Quantum Computing and Building Resistance into Proof of Stake

Particl Thumb 4

While both mining via Proof of Work
(POW) and staking are two of the most popular ways to perform work to earn
income, cryptocurrencies are also susceptible to advances in computing, which
could undercut the value of the coins by making them much easier and less
expensive to mine. The dawn of
quantum
computers
is upon us. And while this causes many to fear the loss of income
potential, the truth is that an increase in difficulty to mine or stake is
factored into the underlying algorithms in blockchain systems which have
adjusted accordingly from central processing units to graphics processing units.
From field-programmable gate array to application-specific integrated circuits.

 

The real threat quantum
computing has for cryptocurrency work systems is in attacking the
public-key cryptography.

Quantum
Computing and Bitcoin

Satoshi
Nakamoto created Bitcoin on the unspent transaction output (UTXO) model. In
basic terms, think of all bitcoins in your wallet as change. When making a
payment, this change is combined and sent. Once bitcoin is spent, the public
keys of that address are broadcast to the entire network so that they can
verify that you signed the coins over to a new address. Quantum computers have
the ability to reverse your private key from your public key, so address reuse becomes
a problem.

 

With
the UTXO model, any change you have from a transaction will go to a newly
generated address. All addresses which have never been spent are safe from a
public-key attack because the key has not been broadcast. This does not change
the fact that many basic users reuse addresses for convenience and many work
protocols like POS reuse addresses as well.

Vulnerabilities
in POS

To generate passive income by POS,
this process is called staking.
During
staking, some of your coins are locked and unavailable to spend. Similar to a
savings account in a bank, these coins are reserved by the network for a short
period of time. In return for borrowing these coins the owner receives interest
(coins) just like banks pay customers interest. POS coin supplies are
inflationary at a variety of yearly rates; providing stakers better interest than
local banks or credit unions.

 

In most cases, your coins need
to be available to the network (online) in order to be staked. However, if you
lack guaranteed internet connectivity or just prefer not to keep your wallet
online all the time in order to mitigate potential exposure to security risks,
you are at a disadvantage because you can’t earn passive income on your coins
while they are offline.

 

While
staking is considerably less energy intensive, POW is still considered by many
to be superior to POS. One of the chief arguments for that position is a
security flaw in staking systems — POS gives away your public key when you
stake.

This argument has merit because in most
cases coins are stored in a small amount of addresses, mostly one, and that
address is unlocked (unencrypted) for staking. The public key of these unlocked
staking addresses is regularly being broadcast to the network.

One project building resistance to quantum
computing is Particl, the open-source privacy framework built on blockchain
technology. Here’s a look at how that project leverages innovations like cold
staking, multi-signatures and HD wallets to improve POS security, maximize income-generation
 and provide secure, private, flexible
spending options for owners of its token, PART.

Cold
Staking

In its most basic terms, cold
staking keeps your spend public key and private key private.


While you still need to be
online to generate stakes, cold staking leverages multi-signature addresses so
you can stake from multiple computers. A person earning passive income on a
network with cold staking, like Particl’s, can set up a dedicated stake-only
machine while simultaneously spending those coins around the world on any
mobile HD wallet like Ledger or Particl’s own Copay App.

 

In terms of quantum resistance,
this makes reversing private keys to public keys nearly impossible. For
beginners, the stake-only machine is broadcasting a public key that is
different than the mobile wallet key. In order to steal coins, both private
keys would need to be known when using multi-signature. The more computers
broadcasting stakes and spending stakes the greater the resistance becomes.

 

On November 10, the Particl
network will have a planned hard fork to activate cold staking on the main blockchain.
The team has been community testing this new feature on its test network since
the beginning of August.

Summary

Although most cryptocurrencies
lack cold staking support, Particl is not the only platform to support it. A
few others, such as BlueCoin and BlackHalo, also enable cold staking.


If you’re seeking to build a
reliable passive income stream over the long-term using cryptocurrency, a
feature like quantum resistance is important. If the past half-century is any
indication, computers will always grow more and more powerful. A sudden advance
in computing technology could practically wipe out the value of coins that lack
quantum resistance.

 

As the cryptocurrency world
evolves and grows more complex, generating income reliably using cryptocurrency
is also becoming more challenging. Features like cold staking and quantum
resistance provide income-generation benefits and guarantees that are now available
from core cryptocurrency platforms like Particl.

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Blockchain Technology Takes Center Stage in Science Fiction Thriller (ID)entity

Blockchain Technology Takes Center Stage in Science Fiction Thriller (ID)entity

Philip K. Dick Award finalist (R)evolution, a 2015 near-future science fiction thriller by PJ Manney, ends with the main character’s consciousness transferred to a supercomputer, accompanied by the otherworldly notes of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”: but with the words “Commencing download: Servers on …”

The story continues in the sequel, (ID)entity, the second novel in Manney’s Phoenix Horizon trilogy, published on October 10. “Major Tom” is one of the many names taken by the protagonist, who starts as Peter Bernhardt, a nanotechnology scientist and entrepreneur, but is forced to assume many other identities by the Bad Guys of the Phoenix Club, who want to take over the world using lots of money, amazingly futuristic tech and powerful connections in the U.S. government.

In (ID)entity, the consciousness of Bernhardt, aka billionaire investor Tom Paine (among others), is embodied again, first in a lifelike sex bot. Major Tom continues to fight the Phoenix Club and archenemy Carter Potsdam, now on the loose as another download. You won’t find other spoilers here, so you are warmly encouraged to read the book.

Blockchain technology takes center stage in Manney’s near future and is inherent in most real estate, trade, barter, identity, gambling and other transactions. There are many global blockchains used by different people and entities for various purposes, ranging from mainstream (but definitely not to be trusted) blockchains operated by Big Business and Big Government (China is still in the lead) to “several uncorrupted blockchains out there, not manipulated by governments and multinational institutions.” Some of these independent blockchains are very popular, and their currencies are widely used.

“In (ID)entity, blockchains are used for more than the multiple world currencies they underpin,” Manney told Bitcoin Magazine. “But their use is not uniform around the world, because a Gibsonian future is never evenly distributed. Some record news, other government records. I posit that there’s a greater malleability to blockchain technology than traditional evangelists admit. Because nothing online is safe. Ever. China could, at any minute, decide to launch a 51 percent attack. Probability or likelihood doesn’t matter when you’re dealing with large system failure. It’s the possibility that counts.”

Manney doesn’t describe herself as a techno-optimist or techno-pessimist but as a techno-realist. “In this case, I show how cryptos and the blockchain could go completely wrong,” she said. “I also hope it’s a call to make cryptos and the blockchain safer and more independent from outside manipulation. That’s my goal in all that I write about: find the potentials for bad use and make it a cautionary tale that will help fix it for the future.”

Science fiction is perhaps at its best when it embeds important issues in a compelling narrative that encourages the reader to try and find ways to connect science fictional extrapolations to current discussion. Manney’s fiction can stimulate us to preempt undesirable patterns in the evolution of key technologies, such as nanotech, artificial intelligence, consciousness downloading (often dubbed “mind uploading”) and blockchain technology. It’s wise to bear in mind that everything can, and will, be exploited for bad ends.

“I admit to a certain amount of handwaving, common to all SF [science fiction], when it includes technologies still in development,” continued Manney. “I assume that blockchains will best be maintained outside of nation-states and proliferate into many aspects of life. And given that proliferation, ways will be found to corrupt them. I can’t tell you how: I don’t code. But that’s the history of all technologies. As much as their creators believe in their world-changing positive properties, they also turn blind eyes to their corruption.”


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Money20/20: Wozniak Thinks Bitcoin Is Better Than Gold

Wozniak 2020

Steve Wozniak (aka the ‘Woz’) thinks Bitcoin is better than gold and the U.S. dollar, which he called “phony,” because the government can always print more.

On Sunday, October 22, 2017, the co-founder of Apple Computers shared his thoughts on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies at Money20/20 in Las Vegas where he was interviewed by Deirdre Bosa, technology reporter at CNBC. The conversation was around artificial intelligence, but the topic of Bitcoin emerged as well.

Wozniak feels a currency is more “stable” when it cannot be diluted and, while Bitcoin has a fixed future supply (only 21 million bitcoins will ever be mined), the same cannot be said about government-backed fiat currencies.

“There is a certain finite amount of bitcoin that can ever exist,” Wozniak said in explaining that the U.S. government could wind up printing more dollars for political reasons. He described the U.S. dollar as “kind of phony” in that sense, while describing Bitcoin as more “genuine and real.”

Similarly, he said, gold does not necessarily have a fixed supply either, because humans will continue to find more efficient ways to dig it out of the earth.

“Gold gets mined and mined and mined,” Wozniak said. “Maybe there’s a finite amount of gold in the world, but Bitcoin is even more mathematical and regulated and nobody can change mathematics.”

He compared owning Bitcoin to owning a house. “Your house has value. And if it is a house today, 40 years from now, it still is a house in value,” he said, even if the price goes up and the government draws more taxes out of it.

Mathematical Appreciation

Wozniak said he “admired” Bitcoin when the digital currency was first presented.

“I looked at it as a form of currency,” he said, adding that initially he did not understand the underlying blockchain technology but now he does.

He said, initially, he had a tough time buying bitcoin because that required setting up a special bank account. The process, he said was “so awkward, it kept me from getting early bitcoin.” When he finally was able to buy bitcoin, he said the price immediately dropped in half.

But those kind of numbers don’t mean so much to Wozniak. “I am not financial,” he told the crowd, admitting he never followed the price of bitcoin, nor the price of Apple stock but said he was drawn to bitcoin because it was based on mathematics.

“My wife and I, we judge a hotel room more by the number on the door than what is inside the room. We are both mathematicians,” he said.

Countless Opportunities for Blockchain Technology

Wozniak also touched on Bitcoin’s underlying blockchain technology, and its importance in allowing people to transparently track things, like minerals.

“Right now, there is conflict with minerals in the world, and you don’t want to buy conflict minerals. Well, how do you avoid it?” He continued by explaining how companies will usually buy gold from different countries and smelt it together, so there is no way of knowing where it all comes from. With blockchain-based solutions, however, tracking where that gold comes from is now possible.

“They are applying the technology where all the payment can only go to the good, legitimate sources that don’t have conflict minerals,” he added.

Wozniak pointed out that, currently, there are so many applications popping up using blockchain technology that are so different than what people initially imagined, and it will take time to get used to.

He also likened the introduction of smart contract platforms, like Ethereum, to when computers first came out and suddenly people were writing “tens of thousands of programs” nobody had ever thought of before. Smart contract platforms open those same doors of opportunity.

“There is a lot more to this cryptocurrency than just the Bitcoin,” he said.

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Bitcoin Price Analysis: Potential Wyckoff Distribution May Spring New All-Time Highs

Bitcoin Price Analysis

A potential Wyckoff Distribution phase is under way as bitcoin continues to climb on shaky ground. Days after having a strong $1,000 climb and nearly reaching $6,000 on most exchanges, we saw a strong rejection of the upper limits of the market as it plunged $600 over the course of a few short hours. Let’s take a look at the macro pattern and draw a few similarities to the Wyckoff Distribution schemes:

Figure_1.JPG

Figure 1: BTC-USD, 2-Hour Candles, Potential Wyckoff Distribution Phase

In order for the current distribution phase to be reliable, there are certain milestones the market must reach. As shown above, we previously established a point of Preliminary Supply, a strong Buying Climax, a knee-jerk reaction into an Automatic Reaction low, and a weak rally that ultimately led to a Sign of Weakness that pushed us down several hundred dollars. The rebound from this low was strong and occurred on very high volume. However, over the length of the rally post-sign-of-weakness, the volume has begun to taper as the momentum indicators are showing signs of bullish exhaustion as it finds its local high at around the $5,700 values.

One of the following milestones for the Wyckoff Distribution phase is one last dip as it tests the previous support around the Automatic Reaction low. As of the the time of this article, the current market trend is showing signs of bearish divergence on the 120-minute candles.  Zooming in closer, we can see clear signs of a potential small reversal:

Figure_2.JPG

Figure 2: BTC-USD, 30-Minute Candles, Waning Momentum

Both the RSI and MACD are showing signs of bullish exhaustion throughout the length of this rally. Any pullback will likely be supported by the Automatic Reaction support level. Historically, this has been a strong point of support and is made more evident on the 60-minute time frame:

Figure_3.JPG

Figure 3: BTC-USD, 60-Minute Candles, Strong Support Zone

The 200 EMA on the 1-hour candles is historically a great support level and provides traders a pulse on the market health. As of the time of this article, the 200 EMA is lining quite nicely with the support zone offered by the Automatic Reaction Zone. A test of these price levels would take a strong push to break and hold below. If the price continues through the Wyckoff Distribution, we can expect a test of the 200 EMA and a subsequent bounce triggering an Upthrust to new all-time highs. As mentioned in the last BTC-USD market analysis, we are trending along a macro channel:

Figure_4.JPG

Figure 4: BTC-USD, 1-Day Candles, Macro Ascending Channel

An Upthrust in this potential Distribution Phase would have a price target testing the upper channel in the $6,200–$6,300 price range.

Summary:

  1. A potential Wyckoff Distribution Phase is playing out.

  2. If the Distribution Phase plays as expected, we will see a test of the 200 EMA and a subsequent spring to new all-time highs.

  3. If an Upthrust to new all-time highs occurs, we can expect a price target in the $6,200s.

Trading and investing in digital assets like bitcoin, bitcoin cash and ether is highly speculative and comes with many risks. This analysis is for informational purposes and should not be considered investment advice. Statements and financial information on Bitcoin Magazine and BTC Media related sites do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BTC Media and should not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation to buy, sell or hold. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

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This Blockchain-Powered Platform Aims to Disrupt the Esport Gambling Industry

This Blockchain-Powered Platform Aims to Disrupt the Esport Gambling Industry

Esports wagering is a large — and growing — global industry at the intersection between gambling, technology and entertainment. In their 2017 Global Esports Markets Report, Newzoo found that China and North America will generate $362 million during 2017, or 52 percent of global esports industry’s revenue. If the esports industry continues on the same growth trajectory, the global industry is expected to generate $1.4 billion in 2020.

Unikrn’s blockchain-powered platform is tapping into this growth industry, offering services such as “skill and spectator betting applications, a tournament series, team ownership, a casino group and multimedia content for the esports fanbase.”

Along with launching an initial coin offering (ICO) in mid-September, the company has expanded its offerings to the European Union through a joint venture with RBP, a key player in the online horserace and sports betting market, and plans to launch a new skills-based product.

Expanding across the European Union comes after the platform was granted a much coveted gaming license from the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). As one of the first European Territories to regulate online gambling, Malta has reportedly become a staunch regulatory supporter over the past several years. Today, over 100 companies currently hold a license issued by the MGA including software developers, online casinos and Remote iGaming operators.

Though obtaining a gaming license from the MGA took more than a year, for Unikrn, it has provided an opportunity to enhance their reputation as a legitimate esports wagering platform; something critical for their successful expansion and token sale. “They [MGA] are by every measure the gold standard and one of of the most respected authorities for responsible and ethical wagering,” said Unikrn founder and CEO Rahul Sood in a statement.

After creating the VoodooPC in 1991 then selling it to Hewlett-Packard, Sood spent 18 years as an entrepreneur. Next, he joined as general manager of Microsoft Ventures, Microsoft’s international startup accelerator and outreach program. Sood left Microsoft in 2014 to enter the world of live immersive esports betting by co-founding Unikrn.

Why Blockchain?

During its Series A round, Unikrn received funding from several notable investors including Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, actor Ashton Kutcher’s venture firm, Sound Ventures, media executive Elisabeth Murdoch’s venture fund Freelands Ventures, media executive Shari Redstone’s Advancit Capital and the largest betting company in Australia, Tabcorp. The commonality between most of these venture funds is that they typically pick portfolio companies working in a mix of media, technology and entertainment.

Anthony Di Iorio, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Decentral, joined UnikoinGold as an advisory team member because he finds the project both intriguing and well-supported.

I’m a big believer in the power of decentralized technologies, like blockchains, to empower entrepreneurs and individuals,” he told Bitcoin Magazine. “I’m motivated to support the entrepreneurs, the projects, and the communities that are pushing that technology forward by applying it in interesting and exciting ways to existing markets. Unikrn is a bit special.”

Unikrn’s Editor-in-Chief of content, Ryan Jurado, describes the platform’s journey toward the blockchain as a tool for product and community growth. In 2015, Unikrn released Unikoin, a free, internal, non-cryptographic token issued in 2014 that gives users the ability to bet on esports and win prizes in regulated markets where Unikrn is unlicensed to operate. However, Unikoin had no secondary market and customers persistently asked for more value or uses for the token.

Jurado explained that idea for Unikrn to use blockchain technology first came from Mark Cuban in early 2016. After investigating the technology, the team found using a blockchain-based currency would improve compliance and accountability, two activities paramount in bookkeeping.

“The distributed ledger makes Know Your Customer (KYC) and risk management easier and less costly,” Jurado said to Bitcoin Magazine. “It saves time and money used for converting currencies, and helps minimize engagement with banks.”

Along with a distributed ledger model, Jurado also pointed out that the blockchain “expands real-time betting, live betting and skill-based products that would be difficult, or impossible, using fiat currency.”

The blockchain’s ability to increase transaction options while decreasing the need for transactional trust was another value Unikrn sought, Jurado explained, resulting in “an Ethereum-based token with an open ledger that can be used to better rate risk and flag potential abuse.”

A gaming platform such as Unikrn which runs vast numbers of transactions per day manages a lot of risk benefits from “an Ethereum-based token with an open ledger that can be used to better rate risk and flag potential abuse.” Furthermore, as Jurado pointed out, “For users, it’s a home-run: Using blockchain is less expensive than using fiat, and less overhead means less expensive products.”

Tale of Two Koins

To run the token sale and crypto platform, Unikrn opened a subsidiary, Unikrn Bermuda Ltd. The token that Jurado hopes will become “the decentralized token of esports and gaming” is called UnikoinGold (UKG) and was made available in September.

Di Iorio described UnikoinGold as “the (decentralized) beating heart of the secure and seamless wagering ecosystem Unikrn has pioneered.”

As for the original non-cryptographic token, Unikoin, Sood has stated that Unikrn is undergoing a “forking” of their token system in which there will be two currencies: UnikoinGold and UnikoinSilver.

Anybody in the world can buy and use the Ethereum-based UnikoinGold utility token in non-betting applications, including jackpots and experiences, software, hardware, esports, teams and tournaments; however, only users in Unikrn-licensed regions will be able to use it to bet.

Though UnikoinSilver can only be earned, it can be used in most unregulated markets around the world. “The token will allow every non-minor esports and gaming fan to engage in all Unikrn betting products, regardless of where they live. It is a free, non-blockchain token, but will allow fans to unlock real prizes and non-betting operations including editorial, production studios, tournament organization and live broadcasting.” UnikoinSilver also appears to be an alternative “to unregulated skin betting for regions where real-money betting can’t be offered.”

ESPN Meets Esports Meets Vegas

Having already raised $30 million in ether, the UnikoinGold token sale is capped at $100 million. One advantage it has as a token sale is the ease of onboarding users who are already familiar with token transactions. Unikrn’s other advantages come from the fact that they already have an existing platform that is profitable and an online community that is engaged. “This isn’t an investment,” said Sood in a Medium post, “It’s a purchase for a product that we developed that has utility on our platform and our users love and demand.”

A clear caveat to UnikoinGold’s success is that its gaming/ICO combination is sure to keep them visible on every regulator’s radar, which is why earning a Maltese gaming license was such a significant step.

Even at such a unique intersection between media, gambling and gaming, Unikrn is not the only player. Other esports betting platforms using blockchain technology include FirstBlood.io, Eloplay, Gimli.io and Skincoin. And it has yet to crack the lists of top esport betting platforms on sites like OpenOdds and EsportsOnly.

Sood does not seem surprised by his company’s success, thus far. “UnikoinGold was designed and intended for use by our own esports community. It’s like ESPN meets Esports meets Las Vegas.”

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What Lightning Will Look Like: Lightning Labs Has Announced Its User Interface Wallet

What Lightning Will Look Like: Lightning Labs Has Announced Its User Interface Wallet

Development of the lightning network, the lightning networkthe highly-anticipated second-layer Bitcoin protocol for instant microtransactions, continues to inch forward.

Lightning Labs, major contributor to the lightning network daemon, lnd, announced its cross-platform Lightning Desktop App last week. The open-source lightning wallet is essentially a user interface (UI) built on top of lnd and powered by Lightning Labs’ new open-source Bitcoin light client, Neutrino.

“This is the first functioning user interface for both sending and receiving lightning transactions with a light client mode,” Lightning Labs CEO Elizabeth Stark told Bitcoin Magazine.

The lightning network is currently being developed by several teams working on different but interoperable implementations of the protocol. Several of these implementations are functional, though only on Bitcoin’s test network (“testnet”): a sort of copy of the Bitcoin network with valueless coins specifically designed for testing new applications and more.

But, while there are already several lightning daemons available for testnet, most are only usable via command line tools. Developers Olaoluwa Osuntokun, Bryan Vu and Case Sandberg collaborated to now extend lnd with the new Lightning Desktop App to provide a user interface.

“I think the big takeaway is being able to visualize this technology and see what an early UI might look like,” said Stark. “It’s one thing to be using the command line, as our lnd testers and developers have been, but it’s another to be able to download the app. Being able to see this kind of progress is important.”

As part of the announcement, Lightning Labs also introduced Neutrino, the new open-source Bitcoin implementation that powers the Lightning Desktop App. As a main benefit, Neutrino users don’t need to download the entire Bitcoin blockchain, which is currently over 140 gigabytes in size. This makes the desktop app much more accessible to regular users who transact small amounts, for which the lightning network is particularly suited. And because Neutrino uses a new method of transaction filtering (client side instead of bloom filters), it offers more privacy than most light clients, too.

The release of the new Lightning Desktop App kicks off a two-week “testing blitz,” as the company described it in their accompanying blog post. Developers are invited to experiment with the desktop app itself, as well as with Neutrino. Further, it makes it much easier for anyone to play around with lnd and the lightning network itself.

“The really cool thing about having our desktop app out there is now there’s an easy way for people to interact with all of the apps that developers are building on Lightning, such as Yalls,” said Stark.

After the two-week testing period, the implementation will enter a regular release cycle. Releasing the wallet for Bitcoin mainnet, however, could take a while longer still, Stark explained:

“We’re working toward testing and making the software more stable before releasing a beta. This is financial software and its a protocol dealing with money, so we want to ensure people can have a good user experience.”

There is no specific deadline for the beta release, but Stark added that, “The next step is for us to gather feedback from testers and develop it further, along with improvements in lnd and Neutrino.”

The open-source Lightning Desktop App code is available on GitHub.

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Connecting the Luxury Fine Art Industry with the Modern Digital Economy

Connecting the Luxury Fine Art Industry with the Modern Digital Economy

Latest figures from the Tetaf art market report, released by the European Fine Art Foundation, show that in 2016 global art market sales amounted to an estimated $45 billion, up 1.7 percent from 2015. The U.S. remains the largest country in the world art market, with 29.5 percent of the market share, followed by the U.K. and China with 24 percent and 18 percent, respectively.

Yet, while the industry remains a profitable one, it is slowly changing. One that is considered difficult to enter and resistant to change, a few sector players are aiming to bridge the modern digital world with the luxury arts sector.

Two art galleries are taking a blockchain and cryptocurrency approach. Eleesa Dadiani, is the founder and owner of Dadiani Fine Art in Mayfair, London. Marcelo Garcia Casil is the co-founder and CEO of Maecenas, a decentralized art gallery that aims to democratize access to fine art investment.

Dadiani & Partners

In July 2017, Dadiani’s modern fine art gallery became the first in the U.K. to accept seven different cryptocurrencies as payment: bitcoin, ethereum, ethereum classic, litecoin, ripple, dash and NEM.

Dadiani told Bitcoin Magazine that the decision to introduce cryptocurrencies wasn’t an instinctively demand-driven decision; rather, it stemmed from a desire to encourage demand and merge the two markets together.

“On a practical level, introducing cryptocurrency will broaden the market, bringing a new type of buyer to art and luxury,” she said.

Through her recently launched Dadiani & Partners — the U.K.’s first and only luxury asset and commodity exchange for cryptocurrencies — Dadiani is hoping to unlock the potential of the digital currency market for high net-worth (HNW) investors and consumers. Acting as an intermediary, Dadiani & Partners will enable HNWs a platform to purchase luxury goods in digital currency. Dadiani says that there has been an increase in demand with the number of people seeking the purchase of assets in cryptocurrency.

“Many bitcoin millionaires are unable to cash in their digital currency as the banks won’t convert large amounts of cryptocurrency for cash,” she added.

Passionate about cryptocurrencies, and the blockchain that underpins them, Dadiani believes that they will have a profound impact in every sphere of business and our everyday lives.

“The technology will allow us to reclaim power, paving the way for decentralized, peer-to-peer transactions without the intervention of an intermediary,” she added. “This is a revolution that goes far beyond the art market.”

Since introducing the acceptance of digital currencies the art gallery has sold a number of pieces. Going forward, all of the art, across all the exhibitions, will be available to purchase in the available digital currencies. Dadiani says that the artists are onboard and keen for their pieces to be sold this way.

“Any of the pieces we sell can still be purchased via conventional fiat currency, but purchasing via cryptocurrency enables buyers to purchase peer-to-peer, person-to-person, without the intervention of a centralized authority,” Dadiani said.

It’s hoped that by further globalizing the business and broadening their customer base, Dadiani Fine Art will appeal to bitcoin millionaires who are looking to purchase assets via cryptocurrencies.

“Digital currency is being embraced by people of all ages, creed and class, and as it’s happening in other sectors, there is no reason why the gap between the modern digital world with the luxury sector cannot be bridged.”

Maecenas

Investment in the art world can be an expensive proposition. Named after Gaius Maecenas, an ancient Roman patron of the arts, Maecenas, is attempting to remove this barrier by letting anyone buy shares of fine art. Through its blockchain-driven platform, Maecenas divides artwork ownership into fragments and connects art owners with investors where shares are bought and sold.

“By turning masterpieces into tokenized tradable assets, Maecenas democratizes access to fine art by letting a much wider audience invest in multi-million dollar artworks which would otherwise be out of reach,” Casil said to Bitcoin Magazine.

Buying access to the artwork’s investment value does not mean buying access to the actual artwork itself, however. According to Maecenas, art pieces are not put on display; rather, they are held in purpose-built art storage facilities, ensuring the work is safe and looked after. If there is a demand in the future, then they may introduce an art-leasing facility where art lovers can temporarily hold the piece of art for a fee. The fee would then be distributed among the shareholders as income.

By injecting liquidity and transparency into the fine art market, the platform claims to be adding aspects to the sector that have been missing. Determining a fair price of an illiquid asset is now made possible via the blockchain through the conversion of small and liquid tradable financial units, creating tamper-proof, digital certificates denoting ownership. These are similar to shares of a company and can be traded on an open exchange.

Through the implementation of a Dutch auction process, Maecenas permits investors to submit private bids stating how many shares of the artwork they want to own and what price they’re willing to pay for them.

“The Dutch auction smart contract then handles all the bids and uses a well-known algorithm to determine the optimal price for the artwork shares,” Casil added. “This process is transparent and discourages price manipulation.”

Maecenas’ ART utility token functions as a clearing and settlement mechanism for all transactions of artwork on the Maecenas ecosystem. Participating in Dutch auctions, leasing artwork or performing any other sensitive platform operation is handled via smart contracts that require ART tokens to operate, says Casil.

“In the case of the auctions themselves, the token represents the investor bid and commitment, and a dollar value equivalent of the tokens is escrowed in the contract for the duration of the auction.”

For instance, if an investor wants to bid $50,000 for an artwork, and ART is worth $2, then 25,000 ART tokens must be submitted to the smart contract to reflect the bid.

To ensure the work is authentic, Maecenas has an internal team that checks the full provenance of the artwork including certificates of authenticity, condition reports, insurance policies, certificates of storage and valuation reports. Independent reputable experts will also assess and appraise the artwork. The documents produced during the due-diligence process are then protected and stored securely on the blockchain.

Maecenas recently completed their token crowdsale which raised 50,744 ETH. They are aiming to launch their platform in the first quarter of 2018.

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Chaincode Labs to Host a Second Run of Its Month-Long Bitcoin Coding Class

Chaincode Labs to Host a Second Run of Its Month-Long Bitcoin Coding Class

Chaincode Labs, the New York–based development company and major contributor to Bitcoin Core, is organizing a second edition of its Bitcoin residency program in the first months of 2018. The program intends to help developers overcome the steep learning curve associated with becoming a protocol-level contributor to projects like Bitcoin Core. In doing so, Chaincode Labs hopes to help expand Bitcoin’s development community.

“Last year was the first run,” Chaincode Labs developer John Newbery told Bitcoin Magazine. “We’ve now taken the good stuff from that and tried to make it even more focused and useful for residents this year.”

The Residency Program

Chaincode Labs, in collaboration with Matt Corallo — who worked at Blockstream last year but joined Chaincode Labs since — organized the residency program for the first time in September and October of 2016. The next edition will start on January 29, 2018, and will last until February 23.

Newbery himself was one of the attendees of this first residency program. He was later hired by Chaincode Labs and has since been one of the most prolific contributors to the Bitcoin Core project.

Now, he is coordinating the second of two legs of the new program.

“Chaincode Labs exists to strengthen Bitcoin,” said Newbery. “We mostly do that by contributing to Bitcoin Core, but each of us has a lot of freedom to do what we think is important. And the main purpose of this residency program is to try to strengthen the developer community.”

Specifically, courses will cover protocol design, adversarial thinking, threat models and security considerations, as well as address some of Bitcoin’s biggest challenges, like scaling, fungibility and privacy. Attendees will mostly learn by doing and could even start contributing to the Bitcoin Core project during the residency. Throughout the program they will be assisted by the entire Chaincode Labs team — Alex Morcos, Suhas Daftuar, Matt Corallo, John Newbery and Russ Yanofsky. There may also be guest speakers.

Two Blocks

Whereas the first edition of the residency program lasted four straight weeks for all attendees, this time the coding classes will be cut into two two-week phases. Candidates can either pick one of two legs or join both, with room for five or six attendees per session.

The first leg is coordinated by Corallo, who has been contributing to Bitcoin development since 2011.

“Session A is all about getting people to think about the security trade-offs and implications of the technical decisions we make,” Newbery explained. “There’s a lot of thought that goes into all the decisions that are made in Bitcoin, but that nuance is often lost. If we can help people to understand those trade-offs better and be able to communicate them, then perhaps we can raise the level of the conversations we have about Bitcoin.”

The second session will be more focused on the Bitcoin Core project itself, Newbery said.

“Session B is all about getting smart, talented people to start making useful contributions to Bitcoin Core. There’s a steep learning curve to becoming a contributor and if I can help people who want to contribute but have felt daunted or don’t know where to start, then I’ll feel like I’ve succeeded.”

Additionally, Chaincode Labs will organize a series of Wednesday night meetups ahead of the residency program. Contents of these meetups will be similar to the residency program, but these meetups are for participants who live in (or near) New York who can’t dedicate two or four full weeks to attending the residency program itself.

For more information on Chaincode Labs’ 2018 Bitcoin residency program and to find out how to apply, see the company’s announcement and the program website.

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Ether Price Analysis: Eve and Adam Could Be Turning Back the Bulls

Ether Price Analysis

Since bottoming out around $200, ether has spent several weeks bouncing back and forth inside an ascending channel:

Figure_1 (15).JPGFigure 1: ETH-USD, 4-Hour Candles, Ascending Channel

For the last month and a half, ether’s trend has been contained within the bounds of this ascending channel, where it has continued its bullish rally. However, today (as of the time of this article) it is starting to make moves to aggressively test the lower boundary. Specifically, as ether tests this channel, it is forming a potential reversal pattern called an Eve-and-Adam Double Top.

Figure_2 (12).JPGFigure 2: ETH-USD, 1-Hour Candles, Eve-and-Adam Double Top

At the time of this article, ether is attempting to break the neckline (the pink dashed line) of the massive reversal pattern. Should ether break this neckline, the measured move from this pattern is a $30 move downward, which would ultimately shove ether outside the bullish ascending channel it has been trending within. The price target of the Double Top breakout would bring the ETH-USD price into the upper $200s.

On a macro scale, ether has support along the following Fibonacci levels:

Figure_3 (12).JPGFigure 3: ETH-USD, 4-Hour Candles, Fibonacci Levels

Should the ascending channel break, the above Fibonacci levels will provide support and will need to be tested in order to prove a bearish continuation. As of the time of this article, the Double Top mentioned in Figure 2 is sitting right on the 23 percent retracement values where it is making attempts at breaking it. There is strong support at these values, so if ether can break and hold below $315, it will send a strong bearish signal to the market.

Should the Double Top complete, we can expect a test of the 38 percent retracement values following the break of the ascending channel. At this time, the 4-hour MACD is showing strong bearish momentum on a macro scale, and the market is picking up sell volume.

Summary:

  1. For weeks, ether has been trending within an ascending channel.

  2. Ether is currently in the process of making a strong test of the ascending channel via an Eve-and-Adam Double Top reversal pattern.

  3. If the Double Top breaks downward, we can expect a break of the multi-week bullish channel and a test of the 38 percent Fibonacci Retracement values.

Trading and investing in digital assets like bitcoin, bitcoin cash and ether is highly speculative and comes with many risks. This analysis is for informational purposes and should not be considered investment advice. Statements and financial information on Bitcoin Magazine and BTC Media related sites do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BTC Media and should not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation to buy, sell or hold. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

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Blockchain-Focused Presentations to Watch at Money 20/20 in Las Vegas

Blockchain-Focused Presentations to Watch at Money 20/20 in Las Vegas

Money 20/20 Las Vegas is only a few days away. The event, to be held on October 22–25, 2017, at the Venetian, will be packed with people from the top tiers of banking and finance looking to learn more about the future of money.

One thing is for sure, blockchain technology will play a key role in that future. Since 2014, the financial event, which will attract more than 11,000 visitors this year, has devoted an entire track to blockchain topics. Originally, the track was called “Bit(coin) World,” but that changed as conversations shifted to Bitcoin’s underlying ledger technology.  

For blockchain enthusiasts struggling to sort through the 450 presentations at Money 20/20, the following is a breakdown of the blockchain track and other blockchain-related talks at the event.

Blockchain Tuesday

Tuesday is the main day for blockchain programming at Money 20/20. Kicking off the blockchain track will be Adam Ludwin, CEO and co-founder of Chain, a company that provides blockchain solutions to banks. Ludwin’s talk will center on whether crypto-assets are in a sort of ‘90s bubble or if something real and substantial is happening beneath the hype.

To give a sense of how fast things are moving, bitcoin was around $650 at last year’s Money 20/20, when one panelist at the event, then Blockstream developer Eric Martindale, predicted bitcoin would increase 10x in value over the next 12 months. His prediction was nearly spot on. Bitcoin reached more than $5,800 just last week.

With crypto-assets hitting all time highs across the board, the new funding model known as initial coin offerings (ICOs) have raised $2.2 billion this year alone. Yet, amidst the enthusiasm, the threat of increased regulations hover like a dark cloud. Last month, the SEC brought the first charges against two so-called ICOs in what may be just the beginning of a long-anticipated crackdown.   

Four more panels on Tuesday will focus on issues like: What problems are private blockchains solving? Are ICOs here to stay or are they just a passing fad? What threats do regulatory agencies pose to ICOs? And, how will blockchain technology potentially transform stock exchanges? These panels will include experts from companies like Bloq, Kik, Fenbushi Capital, AngelList, Pantera, JP Morgan Chase, R3, Hyperledger, Nasdaq, and the London Stock Exchange Group. 

In between those, Arthur and Kathleen Breitman will talk about their new smart contract platform Tezos. The project raised $230 million in an ICO in July.

Tezos is a proof-of-stake cryptocurrency and smart contract platform built in the functional language OCaml. Eventually, Tezos’ goal is to compete with the likes of Ethereum and Cardano, another emerging platform. A primary feature of Tezos is its formal governance scheme, where coin holders get a say in how the protocol evolves.

It will be interesting to see how Tezos plans to differentiate itself in an increasingly competitive landscape.

Finally, Bobby Lee, CEO and co-founder of BTCC, China’s longest running bitcoin exchange, will share war stories on what it has been like operating an exchange in the biggest payments market in the world.

He should have a good story to tell, given that China’s central bank recently cracked down on digital currency exchanges, causing BTCC to halt all China-facing trading last month.  

Other Talks

Two other blockchain-related talks will take place at Money 20/20 on Monday. Bridget van Kralingen, who leads a group called “Industry Platforms” at IBM will talk about how AI, blockchain and cloud computing are converging to create better customer experiences.  

Bill Barhydt, co-founder and CEO of Abra, a cryptocurrency wallet, will give a keynote announcement on Abra’s “next chapter.” Barhydt attracted some attention recently when he chose actress Gwyneth Paltrow as an advisor for Abra in “Planet of the Apps,” a kind of “Shark Tank” for iOS apps.  

Also on Tuesday, BitGive Foundation, a nonprofit that receives bitcoin donations for charitable causes, will be giving a presentation on GiveTrack, its blockchain-based system for tracking donations in real time.

The topic of blockchain applications is sure to come up in plenty of other talks and discussions at Money 20/20, such as this one on financial inclusion on Sunday and those centered around pressing issues like security (the event comes on the heels of the Equifax breach), identity and more.  

The post Blockchain-Focused Presentations to Watch at Money 20/20 in Las Vegas appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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