Nicolas Mendoza (@NicolasMendo) follows up to his May 2012 article in Al Jazeera with the more recent developments. Excerpts:
“What we have here is radically different from the current system where money creation is based on debt, politically motivated, surrounded by secrecy, inflationary, unilateralist, colonialist, and exploitative of powerless nations, etc. The flaws in the design of modern currency are at the roots of the social and ecological disasters we face today.”
“An economy built on debt-based currency can only “grow”, the 2008 economic collapse showed us, by putting more people deeper into debt. Inevitably, this leads to a society where the many always owe more and more to the few, eventually making democracy a farce. Bankers, as Robert Fisk puts it, are the dictators of the West.”
“The P2P money creation system that Bitcoin proposes is truly something else as it deflates the dark power of debt-based money in society; it allows envisioning a world where the wheels of debt are no longer at the origin of economic activity.”
There is a developing situation in which a bug in the Bitcoin client software is causing a blockchain fork. Those using Bitcoin-Qt v0.8 should not trust the transactions as being non-reversible even if the client shows the transaction having received six or more confirmations.
This latest on the situation may be monitored on the #bitcoin-dev IRC channel.
[The tl:dr on the bug … the v0.8 client software allows a larger transaction that the previous releases did not. As a result v0.7 clients aren’t accepting those blocks.]
[Upate: The original post on the BitcoinNews will include any updates.]
Audio: Erik Voorhees on the Peter Schiff Show
The interview gives a general overview of Bitcoin, from a libertarian perspective, and concludes with Q&A with calls from the show’s listeners.
Runtime: 31 minutes.
Forbes contributor and Bitcoin Foundation board member Jon Matonis (@JonMatonis) writes an update on BitcoinFund (from Malta), the first Bitcoin Hedge Fund. Excerpts:
“Institutional investors and hedge fund managers have secretly sought a regulated investment vehicle for bitcoin placements. Malta-based Exante Ltd. has the solution with their new Bitcoin Fund.”
“Authorized and regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority, Exante offers the Bitcoin Fund with an initial minimum subscription of $100,000 and a 0.5% upfront subscription fee.”
“U.S. persons and U.S. institutions will not be able to access the fund directly.”
“The fund charges an annual management fee o.5% of Net Share Value payable monthly in order to provide the sophisticated security and wallet management that one would expect with such large amounts at stake.”
“Using Shamir’s Secret Sharing algorithm, the container password is then split into three parts utilizing a 2-of-3 secret sharing model.”
“Exante intends to provide a two-way secondary market for the trading of fund shares [which will] provide shorting opportunities without having to own the underlying asset.”
Mt. Gox today notified its customers via e-mail that the Mt. Gox redeemable codes used for transferring U.S. dollars (USD) and Canadian dollar (CAD) funds will no longer be issued beginning April 10th, 2013.
The message reads:
Generation of USD and CAD redeemable codes will not be possible due to legal issues.
The codes, sometimes alternatively referred to as vouchers or coupons, enable account-to-account (A2A) transfers between Mt. Gox customers. The codes have been popular for those trading over-the-counter as a method for exchanging between other payment systems such as Dwolla to or from a Mt. Gox exchange account.
For instance, after selling bitcoins on Mt. Gox a trader Bob might be looking to receive $100 of Dwolla funds quickly so that he can make a purchase where only Dwolla is accepted for payment. Alice has funds in her Dwolla account and is looking to transfer those funds into Mt. Gox for immediate credit. So Bob and Alice agree to trade. Alice sends $100 to Bob using Dwolla, Bob creates a $100 Mt. Gox redeemable code and sends that securely to Alice. Then Alice redeems that code into her Mt. Gox exchange account. When that happens, Dwolla only knows of a $100 transfer from Alice to Bob. Mt. Gox only knows of a $100 transfer from Bob’s account to Alice’s account.
Because the codes are pseudonymous, they function as a bearer instrument. In the example above, rather than redeeming Bob’s voucher code herself Alice could have later traded that redeemable code with any other party or the code could change hands multiple times even before being redeemed.
This may explain why “legal issues” were cited. When Seattle-based Coinlab transitions Mt. Gox’s customers from the U.S. and Canada next month, these redeemable codes would likely be considered as forms of “prepaid access” (formerly known as “stored value” instruments). In the U.S. an issuer of prepaid access is required to be licensed as a money transmitter — something Mt. Gox has not done and discontinuing this product means they likely won’t be applying for that status.
Mt. Gox isn’t the only organization to get caught up with these restrictions. Last week the State of Illinois issued a cease and desist order to payments provider Square for their prepaid access product (digital gift cards) which differ very little from Mt. Gox’s redeemable codes.
Mt. Gox will continue to offer redeemable codes for bitcoins (BTC) as well as for another dozen fiat currencies that the exchange offers for its customers funds (e.g., EUR, GBP, JPY, HKD, NZY and more).
Some merchants, such as Cinfu hosting, had been accepting the MTGUSD redeemable code as a payment method alongside other digital currency payment methods. These merchants could simply switch to another currency that is still supported (e.g., MTGEUR) however Mt. Gox’s U.S. and Canadian customers will likely be unable to hold wallets for any foreign currency.
Some exchanges, including Bitcoin-24.com and WeExchange.co, currently accept MTGUSD redeemable codes as a funding method. Other exchanges that previously used these tools no longer do. Exchange intermediary BitInstant, for example, now transfers funds directly to a specific Mt. Gox account rather than delivering a redeemable code to its cash-paying customers.
There are other issuers of USD redeemable codes, such as AurumXChange’s VouchX vouchers but no other issuers have taken any steps towards dropping support for the redeemable codes.
Mt. Gox had never shared publicly how much transaction volume occurred through these redeemable codes so the impact of them being discontinued is unknown. Perhaps the over-the-counter traders will be the only ones to notice.
I am excited about Bitcoin. It’s exciting to watch a global digital currency get traction.
The primary advantages of Bitcoin are:
- Speed and price. You can transfer money anywhere in the…
[Original: http://adamdraper.com/post/44563343164 ]
Video: Bitcoin Symposium at NH Liberty Forum
A discussion on Bitcoin at the 2013 New Hampshire LIberty Forum, an annual gathering of voluntaryists and Libertarians, included panelists Erik Voorhees (@ErikVoorhees), Roger Ver (@RogerKVer) and Charlie Shrem (@CharlieShrem). There are 8-separate videos with each under 10 minutes in length:
It was at that forum that Jeffrey Tucker (@JeffreyATucker), publisher and executive editor of Laissez-Faire Books, used for the first time the Bitcoin ATM. He later featured that ATM in his post Top Alternatives to Paper Money.
Guardian - Remittances Around The World
The photo above accompanies a Guardian article featuring an interactive map that shows the remittance flows for the particular nation selected.
The ability to explore the map on a nation-by-nation basis (as shown above for Peru) is available only after clicking the “Leave Tour” button from the application.
Bitcoin, as a decentralized digital currency with no authorative source is beginning to gain some traction as a remittance payment method. Bitcoins are becoming fairly easy to acquire inexpensively in many areas (e.g., U.S., UK, Canada, and Europe) which correspond to areas where much of the remittance flows originate.
Since most remittance recipients use the funds for paying expenses and shopping, bitcoins aren’t (yet) quite useful to them and there are still just few methods to cash out bitcoins with a local exchanger. These methods are improving with independent exchange agents listed on LocalBitcoins.com now providing cash-out service in over 700 cities worldwide and the upcoming launch of BitcoinWireless which will let bitcoins be used to pay for mobiile phone service in more than 100 countries.
Bitcoin may have an even bigger impact for those who currently send remittances by enabling investment capital to flow quickly and cheaply to where the opportunities lie. If there is more work near a worker’s home then there is less need for that worker to live away from the family in order to provide for them. Knowledge workers are already the first to be able to work for a foreign employer without having to live abroad. And since bitcoin payments have no concept of borders, the employer can sent bitcoins to the employee at a lesser cost to both employer and employee. Increasingly these knowledge workers with foreign employers are requesting that their compensation be paid in bitcoins, and employers are increasingly willing to oblige.
A significant new release of the Bitcoin-Qt and Bitcoind clients from Bitcoin.org, v0.8.0, is now available for download.
This v0.8 release includes a number of new features, performance improvements and bug fixes and is the first major feature release since the v0.7 release about five months ago. This release was designed to improve performance and to handle the increasing volume of transactions on the network.
A subset of the improvements, features and fixes includes:
With a huge increase in the amount of transaction activity the Bitcoin network is receiving, previous versions of the Bitcoin.org client had been taking an unacceptable amount of time to synchronize the blockchain. This release will reduce the amount of time to reach the synced status to a level that should be acceptable for those with even the least capable computing hardware.
The first time v0.8 is ran the program will migrate the blockchain data and reindex, a process that can take several hours on lower end computing hardware. Proper shutdown from a previous version before installing this release is required.
While it is recommended to back up the wallet.dat before performing this upgrade, the update will not overwrite an existing wallet or blockchain database.
When performing a new installation (versus upgrading from a previous release), a file called bootstrap.dat may obtained as a torrent and placed in the Bitcoin data directory to speed the installation process.
Alternatives to the Bitcoin.org client, now featured on the Bitcoin.org Clients page, have seen updates recently as well:
A review of various wallet options was recently updated by Bitcoin Magazine and is a good resource when choosing a wallet.
I was on NPR’s Morning Edition this AM talking with Cyrus Farivar about the legality of gambling using bitcoin. What I find telling is that the casino operators, who are making a tidy profit, are keeping everything in bitcoin and at no point converting to dollars or other currency.