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Christmas 2014 will go down in history as a time when hackers, thieves and ponzis changed everything. As I write this post BTC has sunk to $186 (and was considerably lower earlier in the day), major cloud mining operations have powered down their farms (cex.io and hashnest) and unless the price recovers the whole BTC landscape will irreversibly change.
What has caused the current issues?
Around Christmas Eve several cloud mining operations including PB Mining, Hashie, Hashprofit and LTC Gear suffered hacks or operational issues with a net effect of halting payments to customers. The circumstances and validity of each issue no doubt vary but the consensus seems to be that PB mining could well have been a ponzi although the operators claim the closure was a result of blackmail and personal threats. Hashie claimed a hack although the way they dealt with the aftermath screamed incompetance or ponzi. Hashprofit claimed a db breach although in hindsight this looks like a solid ponzi and finally LTC Gear more believably claimed a hack but the jury is still out as the website has still to recover and they are several weeks behind with payments.
To compound matters, the large exchange Bitstamp had a major breach/hack involving the theft of $5 million worth of Bitcoin. Clearly evoking memories of the Mt. Gox situation, the markets reacted badly to an already depressed value.
So what next?
Some are predicting a crash of epic proportions and the death of bitcoin (many of these doommongers are from traditional financial institutions who are threatened in the extreme by cryptocurrency). Their insecurity is manifesting itself into unprecedented attacks during the ongoing slump. Witness this Guardian article (very naive in it’s assumption that Bitcoin has no use)
Cryptocurrency is in an embryonic stage similar to the birth of the internet. Such great ideas will always prosper even though the naysayers will do their utmost to put a ‘spanner in the works’. Our philosophy is to sit tight, buy bitcoin and ride out the slump.
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Download the Windows/Mac/Linux client that you see after registering on the latium site
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* Please note: only valid referrals will credit you with Latium and are subject to approval before being credited to your account. Price of Latium will vary and go up or down. 50,000 satoshi for 5 Latium was the price quoted on CoinSwap on 1/8/2014.
With a manifesto to smooth the transition of adaptation into everyday use the website’s strapline is “Bitcoin is digital money for the modern world. We make it easy to use—instant, secure, and free. The way money should be.”
The secret here is that the site will seamlessly connect with regular debit/credit cards and handle the crypto conversions on the fly. Currently the service is free and users need to request an invite to take part. Founded by former Brightcove CEO Jeremy Allaire, Circle has already raised over $26 million in private capital,
The site has invested heavily in security and compliance regulation. A wise move with the bad press surrounding other large bitcoin exchanges. They’ve promised a $10 credit to all new users too!
The Rise And Rise Of Bitcoin premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Our favourite quote from the trailer is: “Explaining bitcoin to the banks is like explaining amazon.com to Barnes & Noble!”
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.
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
Payroll payment processing
Bitcoin Payroll API interaction
By Ken Foster
Cloud BTC and conventional Scrypt (ghash.io) mining site CEX.IO have introduced multipool mining alongside their existing offering of Litecoin, Auroracoin, Feathercoin and Dogecoin.
Unlike other multipools the ghash.io system allows users to convert their block rewards profits to BTC on the fly, thus avoiding the need to exchange on cryptocurrency exchange sites.
Currently in beta, the pool has had some teething troubles with zero payouts on certain coins although the community forum explains that the beta stage will not be 100% trouble free and they are asking for bug reports.
We tried the system and liked the automatic conversion to btc. Multipools have been criticised as damaging the real world possibilities of certain coins and creating havoc with valuations but while they exist it makes sense for miners to make the most from their equipment.
A coin express Bitcoin ATM machine in Singapore. In this video the user is using a QR code from a mobile phone app to buy bitcoins and transfer directly to his wallet.
QoinPro.com launched at the end of January 2014 and is growing rapidly. So what is it?
Well erm… you simply register with them and they give you free coins. So there must be a catch then?
Well anything that looks too good to be true usually is but in this case we couldn’t find anything.
The company is based out of Hong Kong and has full transparency. They admit to being backed by private investors and have a ‘fully thought out business plan’. The aim of the game at the moment seems to be compiling a large user database so the plan could be to ‘convert’ these ‘members’ to users of (for example) a new currency exchange.
It’s a fascinating yet simple model and – as the company advertises – you can sign up and get Free Bitcoins every 24 hours.
We signed up and were immediately rewarded with Bitcoins, Litecoins and Feathercoins. Further coins are unlocked after 2 days membership. You get coins on a daily basis and can get bonus coins by referring further users. There is also a credit system that you can use to ‘unlock’ other features using an SMS service. All intriguing stuff!
In preparation for it’s expanded currency exchange features (including USD/BTC), CEX.IO the cloud mining and commodity exchange has announced that a trade fee will become applicable in the next 2 weeks.
Up until now it has been possible to exchange BTC and LTC etc for Hashing power with no transaction fee. CEX.IO have only charged a fee for maintenance of their mining facility and hardware.
CEX.IO argue that their new exchange features will negate the need for it’s user base to use 3rd party exchanges such as Cryptsy and Coinbase to convert alt coins and FIAT currencies into BTC before being able to use their services.
Their discussion forum has had a few complaints from some users who think that the existing hardware fees can make the system prohibitively expensive for the smaller miners. Others point out that these fees are already imposed by third party exchanges and so the convenience of having the new features on-site will outweigh the new charges.
The charge will be implemented as a 0.2% flat fee and then later will vary between 0.2 and 0.5% based on the number of transactions being made by each user.