An anonymous reader writes: If digital currencies are fundamentally different than physical ones, why do they work in the same way? That's a question being asked by Couchbase co-founder J. Chris Anderson, who's building a currency and transaction system where reputation is the fundamental unit of value. "Unlike with bitcoin—which keeps its currency scarce by rewarding it only to those who participate in what amounts to a race to solve complex cryptographic puzzles—anyone will be able to create a new Document Coin anytime they want. The value of each coin will be completely subjective, depending on who creates the coin and why. 'For example, the coin my disco singer friend created and gave me at my barbeque might be what gets me past the rope at the club,' Anderson says. A coin minted by tech pundit Tim O'Reilly might be highly prized in Silicon Valley circles, but of little interest to musicians. 'It's a bit like a combination of a social network with baseball trading.'" Anderson isn't aiming to supplant Bitcoin, or even challenge the money-exchange model that drives society. But he's hoping it will change the way people think about currency, and open up new possibilities for how we interact with each other.
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An anonymous reader writes: Mainstream retail companies have been slow to adopt Bitcoin, perhaps skeptical of its long-term value or unwilling to expend the effort required to put a payment system into place. Today, Bitcoin adoption got a momentum boost with Dell's announcement that it will accept Bitcoin as a payment method. Dell is by far the biggest company to start accepting Bitcoin. It's interesting to note that Dell, like many of the larger companies interacting with Bitcoin right now, is doing so through a third-party payment processor. On one hand, it's good — we don't necessarily want each company building their own implementation and possibly screwing it up. On the other hand, it scales back slightly the decentralized and fee-less nature of Bitcoin, which are important features to many of its supporters.
An anonymous reader writes On Thursday, Benjamin M. Lawsky, the superintendent of financial services, announced proposed regulations for virtual currency companies operating in New York. The "BitLicense" plan, which includes rules on consumer protection, the prevention of money laundering and cybersecurity, is the first proposal by a state to create guidelines specifically for virtual currency. "We have sought to strike an appropriate balance that helps protect consumers and root out illegal activity—without stifling beneficial innovation," he said in a statement.
New submitter Joel Lehtonen (3743763) writes "The Finnish national digital TV broadcaster Digita is co-operating with startup company Koodilehto to start transmission of Bitcoin blockchain and transactions in Terrestrial Digital TV (DVB-T) signal that covers almost the entire Finnish population of 5 million people. The pilot broadcasting starts September 1st and lasts two months. The broadcast can be received by a computer with any DVB-T adapter (like this $20 dongle). A commercial production phase is planned to begin later this year."
An anonymous reader writes in with the latest in the case against the alleged creator of the Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht. The government and legal community may still be arguing over whether bitcoin can be defined as "money." But the judge presiding over the landmark Silk Road drug case has declared that it's at least close enough to get you locked up for money laundering. In a ruling released Wednesday, Judge Katherine Forrest denied a motion by Ross Ulbricht, the 30-year-old alleged creator of the Silk Road billion-dollar online drug bazaar, to dismiss all criminal charges against him. Those charges include narcotics trafficking conspiracy, money laundering, and hacking conspiracy charges, as well as a "continuing criminal enterprise" charge that's better known as the "kingpin" statute used to prosecute criminal gang and cartel leaders.
After some speculation yesterday about the winner of the auction for the first block of bitcoins seized from the Silk Road, the winner went ahead and made his identity public. Tim Draper has won the U.S. Marshals bitcoin auction and is partnering with Vaurum to provide bitcoin liquidity in emerging markets. ... Tim offered this in a statement: “Bitcoin frees people from trying to operate in a modern market economy with weak currencies. With the help of Vaurum and this newly purchased bitcoin, we expect to be able to create new services that can provide liquidity and confidence to markets that have been hamstrung by weak currencies. Of course, no one is totally secure in holding their own country’s currency. We want to enable people to hold and trade bitcoin to secure themselves against weakening currencies.”
ASDFnz (472824) writes with news that the first block of bitcoins seized from the Silk Road have been auctioned off, and for a pretty high price. The winners are unknown, and Bitcoin has bumped from trading at ~$600 to $650 (USD). From the article: ...In the absence of information speculation both on the markets and on the Internet is building. First Barry Silbert, Founder of SecondMarket and BitcoinTrust has tweeted that they were outbid on all blocks. Since then Alex Walters (a former core Bitcoin developer and the then chief technology officer of Bitinstant) has posted on reddit saying 'I Lost' in his $400 to $500 per coin. That post was closely followed by another reddit user saying that his bid of $451.13 per coin was also unsuccessful. ... Meanwhile the actual price of bitcoins of the various exchanges has risen close to 15% from just under $600 a coin to close to $650. In the end, we may never know who bought the confiscated coins or how much they bought them for but it does seem that it will be a pivotal point in Bitcoin's evolution.
jfruh (300774) writes "California governor Jerry Brown has signed a law repealing Section 107 of California's Corporations Code, which prohibited companies or individuals from issuing money other than U.S. dollars. Before the law was repealed, not only bitcoin but everything from Amazon Coin to Starbucks Stars were techinically illegal; the law was generally not enforced."
mpicpp (3454017) points out this story illustrating the problem of betting on the differential between the price of deliverable bitcoin-mining hardware and the price of bitcoin itself: Yet another Bitcoin miner manufacturer, CoinTerra, now faces legal action for not fulfilling an order when it originally promised to. CoinTerra is the third Bitcoin-related startup to face litigation for breach of contract and/or fraud in recent months. The CoinTerra lawsuit was filed in late April 2014 by an Oakland, California-based man seeking to be the lead plaintiff in a proposed class-action lawsuit. Lautaro Cline, the suit alleges, purchased a TerraMiner IV in October 2013 for delivery by January 2014. The company promised, he claims, that this miner would operate at two terahashes per second and would consume 1,200 watts of power. It did neither. However, Cline's suit also claims that CoinTerra did not deliver the miner until February 2014, and it "operated well below the speed advertised and consumed significantly more power than CoinTerra represented, causing Plaintiff to suffer significant lost profits and opportunities."
jfruh (300774) writes "When the U.S. government shut down the Silk Road marketplace, they seized its assets, including roughly $18 million in bitcoin, and despite the government's ambivalence about the cryptocurrency, they plan to auction the bitcoin off to the highest bidder, as they do with most criminal assets. Ironically, considering many bitcoin users' intense desire for privacy, the U.S. Marshall service accidentally revealed the complete list of potential bidders by sending a message to everyone on the list and putting their addresses in the CC field instead of the BCC field."
An anonymous reader writes Ars Technica reports that for the first time in Bitcoin's five-year history, a single entity has repeatedly provided more than half of the total computational power required to mine new digital coins, in some cases for sustained periods of time. It's an event that, if it persists, signals the end of crypto currency's decentralized structure."
An anonymous reader writes With the debacle of Mt. GoX, Bitcoin's future was looking a little murky. But in a significant mainline acceptance, Expedia has said they will begin accepting Bitcoins as a form of payment. At first, they will accept it for hotel bookings only, will accept it only in USA, and also will not be holding Bitcoins for any length of time — converting it to dollars as soon as they can. But, quoting Emily Spaven, managing editor of Bitcoin news site CoinDesk, as told to the BBC, the move was "brilliant news" and it "brings digital currency further into the consciousness of the mainstream." So you can't quite fly to Galt's Gulch to your newly Bitcoiin-purchased real estate without switching currencies.
ClownP writes with news that the U.S. Marshals Service is selling off 29,656.51306529 Bitcoins that were seized when the Silk Road website was shut down. At current exchange rates, they're worth around $17-18 million. The coins will be auctioned off in nine blocks of 3,000 coins, plus one block with the remainder. The USMS said that the first deadline for bidders will be 9am Eastern Time on June 16, 2014. All bidders must complete the government's Bidder Registration Form, which requires that you provide a copy of a government-issued ID as well as a $200,000 deposit sent by wire transfer from an American bank. The government added that the highest bidder will win, and he or she cannot finance its payment in installments — the winner must pay the full amount in cash. The USMS added one final stipulation. "The USMS will not sell to any person who is acting on behalf of or in concert with the Silk Road and/or Ross William Ulbricht, and bidders will be required to so certify," the USMS stated.
PvtVoid (1252388) writes "In the semiannual report to Congress by the NSF Office of Inspector General, the organization said it received reports of a researcher who was using NSF-funded supercomputers at two universities to mine Bitcoin. The computationally intensive mining took up about $150,000 worth of NSF-supported computer use at the two universities to generate bitcoins worth about $8,000 to $10,000, according to the report. It did not name the researcher or the universities."
MrBingoBoingo writes with news that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has settled federal civil charges with Erik Voorhees, a man who sold shares of two businesses in exchange for Bitcoins without registering them. Voorhees must make restitution for the $15,000 in profit he made, plus interest, and a $35,000 fine. Here's the SEC's filing (PDF). "The agreement reflects an expanded effort by U.S. regulators to cast a wider net over the burgeoning bitcoin economy. It comes as investor enthusiasm grows for direct offerings of shares by new bitcoin-focused ventures over bitcoin's global computer network. Maidsafe, a system for sharing computer memory, raised $7 million last month in such a deal."
miller60 (554835) writes "Citing strong demand from cryptocurrency miners, data center and colocation providers are beginning to accept Bitcoin as payment for large chunks of data center space. It's a sign that the data center industry sees an emerging opportunity in catering to the hosting needs of crypto miners, who typically seek high-density space with cheap power. While many web hosting companies accept Bitcoin, larger data center players have been slower to embrace cryptocurrency. Utah-based C7 Data Centers says it's accepting Bitcoin because of surging demand. The Utah-based company says it now hosts about 4.5 megawatts of mining gear, just down the road from the NSA data center." On-topic: Dish Networks has recently become the biggest company to accept Bitcoins.
This analysis of trading logs from the Mt. Gox Bitcoin exchange analyzes a subset of the transactions that took place there prior to the exchange's collapse, and makes the case that two bots (the writer calls them "Willy," and "Markus") were making suspicious transactions which may have been used to intentionally manipulate the trading price, and which can explain the loss of Bitcoin inventory on which the exchange's failure was blamed. The author of the analysis says "[T]here is more than plenty of evidence to suspect that what happened at Mt. Gox may have been an inside job. What I hope to achieve by releasing this analysis into the wild is for the public to learn the truth behind what happened at Mt. Gox, how it affected the Bitcoin price, and hopefully for the individuals responsible for the massive fraud that occurred at Mt. Gox to be put to justice. Although the evidence shown in this report is far from conclusive, it can hopefully spur a more rigorous investigation into Mt. Gox’s accounting data, both by the public (using the leaked data) and the authorities (forensic investigation on the actual data)."
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "The notorious troll and hacker known as Andrew 'weev' Auernheimer spent 13 months in jail for exposing an AT&T security flaw. He was recently released when a federal court overturned the conviction on grounds of improper venue. Now, Auernheimer has penned an open letter to the Department of Justice in which he demands reparations for acts of 'fraud' and 'violence' carried out against him over the past three years. Those reparations must be paid in Bitcoin, he says — 28,296, to be exact. At current market value, that comes out to $13.7 million. The bombastic letter is titled 'Open letter to federal scum,' and was allegedly bcc'd to 'a few hundred journalists.' In it, 28-year-old Auernheimer writes that he calculated the sum owed to him based on his market value:" A gem: "Know that all this wealth will be directed towards a good and charitable cause. I am building a series of memorial groves for the greatest patriots of our generation: Timothy McVeigh, Andrew Stack, and Marvin Heemeyer. You see, In the 'Special Housing Unit,' which is Bureau of Prisons codespeak for 'solitary confinement' and 'torture,' I had enough time to think about the current state of federal government. "
Raystonn (1463901) writes "Toshiba has announced the integration of Bitcoin support in their touch-screen point-of-sale platform, VisualTouch, used by over 6,000 merchants. The merchants will now be able to accept Bitcoin payments at the register from anyone with a smartphone or any other QR code reader. Acceptance of Bitcoin as a payment method frees merchants from worries of fraudulent chargebacks, as Bitcoin payments are non-reversible just like cash, while allowing settlement deposits in any of 9 currencies, including USD and Bitcoin."