Growing number of Venezuelans trade bolivars for bitcoins to buy necessities | World news | The Guardian

Bitcoin users still represent a tiny minority, but some believe that the currency will become more popular in Venezuela as economic uncertainty escalates

Fuente: Growing number of Venezuelans trade bolivars for bitcoins to buy necessities | World news | The Guardian

The most important thing about Coinbase’s mega-round isn’t how much it raised. It’s who invested | PandoDaily

The most important thing about Coinbase’s mega-round isn’t how much it raised. It’s who invested | PandoDaily.

Bitcoin accepted here

The big news in the bitcoin world today is that Coinbase has raised another mega-round of funding. But it’s not the dollar figure – $75 million – or the reported valuation – approximately $490 million – that are the most significant developments here for the company (or the industry). Where Coinbase really moved the needle is in adding the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to its list of investors, as well as several large banks and former financial services executives.

Coinbase has been on a roll of late, growing its consumer wallet accounts from 600,000 to 2.1 million in 2014, and seeing its merchant adoption swell to 38,000 users including household names like Dell, Overstock, and Expedia, not to mention integrating with payments giants PayPal (via Braintree) and Stripe. But with the bitcoin ecosystem continuing to face the glare of global regulatory uncertainty and with prominent platforms like Mt. Gox and more recently BitStamp suffering costly security breaches, the knowledge sharing and credibility boost coming out of this investor syndicate should go a long way toward easing many lingering doubts.

In addition to the NYSE, Coinbase added strategic investors including US military financial services firm USAA, Spanish banking giant BBVA, former Citigroup CEO Vikram S. Pandit, and former Thompson Reuters CEO Thomas H. Glocer. This round marks one of if not the first investment by the mainstream financial community into a bitcoin company. (The round was led by DFJ Growth and also included Japanese telecom DoCoMo and existing venture investors Andreessen Horowitz*, Union Square Ventures, and Ribbit Capital.)

Looking toward the future, it’s possible that stock exchanges could one day sell shares of stock using colored coins, aka a Blockchain-based system for managing distributed assets. It’s even possible, although not necessarily likely, that shareholder dividends could be paid in digital or crypto-currency (bitcoin or another altcoin), rather than via fiat currency. Looking to the banking sector, one of the most promising applications of Blockchain technology has always been its ability to facilitate ultra-low fee payment transactions, international remittance, and money transfers. For multi-national banks looking to serve consumers and businesses around the world, Bitcoin (and competitor platforms like Ripple and Stellar) should hold massive appeal.

BBVA Ventures executive director Jay Reinemann confirmed as much in a statement today, saying, “At its core, Bitcoin is a decentralized protocol that enables exchange of value among parties around the world, giving it the potential to alter the financial services landscape.”

Given the NYSE’s preference for human-powered trading systems – a fact that’s served it well in the wake of Facebook’s NASDAQ IPO clusterfuck – it’s unlikely that the granddaddy of exchanges would be the first to adopt such technologically progressive ideas. Indeed, NASDAQ is widely believed within the industry to be working on several of its own blockchain-related projects (although it has never confirmed as much publicly), and may get there first. But the newly formed relationship between Coinbase and the NYSE bodes well for Wall Street’s eventual adoption of Bitcoin and the Blockchain in some form or fashion.

“With this investment, we are tapping into a new asset class by teaming up with a leading platform that is bringing transparency, security and confidence to an important growth market,” NYSE President Tom Farley said in a statement today. “We look forward to supporting Coinbase’s growth utilizing our global distribution capabilities and market expertise.”

Not everyone in the bitcoin community is happy about today’s news. Many are holding on to the hard-line, anti-establishment ideology on which bitcoin was founded and thus see Big Finance’s involvement as a step in the wrong direction. But with Bitcoin looking to move from a niche to mainstream technology, having access to decades of relevant experience, not to mention friends in high places, is very much a positive development.

Others have reacted to the news by asking why the bitcoin price has not reacted more positively. The answer is likely a mix of the fact that this round, which officially closed in December, and other prominent funding rounds are widely anticipated – at least in the abstract, if not in detail – and are effectively priced into current market prices. Additionally, there remains significant downward pressure on bitcoin prices, including the deflationary effects of some 3,600 new bitcoins (worth $767,000 at current prices) entering circulation daily, increasing adoption by merchants who instantly convert all incoming bitcoin to fiat currency thus creating sell-side pressure, the declining profitability of mining, and negative news events like the BitStamp hack and Silk Road trial. So while Coinbase’s funding is a major positive signal, it’s not altogether surprising that it hasn’t been enough to send prices “to the moon.

Marc Andreessen*, who is among bitcoin’s most avid VC supporters, is one of many prominent voices dismissing the significance of bitcoin’s price fluctuations. In a tweetstorm on the state of bitcoin to begin the year, he wrote that price volatility was part of the system design and necessary for its early growth.

In the near-term, the major result of today’s news is that Coinbase will have more cash with which to build out its platform, drive consumer and merchant adoption, and further expand into international markets. But looking ahead, today’s investment round could mark the moment when bitcoin went from rebellious financial industry outsider to a member of the in-crowd. We don’t yet know what that will mean for integration and adoption, but the possibilities have never looked so bright.

As the most heavily funded and now most well-connected bitcoin company, Coinbase has only strengthened its hold on the pole position to lead Wall Street into the Blockchain era.

[*Disclosure: Andreessen Horowitz partners Marc Andreessen, Jeff Jordan, and Chris Dixon are personal investors in PandoDaily.]

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Bitcoin could pose threat to financial stability of UK, warns Bank of England | Technology |

Bitcoin could pose threat to financial stability of UK, warns Bank of England | Technology |

Factors such as inherent volatility means digital currency unlikely to win over enough users to supplant existing banking system




Bitcoin, which is the best known digital currency, has come to prominence in recent months after a string of mishaps and scandals. Photograph: Siegfried Layda/Getty Images


Bitcoin could pose a threat to financial stability in the UK should the digital currency’s popularity take off, according to a series of reports by the Bank of England.

But restrictions on the number of coins in circulation, its inherent volatility and the prospect of higher transaction costs means it is unlikely to win over enough users to supplant the existing banking system, the central bank says.

The Bank argues the current centralised banking system, which stores and protects customer funds, will continue to dominate retail and business transactions “over any foreseeable horizon” under the current design of digital currencies.

Bitcoin, which is the best known of several digital currencies in circulation, has come to prominence in recent months after a string of mishaps and scandals. The collapse earlier this year of the largest bitcoin exchange, MtGox, which accounted for around 80% of global trading volume at its peak, left many customers out of pocket.

But it remains popular in the US and China, which account for around two-thirds of transactions combined, and is often championed as a replacement for existing payments systems in emerging economies.

Europe is also seen as market ripe for change. On Wednesday the US bitcoin service firm Coinbase, which has raised $31m in venture capital, said it plans to launch a consumer service across a large part of the eurozone .

The company said it had found a way to link a bitcoin “wallet” service to the euro payments system, making it possible for users to send money to and from their bitcoin account. The service covers 13 of the 18 eurozone countries.

Why you should care about Bitcoin: digital currency is here to stay | Money |

Why you should care about Bitcoin: digital currency is here to stay | Money |

Like a still obscure version of online dollars, bitcoins – or something like them – are here to stay and redefining money



bitcoin digital currency
A conference in New York tried to suss out what Bitcoin means … or at least what their placards mean. Photograph: Lucas Jackson/Reuters


No, you can’t open a Bitcoin bank account at JP Morgan Chase just yet.

And you certainly can’t pay your IRS tax bill in bitcoins: the taxman views the fledgling cyber-currency as an asset, not a means of exchange.

We can’t hold it in our hands, use it to fill up our cars with gas, or do much but grab the occasional sushi dinner in places like San Francisco, or shop online at the handful of merchants that accept bitcoins.

So is there anything at all that ordinary consumers can learn from the ongoing hullabaloo surrounding Bitcoin, the digital currency catapulted into the spotlight over the last year?

MWC 2014: Jon Matonis: “El bitcoin sobrevivirá” | Tecnología | EL PAÍS

MWC 2014: Jon Matonis: “El bitcoin sobrevivirá” | Tecnología | EL PAÍS.

Jon Matonis, director de la Fundación Bitcoin. / GIANLUCA BATTISTA

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Jon Matonis (Filadelfia, 1961) se ha pasado al otro lado. Antes trabajaba para Visa. Ahora dirige la Fundación Bitcoin, la entidad que reúne a la mayoría de operadores que emplean esta moneda virtual. El bitcoin es fuente continua de noticias. La mayoría son negativas: desde la detención de su vicepresidente, Charlie Shrem, al cierre de Mt. Gox, que dejó atrapados a miles de inversores en una suerte de corralito. O inexplicables: en un año subió la cotización de 12 a 1.000 euros y ahora cae a 300. La misión de Matonis, economista e ingeniero informático por la Universidad de Maryland, es prestigiar la moneda y convencer a las autoridades de su validez. Los bitcoin,que han cumplido cinco años, se tomen en serio o no, tienen hoy un valor de 7.000 millones de dólares, la mitad que el pasado mes de diciembre. Además, cada día se realizan 58.000 transacciones con esta moneda (en diciembre la media fue de 102.000). Maconis participa en el Mobile World Congress.

Bitcoin exchange MtGox offline amid rumours of theft | Technology |

Bitcoin exchange MtGox offline amid rumours of theft | Technology |

URL of the Tokyo-based site returns a blank page amid reports that more than 750,000 bitcoins are missing from the exchange

Inside Bitcoins conference in Berlin
Attendees of the Inside Bitcoins conference in Berlin examine bitcoin buttons. The website of major bitcoin exchange MtGox is offline amid reports it suffered a debilitating theft of the virtual currency. Photograph: Frank Jordans/AP

MtGox, once the largest bitcoin exchange in the world, has disappeared from the internet with many millions of dollars of customer deposits, leaving only a short statement by way of explanation.

Addressed to “MtGox Customers”, the statement reads, in full, “In the event of recent news reports and the potential repercussions on MtGox’s operations and the market, a decision was taken to close all transactions for the time being in order to protect the site and our users. We will be closely monitoring the situation and will react accordingly.”

The Coinbase Blog — Joint Statement Regarding MtGox

The Coinbase Blog — Joint Statement Regarding MtGox.

Feb 24th, 2014

The purpose of this document is to summarize a joint statement to the Bitcoin community regarding Mt.Gox.

This tragic violation of the trust of users of Mt.Gox was the result of one company’s actions and does not reflect the resilience or value of bitcoin and the digital currency industry. There are hundreds of trustworthy and responsible companies involved in bitcoin. These companies will continue to build the future of money by making bitcoin more secure and easy to use for consumers and merchants.  As with any new industry, there are certain bad actors that need to be weeded out, and that is what we are seeing today.  Mtgox has confirmed its issues in private discussions with other members of the bitcoin community

We are confident, however, that strong Bitcoin companies, led by highly competent teams and backed by credible investors, will continue to thrive, and to fulfill the promise that bitcoin offers as the future of payment in the Internet age.

Días complicados para ‘bitcoin’ | Economía | EL PAÍS

Días complicados para ‘bitcoin’ | Economía | EL PAÍS.

‘Bitcoins’ acuñados por Mike Caldwell, un entusiasta de esta moneda virtual en Sandy (Utah), y fotografiados el 31 de enero. / JIM URQUHART (REUTERS)

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Un conocido inversor de Silicon Valley y un prestigioso bloguero de las finanzas se han enzarzado en una particular apuesta que recorre blogs y foros de los apasionados del bitcoin, moneda electrónica que no ha hecho otra cosa que generar debate desde su nacimiento en 2009. Ben Horowitz, que invirtió en plataformas como Facebook y Twitter cuando estas estaban naciendo, y Felix Salmon, conocido bloguero financiero de Reuters, se han jugado un par de calcetines de alpaca en torno al futuro de esta moneda cifrada y no regulada que se genera en Internet y que permite realizar pagos instantáneos en cualquier parte del mundo. Si dentro de cinco años un 10% de los norteamericanos han comprado algo con bitcoins, Horowitz habrá ganado. De lo contrario, lo habrá hecho Salmon.

Lo de los calcetines de alpaca obedece a que una firma que los vende en Estados Unidos fue la primera en aceptar esta criptomoneda (moneda codificada) como medio de pago en su web.

Bitcoin me: How to make your own digital currency | Technology |

Bitcoin me: How to make your own digital currency | Technology |

Move over Dogecoin: the Herncoin is here. But what can making your own currency teach you about the world of bitcoin?



A physical bitcoin.
A physical bitcoin. Photograph: Alamy


Bitcoin may have become a thing of fascination for the media very recently, but the digital currency actually celebrated its fifth birthday this month as its value hovered at around $1,000 per coin.


Bitcoin was never intended to be the one cryptocurrency to rule them all, because anyone can make their own version of it. The code which underpins the currency is released under what’s known as an open-source licence. Anyone can use it themselves, and alter any aspect they want, in order to create a whole new currency.


A whole class of alternative crypto-currencies, based on the fundamental aspects of bitcoin, have been created over the past couple of years. The first and biggest of the “altcoins”, called Litecoin, was created in 2011 to address some perceived flaws in the Bitcoin protocol.


Litecoin is much harder to build specialised “mining” machines for, which, according to its founders, prevents it from being dominated by a few rich miners. Additionally, it clears payments faster and has a much higher cap of 84m coins.


Since November 2011, Litecoin has tracked the value of Bitcoin fairly closely, but in December last year it spiked in value. Overnight, a Litecoin was worth 10 times what it had been before, and its total market cap now stands at $623m, around 16% of that of its parent.

Londres acoge la primera feria del bitcoin | Tecnología | EL PAÍS

Londres acoge la primera feria del bitcoin | Tecnología | EL PAÍS.

El fin de semana se celebró en Londres, la Bitcoin Expo. En un ambiente de entusiasmo, provocado en parte por la subida de la cotización del bitcoin, se mostraron de los múltiples desarrollos alreddeor de la moneda virtual que cotiza por encima de los mil dólares. Allí se hablaba de tecnología, de proyectos financieros, de legislación, de criptomonedas alternativas, de software libre, y de las repercusiones políticos y sociales de la emergencia del bitcoin.

Butterfly Labs y la empresa sueca KnCMiner presentaron sus últimas novedades para minar bitcoins. Se hicieron demostraciones del nuevo yultraseguro monedero Trezor, que tiene aspecto de pendrive y permite guardar las claves secretas de las cuentas bitcoin sin que entren en contacto con ningún ordenador. También fueron presentados prototipos de lectores de pago que permiten efectuar compras simplemente acercando el móvil.

También había bastantes novedades en los servicios asociados a bitcoin. Eric Benz presentó la compañía ZipZap, que proyecta entrar en el negocio de transmisión de fondos utilizando bitcoin como moneda de base. La compañía alemana Bitalo ofrecía un nuevo servicio de monederos online con multifirma, lo cual garantiza un nivel de seguridad desconocido hasta ahora.

El representante de, la página web más importante de información sobre la cadenas de bloques (que almacena las transacciones bitcoin), informó que sólo en la última semana se habían creado 100.000 nuevos monederos electrónicos. Ello da una idea de la fuerte expansión de la moneda virtual. El orador Vinay Gupta, buen conocedor de los problemas que tuvo e-gold con el gobierno norteamericano, advirtió de los riesgos que provienen de los reguladores y competidores. Se insistió en las posibilidades de bitcoin para financiar proyectos directamente, sin tener que pasar por ningún intermediario alguno, como sucede con los mercados de valores.

Pero el bitcoin no está solo. En la feria se habló mucho de las nuevas criptodivisas cada vez más populares y cuya cotización ha explotado literalmente en las dos últimas semanas, al calor del bitcoin. Todas ofrecen sus singularidades que pueden ser más o menos atractivas, pero de momento ninguna parece poder hacer sombra al bitcoin (BTC). Las principales son Litecoin (LTC) que es muy similar al bitcoin salvo que tiene un algoritmo de validación diferente y validaciones 4 veces más rápidas, y PeerCoin (PPC), con un original mecanismo de validación que remplaza en parte la POF (Proof Of Work) por POS(Proof Of Stake) lo cual permite que el mecanismo de validación consuma menos recursos y energía y sea en cierta manera más ecológico.

Moneda virtual bitcoin quiere dejar de ser la divisa del crimen – BioBioChile

Moneda virtual bitcoin quiere dejar de ser la divisa del crimen – BioBioChile.


Publicado por Denisse Charpentier | La Información es de Agencia AFP

Los impulsores del bitcoin desean que esta moneda virtual deje de asociarse al dinero del crimen organizado, a pesar de que ha estado en el centro de casos de blanqueo de dinero o de tráfico de drogas.

El “bitcoin no es un velo mágico para realizar transacciones ilícitas”, aseguró Patrick Murck, representante de la Fundación Bitcoin, encargada de promover esta moneda, durante una comparecencia el lunes ante el Senado dedicada a los riesgos y promesas de las divisas virtuales.

Creado en 2009, el bitcoin puede ser cambiado en línea en servidores conocidos como “minoristas de bitcoins” por dinero real o utilizado para comprar bienes y servicios en Internet. Pero, no está regulado por ningún gobierno.

Esta moneda virtual, poco conocida por el público, acaparó las noticias hace poco cuando el FBI anunció el cierre de Silk Roak, un sitio clandestino en el que se podía comprar o vender droga con bitcoins. La policía federal estadounidense incautó entonces 26.000 bitcoins equivalentes a unos 3,6 millones de dólares en ese momento.

El bitcoin se acerca a los 1.000 dólares y luego cae a los 500 | Tecnología | EL PAÍS

El bitcoin se acerca a los 1.000 dólares y luego cae a los 500 | Tecnología | EL PAÍS.

Mientras un Comité del Senado de Estados Unidos escuchaba a expertos financieros hablar y responder a preguntas sobre una moneda virtual llamada bitcoin, su valor subía y subía y subía. A medianoche sobrepasaba los 900 dólares en Mt Gox, cuando el mes pasado cotizaba a 200 y, en enero, a menos de 20 dólares. Doce horas después, caía a los 500 dólares.

La moneda virtual, sin amos, bancos centrales o gobiernos detrás para devaluar o especular con la moneda, sube su valor pese a escándalos que le rodean o el desprecio de los analistas financieros más tradicionales. Cada día, el bitcoin es asumido por más gente y por más empresas que lo ven como su moneda transaccional en el comercio electrónico, pero también en el físico, como recientemente ha demostrado un café canadiense con la instalación del primer cajero de bitcoins.

A principios de mes, el consejero delegado de eBay, John Donahoe, dejó caer que su sitio de compra venta de objetos podría en el futuro admitir el bitcoin como moneda de cambio; también el máximo responsable de Paypal, David Marcus, mostró su interés por esta moneda virtual.

Bitcoin es una moneda virtual, cifrada y de circulación P2P desarrollada colectivamente a través de una plataforma open source. Constituye una de las primeras implantaciones del concepto de criptomoneda. Iniciado en 2009 por el enigmático Satoshi Nakamoto, el objetivo del proyecto es crear un sistema monetario descentralizado y seguro, independiente de gobiernos, bancos o empresas de procesamiento de pagos.

FBI struggles to seize 600,000 Bitcoins from alleged Silk Road founder | Technology |

FBI struggles to seize 600,000 Bitcoins from alleged Silk Road founder | Technology |

Having seized 26,000 Bitcoins belonging to site users, authorities battle to control Ross Ulbricht’s personal wallet

This artist rendering shows Ross William Ulbricht appearing in Federal Court in San Francisco on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013.
This artist rendering shows alleged Silk Road mastermind Ross Ulbricht appearing in federal court in San Francisco on 4 October. Photograph: Vicki Behringer/AP

The FBI has found that seizing an anonymous decentralised peer-to-peer currency was trickier than it seemed, following the Bureau’s bust of the international drugs marketplace, Silk Road.

When Ross Ulbricht, known as Dread Pirate Roberts to users of the site, was arrested last week, the FBI seized 26,000 Bitcoins belonging to Silk Road customers. But it also attempted, unsuccessfully, to claim the nearly 600,000 – thought to be worth around $80m – which Ulbricht himself is thought to be holding.

Bitcoin is a digital currency based on a methods of cryptography similar to those used to protect confidential emails. Due to its decentralised nature – the currency does not rely on any centralised agency to process payments, instead relying on work done by users’ computers – it is popular for a number of fringe-legal and illegal uses. One of those uses was Silk Road, where Bitcoin was required for all transactions.

Die Goldgräber des digitalen Zeitalters | WOZ Die Wochenzeitung

Die Goldgräber des digitalen Zeitalters | WOZ Die Wochenzeitung.

Seit 2009 kursiert eine virtuelle Währung im Netz: Bitcoin. Was als Angriff anarchistischer Hacker auf die Banken und den Staat begann, ist inzwischen zum Eldorado für SpekulantInnen und zum Tummelplatz rechtslibertärer Tea-Party-AnhängerInnen geworden. Eine Begegnung mit einem Schweizer Goldgräber.

Von Yves Wegelin (Text) und Andreas Bodmer (Foto)

Die Geldmine im Zürcher Wohnzimmer: Raphael Voellmys Bitcoinrechner heizt auch gleich noch die gute Stube.

Raphael Voellmy ist Minengräber. Der 24-Jährige mit dem smarten Gesicht sitzt im T-Shirt, in Jeans und Turnschuhen in einem Café an der Zürcher Bahnhofstrasse. Seit er Anfang 2012 mit dem Graben begonnen habe, sagt Voellmy, habe er 32 000 US-Dollar auf die Seite gelegt. Allerdings verwahrt er das Geld in Bitcoins in einem virtuellen Geldbeutel auf seinem PC.

Das Gerät, mit dem er begonnen hat, Bitcoins zu schürfen, steht in seinem Wohnzimmer zu Hause: ein PC mit zwei externen Grafikkarten, die so heiss laufen, dass er sie mit zwei Wasserkörpern, die hinter dem Sofa stehen, kühlen muss. «Das Gerät», sagt der Informatikstudent verschmitzt, «hat mir die letzten beiden Winter gleichzeitig die Wohnung geheizt.» Das Schürfen geht so: Alle zehn Minuten gibt es im Netz ein hochkomplexes mathematisches Rätsel zu lösen. Voellmys Computer ist an einen Pool verbündeter Rechner angeschlossen, der das Rätsel zu lösen versucht – neben unzähligen anderen weltweit. Der Pool, der das Rätsel als Erster löst, erhält 25 Bitcoins, gut 3000 Dollar, die untereinander aufgeteilt werden.

La red antisocial de los bitcoins

escribe un Premio Nobel de Economía:

A algunas personas sencillamente les molesta la idea de que el dinero sea algo humano

Puede que el desbocamiento del bitcoin no haya sido la noticia económica más importante de las últimas semanas, pero fue sin duda la más entretenida. A lo largo de menos de dos semanas el precio de la “moneda digital” se triplicó con creces. Luego cayó más de un 50% en pocas horas. De repente, parecía como si hubiésemos vuelto a la época de las puntocom.