Steam May Soon Accept Bitcoins

When it comes to PC gaming, everyone knows the feeling that happens when the Steam sales come on. Your bank account starts to hate you and you wish you didn’t save your card details as you click and drain your funds for games you won’t get to play for a few months if you are lucky. Now it looks like Steam may soon be accepting Bitcoins, draining both your physical and digital money with each sale.

Posted on a Reddit feed, the post appears to come from the Steamworks Development group, a private group for the platforms developers. The post teases that the company is looking to use an external payment provider to help accept bitcoins.

The post makes clear that the calculations will be done all via the external processor, with you still being charged the same amount and the processor acting as the middle man who takes your bitcoins and pays Valve the appropriate amount of traditional currency. Given the unstable nature of digital currency, this means that at no time does Valve hold the bitcoins, making sure they avoid any sudden drops or spikes in prices for the currency.

This process would make sense, but with concerns about the legality of people’s bitcoins and their stability, what happens if people make large purchases with “bad bitcoins”? With no effort on the side of developers or anyone who makes a purchase using the new system, I’m sure many will accept and enjoy the new option for buying all those games you want.

Microsoft Ends Bitcoin Support

Just over a year on from its introduction, Microsoft has quietly pulled Bitcoin support from the Microsoft Store. While the company has not made an official statement regarding the news, nor has it explained why it took the decision, the Windows Store no longer supports the cryptocurrency for Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile purchases.

“Microsoft Store doesn’t accept Bitcoin,” an update to the Windows Store FAQ reads. “You can no longer redeem Bitcoin into your Microsoft account. Existing balances in your account will still be available for purchases from Microsoft Store, but can’t be refunded.”

Despite this quiet reveal, a page on the Microsoft website entitled “Add money to your Microsoft account with Bitcoin” still exists.

The move marks an unexpected U-turn for the company which, when it introduced Bitcoin support to its store at the end of 2014, proclaimed the digital currency as a growing market.

“For us, this is about giving people options and helping them do more on their devices and in the cloud,” Eric Lockard, Corporate Vice President of Universal Store at Microsoft, said (courtesy of a cached Microsoft blog post, seemingly now deleted). “The use of digital currencies such as Bitcoin, while not yet mainstream, is growing beyond the early enthusiasts. We expect this growth to continue and allowing people to use Bitcoin to purchase our products and services now allows us to be at the front edge of that trend.”

Image courtesy of BetaBoston.

Cryptsy on Verge of Bankruptcy After $7.5m Bitcoin Theft

Popular cryptocurrency exchange Cryptsy is on the verge of bankruptcy after the startup admitted that it had fallen victim to an online heist in July 2014, during which a total of $9.58 million-worth of Bitcoins and Litecoins. The company has been left with outstanding liabilities of around 10,000BTC – approximately $4.15 million – which, if not met, could result in the business winding up.

“About a year and a half ago,” a blog post from Cryptsy reads, “we were alerted in the early AM of a reduction in our safe/cold wallet balances of Bitcoin and Litecoin, as well as a couple other smaller cryptocurrencies.”

“After a period of time of investigation it was found that the developer of Lucky7Coin had placed an IRC backdoor into the code of wallet, which allowed it to act as a sort of a Trojan, or command and control unit,” the post continues. “This Trojan had likely been there for months before it was able to collect enough information to perform the attack.”

The Trojan was able to steal around 13,000BTC ($7.5 million, based on the exchange rate at the time) and 300,000LTC ($2.08 million).

Cryptsy says that it did not disclose the theft at the time as it believed that it had enough cyptocurrencies in its reserve to make up the shortfall, supplementing that with its own profits. The site, though, has now failed to meet its outstanding liabilities. Unless Cryptsy can recover the stolen funds or can find a buyer to cover the shortfall, the company is set to declare itself insolvent.

Image courtesy of Bloomberg.

Australian Securities Market to Begin Trading Bitcoin Shares

The Australian Securities Market (ASX) is preparing to debut the Bitcoin Group on the public market under the symbol BCG. This is seen as a potentially billion dollar opportunity by Bitcoin Group, with at least $20 million expected to be gained from the initial sale of 100 million shares at $0.20 each on February 9th.

The Melbourne-based bitcoin mining company currently operates around 6000 “mining” rigs worldwide, split across 12 mining centres. Less than 2% of the companies mining power is concentrated in Australia, with the majority of the power coming from their 5 Chinese mining centres. The majority of the funds raised by the sale of shares is planned to be put directly into increasing the firm’s hashing power.

The CEO of Bitcoin Group, Sam Lee hopes that the floating of his firm on the Securities Market will help to increase the acceptance of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency worldwide and to increase the number of investors in the technology. “It’s about giving ourselves and the industry accountability and legitimacy; people often doubt whether our industry is ‘real’ as bitcoin has been declared dead many times over,” Lee said. “Unlike private companies, however, listed companies have a higher level of compliance; audited numbers will assist us in educating people interested in our industry with facts, not fiction.” He believes that when backed with legitimacy, Bitcoin’s ability to be converted to any worldwide currency and reusability will solidify the crypto-currency as a legitimate monetary platform.

Bitcoin’s emerging acceptance of Bitcoin is only the start of worldwide acceptance of the technology, with some US financial commissions taking the digital currency under their jurisdiction. Additionally, the US Securities Exchange Commission will be allowing companies to issue shares using the blockchain technology, similarly to ASX selling shares of BCG. ASX itself is also reported to be looking to convert their current settlement and clearing system to Bitcoin blockchain technology, with the switchover expected to be complete before the end of the year.

Australian Man Arrested After Exposé Reveals He May Be the Real Bitcoin Inventor

The real inventors of notorious cryptocurrency Bitcoin could be an Australian entrepreneur and his dead friend, separate investigations by Gizmodo and Wired have revealed. Both Gizmodo and Wired have obtained evidence that point towards Sydney businessman Craig Steven Wright and his friend, computer forensics expert Dave Kleiman, who died in 2013, as the developers of Bitcoin, previously attributed to the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto since the currency’s inception in 2009.

The investigation began in November this year, when Gizmodo received an anonymous tip that read, “I hacked Satoshi Naklamoto [sic]. These files are all from his business account. The person is Dr Craig Wright.” Attached were a series of incriminating e-mails from Wright’s Hotmail account. Gizmodo’s subsequent month-long investigation into the true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto culminated in the website getting on-the-record confirmation from a number of sources that Wright has, on at least two occasions, claimed that he and Kleiman created Bitcoin.

At the same time, Wired obtained a cache of e-mails, transcripts, and accounting forms, dating as far back as 2008, leaked by a source close to Wright via dark web analyst Gwern Branwen. One such document shows Wright planning the creation of “a P2P distributed ledger”, which is an accurate summary of what was to become Bitcoin.

Since these revelations, The Guardian is reporting that Wright has been arrested, and his Sydney home has been raided by police. 10 police officers entered Wright’s residence at around 13:30GMT today, arrested Wright, and preceded to search the property. However, Australian authorities deny that Wright’s arrest is due to any potential association with Bitcoin.

“The AFP can confirm it has conducted search warrants to assist the Australian Taxation Office at a residence in Gordon and a business premises in Ryde, Sydney,” a statement from the Australian Federal police reads. “This matter is unrelated to recent media reporting regarding the digital currency bitcoin.”

EU Considers Bitcoin Ban After Paris Attacks

Following the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris, France on 13th November, the European Union is meeting to discuss a ban on cryptocurrency Bitcoin, according to Reuters. The move comes following unconfirmed rumours that the ISIS operatives responsible for the devastating attacks had up to $3 million in their Bitcoin wallet.

In a document obtained by Reuters, the EU‘s executive arm, the European Commission, outlines plans to “strengthen controls of non-banking payment methods such as electronic/anonymous payments and virtual currencies and transfers of gold, precious metals, by prepaid cards.” But, as The Washington Post adds, so far there is no concrete evidence that the terrorists responsible used any kind of encrypted system to support its activities, and that the EU itself is still investigating whether cryptocurrencies were involved in funding those responsible.

Ben Bernanke, the former head of the US Federal Reserve, has also raised concerns over Bitcoin’s function. “The real serious problem that [Bitcoin] has is it’s anonymity,” Bernanke told Quartz, “which is a feature, and is also a bug, in that it has become in some cases a vehicle for illicit transactions, drug selling or terrorist financing or whatever. And you know, governments are not happy to let that activity happen, so I suspect that there will be oversight of transactions done in bitcoin or similar currencies and that will reduce the appeal.”

At the EU summit, taking place today, Members of European Parliament will also discuss plans “to curb more effectively the illicit trade in cultural goods.”

Could Bitcoin Become Currency in Australia?

Australia has begun a government enquiry which could lead to Bitcoin becoming a legitimate currency within the country. The Senate Economics References Committee is considering making the cryptocurrency a regular tender, with the same standing as regular money, for the purpose of Goods and Services Tax (GST).

The review contradicts the position of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), which only last year determined Bitcoin to be a commodity, rather than legal tender or legitimate currency, and as such was liable for taxation under GST laws. That decision caused a number of Australian startups to threaten migration to another country.

The Senate Economics References Committee, though, has now criticised the ATO’s position, warning that it had placed “an additional burden on Australian digital currency businesses.”

“Without a doubt, the main benefit will be the confidence and certainty that removing a GST will provide to our own digital entrepreneurs, and the foreign businesses who want to set up here,” Labor Senator Sam Dastyari, chair of the committee, said. “Most importantly, it will send the message to local tech entrepreneurs that their government is listening to them, and that in itself is a major step forward.”

The committee’s review has been hailed as a positive step toward supporting new and existing tech businesses in Australia. “Sam Dastyari is recognising the growth potential of innovative technology, and I take it as a sane step towards the only sensible interpretation of the GST legislation,” said Chris Mountford, a developer at Atlassian, one of many companies that lobbied the committee to support Bitcoin. “[The ATO’s ruling] was going to be a barrier for startups, not for Bitcoin. Bitcoin was going to succeed despite Australia.”

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information.

Former Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpelès Arrested Over Lost 650,000 Bitcoins

More than a year after troubled Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox folded, authorities have finally moved against the beleaguered firm. Japanese police have arrested former CEO Mark Karpelès for his involvement in the collapse of the exchange. Leading up to the collapse, the exchange reportedly lost 750,000 Bitcoins belonging to customers as well as 100,000 held by Mt. Gox itself.

According to the Japanese police, Karpelès faces allegations that he manipulated the balance of company accounts as well as those of customers. Claims were also made that some of the missing Bitcoins may have never existed at all and that he falsified data to inflate the company’s assets. At the time, Mt. Gox blamed the loss of the Bitcoins on a bug and later hackers as well as simply losing them. Before filing for bankruptcy, the firm announced it had “found” 200,000 of the missing coins.

At the time of its closure, Mt. Gox was the biggest and most well-known Bitcoin exchange. When the coins were lost, they were worth almost $500 million, though that has since dropped to about $184 million. Karpelès denies any wrong doing at this point and blames the loss of Bitcoins on hackers and weak cyber security.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information 

Low Use of Bitcoin concerning Its Supporters

Despite the large number of online stores and services accepting bitcoins being over 100,000 worldwide, the volatile cryptocurrency usage remains low. Unfortunately for these supports, bitcoins decreasing value is not helping and possibly scaring away more potential investors and customers. However, supporters are urging owners to show patience through this rough time, as potential uses for bitcoins go beyond just finance. David Termac, a professor of finance at New York University Stern Schoold of Business said:

“There are some breakthroughs in technology that are going to endure whether bitcoin survives or not.”

Only more troubling during this time is the recent shutdown of bitcoin exchanges and other companies, which resulted in another case of missing bitcoins. In the end, if the cryptocurrency is to begin a recovery process, and bitcoin wallets start seeing more uses, there may be hope for its survival.

Source: TweakTown

Bitcoin Value Nosedives, Forcing Mining Decline

On a steady decline for over six months, the value of Bitcoin has plummeted to $190.13, marking a 50% drop in the past month, and 25% in just the last few days.

While Bitcoin is used to boom-and-bust fluctuations – the cryptocurrency reached the heady highs of $1,150 during the last quarter of 2013 – this latest decline has economists worried, to the point that Bitcoin miners have thrown in the towel, with some of the world’s largest operations forced to sell its mining hardware, currency reserves, or both, just to cover overheads and loans.

Despite the downturn, though, Bitcoin is as popular as ever, and that’s part of the problem: the more Bitcoins flood the market, the more their price will drop. Once the coins in circulation hit critical mass, they need to be spent for the currency to recover value. This valley could be seen as part of the natural evolution of Bitcoin from niche digital currency to legitimate tender.

Source: Techspot

24-Hour Bitcoin ATM Installed in Utah

Online retailer overstock.com has installed a 24-hour Bitcom ATM at its headquarters in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. Being a virtual currency, actual Bitcoins will not be withdrawable from the machine, but users will be able to convert currency from Bitcoins to US Dollars, and vice-versa.

The ATM, manufactured by CoinOutlet Inc., has bank-grade security and only one of four such machines operating within the US.

Patrick M. Byrne, CEO of overstock.com, said, “Moving cryptocurrencies out of the realm of geeks and into the realm of the rest of us requires making changes at all levels of the financial ecosystem. An important part of this effort is making it easier for people to convert their digital money to cash, and vice versa.”

The company started accepting Bitcoin as legitimate tender a year ago, and has since made $3 million in sales from the currency. Employees of overstock.com even have the option to be paid in Bitcoin since the installation of the ATM.

Source: KUTV

Hacker Diverts Traffic from 19 ISPs to Steal a Large Sum of Bitcoins

It is said that researchers over at Dell’s SecureWorks security division have uncovered a series of hacking attempts in which a bitcoin thief redirected a portion of online traffic from 19 ISPs, including data from Amazon, DigitalOcean and OVH, in order to steam digital currency from a group of bitcoin users.

The hijack said to have lasted just 30 seconds, but the hacking attempt is said to have been performed 22 times. On each attempt, the hacker gained control of the processing power of a group of bitcoin miners, redirecting their mining activity towards his private pool. Security researchers say that the hacker was able to pocket a flow of bitcoins and other digital currencies worth roughly $9,000 through the hijacking.

“With this kind of hijacking, you can quite easily grab a large collection of clients,” said Pat Litke, one of the Dell researchers. “It takes less than a minute, and you end up with a lot of mining traffic under your control.”

A technique called BGP is said to have been used, exploiting the border gateway protocol. The hacker took advantage of a staff user account at a Canadian ISP to periodically broadcast a spoofed command that redirected traffic from other ISPs from February throughout May this year. The command, along with miners not checking their rigs to notice the ‘new’ settings, led to the hacker pocketing $83,000 worth of cryptocurrency.

“Some people are more attentive to their mining rigs than others,” said Joe Stewart, a Dell researcher whose own computers were caught up in one victimized mining pool. “Many users didn’t check their setups for weeks, and they were doing all this work on behalf of the hijacker.”

The BGP hijacking method has been discussed as a potential threat to the internet security since 1998. Back then, a group of hackers known as L0pht stated that they could use the attack to take down the entire Internet in 30 minutes. The discussion was followed at the DefCon security conference in 2008 and was later used in 2013 to temporarily redirect a portion of US internet traffic to Iceland and Belarus.

Thank you Wired for providing us with this information

Dell Announces Bitcoin Payment Trial For US Customers

As more and more small businesses start to accept cryptocurrencies as a recognised form of payment, many large companies are now looking towards the world of digital currencies to draw customers towards them as the world moves forward in its digital ways.

Dell are the latest name to jump on the Bitcoin bandwagon as they announce the start of a pilot scheme in the US for both consumer and business users in partnership with Coinbase. During the checkout stages users will be able to select Bitcoin as a payment method after which they will be taken through to a special payment area where you can transfer funds from your Bitcoin Wallet through to Coinbase after which Dell receives payment in Dollars.

As an incentive for users to adopt Bitcoin as their method of payment, a special offer on Alienware systems has been setup, with 10% savings on a number of systems to be made (up to a value of $150) , simply by paying in digital.

Availability of Bitcoin payment in other regions has not been announced as of yet, although we can imagine the services will be rolled out to other regions following a successful pilot scheme in the US.

Source: Dell.com

 

Bitcoin Wallets Being Hidden All Over San Francisco

Last May someone began hiding envelopes of cash all over San Francisco, starting an internet sensation as people tried their hardest to find the locations. Now it seems the concept has gone digital as someone is now leaving Bitcoin wallets around the city, starting the whole internet craze all over again, in what is being called @SFHiddenBitcoin.

The wallets are aluminium cards with Bitcoin addresses and a private key on them. These can then be imported into the wallet of the person who finds the card, with a value of around $20 each. Of course without all cards being found yet, there is no way of knowing if there are larger values still hidden around the city.

As with the cash version, clues for the Bitcoin locations are being left on the Twitter account, once a wallet is found it gets announced on Twitter and people then wait for the next clue. However, some creative type decided it would be funny to hide one at Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s house, so who knows what other random places these cards could turn up at.

If you’re in the San Francisco area and want to kill a few hours this weekend, follow the Twitter page and join the hunt here.

Thank you BI for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of BI.

Mobile Bitcoin Mining Isn’t Worth The Effort, Unless You’re a Cybercriminal

Trying to mine for bitcoins using mobile devices won’t become an industry trend anytime soon, except for cybercriminals hijacking unsuspecting users.

Even if cybercriminals hijack smartphones and tablets, which has been noted in the past few months by security researchers, it still will be a slow, tedious process.  Devices hijacked with a mining Trojan tend to run hotter, battery levels drop significantly faster, and phone performance drags to a crawl, which is when users will likely notice the problem.

Using a single Samsung Galaxy SIII smartphone mining for 24 hours earns just .00000007 bitcoin – and it’d take more than 14 million devices to mine a single bitcoin each day, according to security firm Lookout.

Here is what Olaf Carlson-Wee, Operations at Coinbase, recently noted:

“To make mobile mining profitable, phones would need more powerful processors at a cheap cost.  Even if this were the case, mobile phones will never compete with hardware specifically designed to mine efficiently, like bitcoin ASICs (application specific integrated circuits).”

Mining for bitcoins effectively takes a mix of computer hardware, time and electricity to make it successful – and it will remain a difficult business model to adapt.

Criminals will continue hijacking PCs and mobile devices to steal banking information, conduct click fraud schemes, and compromise users to demand ransoms.  However, security experts still recommend users be aware of mining threats, and run anti-malware and anti-virus solutions on PCs and mobile devices.

Thank you to Lookout for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of New Bitcoin World

Illegal Bitcoin Exchange Busted by French Police

The French police recently dismantled an illegal Bitcoin exchange website, marking the first time an illegal Bitcoin money exchange was targeted in Europe.

There were raids last week conducted in Cannes, Nice and Toulouse, along with a separate raid in Brussels, Belgium, with 388 bitcoins seized.

At least two suspects are currently being looked at for money laundering, illegal banking, and illegally running a gambling website – a worrying sign for regulators trying to figure out what to do with the popular cryptocurrency. A 27-year-old Tunisian and 36-year-old Frenchman are in custody and illegally sold bitcoins, conducting more than 2,750 transactions and exchanging at least 2,500 bitcoins.

Here is what Olivier Caracotch, Foix prosecutor, told Reuters:

“It’s the first time in Europe that a judicial action has resulted in the closure of an illegal exchange for virtual currency.  It’s also the first time in France that bitcoins have been seized as part of a judicial procedure.”

The illegal bitcoin exchange began to unravel after a retired police officer said he purchased bitcoins from the site.  The suspects did not receive approval by the French ACPR, responsible for overseeing the country’s financial sector.

National governments from the United States and Japan to European Union (EU) nations are worried about criminals using cryptocurrency to slip by money laundering charges.

Thank you to Reuters UK for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of PC Harbour

Bitcoin Supporters Hope to See EU Provide Regulatory Guidance of Cryptocurrencies

European Union countries need to make adjustments to outline regulatory guidance on bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies, according to bitcoin supporters.

The European Commission recently noted that it plans to create virtual cryptocurrency rules as quickly as possible – there is a higher level of regulatory scrutiny of bitcoins, while governments are still unsure what to make of bitcoins.

Here is what Jeremy Allaire, head bitcoin consumer finance company Circle, recently said in an interview with Reuters:

“One of the challenges is that without clear guidance from the EU, from the UK, it will limit industry development.  Unless they have a clear view of where does this (bitcoin) fit, how do we know what the rules are?”

The United States, EU, and select Asian countries have struggled to try to deal with the rise of bitcoins, especially considering potential fraud problems.  If regulators become involved and create overly restrictive laws, however, it could curb bitcoin growth across the world, supporters worry.

Bitcoin value currently hovers around $630 (£367), though remains rather volatile as more consumers and businesses dabble with cryptocurrencies.  However, the European Banking Authority (EBA) could scare customers away by devising rules to clamp down on money laundering and criminal abuse.

Thank you to Reuters for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Huffington Post

California Gov. Brown Signs Bill Legalizing Bitcoin, Other Cryptocurrencies

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed bill AB 129 into law, which legalizes Bitcoin and other digital cryptocurrencies inside of California.

Legally, the State of California had legislation that didn’t make it legal to use “anything but the lawful money of the United States,” though this was something that supporters hoped to change.  Following Gov. Brown’s decision, it’s likely other states will follow later down the road, as Bitcoins continue to gain a larger support group.

In addition, a number of different retailers and companies welcome Bitcoin payments, saying it doesn’t make sense to turn down any form of currency customers are willing to pay with.

Here is what Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento), California Assemblyman, previously said in a press release:

“In an era of evolving payment methods, from Amazon Coins to Starbucks Stars, it is impractical to ignore the growing use of cash alternatives.  This bill is intended to fine-tune current law to address Californians’ payment habits in the mobile and digital fields.”

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies cannot be classified as currency – but that hasn’t stopped investors and supporters from promoting their use.  Despite California – and other states showing interest in cryptocurrencies – it seems unlikely the federal government will show the same enthusiasm.

Thank you to Los Angeles Times for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of NY Post

Overclockers UK Now Accepting Bitcoins

Whilst cyptocurrencies are not as widely spoken about today as they were only a few months back, the biggest currency of them all, Bitcoin, is still making its mark on the modern world, with more businesses recognising its value and how they can in turn make a profit by offering to accept Bitcoins in exchange for products or services.

The latest name in the tech industry to jump on the Bitcoin bandwagon is Overclockers UK, with full support now rolled out across their site for users to buy the latest and greatest hardware (as well as anything else that they chose) and pay with Bitcoins instead of money out of the bank.

The shopping  experience with OcUK has not changed one bit and users will not need to access any special hidden areas of the site in order to use Bitcoins, instead all they need to do is chuck everything in their basket as normal and at the checkout select Bitcoin as the desired payment method. A cryptokey for the payment provider BitPay is then provided and after users have sent the equivalent value of Bitcoins to BitPay, OcUK then receive proper money in exchange so that they can ship your goddie (and Haribo) out to you as normal.

[youtube width=”800″ height=”450″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdcDjNv6fGs[/youtube]

There are one or two terms that need to be taken into account however. If paying by Bitcoin and you need to send an item back for refund, you will get your funds back in Bitcoins, but at the exchange rate that was present at the point of refund – any variances in exchange rates are not covered by OcUK and there is no option to have any reimbursement make in GBP to a bank account as the refund process is taken care of by BitPay.

If you need any more information on the Bitcoin payment system at Overclockers, or you’ve not got a clue why Bitcoin is, head over to OcUK’s information page, where all the information that you need is ready and waiting.

Source: Press Release

Critics Recommend Bitcoin Miners Abandon GHash Mining Pool

The volatile nature of the bitcoin cryptocurrency took another hit today, as its value dropped 5 percent down to £331 ($563 USD).

Growing concern of a bitcoin ‘armageddon’ continues to increase, as the GHash bitcoing mining pool now controls 51 percent of network mining power.

There is concern by financial backers that GHash has the ability to control transactions and bitcoin mining activities.  Furthermore, bitcoin developers are recommending miners leave behind GHash, even though GHash representatives said the company doesn’t plan to attack the network.

Here is what GHash said earlier in 2014:

“GHash.IO does not have any intentions to execute a 51% attack, as it will do serious damage to the bitcoin community, of which we are a part of.  On the contrary, our plans are to expand the bitcoin community as well as utilize the hashing power to develop a greater bitcoin economic structure.  If something happened to bitcoin as a whole it could risk our investments in physical hardware, damage those who live bitcoin and we see no benefit from having 51% stake in mining.”

If GHash is able to push bitcoin mining further – without harming the community – the one-year-old mining pool can garner even more support.  Only time will tell what will happen, with a growing number of critics calling for bitcoin supporters to transition to other pools.

Even though bitcoin value is open to drastic swings in value, many retailers, hotels, and restaurants accepting bitcoins.  However, central banks are recommending customers stay away from virtual currency – and if GHash retains 51 percent control – this will only further drive concern that bitcoins are vulnerable to outside influence.

Thank you Business Insider for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Huffington Post.

Expedia Accepts Bitcoins, as Some Retailers Remain Unsure

Popular travel site Expedia recently confirmed it will begin accepting bitcoins, giving customers the opportunity to book their next hotel visit with the digital currency.

Expedia customers booking accommodations will see bitcoin as a new payment option, and will be ushered to a unique payment site.  Transactions authorized directly from each customer’s bitcoin wallet, and Expedia will provide confirmation.

There is growing interest from companies willing to test bitcoins as long-term payment options, and are opening up communication to learn more from one another.

A growing number of restaurants and pubs also are dabbling with bitcoin, so it’s worth taking a look at your favourite eateries.  Popular online restaurant ordering service Takeaway.com now accepts bitcoins from customers, if you are hungry and want to place orders over the Internet. U.S. satellite TV company Dish Network said it would accept bitcoin payment from subscribers, indicating a major change.

However Ink Factory, which first embraced bitcoins in November 2013, recently noted that bitcoin might not be the payment method of the future – but confirmed that the cryptocurrency is still only in its infancy.  The company isn’t throwing in the towel on bitcoin, and is giving away 1/10th of a bitcoin, currently valued around £41, so its customers can become more familiar with bitcoin and how to use it.

The D Las Vegas Casino Hotel accepts bitcoins at the front desk, restaurants, gift shop, and on the casino floor.  A bitcoin ATM machine was also rolled out, so casino visitors will be able to access their online wallets.

Retailers and other companies might accept bitcoin, but expect the turbulent cryptocurrency to also endure a long infancy from consumers.  If you’re a bitcoin supporter, then it’s willing to send an email, tweet, or message to your favourite retailers to learn more about any bitcoin plans they might have in the future.

Dogevault Goes Offline – Millions of Dogecoins Appear Stolen

As far as cryptocurrencies go, Dogecoin has by far got to be the most popular one of recent times and it’s not surprising really considering it went viral after it was created in the spirit of the popular internet Doge meme.

News has come to light however that some people may have taken a liking to the currency a bit too much after the online wallet Dogevault reportedly went offline without any warning and some users are realising that large quantities of Doge were transferred out of their accounts just before the service went down.

Whether or not the Dogevault servers were hacked or whether the owners have shut up shop and made for the hills is still under investigations, but after some investigation in to where the coins have been transferred to, it seems like we could be looking at the biggest Dogecoin thefts in history. One user posted a shot of his wallet, showing that 950k coins were removed and after following the transaction path, they appear to have landed in this wallet, along with nearly 120 million more coins. Another wallet has been found as well that suggests the Dogevault owners are also responsible, with a balance of over 2.6 million coins itself.

What is certain though is that the coins sadly are not likely to be returned which turn may cost their rightful owners a lot of real hard cash. My suggestion though is that if you use an online wallet, get a desktop wallet that I personally feel is more secure, transfer all your coins there and make sure you keep it safe. A flash drive in a safe would be better suggestion even still.

Source: The Cryptocurrency Times

Its About To Get Flappy-Tastic In The World Of Digital Currencies!

Personally I’m amazed we got as many days as we did before this was announced, but alas it is here, Flappy Bird is going crypto. A group of London-based IT pros are preparing to launch yet another cryptocurrency into the world with the release of Flappy Coin and mining of the coins is scheduled to begin over the next few days.

According to the founders, writing on BitCoinTalk.org, “The aim of the Flappy Coin is to make a fresh difference in the current market. We want to create a stable, reliable coin that can be trusted. We want to promote what we call ‘Flappy Bird’ ethos — the concept that even a single person can make a massive impact to the world.”

And while one Flappy Bird based currency is enough from some, it’s apparently not enough for others and there have been a few fake Flappy Coins cropping up prior to the actual release, so be warned that the current sites are scams and flappycoin.org is said to be not associated with it and the coin creators say they’ll soon claim back the domain.

There is an alarming trend of memes quickly becoming a type of coin. I wonder how long this trend will continue, but then again I also wonder just how long many of these new coins will remain relevant, let alone how fast new types are being created.

Thank you Wired for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Wired.

AMD Radeon R9 Graphics Cards Facing Supply, not Demand, Issues

AMD’s graphics cards have been in short supply for the past 3 months or so. The market has hoovered up the old stock from the HD 7000 series at knock-down prices and most of the stock from the high end R9 series including pretty much every R9 290X, R9 290 and R9 280X. While a lot of these graphics cards have been snapped up by crypto-currency miners looking to mine Scrypt algorithm coins the main reason for the shortage, according to SweClockers, is not high demand but short supply.

Apparently a shortage of components is the primary reason for availability issues, with most GPU manufacturers not having enough ASICs (GPUs), GDDR5 memory and other components. However, other people are blaming AMD for not allocating enough production to TSMC. AMD was apparently cautious about oversupplying a declining PC desktop market and hence under-produced. Either way, whether it is a shortage of components, excessive demand or a combination of both the message is clear – the supply shortage will be with us for a lot longer before the issue is fixed.

AMD graphics card vendor VisionTek recently confirmed on Facebook that it is experiencing a shortage of components for its production. Other vendors and AMD have not commented.

Image courtesy of AMD

Bitcoin Banned In Russia, Said To Be Used In Money Laundering ‘Activities’

Are you living in Russia? Do you have a Bitcoin wallet or mining for Bitcoins? Even purchase stuff using the cryptocurrency? Well, now you are apparently breaking the law. The Central Bank of Russia ‘got upset’ and made it really clear that the official currency in Russia is the Ruble and Bitcoin has no place alongside it.

They apparently consider that the cryptocurrency is used mostly for money laundry and other criminal activity, therefore Bitcoin is now banned in the country. Also, it is considered to be a speculative currency and state that there is a great risk of value losses.

While this does not come as a surprise, since Bitcoin was designed not to be regulated as normal currency, it could be used by criminal organisations. Yet, nobody can expect for everyone to drop using Bitcoin overnight. Most probably, the Russian government will first target companies and organisations using it and then go down the ladder to the normal hard-working citizen.

However, more and more countries are thinking of making Bitcoin a regulated currency. For example, a federal judge from Texas has declared in August that Bitcoin is a currency and should be regulated just like the Euro or US Dollar.

Up until now, only China and Russia have banned the Bitcoin, having other countries such as Brasil regulating it and the rest just letting it be as it is for the moment. It is hard to globally accept a new currency, especially a cryptocurrency ‘just like that’. It needs time, and a lot of negotiations on top of all.

Thank you TechChrunch for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of TechChrunch

Worldwide Bitcoin Regulations Still Unclear, Law Library of Congress Survey Reports

There were many questions on how can the Bitcoin be taxed, having more and more countries coming up with different ways on how the cryptocurrency could be treated. While countries such as Germany do not consider Bitcoin a legal tender and cannot be considered as taxable income, Canada was pro-taxing Bitcoin incomes.

“At the moment, we’re studying Bitcoin and we have no plan to issue a regulation on it,” a spokesperson for the Bank of Indonesia told the Jakarta Globe in December.

Law Library of Congress has surveyed 40 jurisdictions and the European Union to see what laws have been implemented for the Bitcoin all around the world. They found that China has declared it illegal to use Bitcoin as a currency, while Brazil has successfully adopted and made regulations for it, having been adopted under Law No. 12,865. And while the U.S. is the place where most Bitcoin makers and users are, the New York State Department of Financial Services are said to be in talks to consider Bitcoin-specific regulations.

While we see most countries accepting or letting Bitcoin have its way for the moment ( and of course China that bans just about anything that looks democratic ), the U.S. might be preparing something to take a bite out of every profit made through Bitcoin, especially having more and more companies starting to accept cryptocurrency payments.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information

Dogecoin Expected To Bring ‘Real Money’ To Owners In The Near Future

Dogecoin is one of the most known cryptocurrency out there, after Bitcoin. It may be pretty easy to pick up some Dogecoin, but, until now, it’s been difficult to convert it into cash. On Wednesday, Canadian electronic currency exchange Vault of Satoshi announced that it will now support Dogecoin, making it far easier to convert the currency into U.S dollars.

Anyone interested in turning their dogecoins into government-backed currency with wider acceptance up until now had to make an individual deal with someone willing to trade for Bitcoin, which could then be exchanged for dollars, Euros, and outer currency. However, this intermediate step not only made the entire process significantly more onerous, but it also inserted an element of risk.

Reports are that Reddit r/DogecoinScamWatch moderator u/goodshibe explained how the majority of the scams posted on the forum involve people having their coins taken from them while trying to convert dollars into dogecoins, or vice versa.

‟Once … [Dogecoin] gets a direct USD/CAD conversion … in place, many of these kinds of scams will fall away,” u/goodshibe predicted.

This newfound ability to easily and safely convert Dogecoin into dollars could change the nature of how the currency is used. According to BitInfoCharts.com, dogecoins with the equivalent of $212,500,000 were said to have been traded over the past 24 hours. To give a sense of how ridiculous that transaction volume is, the total value of every dogecoin in existence is reported to be only around $60,300,000.

The generosity seems to be related to the fact that a single dogecoin is worth a tiny fraction of a penny, so handing out a few dogecoins takes only slightly more commitment. However, it’s likely also a function of there not being a whole lot of things someone could easily do with a wallet full of dogecoins other than hand them out just like that. Now that converting dogecoins into dollars is no more difficult than exchanging any other cryptocurrency, there’s the chance that the community surrounding Dogecoin may come to more closely resemble that of any other cryptocurrency

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information