Hashed Health Partners With Martin Ventures to Propel Healthcare Industry Into the “Blockchain Age”

Hashed Health, a new collaborative healthcare innovation company, has announced a major partnership with Martin Ventures, a global leader in…

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The Unknown Giant: A First Look Inside BW, One of China’s Oldest and Largest Miners

BW, a dominant Chinese bitcoin mining company with approximately 8 percent of global mining power, is positioning itself to step out of the shadows of relative obscurity and into the spotlight — a spotlight powered by efficient, clean and incredibly inexpensive hydroelectricity. Not only is it preparing to take a more active role on the Bitcoin world stage, but it is also planning to release a host of new products and services in the coming months, including the 14 nanometer chips and miners.

“We are very excited about the advances we’ve made,” Virgilio Lizardo Jr, Head of International at Bitbank told Bitcoin Magazine in an exclusive interview. “The chip promises to be the cutting edge technology that BW prides itself in producing. We will also be offering the 14nm chip in a miner for consumers. The power, efficiency and noise reduction benefits aims to introduce a new standard to the industry.”

More details about this new technology will be forthcoming the weeks ahead.

BW was co-founded by LK Group Limited and CHBTC on Aug. 10, 2014. BW stands for Bi Wang which in Chinese literally means “Coin website.” Wenjie Zhai, one of the very first Bitcoiners in China and the CEO and founder of LK Group, is the current CEO of BW. Songxiu Hua, the founder of Bitbank, CHBTC.com, and Jua.com, acts as the CTO of BW although he is not involved in the day-to-day operations of the company; his primary role is to offer technical advice and website consultation.

In 2015, BW joined the Bitbank family of Chinese Bitcoin companies with a focus on combining bitcoin mining resources in order to find greener and more efficient ways to mine. Over the years, Bitcoin has drawn criticism for its consumption of energy. The electricity required to run and cool mining equipment is costly, in terms of both economic and environmental resources.

BW points out that mining anything — metals or bitcoin — has an environmental impact. But by harnessing the plentiful hydroelectric power that is available in remote regions of China, BW’s bitcoin miners are able to put that green energy to use in a way that creates a far smaller footprint than any other form of mining. Furthermore, because of the power source’s rural locations, BW is able to get the electricity — much of which would otherwise go to waste — at a very low rate.

“Hydropower offers a long-term, low-cost and stable source of electricity with the potential to increase the amount of miners in the future,” says BW. “The mining farms are located in rural developing areas. By investing there, this contributes to the local economy by creating new jobs in the area….These areas are surrounded by natural beauty and an abundance of water and we work hard to keep it this way for future generations to enjoy.”

Besides taking a leadership role in preserving the natural environment, BW also wants to protect the Bitcoin environment. As it expands, and as more Chinese miners begin to take advantage of plentiful and cheap hydroelectricity, BW is mindful of the potential for centralization of Chinese mining.

In China, “most of the miners are Bitcoin enthusiasts who see the potential of Bitcoin and want to do their best to help the development of Bitcoin,” says BW. “This includes being aware of how much percentage of the network we are part of and being responsible stakeholders in the ecosystem.”

The company also credits the Chinese government with being a supportive partner. “The government has been encouraging of Bitcoin mining companies because Bitcoin is a technology that combines elements of hardware and software. They have observed the benefits and profits it has produced and have been supportive of this.” Recently, Bitbank received a grant of 50,000 Yuan and office space in a new innovation and high-tech zone built in the city of Zhongshan, Guangdong province. The city plans on investing 67 million Yuan over the next 5 years on the initiative.

At a time when the Bitcoin protocol is in a state of flux, as developers debate scalability options and the future of block sizes, BW is playing the part of the cautious observer; at the same time, as the fifth-largest mining pool in the world, it has also decided to take on more of a leadership role in the Bitcoin community.

“Though Chinese miners have greatly contributed to the development of Bitcoin, we feel that there is a wall between China and the rest of the community. Perhaps even a ‘Great Wall?’” says BW. “There are many factors that contribute to this: language, culture, distance, etc. At BW we would like to work towards helping to increase communication and cooperation in the community, especially when it comes to China.”

The post The Unknown Giant: A First Look Inside BW, One of China’s Oldest and Largest Miners appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.


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Bitcoin Hardware Wallet KeepKey Launches and Begins Shipping

In a rare move in the Bitcoin space, KeepKey has simultaneously begun to take orders for and to ship their flagship bitcoin hardware wallet. As of Wednesday, customers are able to purchase the USB device for USD$239 on Amazon, or directly from the KeepKey website using bitcoin. Worldwide shipping is included in the cost.

The KeepKey hardware wallet is designed to store and secure bitcoin while protecting them from virtual attacks such as malware and viruses. The device generates and stores bitcoin private keys, never sharing them with the connected computer. Another key feature is a large OLED screen that displays every transaction before it can be approved, thus allowing users to verify that they are sending funds to the correct address and reducing the chance of error.

“Our guiding principle is to empower individuals and organizations with bank-grade bitcoin security,” says Darin Stanchfield, the founder of the company. “This is what our device does, and it is simple to use. Other products that are available require a high level of sophistication to operate. With KeepKey, it is very difficult to do the wrong thing,”

KeepKey currently works with Google Chrome using the KeepKey Wallet Extension . It is also supported by popular bitcoin wallets, including Electrum and MultiBit .

“Our security model was designed to ensure that the user always has complete control over their private keys,” said Ken Heutmaker, a software engineer at KeepKey. “We feel that relying on trusted third parties degrades the security and privacy that the bitcoin ecosystem offers.”

As for KeepKey’s decision not to take pre-orders in order to fund the hardware wallet’s development, Stanchfield cites his own personal experience with being “burned” by other companies who have pre-sold items and then not been able to deliver.

“A customer takes enough risk when they buy any product,” Stanchfield said to Bitcoin Magazine . “We don’t think they should assume the risk of funding manufacturing, too. We made this promise to ourselves early on in development of KeepKey. Fortunately, we have had the finances to pursue this route to get KeepKey to market.”

The post Bitcoin Hardware Wallet KeepKey Launches and Begins Shipping appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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Bitcoin Hardware Wallet KeepKey Launches and Begins Shipping

In a rare move in the Bitcoin space, KeepKey has simultaneously begun to take orders for and to ship their flagship bitcoin hardware wallet. As of Wednesday, customers are able to purchase the USB device for USD$239 on Amazon, or directly from the KeepKey website using bitcoin. Worldwide shipping is included in the cost. The KeepKey hardware wallet is designed to store and secure bitcoin while protecting them from virtual attacks such as malware and viruses. The device generates and stores bitcoin private keys, never sharing them with the connected computer. Another key feature is a large OLED screen that displays every transaction before it can be approved, thus allowing users to verify that they are sending funds to the […]

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Three Bitcoin Finalists Vie for BBVA Open Talent Competition Honors in Barcelona

On September 22nd, the winners of the European division of the BBVA Open Talent Competition were announced in Barcelona, Spain. This year, three of the 15 finalists come from the Bitcoin and blockchain sector: Everledger , Safello and Vaultoro .

The purpose of the competition is to discover and support up-and-coming innovators in financial technology who are poised to “disrupt [the banking] industry in e-commerce, security, mobile payments, data and others.”

The two winners are selected from each of three territories: Europe, Latin America and the United States and the rest of the world. Those six companies not only take home $30,000 each, but also benefit from extensive mentoring and networking support from BBVA in the form of a two-week intensive course.

This year, Everledger was named one of the two European winners.

Based in the U.K., Everledger is a permanent ledger for diamond certification and related transaction history. Using blockchain technology, it acts as a fraud-detection system, overlaying big data from closed sources such as insurers and law enforcement.

“BBVA Open Talent provides an inflection point in the growth curve of Everledger and validates our role in the financial services ecosystem,” Everledger’s CEO Leanne Kemp told Bitcoin Magazine .

“Everledger is a business that will make a difference: At our very core we focus on the ongoing presence of blood diamonds, combatting fraud, theft and counterfeit luxury goods — a problem for consumers, law enforcement and insurers that tops £50 billion a year,” she said. “Blockchain provides a distributed global solution to a fragmented, scattered and complex global problem. With the support from the Barclays Accelerator, and now as a finalist in the BBVA Open Talent Competition, we are having conversations to create new financial and insurance products for diamonds.”

Joshua Scigala, co-founder of Vaultoro, was enthusiastic about the BBVA’s inclusion of his U.K.-based bitcoin and gold exchange.

“We are really proud to be a finalist in the BBVA awards,” Scigala told Bitcoin Magazine . “The developing world skipped the landline and went direct to mobile phones. They are now doing the same with traditional branch banking because it’s just too uneconomical to set up. Vaultoro enables anyone to easily enter the global economy securely by utilizing the native Internet currency, bitcoin, and removing the extreme volatility by combining the security of assigned gold bullion. This will go very far towards ending poverty by including a potential 5 billion people who have no real access to banking.”

Vaultoro is a real-time Bitcoin gold exchange that allows its users to convert their bitcoin instantly to gold and back, alleviating volatility risk for bitcoin users. Its “bank-independent trading” allows users to trade gold in amounts as small as 0.001 gram.

The third bitcoin finalist, Safello, is a Swedish-based exchange that works with a wide network of European banks providing direct payment options, allowing customers to buy and sell bitcoin instantly, thereby avoiding exposure to market volatility.

“What’s most noticeable about this Open Challenge is the sheer amount Bitcoin selected,” Frank Schuil, CEO of Safello, told Bitcoin Magazine . “It shows the dedication from BBVA to embrace blockchain technology. With regards to our selection, of course our recent announcement with Barclays is sparking interest from other financial institutions. The fact that we are essentially building a new type of bank on top of blockchain technology is sparking interest.”

Everledger joins BitNexo , winner of the Latin American regional competition, as the second Bitcoin-based company to take home a BBVA award this year.

“In BitNexo’s mission to bring simplicity, speed and savings to cross border payments for SMBs through the use of blockchain technology, we had the honor of sharing the stage with 13 other amazing FinTech Startups from all around Latin America,” said Darren Camas, CEO and co-founder of BitNexo in a blog post . “To say I was impressed with the level of competition is an understatement.”

Information about all 15 finalists can be found on the BBVA Open Talent competition website .

The post Three Bitcoin Finalists Vie for BBVA Open Talent Competition Honors in Barcelona appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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Three Bitcoin Finalists Vie for BBVA Open Talent Competition Honors in Barcelona

On September 22nd, the winners of the European division of the BBVA Open Talent Competition were announced in Barcelona, Spain. This year, three of the 15 finalists come from the Bitcoin and blockchain sector: Everledger, Safello and Vaultoro. The purpose of the competition is to discover and support up-and-coming innovators in financial technology who are poised to “disrupt [the banking] industry in e-commerce, security, mobile payments, data and others.” The two winners are selected from each of three territories: Europe, Latin America and the United States and the rest of the world. Those six companies not only take home $30,000 each, but also benefit from extensive mentoring and networking support from BBVA in the form of a two-week intensive course. […]

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Will Scaling Bitcoin Bring Us to Consensus on the Block Size Debate?

“There’s a deep rift amongst bitcoin core devs regarding what the purpose of Bitcoin should be,” said Eric Lombrozo, Bitcoin developer and CEO of Ciphrex. “Unfortunately, the fundamental underlying disagreements aren’t being properly addressed … and most of the discussion has instead focused on the differing conclusions rather than on the real causes of disagreement.” On August 15, Bitcoin Magazine reported that the first of two Scaling Bitcoin workshops would be held in Montreal on September 12 and 13. This first phase of proposals and presentations is intent on setting the stage for further discussions in phase two, which is planned for December 6-7 in Hong Kong, all with the goal of generating the sort of discussion that Lombrozo is […]

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CardCash Adds Bitcoin Payments for Gift Cards at Thousands of US Retail Stores

CardCash, an American online company that buys and sells discounted gift cards from thousands of national retailers, has begun to accept bitcoin payments. CardCash joins companies like Gyft and Fold that provide ways for Bitcoin users to interact with the massive gift card industry. “We saw that bitcoin was getting a lot of traction and growing in legitimacy,” CardCash CEO Elliot Bohm said in an interview with Bitcoin Magazine, “but it was slow in getting acceptance in popular brands.” He pointed out that while consumers could use bitcoin to shop at Overstock and Dell, they couldn’t spend their bitcoin at Macy’s, for example. “We can easily be the bridge,” said Bohm. “People can use bitcoin and save money at the same time.” […]

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Factom Launches Release Candidate 2 in Preparation for Beta

On July 6, 2015, Bitcoin Magazine reported that the Factom Foundation had launched Release Candidate 1 (RC1), a crucial step for launching the Factom network. Over the ensuing 5 weeks, community developers and programmers have been testing and debugging the network in order to reach all the goals set out in Factom’s Milestone 1. Today in a blog post, Factom has announced the launch of the Release Candidate 2 (RC2) version of the Factom Beta. Again, it is asking for developer input as it works toward its next milestone: Factom Genesis. According to Factom’s post, RC2 includes the following: Better Factom block syncing & downloading Tested for high numbers of entries Improved server to client messaging and error handling Some limited code […]

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