Category Archives: Bitcoin

Largest Irish Residential Property Developer Building Homes for Bitcoin

Largest Irish Residential Property Developer Building Homes for Bitcoin

· February 24, 2018 · 10:30 pm

Bitcoin continues to gain acceptance as a viable form of payment as Ireland’s largest homebuilder now accepts the dominant cryptocurrency for new properties.


Luck O’ the Bitcoin

According to Raidió Teilifís Éireann — a semi-state company and the national public service broadcaster of the Republic of Ireland — the country’s largest homebuilding company plans on accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment.

Hagan Homes, based out of Ballyclare, will be the first home construction company in Ireland to accept the dominant cryptocurrency.

Managing director James Hagan is ahead of the curve when it comes to accepting Bitcoin — a cryptocurrency he sees has having a strong future as a legitimate currency with mainstream acceptance. Explains Hagan:

Bitcoin is an innovative new payment method and essentially a new kind of money. It is very similar to a cash transaction. There has been a significant growth in the use of Bitcoin worldwide and our acceptance of this new channel reflects our willingness to respond to the market.

Still, Hagan admits that Bitcoin faces challenges as it slowly matures and seeks to gain traction as a mainstream currency. Nevertheless, he’d rather get involved now than arrive late to the party. Claims Hagan:

Of course, there are some risks to using Bitcoin for payment due to the cryptocurrency’s volatility, but buyers and sellers are finding creative ways to deal with these challenges. By incorporating the learning from our peers into our approach we can embrace this innovation.

Hagan Homes built 207 homes across 15 sites in Northern Ireland last year.

Bitcoin is Gaining Traction in the Real Estate Market

Ireland is not the only place where one can buy homes for Bitcoin.

Earlier this month, Washington D.C.-based developer Coloma River Capital and the Alex Venditti Group of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage put up four new spots in St. James Place Condos for down, partial, or full payment with Bitcoin.

Like Hagan, Venditti also sees his company as getting ahead of the curve, telling The Washington Post:

We want to be on the cutting edge of new technology and the new world and we think we’ll see more cryptocurrency transactions in the future. We consulted with our internal legal team as well as a title company to make sure that the bitcoin transaction could go through.

Accepting bitcoin for Dubai real estate

Ultimo lingerie tycoon Michelle Mone and her billionaire boyfriend, Doug Barrowman, also sold 50 of their 1,300 developments, located in Dubai’s Science Park, for Bitcoin — which sold out in almost no time at all.

Do you think more and more real estate developers will continue to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment for homes? Would you like to buy your home with Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Irish News, Wikimedia Commons

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Published at Sun, 25 Feb 2018 03:30:56 +0000

Bitcoin

BTC AT $1M IS CONSERVATIVE – John Mcafee!

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Smart Contracts Might Not Be as Smart as You Think

Smart Contracts Might Not Be as Smart as You Think

· February 24, 2018 · 7:30 pm

Smart contracts are supposed to be just that: smart. However, some smart contracts currently circulating aren’t quite making the grade — with vulnerabilities exposing millions of dollars worth of Ethereum to potential theft.


How Smart are Smart Contracts?

Smart contracts are computer protocols meant to digitally facilitate, verify, or enforce the execution of contracts. Smart contracts’ ability to partially or fully self-execute and self-enforce makes third parties unnecessary when completing transactions — and thus provides superior security and lower costs when compared to traditional contracting.

However, not all smart contracts are created equal, and some house rather serious security vulnerabilities.

According to Motherboard, upwards of 34,200 smart contracts in circulation currently feature coding bugs, potentially exposing millions of dollars to potential theft.

smart contracts

The first warning sign came last November, when an individual known as “DevOps199” took control of an Ethereum smart contract, destroyed it, and permanently locked up $150 million worth of cryptocurrency — a feat which, theoretically, should never have been allowed to happen.

Millions of Dollars at Risk

Now, a team of researchers from the National University of Singapore, Yale-NUS College in Singapore, and University College London claim to have discovered 34,2oo more unsecured smart contracts. They also claim that $6 million worth of Ether (ETH) could be stolen from roughly 3,000 of those not-so-smart contracts — which doesn’t bode well for the other 31,200.

One of the report’s authors, Ilya Sergey, told Motherboard:

We’re dealing with applications that have two very unpleasant traits: They manage your money, and they cannot be amended.

smart contracts

Sergey also put breaking into smart contracts into layman’s terms, likening the process to breaking into a vending machine. He told Motherboard:

Imagine your goal isn’t to interact with the vending machine in a proper way, but rather you want to break it or get it to serve you for free. Assume we put a few coins in the machine, and just start randomly pushing buttons hoping that the inner workings of the vending machine—which we have no knowledge about, springs and whatnot—eventually releases the latch so you can take the candy.

The researchers’ report — which claims they were able to “reproduce real exploits at a true positive rate of 89 percent” — is currently being peer-reviewed.

The team was unsuccessful in their attempts to notify the creators of the unsecured smart contracts, and the likelihood that said vulnerabilities will be fixed isn’t particularly strong. Said Sergey:

If someone wants to exploit this idea, they’ll have to do at least as much work as we did.

With millions of dollars at stake, cyber thieves doing just that is far from inconceivable.

Do these researchers’ finding worry you? Does this change your opinion of smart contracts? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of AdobeStock and Bitcoinist archives.

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Published at Sun, 25 Feb 2018 00:30:01 +0000

Blockchain Technology

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Why Blockchain Loyalty Programs Provide A Win for Companies and Consumers Alike

Why Blockchain Loyalty Programs Provide A Win for Companies and Consumers Alike

· February 24, 2018 · 4:30 pm

We love getting points. Especially through credit cards. It feels like we’re getting free stuff when we buy items with points. And credit card points are a part of a larger ecosystem called loyalty reward programs. These programs can be as simple as a punch card where your 11th burrito is free or as involved as airline miles and credit card points.


Loyalty programs are advantageous for companies for two main reasons. The first is it encourages brand loyalty. You’re more likely to go to the same coffee shop if you know that if you buy enough coffee, you’ll eventually get some for free.

Another reason why loyalty programs are beneficial is that they can provide companies with important data on their top customers. This data can be used to track spending habits which can be used to determine the success of marketing efforts.

But running your own efficient loyalty program is challenging. It’s expensive due to the extensive manpower required to run the systems. In the end, it’s just not practical for most small to midsize businesses.

To accommodate this, there are a few reward program coalitions that companies can join. Plenti is an example of one. Through the Plenti card, users can earn points on everyday purchases. Plenti also allows discounts at checkout for select retailers and restaurants. They have hundreds of participating stores online, which allows for even more points to be earned.

The advantage for a company to join Plenti is that now they’ve been exposed to millions of Plenti users who are more likely to shop at that store because of the points they’ll earn.

The Loyalty Program Breakdown

Loyalty programs have become so popular that seemingly every company was issuing their own points and rewards. While this may seem like a good thing, the points actually became less valuable. Now, instead of one store with all your points, you have multiple stores with only a few points.

You may have already experienced this problem with the airline industry. If you fly multiple airlines due to purchasing the cheapest ticket, then you’ll have multiple accounts with only a few miles in each one. The sheer number of accounts to manage has become so cumbersome that points are worthless in the public eye due to the time and management it takes to keep up with them.

The Loyalty Program Breakdown 

The Blockchain Solution

A solution to these problems and more can be found by pairing loyalty programs with blockchain. Elements (ELM) is an example of this. Due to the decentralized nature of blockchain, the fees companies incur are minimal.

Instead of points, Elements gives out their token, ELM. A tradable and practical digital asset, ELM can be used in a number of ways. First, it can be stored in your digital wallet as a place to grow. The price for ELM is based on the supply and demand for the coin. This means that it could grow substantially over a period of time.

ELM can also be traded for other popular cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple. Depending on the token, the transaction can take place instantaneously. Lastly, ELM can be converted into a fiat currency.

Sandblock (SAT) is another example of a loyalty rewards program built on blockchain, providing similar and additional features. For example, blockchain also solves data security with loyalty programs. When data is transferred across a blockchain, the transaction is open and viewable to all, but the information of the sender is secure and encrypted.

This information is extremely valuable to businesses, but consumers are hesitant to give it out for fear of a hack. This makes blockchain a perfect fit for loyalty reward programs. It provides the necessary data for the businesses while giving security to the consumer that their information won’t be misused.

It’s important that companies use blockchain correctly when pairing it with their loyalty reward program. It would be wasteful for each company to create their own token and launch their own ICO. That’s why Sandblock uses their token, SAT to build a consortium. SAT is an ERC20 token. Instead of launching their own corporate token, companies can brand a group of SAT tokens. Each branded SAT token is indexed to the official SAT token. This means every SAT token, no matter what brand, will have the same value.

Users are able to track their tokens through the Sandblock mobile app. As does Elements, Sandblock provides a tradable asset that can be turned into other cryptocurrencies or fiat currencies.

Loyalty programs and points can be made more practical, more effective and more beneficial to both businesses and consumers, through blockchain.

Do you think that a blockchain-based loyalty program solution would be an improvement over currently available options? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of LinkedIn, AdobeStock

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Published at Sat, 24 Feb 2018 21:30:51 +0000

Blockchain Technology

Bitcoin Beards & Things Toiletry Bag

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Bitcoin BTC Cryptocurrency HODLer Mug – Crypto Payments Accepted! Pay With Cryptocurrency

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Former Top JPMorgan Trader Says Banks ‘Have Absolutely Failed’ With Cryptocurrency

Former Top JPMorgan Trader Says Banks ‘Have Absolutely Failed’ With Cryptocurrency

· February 24, 2018 · 1:00 pm

A former high-flying JPMorgan trader turned cryptocurrency fund manager says banks “have absolutely failed to innovate in any way, shape, or form and now they’re paying the price” in the cryptocurrency market.


Daniel Masters ran JPMorgan’s energy trading business in the 1990s and now oversees cryptocurrency investment at the firm Global Advisors. In an interview with Business Insider, he called cryptocurrency a “true revolution” that traditional financial institutions are dismissing as a “criminal enterprise, Ponzi scheme and a scam.”

Masters, who started out as an oil trader for Shell in the 1980s, said he became interested in cryptocurrency around five years ago and refocused his firm on digital currencies two years later in 2014.

He said established financiers, or what he calls “analogue financial service companies,” are in “trench warfare” with upstart digital financial servicers.

In the interview, Masters said:

The analogue financial services companies are not in this game at all. They don’t want to touch the core currency, which is bitcoin or ethereum, they’re suspicious about the industry itself. A lot of people think it’s a criminal enterprise and a Ponzi scheme and a scam.

‘Ponzi Scheme’?

Masters’ remarks follow a slew of negative comments by financial brass on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency just over the course of this month.

European Central Bank executive board member Yves Mersch said bitcoin is “not money” and like “Mr. Ponzi’s schemes” at the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum in London. The general manager for the Bank of Settlements, Augustin Carstens, said Bitcoin is a “combination of a bubble, a Ponzi scheme and an environmental disaster” at a lecture at Frankfurt University. And World Bank president Jim Yong Kim also said Bitcoin was a Ponzi scheme at an event in Washington, Bloomberg reports.

Charlie Munger, the 94-year-old vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, has even called Bitcoin a “noxious poison” the government needs to regulate during a shareholder meeting earlier this month for the Daily Journal, a publishing firm where he serves as chairman and director, Business Insider reports.

JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon faced backlash for calling bitcoin “a fraud,” which he has since apologized for. The remark triggered a market abuse lawsuit by algorithmic blockchain liquidity provider Blockswater for alleged violation of Article 12 of the European Union’s Market Abuse Regulation.

Jamie Dimon

Financiers Cozy Up To Bitcoin

But some financial institutions appear to be warming up to cryptocurrencies following Bitcoin’s 1,500 percent rise in value against the dollar last year. The CBOE stock exchange started the world’s first bitcoin futures trading in December, which crashed its website due to heavy traffic. Goldman Sachs has also suggested they would open desks for trading cryptocurrency during an earnings call last month.

Masters’ firm, Global Advisors, owns a 75 percent stake in Coinshares, which announced in January that the two funds now have more than $1 billion in cryptocurrency assets under management. Masters said this growth is a sign that banks need to take digital currencies seriously.

“The clock has lapsed, it is no longer acceptable to dismiss it,” Masters said.

Are banks failing to get involved in the cryptocurrency market? Tell us what you think in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Global Advisors, Twitter/@dannylmasters, and Pixabay.

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Published at Sat, 24 Feb 2018 18:00:33 +0000

Bitcoin

Elon Musk Reveals Personal Crypto Holdings

Elon Musk Reveals Personal Crypto Holdings

Elon Musk Bitcoin
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Elon Musk has revealed his personal cryptocurrency holdings.

The billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla told Twitter followers that he in fact has never purchased cryptocurrency, and only holds a small amount of Bitcoin gifted by a friend.

The tweet was made in response to scam posts on Twitter claiming to be Mr Musk requesting Ethereum. It’s an issue that has plagued the Twitter network, with scammers impersonating blockchain figures such as Vitalik Buterin in attempts to steal users cryptocurrency. Twitter users are warned to never send cryptocurrency to anyone claiming to be hsoting a giveaway or event.

Whilst the businessman may not own cryptocurrency, it was reported in 2016 that he was not against the technology. When appointed to Trump’s team of advisers he declared that Bitcoin was in fact a “good thing”, although he did not elaborate in great detail.

Last year Musk was center of attention in the cryptocurrency space. In November there was heavy speculation that he was in fact the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, creator of Bitcoin. Believers of the theory cited his mastery of C++ (coding language used by both SpaceX and Bitcoin), his passion for solving global problems, and his silence on the issue as evidence. It was also hypothesized that as Satoshi’s original Bitcoin (worth $8b in November) have not been touched, Musk, valued at $19b being the creator made sense – he didn’t need the money. The theory didn’t hold up for long however, with Musk again taking to twitter to claim no involvement with cryptocurrencies. The real identity of the creator of Bitcoin will likely remain unknown, unless Satoshi wishes to reveal their true identity. It’s a scenario that becomes more unlikely with every passing year.

Elon Musk’s lack of involvement with cryptocurrency is interesting, as decentralized technology firmly aligns with his professed aspirations for a better human society. Whether his involvement will change as blockchain technology develops remains to be seen.

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Published at Sat, 24 Feb 2018 18:03:26 +0000

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