Total Supply of Tethers Increases By 20% in One Week

The controversy surrounding the correlation between the release of new Tethers (USDT) and dramatic price spikes led by Bitfinex trading continues. 20 million new USDT were released shortly before a single market buy of approximately $13.5 million USD worth of bitcoin was executed on the 8th of November. The sudden spike in buying pressure quickly drove the price of bitcoin from $7075 to $7350 in less than 60 minutes. Since then, an additional 20 million USDT have been released into circulation on the 9th, and another 30 million USDT on the 10th of November.

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Approximately 110 Million USDT Have Been Released Since November 3rd

Many traders are noting an increasing correlation between the release of significant quantities of Tether and sudden movements in the price of bitcoin, with some expressing concerns at the speed with which a large volume of margin trades are executed following the release of new USDT.


Chart showing the release of USDT batches during the recent bitcoin bull run

Notorious Bitfinex critic Bitcrypto’ed has documented the market action that took place immediately following the release of 20 million USDT on the 8th of November. According to data shared by Bitcrypto’ed, $25 million USD worth of margin longs were executed in less than 30 minutes including a single market order estimated to be valued at $13.5 million USD. As a consequence, the price of bitcoin shot from approximately $7075 USD to roughly $7350 in less than one hour.

During 2017, the Number of Tethers in Supply Has Increased by More Than 3400%

The total supply of Tether has risen from less than 15 million in January to over 550 million as of this writing – comprising a more than 3400% increase since the start of the year. To some, this dramatic rise in the number of Tether has appeared significant as Bitfinex, a majority shareholder in Tether, appears to have failed to attain banking services since Taiwanese banks associated with Wells Fargo terminated the processing of wire transfers to the exchange, shortly after which Tether posted the following statement on their website:

“Tether is currently expecting continued delays in processing international wires to and from tether. to users… Since April 18, 2017, all incoming international wires to Tether have been blocked and refused by our Taiwanese banks. As such, we do not expect the supply of tethers to increase substantially until these constraints have been lifted.”

Although Phil Potter of Bitfinex has sought to distance the relationship between the two companies, stating that “Tether is a completely separate entity [from Bitfinex],” he has conceded that Tether “operates through the same money service money operator license that Bitfinex operates under in Hong Kong.” In response to questions regarding Tether’s banking relationships, Mr. Potter of Bitfinex has previously stated that Tether “ha[s] several banks in multiple jurisdictions, our principal banking relationships are in Taiwan.” Notably, however, he has failed to reveal what banking institutions provide services to the company since April, further arousing suspicions.

What do you make of the vast quantities of USDT that have recently been released? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Bitcoin Cash Markets Remain Resilient As the Network’s Upgrade Approaches

It’s been a crazy week for cryptocurrency enthusiasts as the digital asset ecosystem is still reeling over the canceled Segwit2x fork that was expected to take place on the Bitcoin network next week. Over the course of the past few weeks leading up to the planned 2MB Segwit2x hard fork, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) markets have doubled in value after hovering around $300 per BCH for weeks. Now the market has stabilized around the $625 region as the BCH network participants prepare for their own fork that’s just four days away.

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Bitcoin Cash Network and Markets Remain Vigilant After the Canceled BTC Fork Event

Bitcoin Cash Markets Remain Resilient As the Network's Upgrade ApproachesThe Bitcoin Cash network is thriving as the decentralized currency’s value has spiked quite a bit over the past few weeks. At the moment the price per BCH is hovering around $625 as markets currently command roughly $830M worth of daily trade volume. The price of BCH has allowed it to hold the third highest market capitalization at $10.4B just below the ethereum market cap. BCH markets are still seeing lots of trade volume from the South Korean won, as the currency typically captures around 49 percent or more of the daily volumes. The exchange rate stemming from BCH currently makes it the third highest digital asset trade volume within the cryptocurrency landscape. The exchanges trading the most BCH include Bithumb, Hitbtc, Bitfinex, Bittrex, and Korbit.

Bitcoin Cash Markets Remain Resilient As the Network's Upgrade Approaches
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) markets are holding above $600 per token at the time of writing.

Miners Have Started to Signal Intent to Fork the BCH Network

As the currency’s network hard fork approaches, the BCH chain is 8100 blocks ahead of the BTC chain. BCH this week is operating at 8 percent of the current BTC difficulty, and it’s 3.4 percent more profitable to mine BTC. Mining profitability and its fluctuations may change after the BCH network reconfigures the Difficulty-Adjustment-Algorithm (DAA). BCH miners are now signaling their intent to activate the fork and the change is estimated to occur around 2 pm EDT depending on hashrate speed.

Bitcoin Cash Markets Remain Resilient As the Network's Upgrade Approaches

Bitpay Prepares Users for the Bitcoin Cash Consensus Change

Because the fork is drawing closer the Atlanta-based company, Bitpay, has announced to its wallet users its plans for the BCH hard fork. The firm explains that with any blockchain protocol change it must always ensure that customer funds will be safe.

“For the November Bitcoin Cash protocol change, Bitpay and Copay wallets will follow the bitcoin cash chain with the most accumulated difficulty — With current miner signaling, this means that our wallets will be compatible with the new rules activated by the bitcoin cash mining majority,” explains Bitpay.

We don’t currently have any reason to think that this hard fork will be contentious or will result in a blockchain split for bitcoin cash. Users can continue to receive and send bitcoin cash transactions from their wallets up to, during, and after the hard fork protocol change.

Kim Dotcom Asks His Fans Which Cryptocurrency Will Dominate — BTC or BCH?

Also this week the notorious Kim Dotcom started talking about bitcoin cash with his 671,000 followers. Dotcom asks his fans, “By 2021 which of these two is going to carry the larger volume of Internet payments?” With just 11 hours left remaining for the poll bitcoin (BTC) is leading by 64 percent and bitcoin cash (BCH) has 36 percent.

Overall the BCH community seems pleased with the currency’s growing ecosystem and many supporters believe next week’s fork will be smooth. With Segwit2x gone and the rest of the cryptocurrency competition constantly nipping at BTC’s heels many spectators will be focused on bitcoin cash.

What’s your thoughts on bitcoin cash at the moment? Do you think the hard fork approaching will be smooth? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Bitcoin Cash Surges as Businesses Abandon Legacy BTC

Bitcoin cash is enjoying a new lease of life as major figures throw their weight behind the chain. In the wake of the abortive Segwit split, neither bitcoin nor B2x has prospered, with the latter failing to materialize and the former dropping below $6,800 for the first time in 10 days. BCH, meanwhile, hit $866 earlier today.

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All Aboard The BCH Express

As the elation, anger, and acrimony over Segwit2x has started to settle, focus has returned to the seemingly intractable problems of bitcoin scaling and transaction fees. Given the difficulty of attaining consensus for developments of the bitcoin network, many have grown frustrated by the stalemate, with widespread Segwit adoption and Lightning Network implementation still months or years away.

Bitcoin Cash Surges as Businesses Abandon Legacy BTCWith bitcoin currently unsuitable for small transactions due to high fees, various businesses and public figures have expressed their preference for a cryptocurrency more suited to everyday use. For some, this has meant looking to the world of altcoins, where the likes of Litecoin and Dash beckon. For those keen to stick with the bitcoin brand, however, bitcoin cash looks increasingly attractive.

One member of the Openbazaar team tweeted:

Hearing lots of great things about @BitcoinCash $BCH today. Many developers and businesses seem better aligned with the vision now that 2x has failed.

The team running the P2P marketplace have every reason to be extolling the virtues of bitcoin cash, having announced that they’ll be accepting BCH on account of its cheaper fees along with zcash. As businesses have wrestled over what to do with a legacy bitcoin that’s becoming increasingly un-transactable, the BCH team have wasted no time in wooing defectors, stating:

BTC’s utility continues to decline. Watch as businesses adopt BCH.

One public figure who has thrown his weight behind BCH is Pirate Party founder and bitcoin maverick Rick Falkvinge, who declared: “With recent developments, I’m putting all available dev resources to retool my software for #Bitcoin Cash. I suspect I’m far from alone.” He later added: “I’m moving my development effort to Bitcoin Cash, as Bitcoin Legacy now has hit a brick wall and needs to be dropped like a bad habit. I have no real reason to move the coins.”

One Coin to Rule Them All

Bitcoin Cash Surges as Businesses Abandon Legacy BTCThe Bitcoin Cash market has surged over the last 24 hours, with volume exceeding $2.5 billion, 57% of which was trading against the Korean won. Much of the fevered interest in BCH will simply have been market sentiment, fueled by the growing consensus that the legacy bitcoin chain is ill-equipped to handle growing volume. It would be speculative at this stage to suggest that BCH is gearing up for its own version of The Flippening, when Ethereum believers thought their coin might actually overtake bitcoin to become The One True Coin.

Make no mistake though, if BCH’s most ardent supporters have their way, not only will bitcoin cash steal bitcoin’s market cap eventually but it will also steal its name. In the wake of the Segwit2x furore, there were hopes that the in-fighting which had driven a wedge into the bitcoin community would cease and work could resume on infrastructure improvements. Instead, the BTC/BCH debate has been ramped up, with supporters of both chains adamant that theirs is the best bitcoin.

Bitcoin Cash Surges as Businesses Abandon Legacy BTC
Bitcoin cash

Bitcoin legacy’s decentralized nature is both its greatest strength and its greatest weakness. The BCH team is wasting no time in rolling out network upgrades and implementing a clear roadmap. More than 1,500 businesses are already accepting bitcoin cash, a modest figure but one that is rising steadily.

Do you think bitcoin cash will eventually overtake the legacy chain? Let us know in the comments section below.

This Developer is Bringing Atomic Swaps to the Bitcoin Cash Network

Atomic swaps between blockchains have become a hot topic that has sparked a lot of interest due to the decentralized nature of the exchange process. This week a developer that goes by the name of “Deswurstes” or “MCCCS” has accomplished a successful bitcoin cash atomic swap test.

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Introducing Bitcoin Cash to the Atomic Swap Protocol

This Developer is Bringing Atomic Swaps to the Bitcoin Cash NetworkOn November 4, bitcoin cash (BCC) was tested using the Decred/atomic swap protocol by a developer named Deswurstes. The atomic swap Github pull request #37 states, “the first Bitcoin Cash atomic swap has been made! — Proof at the end of this pull request.” Deswurstes says he’s been interested in the scaling debate since mid-2016 and has been a bitcoin fanatic (as a small scale miner/holder, not a developer) since then. The test is one of the developer’s first contributions using the bitcoin cash code, and he plans to design friendlier-looking software to allow users to use it more efficiently.

“Atomic swaps are interesting topics, and there are many alt-to-alt exchanges, but none of them are safe; there’s nothing that prevents the exchange from stealing your money,” Deswurstes explains to news.Bitcoin.com.

When I found atomic swaps, it looked like magic to me. I thought it’d be cool if bitcoin cash had this feature. First I asked its developers if they were going to implement bitcoin cash support, but they were busy. One or two weeks later, I tried and succeeded in coding my atomic swap dream.

‘In the Future, All Altcoin-to-Altcoin Atomic Swaps Will be Instant’

The developer’s first test was a bitcoin cash-to-bitcoin cash atomic swap contract. He tested it like this because it enabled him to debug both initiate and participate commands at the same time, and each time he got closer to the working software. “Currently the software works awesome, however, it doesn’t have dynamic fee support,” Deswurstes explains to news.Bitcoin.com. “The command that makes the node software choose inputs for the transaction (fundrawtransaction) has different syntaxes in different node software.”

Deswurstes says now, people can make trustless bitcoin cash payments, but the process of compiling the software and typing commands in the command prompt is complicated for average users. “When trustless, decentralized exchanges that have order matching come with good UIs, the atomic swap will replace the current exchanges — Especially BCC-BTC will have high volume,” the programmer explains.

In the future, all alt-to-alt atomic swaps will be instant — People will be trading BTC and BCC, which’ll be the highest volume trade, in a few seconds.

This Developer Aims to Bring Atomic Swaps to the Bitcoin Cash Network

Cryptocurrency Exchanges Will Have to Utilize Atomic Swaps, or No One Will Use Them

Deswurstes believes atomic swaps just need a good user interface (UI), and after a nice looking and easy to use UI is implemented there’s nothing that can prevent everyone from using atomic swaps, the developer explains. At the moment Deswurstes notes there are two startups working on friendlier atomic swap UI’s including Barterdex, and Altcoin.io.

“One day, all of the alt-to-alt exchanges will use atomic swaps, because of its safeness and it will be as convenient as the old style trades. There’s no reason for them not to use atomic swaps If they won’t, their users will no longer use them,” Deswurstes concludes.

What do you think about implementing atomic swap processes with bitcoin cash? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


Putin Confirms Russia Will Regulate Cryptocurrencies

Following the meeting with Vladimir Putin, Russian regulators announced that cryptocurrencies will officially be regulated in Russia. The central bank and the finance ministry will now work together to come up with one draft law to provide a basic regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, which is expected by the year’s end.

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Putin Has Spoken

At the meeting on cryptocurrencies between Putin and top Russian regulators on Tuesday, the decision to regulate cryptocurrencies in Russia was reached. “The Russian government has decided to officially regulate the mining and circulation of cryptocurrencies,” RT described and quoted Finance Minister Anton Siluanov announcing on Wednesday that:

We have agreed on the following: the state should regulate the process of issuing cryptocurrencies, the process of mining, the process of circulation…The state should head this situation and regulate it legally.

Putin Confirms Russia Will Regulate Cryptocurrencies
Putin’s meeting on cryptocurrencies.

The meeting was attended by Siluanov, Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina, Central Bank Deputy Governor Olga Skorobogatova, Presidential Aide Andrei Belousov, and Qiwi CEO Sergei Solonin.

In the meeting, Putin acknowledged the risks associated with cryptocurrencies. However, he also stressed that “it is important not to create unnecessary barriers, of course, but rather to provide essential conditions for advancing and upgrading the national financial system.”

Finance Ministry to Work With Central Bank

Currently, cryptocurrencies including bitcoin are not regulated in Russia despite many attempts by various government departments to put forward proposals to regulate them. Both the central bank and the finance ministry have been working separately on a draft law to regulate cryptocurrencies. A draft bill was supposed to be introduced in October but was postponed due to a lack of consensus among the regulators.

Putin Confirms Russia Will Regulate Cryptocurrencies
Finance Minister Anton Siluanov.

The finance ministry proposed to legalize cryptocurrencies but was opposed by the central bank due to “a loss of control over the money flows from abroad.” This week, the ministry proposed to register cryptocurrency miners and to license crypto exchanges.

After the meeting with Putin, however, Siluanov told journalists that the finance ministry and the central bank will now work together to prepare one basic draft law to regulate cryptocurrencies, Tass reported on Wednesday and quoted him saying:

We will prepare the draft law together with the Central Bank…I think we will be able to determine the basic regulatory positions before the end of the year.

“According to him, with regard to regulation, the functions of the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank and Rosfinmonitoring will be delineated,” the publication elaborated.

Possible Restrictions

In addition, Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev indicated on Wednesday that there may be some restrictions. “Russia’s Finance Ministry supports the idea to limit the amount cryptocurrency that can be purchased by individuals,” Tass detailed and quoted him saying:

We said that restrictions are needed on purchases and sales, accounts, miners’ taxation and so on…Yes, there is such an idea, we support it. We should discuss the amounts. We should look at international practice.

This is not the first time Moiseev talked about restricting the purchase and sale of cryptocurrencies in Russia. In August, he proposed listing them on regulated exchanges but banning non-qualified investors from buying and selling them. However, his proposal did not receive a lot of support from other regulators. First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov promptly commented on Moiseev’s suggestion, stating that no legislation had been decided. The finance minister followed up with a suggestion that cryptocurrencies could be made available to anyone in the same way federal loan bonds (OFZ) are.

How do you think Russia will regulate cryptocurrencies? Let us know in the comments section below.

Research Shows Half a Billion People Are Mining Cryptocurrencies Without Knowing It

The company behind the ad blocking program Adguard has analyzed the most popular 100,000 websites for cryptocurrency mining scripts. They found that over 500 million people have been mining cryptocurrencies and “they have no idea it is happening.” Each website running the script earns an estimated $43,000 within the three-week period studied.

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Over Half a Billion People Affected

Adguard, which produces an ad blocking program with the same name, recently analyzed websites for cryptocurrency mining scripts following the news that some of them have been using their users’ browsers to mine cryptocurrencies. The top 100,000 websites as ranked by Alexa were inspected. Co-founder and CTO Andrey Meshkov shared his company’s findings on Thursday.

“We looked for the codes for Coinhive and JSEcoin, the most popular solutions for browser mining in use now,” Meshkov wrote. The analysis revealed that 220 of these websites have been using crypto-mining scripts. The four most targeted countries are the U.S., India, Russia, and Brazil.

Research Shows Over Half a Billion People Are Mining Cryptocurrencies Without Knowing It

Meshkov detailed:

We found 220 sites that launch mining when a user opens their main page, with an aggregated audience of 500 million people. These people live all over the world; there are sites with users from the USA, China, South American and European countries, Russia, India, Iran… and the list goes on.

Replacing Ads with Mining Revenues

Adguard estimated that each website running a crypto-mining script earned about $43,000 within the examined three-week period. While they have not made millions, Meshkov said, “this money has been made in three weeks at almost zero cost.”

Research Shows Over Half a Billion People Are Mining Cryptocurrencies Without Knowing It

Most of the sites using cryptocurrency mining scripts are “pirate TV and video sites, Torrent trackers and porn websites,” he described. Video streaming platforms are ideal for mining, he explained, citing “they boast a huge audience that keeps their site open in their browsers for a long time.” The largest torrent search engine, The Pirate Bay, was recently caught using Coinhive, which was also found to be used on CBS’ Showtime websites. Meshkov suggested:

The ethical way for a website to earn money by mining through its audience’s computers is to ask the audience for permission first, and to allow them the possibility to opt out. Actually, such a practice could make mining even more ethical than ads. After all, nobody asks us if we would like to see ads on a website.

While the Coinhive team has issued a statement asking website operators to ask user permission before using their CPUs to mine cryptocurrencies, Meshkov explained that it is difficult to enforce this recommendation. “For example, they cannot forbid stealth mining,” he said, adding that there are other ways to prevent websites running crypto-mining scripts without users consent. “A popular CDN service called Cloudflare recently started to suspend accounts and deny service to sites that mine without user permission,” he detailed, noting that “a number of ad blockers and antivirus programs also added features that block browser mining.”

Do you think that more popular websites will use browser mining to replace advertising? Let us know in the comments section below.

The Satoshi Revolution: A Revolution of Rising Expectations

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The Satoshi Revolution: A Revolution of Rising Expectations.
Chapter 1: A Revolution of Rising Expectations (part 3).
by Wendy McElroy

A lot of people automatically dismiss e-currency as a lost cause because of all the companies that failed since the 1990’s. I hope it’s obvious it was only the centrally controlled nature of those systems that doomed them. I think this is the first time we’re trying a decentralized, non-trust-based system.
Satoshi Nakamoto

Bitcoin Avoids the Lethal Problems of Earlier Private Currencies

(Caveat: I do not mean to credit Satoshi Nakamoto for all good things within cryptocurrency, as I may seem to be doing. Visionaries came before him and forged new paths. For example, Timothy C. May’s“Crypto Anarchist Manifesto” was published in 1988 and opened with the remarkable sentence, “A specter is haunting the modern world, the specter of crypto anarchy.” The genius of Nakamoto was twofold. He produced an elegant, original technology that rivals the Gutenburg printing press and allows the implementation of economic crypto anarchy; and he saw clearly its broad political, revolutionary significance. As much as anything, Nakamoto is a symbol and an aegis for others who have done or are doing fine work.)

Part of the Satoshi Revolution’s brilliance lies in the fact that it is profoundly political without being ideological. Most people see little difference between the political and the ideological or, if they do make a distinction, they believe ideology is the set of beliefs that determine the specific political positions a person takes. In many cases, they are correct. But not in all cases. Sometimes politics and ideology are distinct.

Bitcoin is political in the same sense as the Gutenberg printing press (1448).
Although his press was not the first one, Johannes Gutenberg (c.1400-1468) pioneered innovations that were almost as creative as those of Nakamoto. For example, he used a durable oil-based ink rather than water-based ones that did not last well. He used a strong alloy to create close to 300 separate type bits that could be quickly assembled into uniform templates; prior printers used fragile wooden bits or carved the letters of each page into a wooden block to be inked. Then Gutenberg. He opened a world of information and ideas to the average person who no longer needed to rely on authorities for ‘truth’. The printing press decentralized knowledge from the hands of authorities to those of the common man, and knowledge is power. This made it not only a technical marvel, but also an agent of social change and revolution.

Those who ruled would have prevented the shift in power by plugging the flood of opinions and ideas, if they could have, because an illiterate, uninformed public is easier to control. A literate, informed public served the goals of populists and reformers who threaten the status quo which is the main reason state censorship existed then and now. Unfortunately for the ruling class, literacy increased and more people judged for themselves which religious and political beliefs resonated inside of them as real.

One example of social upheaval: without Gutenberg’s printing press, the Protestant Reformation is difficult to imagine. When Martin Luther launched the Reformation in 1517 by nailing his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of a German church, the document was rapidly translated from Latin into German, copied and reprinted. Luther, the man, could reach only those within the range of his voice. Luther, the mass-produced author, spread ideas across Europe in months. Within three years, hundreds of thousands of copies of his Theses had been cranked off hundreds of printing presses. The Catholic Church responded by excommunicating Luther and prompting him to flee into hiding. But ideas do not respond to hellfire, nor do they flee.

The Gutenberg printing press was a powerful, political tool which sparked movements and revolutions. But the printing press itself was not ideological because any idea could be assembled in templates and printed en masse for people to read: Catholicism or Protestantism, individualism or socialism, Karl Marx or Ayn Rand. The machine itself was neutral. The printing press had strong ideological implications, it could be argued, because it did empower the individual and the masses. In other words, it was a populist force. But authorities also used the new technology to their own statist advantage. As magnificent as the printing press was, it was a tool to produce good or ill, depending on purpose of the user.

Bitcoin is similar. It empowers the individual which is a profoundly political act. But that empowerment makes everyone freer to choose whatever ideology they wish. Bitcoin itself has no settled ideological slant. That’s why individualist, anarchists and socialists alike can use it as a way to pursue their own goals, whatever those goals may be. Amir Taaki, a developer of the DarkMarket/OpenBazaar and Dark Wallet, is an aggressive left-anarchist. He spent time in Rojava [Syrian Kurdistan] helping to found a People’s Republic through the introduction of Bitcoin. Rojava was “under embargo, so there’s no way to move money in or out,” he explained. “So we have to actually create our own Bitcoin economies. Now we have a technological tool for people to freely organise outside [the] state system. Because it is a currency not controlled by central banks.”

Bitcoin is a mechanism that can achieve a galloping diversity of goals. This is a great strength.

Why?

The answer lies in history and requires a bit of background.

A key difference between the radical, individualist movements of the 19th and 20th centuries is that the earlier one focused intensely on the importance of private money and private banking to achieve personal freedom. The radicals placed a primal emphasis on the right of every individual to create their own currency and to function as their own bank. It was a natural right every bit as important as freedom of speech or freedom of religion.

Some 20th century advocates of private money, such as Rothbard or Hayek, take a similar approach. Rothbard wrote, “Let us first ask ourselves the question: Can money be organized under the freedom principle? Can we have a free market in money as well as in other goods and services? What would be the shape of such a market? And what are the effects of various governmental controls? If we favor the free market in other directions, if we wish to eliminate government invasion of person and property, we have no more important task than to explore the ways and means of a free market in money.” Most modern advocates, however, argue in utilitarian or public policy terms instead of civil liberties.

Their 19th century counterparts were more consistently accurate in placing monetary theory at the core of all freedoms. The pivotal individualist-anarchist Benjamin Tucker believed the right to issue private currency was so important that it could destroy the State all by itself. The money monopoly was the means by which the State sustained itself and robbed the average person not merely of money but also of economic opportunity by controlling credit. Nothing was more important than to destroy the money monopoly.

Two specific events sculpted the approach of individualist anarchists to the banking monopoly and private currency. James J. Martin commented on one of them:

Few instances in American history have created as much curiosity concerning economic and financial matters among amateurs and members of the general citizenry as the panic of 1837.… Banking abuses came under concentrated scrutiny and gave rise to many proposed radical remedies.
The other event was the Civil War in which the North used the Legal Tender Acts and the National Banking Act of 1863 to finance its side of the conflict. Through these measures, Congress guaranteed the notes of authorized bankers and legally protected them from liability for debt. The act also established a national tax of 10 percent for all money not authorized by Congress.

Fresh with a knowledge that private currency not only could work but had been working well for well over a century, the 19th-century radicals responded. They did not merely theorize; they vigorously issued private currency and experimented with new economic models. Their efforts are fascinating to review but they are also cautionary tales as to some pitfalls that private money should avoid.

A major problem for 19th century individualist anarchism in America was the movement’s determination to link private money to the labor theory of value. The theory states that the economic value of a good or service is based upon the amount of labor required to produce it rather than upon what a capitalist wants to charge or what a purchaser is willing to pay. Radical individualists back then generally rejected profit from capital because it constituted value in excess of the labor invested in a good or service. They rejected excess profit in three forms: interest on money, rent, and profit in exchange, all of which were called “usury.” If the main political goal of 19th century radical individuals was the abolition of the State, then their main economic goal was the abolition of the “money monopoly.” By the term “money monopoly,” they referred to three different but interacting forms of monopoly: banking, the charging of interest, and the privileged issuance of currency. In short, unlike Gutenberg’s printing press and Bitcoin, their private monies were grounded in ideology and a badly flawed ideology, to boot. This greatly reduced the social value of their currencies as a tool. For one thing, when the labor theory of value became less popular, the currencies seemed to be discredited.

Josiah Warren provides a real world example of the problem of attaching ideology to money. Warren, who is credited with being the first American anarchist, based his political thought on two concepts, both which were common within the 19th century radical individualist movement. The first was “Sovereignty of the Individual,” which meant every human being was a self-owner with jurisdiction over his or her peaceful actions. The second was “Cost is the Limit of Price” or the labor theory of value.

Warren tested his specific solution to the money monopoly and to the ‘inequity’ of interest through a Time Store from which he issued Labor Notes. In 1827, the business opened with $300 worth of groceries and dry goods that were offered at a 7% mark-up from Warren’s own cost in order to cover expenses such as overhead. This was before groceries were pre-packaged, pre-weighed and it was common for buyers to bargain with the shopkeeper rather than pay a posted price. One of Warren’s innovations was to post prices for goods which drove prices even lower because transactions consumed less of his time. The customer paid in traditional money for the good and, then, compensated Warren for his time through a Labor Note which obliged the customer to provide Warren with an equivalent amount of the buyer’s time. If the buyer were a plumber, for example, the Labor Note committed him to render his services to Warren for “X” units of time in plumbing work. The Labor Notes were circulated and traded. Warren’s goal was to establish an economy in which profit was based solely on the exchange of time and labor.

To some degree, he succeeded. People travelled from a hundred miles away to avail themselves of Warren’s low prices. After a few years, Warren declared the experiment to be a success and closed the store’s doors. Whether the store was a success is questionable, however. And, if it was a success, it was probably due to low prices than to the Notes that came close to being a barter system. Whichever is true, it is difficult to see how this novel currency could have functioned in dense populations where people were not acquainted with each other, or for commerce on a grander scale. And exchangers still had to trust other people.

Some might state the lesson of attaching an ideology to an instrument for political liberation as “get the damned ideology correct this time.” I believe this is the wrong lesson. The point of empowering people is to give them the tools to decide on ideas and life for themselves, not to deliver a predigested message. That’s the lesson of Gutenburg and Bitcoin.

It also a reason to stand hard behind the original vision of Bitcoin, because the power Nakamoto produced can be used well or badly depending on the intentions of the user.

And, now, Satoshi?

To paraphrase George Bernard Shaw, I hear the future knocking on my door. And as I throw it open, I see Satoshi Nakamoto standing at my threshold with a grin on his face, asking to come in. Just as I begin to wave him through, however, Murray Rothbard appears and shoves him aside with the words “Not so fast there, Saschik, I have something to say to her first!” And, if for nothing more than the fact that he infused the modern freedom movement with Austrian economics, my old friend and mentor deserves to take the next step.

[To be continued next week.]

Pakistan Government to Put the Searchlight on Bitcoin Traders Says Local Media

Powerful Pakistan government and media officials appear to be contradicting the domestic population’s embrace of bitcoin.   

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Pakistan Government on the Defensive, Maybe

Karachi, Pakistan’s Dawn, a widely circulated and read periodical and website in English, is rather cosmopolitan. Covering bitcoin, however, its website curation seems to have a decidedly negative slant.

Pakistan Herald Publications Limited is Dawn‘s owner, and its CEO is Hameed Haroon, noted regional journalist and member of a highly influential family in the country.

In one dispatch from Mr. Haroon’s flagship, reprinted all over the world, the headline announced, “FBR goes after bitcoin traders.”

Pakistan Government to Put the Searchlight on Bitcoin Traders Says Local Media
Faisal Khan’s only evidence Pakistan’s government is paying any attention to bitcoin.

FBR is Pakistan’s Federal Bureau of Revenue, its principal collector of tax.

“The top intelligence department,” the piece insisted, “is investigating cases where investors trade digital currencies probably to evade taxes or launder money.”

The sentence-inserted link refers to the site’s own coverage of bitcoin reaching 1000 USD early this year. Not a single reference to FBR nor an investigation.

“A senior tax official said people evade tax and launder money using cryptocurrencies,” the article asserts without a single quote or reference. “They buy bitcoin to launder their tax-evaded money […], adding that they park their black money out of Pakistan in many cases.”

Paraphrases are allowed, of course, but this drove news.Bitcoin.com to search relevant Pakistani government pronouncements on bitcoin specifically, cryptocurrencies generally.

Nothing.

The Dawn piece goes on in this manner, listing a veritable alphabet soup of agencies and investigators and laws employed to hunt bitcoin traders without citing a documented source.

Pakistan Government's and Street's Tensions with Bitcoin
Screen Shot of SBP by Faisal Khan, showing no reference to the bank’s position on bitcoin.

What Blogs and Independent Sites Know

Faisal Khan, financial technology scout for venture capitalists and payments consultant, based in Turkey, blogged his similar bafflement.

After he too read the Dawn piece, he “wanted to explore the basis under which these raids are being conducted and wanted to comment on this further.”

He searched and searched.

Mr. Khan writes, “I’ve searched […], trying to find any circular &/or notification, gazette, SRO, press release, etc. related to Bitcoin &/or Cryptocurrency – but I could not find it.”

His knowledge of Pakistan’s legal history is impressive, and he cites all the documents he examined.Pakistan Government's and Street's Tensions with Bitcoin

“For bitcoin to be considered for money-laundering,” Mr. Khan notes, “it has to be defined into an asset class whereby [bitcoin] has been declared [money] or some form of an asset as per ‘some’ legal definition in some law in Pakistan.”

He concludes, “Right now, the Government of Pakistan in no way recognizes [bitcoin] as legal tender or legal ‘anything.’ It has no legal standing under any law in Pakistan.”

Since the series of articles in Dawn, bitcoin seems to be capturing the attention of Pakistani rupee holders anyway.

Localbitcoins exchange activity in the region as of this writing has risen exponentially, matching a global pattern.

Citing Japan’s approach, long-time Pakistani commodity trader Shahan Rehman urged acceptance “by a country compels people to jump on the bandwagon, increasing its price massively.”

As of now, official government pronouncements are not available to the public.

Are Pakistan’s laws on bitcoin just not available digitally? Is the government on purpose holding back? Tell us in the comments below.

Japan’s FSA Approves Coincheck’s Bitcoin Exchange License

Just recently the Japanese exchange Coincheck announced they have become a fully licensed exchange in Japan after being approved by the country’s Finance Bureau Director.

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Japan’s Financial Services Agency Approves Coincheck’s  Cryptocurrency Trading Platform Registration

Japan's FSA Approves Coincheck's Bitcoin Exchange LicenseOn September 13 the Japanese bitcoin trading platform and payment processor, Coincheck, announced the firm had been approved to be a licensed “virtual currency exchange.” The exchange registration approval follows the provisions of Article 63-3 of the country’s fund settlement law. After bitcoin was legalized as a form of payment on April 1, 2017, all domestic exchanges in Japan must receive authorization from the treasury department and Financial Services Agency (FSA) to operate a virtual currency exchange business.

At the time Coincheck was extremely pleased to see the Japanese statutes pass and said the “newly made law and regulations on bitcoin are going be enormous.” Further, the exchange revealed at the time that all exchange providers must be approved by the FSA.

“In order to make the exchanges more secure, cryptocurrency has been handed over to the authority of the FSA,” explains the Coincheck blog this past June.

All the exchange providers and other companies that deal with virtual currency will need to be registered by the FSA before they can start operation. It will help to make cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan tighter, more secure, have scrupulous control.

Coincheck Expands as Japanese Bitcoin Enthusiasm Continues to Grow

Japan's FSA Approves Coincheck's Bitcoin Exchange LicenseJapan has often captured the number one spot in global bitcoin trade volume. Coincheck handles a lot of bitcoin trade volume as the trading platform swapped 97,502 BTC over the past 24-hours. Further back in May the firm announced the creation of interest-bearing bitcoin savings accounts, if the FSA would allow the concept. This past August Coincheck launched a new investment sandbox that tends to crypto-startups and organizations running initial coin offerings (ICO).

The Japanese trading platform’s new licensure approval follows the demise of the country’s infamous bitcoin exchange Mt Gox and reveals that officials are more comfortable with exchange operations. Moreover, the positive news comes at a time when Chinese bitcoin trading platforms have been forced to close most of its operations.

What do you think about Coincheck getting approved as a licensed bitcoin exchange in Japan? Let us know in the comments below.

Lead Developer Amaury Séchet Discusses the Future of Bitcoin Cash

This week the lead developer of Bitcoin ABC, Amaury Séchet, engaged in a Reddit Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) discussion about the future of Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and the protocol’s future scaling.

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An AMA With Amaury Séchet – Lead Developer of Bitcoin ABC

This summer Amaury Séchet (otherwise known as ‘deadalnix’), the lead developer of the Bitcoin ABC client, revealed the team’s intentions at The Future of Bitcoin event to hard fork the Bitcoin network on August 1. Since then Bitcoin Cash has been thriving, and Séchet recently explained his vision for the future of the BCH chain and the ABC client. Many other BCH supporters and developers were involved in the conversation with Séchet including Yours network founder Ryan X Charles, Openbazaar’s Chris Pacia, Bitcoin Classic’s lead developer Thomas Zander and others.

Developer Amaury Séchet Discusses the Future of Bitcoin Cash

A Configurable Block Size and Finding the Right Fee Structure for Bitcoin Cash

Developer Amaury Séchet Discusses the Future of Bitcoin Cash
Amaury Séchet, lead developer of the Bitcoin ABC client.

Participants asked Séchet questions concerning the current roadmap for bitcoin cash; such as future block sizes, BCH and BTC compatibility, and protocols like layer two solutions. For instance, the developer of the Electron Cash wallet, Jonald Fyookball asked the ABC developer what he thinks about “algorithm-based block size” solutions. Séchet explains the BCH block size can be configurable using the protocol in the ABC client.”

“I like these proposals,” explains Séchet. “Right now the block size is configurable in ABC, but I would like to have a way to determine this configuration automatically in the future.”

Yours network developer, Ryan X Charles, asks Séchet how the protocol can avoid ‘dust limits’ and fee management. “We [Yours developers] run into dust limits quite easily,” Charles explains regarding the software’s recent implementation of bitcoin cash.

“There is work to be done on fee management,” Séchet responds. “Finding the right fee structure will take time, if one exists at all.”

The next version of ABC will reserve a percentage of the block space for low fee transactions. This will improve over time.

BCH & BTC Compatibility and Layer Two Solutions

Developer Amaury Séchet Discusses the Future of Bitcoin CashFollowing this discussion, an AMA participant asked Séchet if he believes BCH and BTC can coexist in the future with different use cases or if he thinks all the hashpower will converge to one chain.

“Because of the way the difficulty adjustment works on the Bitcoin chain, it makes it very unlikely that it would survive being a minority chain,” Séchet states in response to the question. As a result, it is unlikely that this chain will survive if Bitcoin Cash gets a lot of traction. As long as Bitcoin Cash is a minority chain, both chain will continue to live.”

Séchet also gives his opinion about layer one and layer two scaling solutions. The ABC developer reveals he’s not against layer two solutions but believes pushing every issue towards a layer two solution is unrealistic.

“I have nothing against layer 2 per se, but I think some important points have been ignored,” Séchet explains. “First layer 2 can only be as reliable as layer 1.”

When blocks become congested and layer 1 becomes unreliable, layer 2 does so as well. Second, layer 2 will have different characteristics than layer 1 and thinking we’ll push everything into layer 2 is not a realistic roadmap.

Learning from Past Mistakes

Séchet explains a whole lot more about how he envisions the future of bitcoin cash and the ABC client, including BCH anonymity – where he hopes the protocol’s lower fees will allow for cheaper tumbling processes. The ABC developer also gives further opinions about programmers like Gavin Andresen and Jeff Garzik not being “protective enough” to keep the original values of the Bitcoin project in the past.

“It [Bitcoin] ended up being hijacked. We need to learn from this mistake and not reproduce it,” Séchet states.

Maxwell Claims Bitcoin ABC Developer Séchet Plagiarized Bitcoin Core Code

However, there is no shortage of drama around the Bitcoin Cash code base. In a recent Github post, Gregory Maxwell claimed the Bcash developer plagiarized a piece of code. He said that Amaury Séchet (deadalnix) copied the migration to the per-txout UTXO database from the Bitcoin Core project, and did not credit the original authors with it. Instead, he used his name and copied everything verbatim down to the “grammatical oddities,” according to Greg Maxwell.

Do Séchet’s Actions Infringe on a Licensing Agreement?

Furthermore, Maxwell claims Séchet’s actions infringe on an open source licensing Maxwell Claims Bcash Developer Séchet Plagiarized Bitcoin Core Codeagreement and constitute a copyright infringement. He said, “Beyond being fraudulent and sleazy behavior, this action is a violation of the very minimal requirements of the MIT license.”

There is controversy over Maxwell’s position, though. Some commentators believe there is no infringement on the commit, because there is information on the source code within it. Séchet further said the code was “backported” and is “mentioned in the series of commits.”

The schnorr code is backported from https://github.com/deadalnix/schnorr/blob/master/schnorr.d
The per txout db is backported from core and it is mentioned in the series of commits.

Is He Fixing it Faster? Multiple Copyright Violations by Séchet

Maxwell continued his accusations, saying Séchet is also claiming he fixed the issue quicker than Blockstream. Maxwell also mentioned Séchet was been accused of copyright violations before. This is not a first offense. He said, “Amaury SECHET has a well known history of these copyright violating false attribution events. To give a few other examples. I also understand that he is advocating in your private issue tracker to remove all attribution to Bitcoin Core in the codebase from your repository.”

Community Response

The community has responded to Maxwell’s accusations with dramatic flare. Some users are attacking Maxwell and Blockstream for focusing on trivial issues instead of updating Bitcoin Core. One user, sandakersmann, said, “So you guys are prioritizing this instead of releasing a new version of Bitcoin Core that is not vulnerable? Fits the pattern of backward priorities from you blockstreamers.”

Other users defend Maxwell and Core, saying people like sandakersmann were shifting the goalposts of the original post. They were trying to create a diversion from the serious issue of fraud and copyright infringement. User thijstriemstra responded to sandakersmann:

This has nothing to do with the fact you’re copy/pasting code and stripping out author. This is not done in any opensource project and you’re trying to divert attention away from it. It’s this project that creates unneccessary annoyance and extra work for the maintainers of bitcoin core.

Maxwell Asks Séchet to Discontinue Violating Copyright

Maxwell finished his blog post by asking Séchet to discontinue violating their copyright. He also wants him to correct his repository and credit the actual authors. At press time, Séchet had not responded to the request, other than to say the original code was “backported.”