Crypto Development

LTC Gear – Signs Of Life?

ltcgear pending
Specialist fpga cloud mining company LTCGear have had a turbulent few months.

Many users felt that LTCGear was ‘different’ to other cloud mining companies in that the site’s owner (Chris S) had successfully developed his own specialised chips to efficiently mine Litecoin.
If fact, using the litecoin talk forum (and latterly his own website) as a conduit he partially succeeded in developing retail versions of his boards.

When cloud mining came to the fore in mid-2014 he began to sell shares in in own farm in the form of qAsics (each qAsic being the equivalent of 100 kh). Some unfulfilled hardware orders were converted to these qAsics which paid out in the form of weekly payments. Rewards were outstanding with ROI claims of 6-8 weeks.

Understandably many new users were attracted through affiliate schemes and special offers. During Summer and Autumn of 2014 the products were frequently out of stock. This gave the site more plausibility and dispelled a lot of murmurings about the site underpinning a ponzi scheme.

Around the time of Black Friday/Cyber Monday 2014 there was a huge sale of discounted qAsic packs. It is now claimed by the site’s owners that a hack occurred whereby the proceeds of these sales were diverted to rogue BTC addresses leading to the loss of a considerable amount of BTC and also a large amount of fake shares. Most of these fake shares ‘could’ then have been sold on to other users using the open trading system that has since been terminated.

The last reported payments to users was on December 19th. Since then there has been minimal contact from Chris and the ponzi claims have once again been rife. (As a caveat – many respected users of the Litecoin forum have steadfastly stuck by Chris and the site in the midst of the storm that has been created). The ruours were not helped by cryptic messages posted on the site. ETA’s were posted regularly and deadlines came and went. The site went down, came back with black screen and new ETA. New servers were deployed. Mysterious maintenance tasks were reported. The database that has been ‘completely scrambled’ was undergoing manual repair.

All the non-communication was fuelling the negative sentiment across the forums. Just last week on 13th Feb, Chris appeared online to host a Q&A session with his concerned customers. He reiterated the severity of the hack and claimed all was nearly resolved and that users would see their balances within 7 days.

The saga appears to be reaching a conclusion with even hardened supporters accepting that this could be the deadline that needs to be met. We shall see. Check back next week for an update.

Show Me The Josh! Garza Lays Out His Blueprint For Paycoin

Fast growing cloud mining site zen miners have been hit by a number of issues over the past 30 days.

All was looking hunky dory in August when Gaw took an $8 million stake in the cloud mining company. It looked like a match made in heaven – the most successful asic mining hardware company jumping into bed with a progressive cloud hashing operation. Coupled with the $1 million purchase of the coveted BTC.com domain it was no wonder that CEO Josh Garza was being touted in some quarters as the next Steve Jobs!.

Josh Garza
Garza has been making all the right noises. Almost evangelical and philanthropic (not unlike Jobs) with his public announcements of new features and a customer first policy.

Customers lapped it up, and why wouldn’t they. The company were innovating cloud mining with ‘Hashlets’ – virtual miners that you could buy through Gaw or Zen and instantly activate into pools that were paying handsome daily amounts of BTC.

Then things started to go ever so slightly wrong. Just after announcing a ton of new features Josh and the team went to a BTC conference in Vegas. At around the same time – the platform (and new features) were hit with a host of new bugs. It was unfortunate for many reasons. Being short staffed back at base, the zen support team were struggling to cope with an increasing number of support tickets and the lack of any ‘announcements’ or updates was causing a PR meltdown.

As soon as the Vegas trip ended, Garza continued with the compulsively premature announcements. Seemingly following the Mark Zuckerberg mantra of ‘move fast, break things’ the CEO made apologies for ongoing bugs at the same time as announcing a raft of new features under his own self titled slogan ‘ignore them and innovate’.

The hashlet marketplace, new prime hashlet features, double dipping all sounded like adventurous but welcome features to the zen cloud. Then the world fell in. Zen suffered a double wammy.

First the market leading mining pool Zenpool was hit by falling daily payouts. This was rationalized by Garza as an issue concerning contract negotiations with a large company leasing hashing power from them. Speculation on some bitcoin forums alleged that Zen/Gaw may have lost a large contract. Miners on the zencloud were less than impressed with a daily reward that almost overnight fell from 0.0006 BTC per MH to 0.0003 BTC per MH.

A few days later the company was hit by an even bigger issue. Resellers of the flagship Prime Hashlets were selling 1MH prime hashlets at around the $50 mark. When buyers activated some of these prime hashlet codes they actually received 25MH instead of 1MH (around $1250 worth). Some users were successful in exploiting the issue by buying more primes and/or splitting the prime into 1MH chunks and quickly selling on the marketplace.

It is unclear how much money Zen lost during the exploit but we can safely assume it was ‘significant’ if the reply and explanation that Garza posted on the hashtalk forum is anything to go by.

Legal action was announced against any miners that had taken part in the exploit unless all monies/hashlets were returned. It is unclear how much of the missing BTC was recovered although Garza claimed that over half the people involved had been traced in his statement.

It was a difficult period for innocent users as the site went offline and withdrawals were frozen for a short time.

In true Maverick spirit, Garza and Zen continued with their plans for Project Prime and Hashbase. A Hashpool was introduced where users could mine Hashpoints instead of Bitcoins. Garza promised that these hashpoints would more than make up for the drop in the Zenpool payouts. A new ‘Hashcoin’ was mooted and speculation began to grow that Gaw’s new coin would be the foundation of Project Prime and Hashbase.

hashcoin.com
The Hashcoin (latterly Paycoin XPY) ICO was finally announced after widespread rumours that companies like Amazon and Walmart were already on board as partners and that the coin would be the biggest crypto coin launch of all time. A coin that would be relatively immune to severe price fluctuations and would have ‘near instant’ transaction confirmations.

So let’s have a look at the details that were included in the launch

Partners

Conspicuous by their absence in the announcement, the rumoured big hitters were not named. it’s possible that negotiations are ongoing and the ‘why hashcoin’ section has a statement reading ‘HashCoin launches with more merchant acceptance than any other cryptocurrency in history.

Transactional Immutability

Yeah, i had to look that up too! This is the explanation behind the near instant confirmation of transactions. The mathematical formulae behind this innovation are beyond the scope of this blog but i’m sure it will be dissected in the coming days. If it does indeed work then it will be a major breakthrough for Gaw’s mission to bring crypto transactions into the realm of widespread adoption. For now if you are brave you could read the white paper here.

Price Fluctuation Protection

This was the claim that interested me the most and I was eager to see the detail. It turned out to be the least interesting section of the launch. The currency will have a Coin Adoption Fund (CAF) with a ‘sole mandate to promote mass adoption for merchants, miners, and the general public’.

In practice this ‘fund’ is likely to be used to control ‘buy’ and ‘sell’ orders to stabilise the price.

Existing miners at Zen and the ICO (initial coin offering)

Here’s the good news for existing Gaw/Zen customers and a delivery on a promise made by Garza a couple of weeks ago. Zen users will get first dibs on the coin along with institutional investors. All the ‘Hashpoints’ mined will be eligible for exchange against paycoins at the rate of 400 points to 1 coin. This second stage of the ICO will enable miners to purchase the coins at a discounted rate (similar to a conventional share option scheme). The public ICO will see the coins priced at around $20 each and (with the help of CAF) the price should be sustainable in the short to medium term.

This represents a very good deal for loyal Gaw/Zen customers and could prove to be a masterstroke by Garza. The plans for the coin are very ambitious and Garza has been forging an almost cult like status amongst zen cloud users. The next few months are going to be incredibly interesting to see if Gaw/Zen can pull off one of the most ambitious projects the crypto currency world has ever seen.

Update: The coin hit the markets mid December. As of writing the coins were trading for around $10 each on Cryptsy ahead of the ‘guaranteed’ $20 per coin buyback floor at Paybase. (Due to launch Monday 22nd December)

PoolAxe could be the answer to your mining software woes!

Configuring your mining array can be fiddly and frustrating. I’ve personally used cgminer, bfg miner and UI’s such as macminer and Asteroid with varying degrees of success.

Fall over pools sometimes don’t kick in or overclocking can be difficult to set up. To solve these endless configuration headaches Cryptaxe have come up with an all-in-one miner monitoring, configuration and control suite.

The exciting part is that the software is available (in beta form) for LINUX, OSX and WINDOWS.

You can also monitor your configuration and miners with the accompanying Android app.
Join in with the beta at www.cryptaxe.com

Bitpay introduces test payments for developers

Bitcoin payment processor Bitpay has announced new testing capabilities for developers wanting to explore the payment system in a sandbox or none live data environment.

Bitpay recently acquired over $30 million in stage one funding with investors including the likes of Richard Branson.

English: Industrialist Richard Branson at the ...

English: Industrialist Richard Branson at the Time 100 Gala, May 3, 2010. Photo by David Shankbone. 

Andy Philipson described the feature on the bitpay blog as

‘The BitPay test environment is a scalable, production-like environment that exactly mirrors our world-class payment-processing platform.’

The BitPay test server exposes all of the features of the BitPay payment processing platform including:

Merchant payment processing
Bitcoin Payment Gateway API interaction
Billing
Mobile checkout
Hosted checkout
Catalog items
Donations
Payroll payment processing
Bitcoin Payroll API interaction

Read more at the Bitpay blog

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