Digital gold: why hackers love Bitcoin | Technology | The Guardian

The WannaCry ransomware attackers demanded payment in the cryptocurrency. But its use in the ‘clean’ economy is growing, too, and could revolutionise how we use money

Fuente: Digital gold: why hackers love Bitcoin | Technology | The Guardian

El ciberataque de escala mundial y “dimensión nunca antes vista” que afectó a instituciones y empresas de casi 100 países – El Mostrador

Un ciberataque “de dimensión nunca antes vista” logró este viernes bloquear el acceso a los sistemas informáticos de instituciones estatales y empresas de varios países.La policía europea, Europol, indicó que el ciberataque era de una escala “sin precedentes” y advirtió que una “compleja investigación internacional” era necesaria para “identificar a los culpables”.

Fuente: El ciberataque de escala mundial y “dimensión nunca antes vista” que afectó a instituciones y empresas de casi 100 países – El Mostrador

Blockchain: the answer to life, the universe and everything? | World news | The Guardian

Have you heard the good news? The blockchain is here – and it’s going to save everything.If you aren’t tied to the tech community, you might not have picked up on this salvation rhetoric. But you probably have heard of bitcoin, which burst into the public consciousness before imploding dramatically in 2014.

Fuente: Blockchain: the answer to life, the universe and everything? | 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 raises lots of questions. Satoshi Nakamoto doesn't have the answers | Technology |

Bitcoin raises lots of questions. Satoshi Nakamoto doesn’t have the answers | Technology |

The important answers about the cryptocurrency won’t come from chasing a man in a Prius around LA

• Satoshi Nakamoto denies being bitcoin inventor amid media frenzy

Dorian S. Nakamoto listens during an interview with the Associated Press, Thursday, March 6, 2014 in Los Angeles. Nakamoto, the man that Newsweek claims is the founder of Bitcoin, denies he had anything to do with it and says he had never even heard of the digital currency until his son told him he had been contacted by a reporter three weeks ago. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Dorian S Nakamoto during an interview with the Associated Press, Thursday 6 March in Los Angeles. Photograph: Damian Dovarganes/AP

Whenever you think the bitcoin story can’t get any stranger, it does.

A wretched few months for the currency culminated yesterday in the apparent revelation of the true identity online currency’s creator, followed by strong denials, culminating in a bizarre car chase as a media scrum pursued a 64-year-old man across the streets of California.

It’s only the latest in a string of misfortunes to strike bitcoin – the first of a generation of crypto-currencies: digital coinage not backed by any government or institution.

First the main marketplace for actually spending bitcoins, the Silk Road – essentially an eBay for drugs – is shut down by US authorities. In the following weeks, several similar sites were hacked or shut down.

Then disaster begins to strike bitcoin itself: a string of the largest exchanges (where bitcoin can be converted to real-world currency) are hacked, and several shut down. Some of the survivors face investigation over money laundering. The currency’s value is well down from its highs.

Just as bitcoin was reaching acceptability, attracting investment from major Silicon Valley players, and talk of “legitimate” services, the currency is back in crisis. Lots of fixes are being discussed, but almost never sensibly.

The biggest hurdle facing those trying to rebuild bitcoin is a clear but rarely acknowledged truth: the coalition of bitcoin supporters is fraying. There are multiple visions of what the currency is for, and they’re mutually incompatible – and each calls for something different to happen next.

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.

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.