — doing so within a decentralized framework and without the involvement of traditional financial institutions.”</p><p>“We are trying to streamline [the] employment process everywhere, making short-term, fair-paying engagements more attractive than long-term tenures,” Sergei Sergienko, founder and CEO of ChronoBank, told <i>Bitcoin Magazine.</i></p><p>“At ChronoBank, we believe in fairness, where every person can transact in the value that they themselves can generate, not just transact in fiat currency that’s issued by a central authority.” </p><p>The ChronoBank concept features a new digital token: the Labour-Hour (LH), which will trade freely on the open market and will be the native unit of currency that companies use to purchase labor from professionals on the ChronoBank exchange. The company expects LH to also become, with time, “an inflation-proof asset that will be attractive to long-term investors and traders wanting to park funds overnight.”</p><p>“We believe that the most valuable thing in this world is time; therefore, we are basing a currency on it,” said Sergienko. “People’s work time and skills are abundant enough to be accessible to anyone, yet scarce enough to be valuable.”</p><p>ChronoBank has now <a href=”https://blog.chronobank.io/chronobank-makes-a-strategic-partnership-with-instant-exchange-service-changelly-b4fa39ca243e”>integrated</a> the Changelly app within its main wallet software. <a href=”https://changelly.com/”>Changelly</a>, developed by the <a href=”https://minergate.com/”>MinerGate</a> team, is an instant exchange app that aggregates rates from external exchanges and offers the best rate to the user, who is then able to easily and quickly exchange digital currencies without technical hassles. At this moment, Changelly permits trading in bitcoin, ether, Zcash and several other altcoins.</p><p>“The ability to trade these LH tokens quickly, easily and without slippage against other national and virtual currencies is vital to the smooth operation of ChronoBank and confidence in our platform,” said Sergienko. “That is why we are working to ensure they are listed on a wide range of exchanges. Moreover, we are implementing Changelly right within the core ChronoBank wallet. That will make it incredibly easy for users to exchange LH for bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies with practically zero delay.”</p><p>In a <a href=”https://blog.chronobank.io/chronobank-makes-a-strategic-partnership-with-instant-exchange-service-changelly-b4fa39ca243e”>statement,</a> Sergienko explained that Changelly is well established and trusted in the crypto world. “It is a clean, reliable interface that we will integrate directly into the ChronoWallet to give our users another choice for trading  —  in this case, one that’s all about speed and convenience,” he said. The integration of Changelly will allow anyone to buy LH tokens quickly using a variety of payment options, including bitcoin and MasterCard/Visa credit cards. They can then use the tokens to buy services on ChronoBank’s exchange.</p><p>The concept of using skilled work time as currency is not new. For example, <a href=”http://ithacahours.com/”>Ithaca HOURS</a>, a local currency used in Ithaca, New York, since 1991, is the oldest and largest local currency system operating in the U.S. at this time. One Ithaca HOUR, valued at $10, is recommended to be used as payment for one hour’s work, although the rate is negotiable. Ithaca HOURS are printed tokens meant for local use, and there is no standard mechanism to convert Ithaca HOURS to dollars. Therefore, the usage of Ithaca HOURS has been declining in the last few years, and the concept doesn’t seem easily extensible to current trends toward digital, global “<a href=”http://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/employment-and-growth/independent-work-choice-necessity-and-the-gig-economy”>gig economies</a>,” of which Uber is the best-known example.</p><p>The ChronoBank concept seems to improve upon Ithaca HOURS on several fronts: a digital token that can be converted to digital or fiat currencies, delocalization, decentralization and app-based ease of use. Therefore, it’s worth keeping ChronoBank under close observation and watching its next moves. The <a href=”https://chronobank.io/”>ChronoBank Initial Coin Offering (ICO)</a>, which has raised more than $3 million to date, is ongoing until February 14.</p>

The post P2P Talent Marketplace ChronoBank Adds Changelly appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

ChronoBank is an up-and-coming company that seeks to disrupt the recruitment sector just as Uber and Lyft have disrupted and reinvented the ride-for-hire business.

ChronoBank wants to decentralize and disintermediate recruitment by creating a P2P marketplace connecting employers with freelancers. “[We] want to create a revolution in short-term recruitment within key professions,” states the company’s website. “Our goal is to make a difference to the way people find work and are rewarded for their labour — doing so within a decentralized framework and without the involvement of traditional financial institutions.”

“We are trying to streamline [the] employment process everywhere, making short-term, fair-paying engagements more attractive than long-term tenures,” Sergei Sergienko, founder and CEO of ChronoBank, told Bitcoin Magazine.

“At ChronoBank, we believe in fairness, where every person can transact in the value that they themselves can generate, not just transact in fiat currency that’s issued by a central authority.”

The ChronoBank concept features a new digital token: the Labour-Hour (LH), which will trade freely on the open market and will be the native unit of currency that companies use to purchase labor from professionals on the ChronoBank exchange. The company expects LH to also become, with time, “an inflation-proof asset that will be attractive to long-term investors and traders wanting to park funds overnight.”

“We believe that the most valuable thing in this world is time; therefore, we are basing a currency on it,” said Sergienko. “People’s work time and skills are abundant enough to be accessible to anyone, yet scarce enough to be valuable.”

ChronoBank has now integrated the Changelly app within its main wallet software. Changelly, developed by the MinerGate team, is an instant exchange app that aggregates rates from external exchanges and offers the best rate to the user, who is then able to easily and quickly exchange digital currencies without technical hassles. At this moment, Changelly permits trading in bitcoin, ether, Zcash and several other altcoins.

“The ability to trade these LH tokens quickly, easily and without slippage against other national and virtual currencies is vital to the smooth operation of ChronoBank and confidence in our platform,” said Sergienko. “That is why we are working to ensure they are listed on a wide range of exchanges. Moreover, we are implementing Changelly right within the core ChronoBank wallet. That will make it incredibly easy for users to exchange LH for bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies with practically zero delay.”

In a statement, Sergienko explained that Changelly is well established and trusted in the crypto world. “It is a clean, reliable interface that we will integrate directly into the ChronoWallet to give our users another choice for trading  —  in this case, one that’s all about speed and convenience,” he said. The integration of Changelly will allow anyone to buy LH tokens quickly using a variety of payment options, including bitcoin and MasterCard/Visa credit cards. They can then use the tokens to buy services on ChronoBank’s exchange.

The concept of using skilled work time as currency is not new. For example, Ithaca HOURS, a local currency used in Ithaca, New York, since 1991, is the oldest and largest local currency system operating in the U.S. at this time. One Ithaca HOUR, valued at $10, is recommended to be used as payment for one hour’s work, although the rate is negotiable. Ithaca HOURS are printed tokens meant for local use, and there is no standard mechanism to convert Ithaca HOURS to dollars. Therefore, the usage of Ithaca HOURS has been declining in the last few years, and the concept doesn’t seem easily extensible to current trends toward digital, global “gig economies,” of which Uber is the best-known example.

The ChronoBank concept seems to improve upon Ithaca HOURS on several fronts: a digital token that can be converted to digital or fiat currencies, delocalization, decentralization and app-based ease of use. Therefore, it’s worth keeping ChronoBank under close observation and watching its next moves. The ChronoBank Initial Coin Offering (ICO), which has raised more than $3 million to date, is ongoing until February 14.

The post P2P Talent Marketplace ChronoBank Adds Changelly appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 17:44:59 1485884699 https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/p2p-talent-marketplace-chronobank-adds-changelly/ https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/p2p-talent-marketplace-chronobank-adds-changelly/ Giulio Prisco Bitcoin Adoption & community
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<p>Digital currency trading company ShapeShift understands the increasing importance of offering secure services safe from the hacks that have plagued the space in the last year, and has turned to Canadian security expert Michael Perklin to step in as the new Chief Information Security Officer.<br/></p><p>Perklin first collaborated with <a href=”https://shapeshift.io”>ShapeShift</a> (based in Switzerland) when he was hired to conduct an investigation of the company’s April 2016 security breach and to help get ShapeShift back on its feet. At the time, he found he agreed with the company’s approach to business. </p><p>“ShapeShift’s non-custodial model takes full advantage of a blockchain’s capabilities to allow disparate parties to transact with each other with little-to-no knowledge,” Perklin told Bitcoin Magazine. “Their lack of collecting user information further highlights the power that blockchains bring to the world. We don’t need to know who each other are to be able to swap one digital asset for another, and ShapeShift’s innovation in this space was a large reason behind my move.</p><p>“ShapeShift’s power is in its simplicity — send a token, receive another. No accounts, no passports, no utility bills.”</p><p>“It has been an absolute honor and privilege to work with Michael,” Erik Voorhees, CEO of ShapeShift, told Bitcoin Magazine, “and having him on board with us full-time now is a dream come true for a blockchain startup.” </p><p>An expert in cyber investigations, digital forensic examinations and security breach post-mortems, Perklin founded Canada’s first blockchain security consulting firm, Bitcoinsultants, and is the co-author of the first <a href=”https://cryptoconsortium.org/standards/CCSS”>CryptoCurrency Security Standard</a>. Perklin will continue in his role as president of <a href=”https://cryptoconsortium.org/”>C4</a>, a nonprofit standards organization dedicated to developing and maintaining standards and personnel certification to help companies more effectively use blockchain technology. </p><p>“Michael Perklin has pioneered the standardization of security-related best practices in the industry. He’s a talented individual of immense character, and happens to be one of the world’s foremost blockchain security experts,” said Voorhees.</p><p>“As a ShapeShift integration partner, I think it’s great to see someone of Michael’s capabilities join their team,” Anthony Di Iorio, CEO of Decentral and Jaxx Blockchain Interface, concurred. “I’ve known Michael for a number of years and he’s always been at the forefront of blockchain forensics and security. Directing his skills and experience full-time to ShapeShift is a huge win for their company.”</p><p><b>“2017 Is the Year of Blockchains”</b></p><p>As a long-time Bitcoin advocate, Perklin has testified about blockchains at the Canadian Senate’s Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce and has been qualified as an expert witness in the courts of Canada and other nations around the globe. </p><p>“Blockchains definitely are a game-changing technology, just like databases changed things back in the ’60s. I do think 2017 is the year of blockchains simply because of all of the work people are doing around the world to integrate this new computer science concept with existing business processes.</p><p>“It’s just like how companies traded their filing cabinets for computers and envelopes for fax machines. When new technologies change our environment, we integrate them into our daily lives and adjust. There’s no doubt in my mind that blockchains will change society more quickly and more drastically than the internet did in the ’90s and 2000s.”</p><p>Unlike those who doubt that bitcoin can survive as a digital currency, Perklin sees a natural progression toward widespread use and acceptance.</p><p>“Bitcoin and blockchain technologies are quite different from everything that existed before them, so it’s no surprise that some media outlets misunderstand it and jump to conclusions. Bitcoin has been called untraceable (false), anonymous (false) and has been declared dead by misinformed people more times than I can count.</p><p>“By comparison, the internet was seen as something that was only useful for computer geeks. However, once people understand a new technology, they begin to use it in their everyday lives. I think Bitcoin and blockchains will be no different.”</p><p><b>On Ethereum</b></p><p>Perklin is also enthusiastic about the future of Ethereum, despite some recent doom and gloom predictions.</p><p>“Ether is an interesting token with a different use case than bitcoin. It’s such a new technology that there are bound to be growing pains — it’s the first of its kind, just like Bitcoin was the first of its kind, too,” says Perklin. “Many people forget that Bitcoin went through many ‘hard forks’ in its first two years, just as Ethereum is doing now. As each bug is fixed, the system becomes more resilient to problems. I have a bright view for Ethereum’s future. </p><p>“There are now so many digital assets — each with their own unique differences — that people around the world will undoubtedly need to swap amongst them regularly.”</p><p>Before joining ShapeShift,  Perklin was Head of Security and Investigative Services with <a href=”https://ledgerlabs.com/team/”>LedgerLabs</a>, a Canadian blockchain services firm that offers advice on strategy, development, security and training to companies working with or hoping to work with blockchain technology.</p><p>The LedgerLabs team is comprised of experts in Ethereum, permissioned blockchains, smart contracts and blockchain forensics, including Vitalik Buterin, Peter Todd, Jeff Coleman, Hai Nguyen, Richard Moore and Vlad Zamfir.</p>

The post ShapeShift Security Chief Michael Perklin: “2017 Will Be the Year of Blockchains” appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Digital currency trading company ShapeShift understands the increasing importance of offering secure services safe from the hacks that have plagued the space in the last year, and has turned to Canadian security expert Michael Perklin to step in as the new Chief Information Security Officer.

Perklin first collaborated with ShapeShift (based in Switzerland) when he was hired to conduct an investigation of the company’s April 2016 security breach and to help get ShapeShift back on its feet. At the time, he found he agreed with the company’s approach to business.

“ShapeShift’s non-custodial model takes full advantage of a blockchain’s capabilities to allow disparate parties to transact with each other with little-to-no knowledge,” Perklin told Bitcoin Magazine. “Their lack of collecting user information further highlights the power that blockchains bring to the world. We don’t need to know who each other are to be able to swap one digital asset for another, and ShapeShift’s innovation in this space was a large reason behind my move.

“ShapeShift’s power is in its simplicity — send a token, receive another. No accounts, no passports, no utility bills.”

“It has been an absolute honor and privilege to work with Michael,” Erik Voorhees, CEO of ShapeShift, told Bitcoin Magazine, “and having him on board with us full-time now is a dream come true for a blockchain startup.”

An expert in cyber investigations, digital forensic examinations and security breach post-mortems, Perklin founded Canada’s first blockchain security consulting firm, Bitcoinsultants, and is the co-author of the first CryptoCurrency Security Standard. Perklin will continue in his role as president of C4, a nonprofit standards organization dedicated to developing and maintaining standards and personnel certification to help companies more effectively use blockchain technology.

“Michael Perklin has pioneered the standardization of security-related best practices in the industry. He’s a talented individual of immense character, and happens to be one of the world’s foremost blockchain security experts,” said Voorhees.

“As a ShapeShift integration partner, I think it’s great to see someone of Michael’s capabilities join their team,” Anthony Di Iorio, CEO of Decentral and Jaxx Blockchain Interface, concurred. “I’ve known Michael for a number of years and he’s always been at the forefront of blockchain forensics and security. Directing his skills and experience full-time to ShapeShift is a huge win for their company.”

“2017 Is the Year of Blockchains”

As a long-time Bitcoin advocate, Perklin has testified about blockchains at the Canadian Senate’s Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce and has been qualified as an expert witness in the courts of Canada and other nations around the globe.

“Blockchains definitely are a game-changing technology, just like databases changed things back in the ’60s. I do think 2017 is the year of blockchains simply because of all of the work people are doing around the world to integrate this new computer science concept with existing business processes.

“It’s just like how companies traded their filing cabinets for computers and envelopes for fax machines. When new technologies change our environment, we integrate them into our daily lives and adjust. There’s no doubt in my mind that blockchains will change society more quickly and more drastically than the internet did in the ’90s and 2000s.”

Unlike those who doubt that bitcoin can survive as a digital currency, Perklin sees a natural progression toward widespread use and acceptance.

“Bitcoin and blockchain technologies are quite different from everything that existed before them, so it’s no surprise that some media outlets misunderstand it and jump to conclusions. Bitcoin has been called untraceable (false), anonymous (false) and has been declared dead by misinformed people more times than I can count.

“By comparison, the internet was seen as something that was only useful for computer geeks. However, once people understand a new technology, they begin to use it in their everyday lives. I think Bitcoin and blockchains will be no different.”

On Ethereum

Perklin is also enthusiastic about the future of Ethereum, despite some recent doom and gloom predictions.

“Ether is an interesting token with a different use case than bitcoin. It’s such a new technology that there are bound to be growing pains — it’s the first of its kind, just like Bitcoin was the first of its kind, too,” says Perklin. “Many people forget that Bitcoin went through many ‘hard forks’ in its first two years, just as Ethereum is doing now. As each bug is fixed, the system becomes more resilient to problems. I have a bright view for Ethereum’s future.

“There are now so many digital assets — each with their own unique differences — that people around the world will undoubtedly need to swap amongst them regularly.”

Before joining ShapeShift,  Perklin was Head of Security and Investigative Services with LedgerLabs, a Canadian blockchain services firm that offers advice on strategy, development, security and training to companies working with or hoping to work with blockchain technology.

The LedgerLabs team is comprised of experts in Ethereum, permissioned blockchains, smart contracts and blockchain forensics, including Vitalik Buterin, Peter Todd, Jeff Coleman, Hai Nguyen, Richard Moore and Vlad Zamfir.

The post ShapeShift Security Chief Michael Perklin: “2017 Will Be the Year of Blockchains” appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 18:57:24 1485543444 https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/shapeshift-security-chief-michael-perklin-2017-will-be-year-blockchains/ https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/shapeshift-security-chief-michael-perklin-2017-will-be-year-blockchains/ Jessie Willms Bitcoin Blockchain
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<p><a href=”https://www.bitcoinunlimited.info/”>Bitcoin Unlimited</a>, one of the <a href=”https://bitcoincore.org/”>Bitcoin Core</a> software forks <a href=”https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/unlimited-classic-and-bitpay-core-bitcoin-s-new-kids-on-the-blockchain-1452705977/”>introduced</a> in late 2015, garnered much attention in recent months. The project gained hash power support from several new Bitcoin mining pools, including <a href=”https://www.viabtc.com/”>ViaBTC</a>, <a href=”https://gbminers.com/”>GBMiners</a> and <a href=”http://btc.top/”>BTC.TOP</a>, while <a href=”http://xtnodes.com/#bitcoin_unlimited”>node adoption</a> appears to be on the rise as well.<br/></p><p>The central idea behind Bitcoin Unlimited — specified in “<a href=”https://bitco.in/forum/threads/closed-passed-buip001-unlimited-inspired-extensions-to-the-bitcoin-client.222/”>Bitcoin Unlimited Improvement Proposal 001</a>” (BUIP001) — is to hand control of Bitcoin’s block size limit to users and miners. Or perhaps, more accurately, to make this control more explicit and easier to handle.</p><p>However, this control does come at the expense of Bitcoin’s strong and automated consensus mechanism. With BUIP001, there is a number of scenarios in which different users end up on different chains — either temporarily or permanently.</p><p>Here’s a (probably incomplete) overview.</p><p>(Note: If you are not sure how Bitcoin Unlimited works, do make sure to first read “<a href=”https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/closer-look-bitcoin-unlimiteds-configurable-block-size-proposal/”>A Closer Look at Bitcoin Unlimited’s Configurable Block Size Proposal</a>.”)</p><p><b>If Not Everyone Switches to Bitcoin Unlimited</b></p><p>The first example is also the most obvious one.</p><p>It currently seems very unlikely that different Bitcoin implementations — like <a href=”https://bitcoincore.org/”>Bitcoin Core</a>, <a href=”https://libbitcoin.org/”>Libbitcoin</a>, <a href=”https://github.com/btcsuite/btcd”>BTCD</a> or <a href=”http://bcoin.io/”>Bcoin</a> — will adopt BUIP001, or something compatible. This is especially true because the Bitcoin Unlimited team has not submitted BUIP001 to the cross-implementation Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) process; most implementations therefore don’t even have the proposal under consideration.</p><p>But if not all significant Bitcoin implementations adopt BUIP001 or a compatible solution, the blockchain cannot converge in the way Bitcoin Unlimited proponents envisage. Instead, if a majority of miners (by hash power) increases Maximum Generation Size (MG) and Excessive Block Size (EB) to produce blocks bigger than one megabyte, Bitcoin would split into two incompatible networks and currencies, not unlike <a href=”https://www.ethereum.org/”>Ethereum</a> and <a href=”https://ethereumclassic.github.io/”>Ethereum Classic</a>.</p><p>However, because this split would not be coordinated or include safety precautions, the consequences could be much worse than the split between Ethereum and Ethereum Classic.</p><p>One megabyte users would experience inconveniences, and even more so if their hash power initially represents a smaller minority. This would include (much) slower block confirmations, perhaps even to the point where their chain becomes almost unusable (at least temporarily). Additionally, they are at risk of <a href=”http://vessenes.com/hard-fork-and-replay-concerns/”>replay attacks</a> if they want to use the “Bitcoin Unlimited chain” as well.</p><p>Bitcoin Unlimited users would suffer similar inconveniences, though their initial block confirmations wouldn’t be as slow, as they’d have support from the hash-power majority. </p><p>To counter that, however, Bitcoin Unlimited users would be unsure as to whether “their” chain would continue to exist at all. If the one megabyte chain should ever overtake the “Bitcoin Unlimited chain” in length (really: total proof of work), Bitcoin Unlimited nodes would automatically switch back to the one megabyte chain. Accordingly, they would dispose of (“orphan”) the entire “Bitcoin Unlimited chain” since the split, even if that chain is thousands of blocks deep. All “their” transactions would be forgotten, perhaps costing lots of people lots of money.</p><p>If a group of hardcore one-megabyte supporters and speculators can make this scenario seem even slightly plausible, self-fulfilling prophecy dynamics can pose an existential threat to the “Bitcoin Unlimited chain”: no one wants to hold value on the chain that may be discarded.</p><p><b>If Everyone Does Switch to Bitcoin Unlimited</b></p><p>But let’s assume the switch to BUIP001 goes smoothly. All significant Bitcoin implementations adopt the new configurable options, and all users and miners update their software accordingly.</p><p>Once again — even in this scenario — there is no technical reason that all users will converge on a single chain in a meaningful way. Different users can configure their nodes to remain out of consensus for the rest of their lives.</p><p>As a simple example, a minority of miners can configure both MG and EB to one megabyte, while they set Excessive Acceptance Depth (AD) to 10,000,000. In other words, these nodes will mimic the current one-megabyte block size limit for about two centuries — regardless of what the rest of the network does.</p><p>Meanwhile, a majority of miners can set MG and EB to create and accept blocks up to two megabytes. </p><p>Now, as soon as one miner mines a two-megabyte block, the majority of miners will build on this block and extend this chain. The minority of miners, however, ignores this chain practically forever: exactly as described in the previous section of this article. </p><p>And it would include the same risks as previously described as well. If the one-megabyte chain ever overtakes the two-megabyte chain in length, the two-megabyte chain is completely discarded. Even after thousands of blocks.</p><p><b>If Everyone Limits AD to Four Confirmations</b></p><p>Bitcoin Unlimited users can have a stronger degree of convergence on a single chain by technical means, if they keep their AD setting relatively low. The default setting in Bitcoin Unlimited is four: An excessive block requires four blocks mined on top of it to be considered valid.</p><p>But this presents problems as well.</p><p>The first problem is that even with this low default, any transaction with less than five confirmations is much less secure than it is now. Say a transaction shows three confirmations in a user’s wallet. That user has no way of knowing whether an alternative blockchain is being mined with a competing (double-spent) transaction, that already has four confirmations. This could happen at any time.</p><p>If that alternative chain reaches its fifth confirmation first, the user’s chain is discarded, and his incoming transaction lost — even though it had three confirmations.</p><p>Of course, “orphaned blocks” do already exist, and users that require more security should wait for more confirmations.</p><p>But barring exotic and expensive types of malicious attacks, three orphaned blocks can currently really only result from freak coincidence. Different groups of miners must coincidentally find three blocks at almost exactly the same time, three separate and subsequent coincidences, in order for the network to experience that many orphans.</p><p>Bitcoin Unlimited, on the other hand, throws a new factor into the mix, adding a reason for the network to experience three orphaned blocks. Miners not only race to extend the longest valid chain, but also vote on protocol rules between chains. This process would also be visible and quite predictable for attackers, and therefore easily exploitable.</p><p>The second problem is that having to keep AD at the default of four confirmations for security reasons essentially defeats the purpose of BUIP001. While Bitcoin Unlimited is supposed to hand control of the block size limit over to both users and (all) miners, low AD levels ensure that even the slightest majority of miners can always overrule local block size settings by simply mining a series of bigger blocks. This makes MG and EB meaningless for everyone else: “<a href=”https://medium.com/@alpalpalp/bitcoin-unlimiteds-placebo-controls-6320cbc137d4#.b1jz23cjz”>placebo controls</a>.”</p><p>Indeed, AD proposes an odd choice: Either nodes and miners set a high AD for relative autonomy, but risk splitting the network with potentially harmful consequences; or these nodes and miners pick a low AD to improve the level of convergence — but only because they effectively give up control to a majority of miners. (And if the intention is to give up control to a majority of miners, there are <a href=”https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/closer-look-bip100-block-size-proposal-bitcoin-miners-rallying-behind-1440792099/”>more straightforward</a> solutions available.)</p><p><b>Under Adversarial Conditions</b></p><p>Things get worse under adversarial conditions. </p><p>If not everyone wants what’s best for Bitcoin, and instead some entities — for whatever reason — would rather see Bitcoin fail, the security assumptions of BUIP001 degrade further. And the more funds an adversary has at its disposal to cause turmoil, the worse Bitcoin Unlimited’s convergence mechanism would perform.</p><p>First off, node signaling is trivially spoofed. Anyone with the resources to spin up “fake” (economically irrelevant) nodes could pretend that there is widespread user support for a certain block size limit level, while in reality there is not. If miners go by these signals, they may fork the chain with less user support than expected.</p><p>Additionally, a malicious miner can often split the network. Such a miner could monitor the EB levels signaled by other miners (which is not as easily spoofed), and intentionally mine a block that falls right in between what these miners will accept. If some 50 percent of hash power accepts blocks up to two megabytes, and the other 50 percent supports bigger blocks, a 2.01 megabyte block would be ignored by the first 50 percent, and accepted by the other 50 percent.</p><p>Assuming the default AD of four is maintained, the chain could split for more than an hour. As explained in the previous section, the Bitcoin network(s) would be very unreliable during this period, as the chain on either side of the split may be discarded. </p><p>An adversary controlling only 0.7 percent of global hash power could cause this level of turmoil about once every day. And unless the overwhelming majority of miners already agree on their EB anyways, that sweet spot to abuse the network should always exist.</p><p>Furthermore, as a result of this attack, half of all miners would reach their AD thresholds, opening their “sticky gates.” This may allow for a second wave of attacks. Now, the malicious miner has about 24 hours to mine an even larger block, that — ironically — only the initially smaller-block side of the chain would accept because their sticky gates are open, and the initially larger-block side of the chain would reject. This would create another split.</p><p>Last, if and when this new “sticky gate chain” reaches the AD thresholds of the remaining nodes,<i> all</i> sticky gates are open, and there is no block size limit at all. An adversary can now mine blocks that are so big they may <a href=”https://bitco.in/forum/threads/buip038-closed-revert-sticky-gate.1624/page-2″>fragment</a> the chain as not all nodes can keep up — perhaps due to bandwidth constraints, latency or other machine limits. </p><p><b>Emergent Consensus</b></p><p>While Bitcoin Unlimited arguably offers more personal autonomy to users, it does not ensure technical blockchain convergence. But this is not new. To some extent, it is even touched on in Bitcoin Unlimited’s <a href=”https://www.bitcoinunlimited.info/faq”>FAQ</a>.</p><p>Yet, Bitcoin Unlimited proponents do expect users to converge on a single blockchain. This is explained by what is perhaps best considered Bitcoin Unlimited’s underlying philosophy: “Emergent Consensus.” </p><p>Rather than a purely technical mechanism, Emergent Consensus is a conviction that all participants in the Bitcoin ecosystem have a strong enough (economic) incentive to find consensus on a single blockchain, even if their software does not do this automatically.</p><p>The <a href=”https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/why-bitcoin-unlimiteds-emergent-consensus-gamble/”>next article</a> will take a closer look at this Emergent Consensus philosophy.</p><p><b>Author’s note: </b>This article is not a complete overview of all the problems that could result from BUIP001. Most importantly, it ignores trade-offs and weaknesses that derive from an oversized (or floating) block size limit itself, like <a href=”https://blog.sia.tech/a-future-led-by-bitcoin-unlimited-is-a-centralized-future-e48ab52c817a#.mj8brd1me”>node</a> <a href=”http://www.truthcoin.info/blog/measuring-decentralization/”>centralization</a>, <a href=”https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=144895.0″>miner</a> <a href=”https://petertodd.org/2016/block-publication-incentives-for-miners”>centralization</a>, or <a href=”https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00951358/document”>fee</a> <a href=”https://medium.com/@bergealex4/bitcoin-is-unstable-without-the-block-size-size-limit-70db07070a54#.d3dkjc3yg”>economics</a>, to instead focus on (a lack of) blockchain convergence.</p><p><i>“Jonny1000” contributed to this article.</i></p>

The post How Bitcoin Unlimited Users May End Up on Different Blockchains appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Bitcoin Unlimited, one of the Bitcoin Core software forks introduced in late 2015, garnered much attention in recent months. The project gained hash power support from several new Bitcoin mining pools, including ViaBTC, GBMiners and BTC.TOP, while node adoption appears to be on the rise as well.

The central idea behind Bitcoin Unlimited — specified in “Bitcoin Unlimited Improvement Proposal 001” (BUIP001) — is to hand control of Bitcoin’s block size limit to users and miners. Or perhaps, more accurately, to make this control more explicit and easier to handle.

However, this control does come at the expense of Bitcoin’s strong and automated consensus mechanism. With BUIP001, there is a number of scenarios in which different users end up on different chains — either temporarily or permanently.

Here’s a (probably incomplete) overview.

(Note: If you are not sure how Bitcoin Unlimited works, do make sure to first read “A Closer Look at Bitcoin Unlimited’s Configurable Block Size Proposal.”)

If Not Everyone Switches to Bitcoin Unlimited

The first example is also the most obvious one.

It currently seems very unlikely that different Bitcoin implementations — like Bitcoin Core, Libbitcoin, BTCD or Bcoin — will adopt BUIP001, or something compatible. This is especially true because the Bitcoin Unlimited team has not submitted BUIP001 to the cross-implementation Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) process; most implementations therefore don’t even have the proposal under consideration.

But if not all significant Bitcoin implementations adopt BUIP001 or a compatible solution, the blockchain cannot converge in the way Bitcoin Unlimited proponents envisage. Instead, if a majority of miners (by hash power) increases Maximum Generation Size (MG) and Excessive Block Size (EB) to produce blocks bigger than one megabyte, Bitcoin would split into two incompatible networks and currencies, not unlike Ethereum and Ethereum Classic.

However, because this split would not be coordinated or include safety precautions, the consequences could be much worse than the split between Ethereum and Ethereum Classic.

One megabyte users would experience inconveniences, and even more so if their hash power initially represents a smaller minority. This would include (much) slower block confirmations, perhaps even to the point where their chain becomes almost unusable (at least temporarily). Additionally, they are at risk of replay attacks if they want to use the “Bitcoin Unlimited chain” as well.

Bitcoin Unlimited users would suffer similar inconveniences, though their initial block confirmations wouldn’t be as slow, as they’d have support from the hash-power majority.

To counter that, however, Bitcoin Unlimited users would be unsure as to whether “their” chain would continue to exist at all. If the one megabyte chain should ever overtake the “Bitcoin Unlimited chain” in length (really: total proof of work), Bitcoin Unlimited nodes would automatically switch back to the one megabyte chain. Accordingly, they would dispose of (“orphan”) the entire “Bitcoin Unlimited chain” since the split, even if that chain is thousands of blocks deep. All “their” transactions would be forgotten, perhaps costing lots of people lots of money.

If a group of hardcore one-megabyte supporters and speculators can make this scenario seem even slightly plausible, self-fulfilling prophecy dynamics can pose an existential threat to the “Bitcoin Unlimited chain”: no one wants to hold value on the chain that may be discarded.

If Everyone Does Switch to Bitcoin Unlimited

But let’s assume the switch to BUIP001 goes smoothly. All significant Bitcoin implementations adopt the new configurable options, and all users and miners update their software accordingly.

Once again — even in this scenario — there is no technical reason that all users will converge on a single chain in a meaningful way. Different users can configure their nodes to remain out of consensus for the rest of their lives.

As a simple example, a minority of miners can configure both MG and EB to one megabyte, while they set Excessive Acceptance Depth (AD) to 10,000,000. In other words, these nodes will mimic the current one-megabyte block size limit for about two centuries — regardless of what the rest of the network does.

Meanwhile, a majority of miners can set MG and EB to create and accept blocks up to two megabytes.

Now, as soon as one miner mines a two-megabyte block, the majority of miners will build on this block and extend this chain. The minority of miners, however, ignores this chain practically forever: exactly as described in the previous section of this article.

And it would include the same risks as previously described as well. If the one-megabyte chain ever overtakes the two-megabyte chain in length, the two-megabyte chain is completely discarded. Even after thousands of blocks.

If Everyone Limits AD to Four Confirmations

Bitcoin Unlimited users can have a stronger degree of convergence on a single chain by technical means, if they keep their AD setting relatively low. The default setting in Bitcoin Unlimited is four: An excessive block requires four blocks mined on top of it to be considered valid.

But this presents problems as well.

The first problem is that even with this low default, any transaction with less than five confirmations is much less secure than it is now. Say a transaction shows three confirmations in a user’s wallet. That user has no way of knowing whether an alternative blockchain is being mined with a competing (double-spent) transaction, that already has four confirmations. This could happen at any time.

If that alternative chain reaches its fifth confirmation first, the user’s chain is discarded, and his incoming transaction lost — even though it had three confirmations.

Of course, “orphaned blocks” do already exist, and users that require more security should wait for more confirmations.

But barring exotic and expensive types of malicious attacks, three orphaned blocks can currently really only result from freak coincidence. Different groups of miners must coincidentally find three blocks at almost exactly the same time, three separate and subsequent coincidences, in order for the network to experience that many orphans.

Bitcoin Unlimited, on the other hand, throws a new factor into the mix, adding a reason for the network to experience three orphaned blocks. Miners not only race to extend the longest valid chain, but also vote on protocol rules between chains. This process would also be visible and quite predictable for attackers, and therefore easily exploitable.

The second problem is that having to keep AD at the default of four confirmations for security reasons essentially defeats the purpose of BUIP001. While Bitcoin Unlimited is supposed to hand control of the block size limit over to both users and (all) miners, low AD levels ensure that even the slightest majority of miners can always overrule local block size settings by simply mining a series of bigger blocks. This makes MG and EB meaningless for everyone else: “placebo controls.”

Indeed, AD proposes an odd choice: Either nodes and miners set a high AD for relative autonomy, but risk splitting the network with potentially harmful consequences; or these nodes and miners pick a low AD to improve the level of convergence — but only because they effectively give up control to a majority of miners. (And if the intention is to give up control to a majority of miners, there are more straightforward solutions available.)

Under Adversarial Conditions

Things get worse under adversarial conditions.

If not everyone wants what’s best for Bitcoin, and instead some entities — for whatever reason — would rather see Bitcoin fail, the security assumptions of BUIP001 degrade further. And the more funds an adversary has at its disposal to cause turmoil, the worse Bitcoin Unlimited’s convergence mechanism would perform.

First off, node signaling is trivially spoofed. Anyone with the resources to spin up “fake” (economically irrelevant) nodes could pretend that there is widespread user support for a certain block size limit level, while in reality there is not. If miners go by these signals, they may fork the chain with less user support than expected.

Additionally, a malicious miner can often split the network. Such a miner could monitor the EB levels signaled by other miners (which is not as easily spoofed), and intentionally mine a block that falls right in between what these miners will accept. If some 50 percent of hash power accepts blocks up to two megabytes, and the other 50 percent supports bigger blocks, a 2.01 megabyte block would be ignored by the first 50 percent, and accepted by the other 50 percent.

Assuming the default AD of four is maintained, the chain could split for more than an hour. As explained in the previous section, the Bitcoin network(s) would be very unreliable during this period, as the chain on either side of the split may be discarded.

An adversary controlling only 0.7 percent of global hash power could cause this level of turmoil about once every day. And unless the overwhelming majority of miners already agree on their EB anyways, that sweet spot to abuse the network should always exist.

Furthermore, as a result of this attack, half of all miners would reach their AD thresholds, opening their “sticky gates.” This may allow for a second wave of attacks. Now, the malicious miner has about 24 hours to mine an even larger block, that — ironically — only the initially smaller-block side of the chain would accept because their sticky gates are open, and the initially larger-block side of the chain would reject. This would create another split.

Last, if and when this new “sticky gate chain” reaches the AD thresholds of the remaining nodes, all sticky gates are open, and there is no block size limit at all. An adversary can now mine blocks that are so big they may fragment the chain as not all nodes can keep up — perhaps due to bandwidth constraints, latency or other machine limits. 

Emergent Consensus

While Bitcoin Unlimited arguably offers more personal autonomy to users, it does not ensure technical blockchain convergence. But this is not new. To some extent, it is even touched on in Bitcoin Unlimited’s FAQ.

Yet, Bitcoin Unlimited proponents do expect users to converge on a single blockchain. This is explained by what is perhaps best considered Bitcoin Unlimited’s underlying philosophy: “Emergent Consensus.”

Rather than a purely technical mechanism, Emergent Consensus is a conviction that all participants in the Bitcoin ecosystem have a strong enough (economic) incentive to find consensus on a single blockchain, even if their software does not do this automatically.

The next article will take a closer look at this Emergent Consensus philosophy.

Author’s note: This article is not a complete overview of all the problems that could result from BUIP001. Most importantly, it ignores trade-offs and weaknesses that derive from an oversized (or floating) block size limit itself, like node centralization, miner centralization, or fee economics, to instead focus on (a lack of) blockchain convergence.

“Jonny1000” contributed to this article.

The post How Bitcoin Unlimited Users May End Up on Different Blockchains appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 16:03:23 1485533003 https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/how-bitcoin-unlimited-users-may-end-different-blockchains/ https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/how-bitcoin-unlimited-users-may-end-different-blockchains/ Aaron van Wirdum Bitcoin Technical
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<p><a href=”http://cryptosteel.com/”>Cryptosteel</a> is a device that allows bitcoin holders to back up their <a href=”https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Private_key”>private keys</a> in a fireproof, waterproof and shockproof manner. The idea is that the Cryptosteel will be able to act as a backup for any type of Bitcoin address for long periods of time, and many people see it as a useful companion to a <a href=”https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/bitcoin-hardware-wallet-review-ledger-may-have-caught-up-to-trezor-with-nano-s-1473944111/”>hardware wallet</a>.</p><p>Cryptosteel recently sent me one of their devices, and I opened it up to see how the whole process works.<br/></p><p><b>Setting Up a Cryptosteel</b></p><p>It’s easy to get started with the <a href=”http://cryptosteel.com/product/cryptosteel-mnemonic/”>Cryptosteel MNEMONIC</a> in a matter of minutes. The packaging is nice enough, and the artwork by contributing artist <a href=”https://rafaelakahira.blogspot.com/”>Rafael Akahira</a> gives it a special, unique appearance.</p><p><img alt=”IMG_4668.JPG” height=”387″ src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/UjXKcHdTdETouxQErf2ebmYiHwxVigaGMITxJqMP2I5BqgeZuH6CRA812LiGV6pF2KLkTI1rOeYxMx_v-LsorekFSEAAZqPEWlJ0y09XaDc4GMWjynrzuxbdTrt726chKrHd2ku3″ width=”289″/><img alt=”IMG_4669.JPG” height=”388″ src=”https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/RlW8zV-99Z8Mmt6FI0u0s3fFNyDdGElu9CRoXD9MCCaep1fRM8S3GBGI7R1gQrBfL-BYaIR5k5U8E0aCY5hQvMjq9yN0KZoDzQMM33rllJnanGRgbcsHkzR9Gbv3LxCwYQ0OO-DR” width=”293″/></p><p>Once the actual Cryptosteel device is out of the packaging, the product’s usefulness is immediately apparent. Although the Cryptosteel’s size is somewhere between that of a credit card and an old iPhone, it feels sturdier than a brick; a good bit of weight is packed into its small stature.<br/></p><p>After twisting the product open like some kind of Swiss Army knife, the frame where the stainless steel numbers, letters and other characters should be placed can be seen.<br/></p><p>The steel characters that come with the device are separated into different sections, so it’s easy to find the ones you need. There’s even a chart similar to what you would find in a box of chocolates that tells you where each character can be found. Each piece of steel has a letter, number or other symbol on both the front and the back.<br/></p><p><img alt=”IMG_4672.JPG” height=”581″ src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/UJm9P3sJ6A1qCwebAX28gIvNp9kTikFlhiK8Q-9G8xSDAUE5K9qTIibgj74oOpYNx6YsDDEVKy4g9qaQ3us5vmeW5e2PmGb_F1__EtjoXMkdwac07QZCiaCstEs3UmnQEnYOsVTX” width=”435″/></p><p>To begin placing characters into the device, a small lock must be turned counterclockwise and a safety pawl must be bent open (not at the same time). I used a butter knife to complete both of these steps.</p><p>There is a small gate that needs to be opened before placing the steel piecesletters into the frame. Although it seemed difficult to get the characters into the frame at first, I soon realized that the gate can also act as a hammer to knock them into place.<br/></p><p><embed alt=”cryptokyle” embedtype=”image” format=”left” id=”2673″/></p><p>I didn’t take the time to put in a 24-word <a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mnemonic”>mnemonic phrase</a>, but I got a handle on how the Cryptosteel works by putting my name into the frame before closing it back up. This took a few minutes to complete. I imagine a full 24-word phrase could be completed in less than 30 minutes.<br/></p><p><b>How Cryptosteel Could Be Improved</b></p><p>Using the Cryptosteel was a rather straightforward process, but I do have a few suggestions.</p><p>The first one isn’t much of a complaint, but it would be nice if there was a YouTube video that showed the user exactly how to set up and use his or her Cryptosteel. There are a few videos on the <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmZLaFITXlvaJyfvng23wnw”>Cryptosteel YouTube page</a>, but they appear to be based on old prototypes. Something like this is likely already in the works, but in the future, a message on the packaging that tells the user to go to a specific website to watch a setup video may be a good idea.<br/></p><p>The only real issue I see with the Cryptosteel is the packaging of the steel character pieces with the characters on them. They are separated into different pockets in the packaging, but each section could be sealed off better. Having the characters get mixed together during the shipping process didn’t seem to be a serious issue, but it’s unclear what a user is supposed to do with the set of characters after they’re done using them.<br/></p><p>Most people will likely put all of the letters in a bag and put them to the side, but this will dramatically increase the amount of time it takes to enter a new series of characters into the frame of the Cryptosteel in the future. This is an unlikely scenario given that the point of the Cryptosteel is to use it once, but it’s worth mentioning. Someone could also run into this issue if they decide to stop entering characters into the frame and need to finish the process later.<br/></p><p>Creating more separation between the sets of characters for long-term storage would be a nice improvement.<br/></p><p><b>When to Use a Cryptosteel</b></p><p>This is an awesome device. I can’t imagine using anything else to back up private keys to a Bitcoin address.</p><p>Trezor Architect <a href=”http://marek.palatinus.cz/”>Marek “Slush” Palatinus</a> has said it’s the perfect way to back up the seed of a <a href=”https://trezor.io/”>Trezor hardware wallet</a>. It would obviously work well as a backup for a hardware device from <a href=”https://www.ledgerwallet.com/”>Ledger</a> or <a href=”https://www.keepkey.com/”>KeepKey</a> as well.<br/></p><p>For added security, multiple Cryptosteel devices could be placed in different locations as a backup for a <a href=”https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Multisignature”>multisig address</a>. Alternatively, a user could separate his or her savings into multiple Cryptosteel devices to weaken the impact of one of them being lost or stolen. Some combination of these two options is also worth considering.<br/></p><p>The Cryptosteel is basically a paper wallet on steroids. It’s one of the best available options for long-term storage of Bitcoin private keys.<br/></p><p><b><i>Disclosure: The author of this article was provided a free Cryptosteel MNEMONIC for the purposes of this review.</i></b><br/></p>

The post Review: Cryptosteel Is a Great Way to Back Up Bitcoin Private Keys appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Cryptosteel is a device that allows bitcoin holders to back up their private keys in a fireproof, waterproof and shockproof manner. The idea is that the Cryptosteel will be able to act as a backup for any type of Bitcoin address for long periods of time, and many people see it as a useful companion to a hardware wallet.

Cryptosteel recently sent me one of their devices, and I opened it up to see how the whole process works.

Setting Up a Cryptosteel

It’s easy to get started with the Cryptosteel MNEMONIC in a matter of minutes. The packaging is nice enough, and the artwork by contributing artist Rafael Akahira gives it a special, unique appearance.

IMG_4668.JPGIMG_4669.JPG

Once the actual Cryptosteel device is out of the packaging, the product’s usefulness is immediately apparent. Although the Cryptosteel’s size is somewhere between that of a credit card and an old iPhone, it feels sturdier than a brick; a good bit of weight is packed into its small stature.

After twisting the product open like some kind of Swiss Army knife, the frame where the stainless steel numbers, letters and other characters should be placed can be seen.

The steel characters that come with the device are separated into different sections, so it’s easy to find the ones you need. There’s even a chart similar to what you would find in a box of chocolates that tells you where each character can be found. Each piece of steel has a letter, number or other symbol on both the front and the back.

IMG_4672.JPG

To begin placing characters into the device, a small lock must be turned counterclockwise and a safety pawl must be bent open (not at the same time). I used a butter knife to complete both of these steps.

There is a small gate that needs to be opened before placing the steel piecesletters into the frame. Although it seemed difficult to get the characters into the frame at first, I soon realized that the gate can also act as a hammer to knock them into place.

cryptokyle

I didn’t take the time to put in a 24-word mnemonic phrase, but I got a handle on how the Cryptosteel works by putting my name into the frame before closing it back up. This took a few minutes to complete. I imagine a full 24-word phrase could be completed in less than 30 minutes.

How Cryptosteel Could Be Improved

Using the Cryptosteel was a rather straightforward process, but I do have a few suggestions.

The first one isn’t much of a complaint, but it would be nice if there was a YouTube video that showed the user exactly how to set up and use his or her Cryptosteel. There are a few videos on the Cryptosteel YouTube page, but they appear to be based on old prototypes. Something like this is likely already in the works, but in the future, a message on the packaging that tells the user to go to a specific website to watch a setup video may be a good idea.

The only real issue I see with the Cryptosteel is the packaging of the steel character pieces with the characters on them. They are separated into different pockets in the packaging, but each section could be sealed off better. Having the characters get mixed together during the shipping process didn’t seem to be a serious issue, but it’s unclear what a user is supposed to do with the set of characters after they’re done using them.

Most people will likely put all of the letters in a bag and put them to the side, but this will dramatically increase the amount of time it takes to enter a new series of characters into the frame of the Cryptosteel in the future. This is an unlikely scenario given that the point of the Cryptosteel is to use it once, but it’s worth mentioning. Someone could also run into this issue if they decide to stop entering characters into the frame and need to finish the process later.

Creating more separation between the sets of characters for long-term storage would be a nice improvement.

When to Use a Cryptosteel

This is an awesome device. I can’t imagine using anything else to back up private keys to a Bitcoin address.

Trezor Architect Marek “Slush” Palatinus has said it’s the perfect way to back up the seed of a Trezor hardware wallet. It would obviously work well as a backup for a hardware device from Ledger or KeepKey as well.

For added security, multiple Cryptosteel devices could be placed in different locations as a backup for a multisig address. Alternatively, a user could separate his or her savings into multiple Cryptosteel devices to weaken the impact of one of them being lost or stolen. Some combination of these two options is also worth considering.

The Cryptosteel is basically a paper wallet on steroids. It’s one of the best available options for long-term storage of Bitcoin private keys.

Disclosure: The author of this article was provided a free Cryptosteel MNEMONIC for the purposes of this review.

The post Review: Cryptosteel Is a Great Way to Back Up Bitcoin Private Keys appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 19:26:43 1485458803 https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/review-cryptosteel-great-way-back-bitcoin-private-keys/ https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/review-cryptosteel-great-way-back-bitcoin-private-keys/ Kyle Torpey Bitcoin Review

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