An Open Letter to the Bitcoin Community from the Developers

Editor’s Note: This is a letter to the community written and signed by many of the Bitcoin developers, including the most prolific contributors to (at least) three separate implementations of the Bitcoin system. Signers of this letter represent about 90% of the commits in the last year or two to Bitcoin Core, according to Greg Maxwell. As active contributors to Bitcoin, we share this letter to communicate our plan of action related to technical consensus and Bitcoin scalability. Bitcoin is many things to many people. However, the development and maintenance of Bitcoin is a human endeavor. Satoshi sought review and cooperation, and the subsequent work by Bitcoin’s developers has made the system more secure and orders of magnitude faster. The Bitcoin […]

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Volume of Bitcoin Trades Continues Surge in Brazil

Volume of bitcoin trades in Brazil increased rapidly in Brazil since May. Over the last few months, the volume of all bitcoin trades have risen from US$1.65 million to US$2.6 million, showing a 158 percent monthly increase in trading volumes across all exchanges. In August, Mercado Bitcoin, the largest bitcoin exchange in Brazil alone has processed 28.48 percent of all market share or US$740,480 worth of bitcoin trades. Image via bitValor According to BaseBit founder Daniel Novy, the majority of bitcoin-related news presented by major news outlets in Brazil is negative and affects the potent Brazilian population that is underbanked and underserved by financial institutions. Despite the negative image of bitcoin built by the media, many merchants are becoming more […]

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PayPal Announces Launch of PayPal.Me Peer-to-peer Payments Similar to Square Cash or Bitcoin Wallets

Receiving money from a friend, client or anyone else on PayPal just got a little bit easier. Today, the company announced the launch of PayPal.Me, a personal, vanity PayPal link that makes it easy to remind people to send you money. The idea behind the peer-to-payment service is to erase the awkwardness of getting repaid by someone. Instead of having to ask them, a user could just send his or her friend a PayPal.me link and the friend would be able to pay using their own PayPal account. It minimizes the need for conversation about something that could, theoretically, make someone uncomfortable. PayPal.me has launched in 18 countries, including the United States, Great Britain, Germany, Australia, Canada, Russia, Turkey, France, […]

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Preliminary, Simplified Implementation of Bitcoin Lightning Network Released

Lightning networks are considered a promising innovation in the Bitcoin space, which would make the Bitcoin system much more scalable and able to process transactions at a high rate and low cost, and are suitable as an alternative to existing payment networks. In February, developers Joseph Poon and Thaddeus Dryja proposed a decentralized Bitcoin Lightning Network where related transactions can take place instantly on “micropayment channels” off-chain, and only the final settlement is processed by the blockchain. According to the authors, lightning networks would enable Bitcoin scalability, efficient micropayments, and near-instant transactions. The Lightning Network white paper, a work in progress, has recently been updated. “The payment network Visa has achieved 47,000 peak transactions per second on its network during […]

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What I Saw in Alaska

This week, President Obama is visiting Alaska to experience firsthand how climate change is affecting Alaska and the greater Arctic, and to meet with Alaskans across the state – in locations as diverse as Anchorage, Seward, Dillingham, and Kotzebue – who are dealing with the consequences of climate change.

In support of the President’s trip, I spent the past weekend making my own stops in Alaska to learn more about how climate change is already affecting local communities and ecosystems, and to engage with Alaskans working to tackle climate-related challenges.

I was joined on the trip by three other senior officials from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP): Tamara Dickinson, the leader of OSTP’s Environment & Energy division; Ambassador Mark Brzezinski, Executive Director of the U.S. Government’s Arctic Executive Steering Committee and former U.S. Ambassador to Sweden; and Beth Kerttula, Director of the National Ocean Council, as well as a native Alaskan and former minority leader in the Alaska state legislature. I wanted to share a few observations with you about what we saw.

Senior OSTP officials at the Cold Climate Housing Research Center
OSTP’s Ambassador Mark Brzezinski (far left), Tamara Dickinson (fourth from left), Director John Holdren (second from right) and Beth Kerttula (far right) with staff of the Cold Climate Housing Research Center in Fairbanks, Alaska.

On Saturday, we visited the Cold Climate Housing Research Center, a nonprofit corporation that develops sustainable, cost-effective building technologies tailored to Alaska and other polar regions. We also toured the Permafrost Tunnel Research Facility. Studies conducted at this underground laboratory (one of only two permafrost tunnels in the world!) help us better understand how climate change is accelerating permafrost thaw, and the associated impacts on communities and ecosystems.

Inside the Permafrost Tunnel Research Facility
Inside the Permafrost Tunnel Research Facility.

We kicked off Sunday by hearing from participants in the Fulbright Arctic Initiative about the research that Initiative scholars from the United States and other Arctic nations are doing on critical topics like energy, water, and health and infrastructure. In the afternoon, we met with scholars who are younger, but no less impressive: students in the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program, which supports science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education for Alaska Natives from sixth grade all the way through college and graduate programs.

Meeting with students in the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP)
Meeting with students in the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP).

During our trip, we also participated in roundtable discussions with students and faculty at the University of Alaska (UAA) Fairbanks and UAA Anchorage, researchers who are working on the cutting edge of Arctic climate science. And we met with the mayors of Anchorage, Fairbanks, the Northwest Arctic Borough, and other Alaskan municipalities, as well as with officials of Federal departments and agencies with office in Alaska, to talk about their efforts to prepare for and adapt to climate change, and the ways in which the Federal government can best support them.

Alaska represents the frontlines of our fight against climate change. What my OSTP colleagues and I saw and heard over the weekend has powerfully augmented our understanding of the range of dramatic impacts that climate change is having on ecosystems and communities in the far North. I believe that the stops that President Obama is making in Alaska this week – including a historic visit to the Alaskan Arctic –will further underscore for the Nation the importance of taking strong action to combat climate change now.

So I encourage you to follow the President’s trip at WhiteHouse.gov/Alaska, and to join this Administration in working together to #ActOnClimate.

Dr. John P. Holdren is Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Director of the Office of the Science and Technology Policy, and Chairman of the U.S. Arctic Executive Steering Committee.


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Gold Up 3.5% In August, Stocks Fall 6% to 12%

DAILY PRICES Today’s Gold Prices:  USD 1141.90, EUR 1012.23 and GBP 744.10 per ounce. Yesterday’s Gold Prices: Bank Holiday in UK Friday’s Gold Prices:  USD 1,125.50, EUR 998.23 and GBP 730.99 per ounce. (LBMA AM) Gold was marginally higher yesterday and closed at $1135.50 per ounce, up $1.10. Silver was 0.3% higher and closed at […]

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FNC’s Ed Henry: State Dept Found Approx 150 Additional Hillary Emails with Classified Info

State Department
Monday on Fox News, White House correspondent  Ed Henry reported the State Department has found another 150 of Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton’s emails from her tenure as secretary of state with classified information in them. Henry reported, “First of all, we’re now learning from State Department officials that number is increasing, beyond 6,000 — more than likely going to be 7,000 pages of Hillary Clinton’s official email spilling out. When? It was supposed to be midday and then it was moved back to 6 p.m. Eastern. We just learned in the last minute it will be about 9 p.m. Eastern now. Why all these delays? Well, one reason may be, as we’ve seen in the past with the document dumps — we’re now learning the most important piece of information of all is about 150 of these Clinton emails that will be released in this batch have some classified information in them, so
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Bernie Sanders Rejects Comparisons to ‘TV Personality’ Donald Trump

Sanders831
In an appearance on Monday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” 2016 Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was asked by host Andrea Mitchell if there were any similarities in his presidential campaign and that of Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump. Although both he and Trump have exceeded expectations in the early going of the 2016 cycle, Sanders rejected that the two campaigns were similar. “No, I don’t accept that for one moment,” Sanders said. “We are not engaged here in demagoguery. We’re not engaged here in racist attacks, outrageous attacks against Mexicans. What we are trying to do is talk about the reality facing the American people.” Sanders went on to suggest Trump’s campaign was based on his personality, whereas his was more substantive. “Donald Trump is a very strong TV personality,” Sanders added. “He’s very good at what he does. He’s funny, he’s articulate, but I think
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