China orders bitcoin exchanges to shut down

Bitcoin is created and exchanged without the involvement of banks or governments. Transactions allow anonymity, which has made bitcoin popular with people who want to conceal their activity. Bitcoin can be converted to cash when deposited into accounts at prices set in online trading.

Source: Reports: China orders bitcoin exchanges to shut down – ABC News

Move Over, Bitcoin. Ether Is the Digital Currency of the Moment.

In a recent survey of 1,100 virtual currency users, 94 percent were positive about the state of Ethereum, while only 49 percent were positive about Bitcoin, the industry publication CoinDesk said this month.

Source: Move Over, Bitcoin. Ether Is the Digital Currency of the Moment. – The New York Times

Investors buying Ether are placing a bet that people will want to use the Ethereum network’s computing capabilities and will need the currency to do so. But that is far from a sure thing. And real-world use of the network is still scant.

The SEC just handed Bitcoin a huge setback

The Securities and Exchange Commission has denied the application for the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust ETF, in a stunning defeat for its founders, the Winklevoss Twins. In an order today, the commission found that the proposed fund was too susceptible to fraud, due to the unregulated nature of Bitcoin. The result is a major setback for the fund, and a frustrating false start for the crypto-currency at large.

Source: The SEC just handed Bitcoin a huge setback – The Verge

How China Took Center Stage in Bitcoin’s Civil War

Yet despite the talk of a borderless currency, a handful of Chinese companies have effectively assumed majority control of the Bitcoin network. They have done so through canny investments and vast farms of computer servers dispersed around the country. The American delegation flew to Beijing because that was where much of the Bitcoin power was concentrated.

Source: How China Took Center Stage in Bitcoin’s Civil War – The New York Times

Mr. Ng, 36, said he had become an expert in finding cheap energy, often in places where a coal plant or hydroelectric dam was built to support some industrial project that never happened. The Bitcoin mining machines in his facilities use about 38 megawatts of electricity, he said, enough to power a small city.

Ethereum, a Virtual Currency, Enables Transactions That Rival Bitcoin’s

Beyond the price spike, Ethereum is also attracting attention from giants in finance and technology, like JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft and IBM, which have described it as a sort of Bitcoin 2.0.

Source: Ethereum, a Virtual Currency, Enables Transactions That Rival Bitcoin’s – The New York Times

The system is complicated enough that even people who know it well have trouble describing it in plain English.

Online market ‘is turning drug dealers from goons to geeks’

Researchers argued that Silk Road and its successors, known as cryptomarkets or darknet markets, became successful after bringing together four technologies: the bitcoin virtual currency and encrypted internet protocols such as Tor, which allowed anonymity, as well as Escrow and customer feedback systems, which gave buyers and sellers confidence in their transactions.

Source: Online market ‘is turning drug dealers from goons to geeks’ | World news | The Guardian

“In the drug cryptomarket era, having good customer service and writing skills, and a good reputation, via feedback, as a vendor or buyer may be more important than muscles and face-to-face connections.”

Is Blockchain the most important IT invention of our age?

Like records of land ownership. Creating and maintaining incorruptible registers of land titles is a huge – and mostly unsolved – problem for developing countries. So when the government of Honduras launched an investigation into whether a blockchain-based land registry could solve it, the non-geek world sat up and began to take notice. The unmistakable message was that this technology could be much more useful than merely securing cryptocurrencies. It might actually turn out to be one of the biggest IT inventions of our time.

Source: Is Blockchain the most important IT invention of our age? | John Naughton | Opinion | The Guardian

Nine of world’s biggest banks join to form blockchain partnership

Rutter said the initial focus would be to agree on an underlying architecture, but it had not yet been decided whether that would be underpinned by bitcoin’s blockchain or another one, such as one being built by Ethereum, which offers more features than the original bitcoin technology.

Once that had been agreed on, Rutter said, the first use of the technology might be the issuance of commercial paper on the blockchain.

Source: Nine of world’s biggest banks join to form blockchain partnership | Reuters

It’s Time For a Hard Bitcoin Fork

GHash is in a position to exercise complete control over which transactions appear on the blockchain and which miners reap mining rewards. They could keep 100% of the mining profits to themselves if they so chose. Bitcoin is currently an expensive distributed database under the control of a single entity, albeit one that requires constantly burning energy to maintain — worst of all worlds.

via It’s Time For a Hard Bitcoin Fork :: Hacking, Distributed.

What are colored coins?

What exactly are colored coins? I’ve tried understanding, but I don’t quite get it yet . . . Do any examples exist?

via alternatives – What are colored coins? – Bitcoin Stack Exchange.

Colored coins are a method to track the origin of bitcoins, so that a certain set of coins can be set aside and conserved, allowing a party to acknowledge them in various ways. Such coins can be used to represent arbitrary digital tokens, such as stocks, bonds, smart property and so on.

The colored coins protocol is decentralized just like Bitcoin, but the current effort to develop an implementation is done under the BitcoinX project (tentative name), which also aims to provide some related services.

As this is still under development, you will not find any existing examples.

You can read more about it in Overview of colored coins (work in progress).