A New Bitcoin Improvement Proposal Aims to Compromise

As the price of bitcoin settles down many bitcoiners are now concentrating on the scaling compromise proposed at the Consensus event held last week. Now a few bitcoin developers have decided to work on Segwit-2MB proposals that try to adhere to each side of the debate.

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The Compatibility-Oriented Omnibus Proposal

A New Bitcoin Improvement Proposal Aims to Compromise It is still hard to envision that everyone in the bitcoin community will be pleased with a compromise. There are still some bitcoin proponents who vehemently oppose Segwit, and then there are those who fully disagree with a 2MB hardfork. On May 29 a developer named Calvin Rechner submitted a new bitcoin improvement proposal (BIP) that aims to cohere to the recent Barry Silbert scaling concept.

“This proposal is written under the assumption that the signatories to the Consensus 2017 Scaling Agreement are genuinely committed to the terms of the agreement, and intend to enact the updates described therein,” Rechner’s BIP details.

This document describes a virtuous combination of James Hilliard’s ‘Reduced signalling threshold activation of existing segwit deployment’, Shaolin Fry’s ‘Mandatory activation of segwit deployment’, Sergio Demian Lerner’s ‘Segwit2Mb’ proposal, Luke Jr’s ‘Post-segwit 2 MB block size hardfork’, and hard fork safety mechanisms from Johnson Lau’s ‘Spoonnet’ into a single omnibus proposal and patchset.

UASF and a 2MB Hard Fork Deployment in Six Months

Rechner explains that Shaolin Fry’s UASF is included so the existing Segwit deployment can be activated without creating a new release. Following the UASF implementation, the BIP explains that a 2MB hard fork deployment will occur six months after Segwit activation.

“The intent of this proposal is to maintain full legacy consensus compatibility for users up until the hard fork block height, after which backwards compatibility is waived as enforcement of the hard fork consensus ruleset begins,” details Rechner.

‘A Possible Win if the Community Will Accept It’

Following Rechner’s BIP submission, bitcoiners on social media and forums discussed the recent proposal. Throughout the conversations concerning the new BIP, a good portion of people seemed to like the idea. Some explained the reason they supported this proposal is because it includes UASF and the block size increase has safety nets in place to avoid divergent consensus.

“The Spoonnet-based improvements need clarification IMO, but otherwise it looks like a possible win if the community will accept it,” explains bitcoin developer Luke Jr. “Provided there is reasonable consensus from the community, a soft-hardfork (aka MMHF aka Spoonnet) can be theoretically made pretty safe. But I’m not sure it can really be ready within six months.”

Even though there still seems to be a lot of people hell bent towards not compromising at all, there are definitely signs of people looking to find the right compromise. It’s not certain this new BIP will be taken further, but it shows the growing trend to find consensus is important to most people from both sides of the debate.

What do you think about Calvin Rechner’s new proposal? Do you think the bitcoin community can find a compromise? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Japanese Internet Giant GMO Postpones Launching Bitcoin Trading Platform

Japanese conglomerate GMO Internet Group previously announced that its full-service bitcoin exchange and trading platform would open its doors to the public on May 24. The company has postponed the launch to May 31.

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One Week Delay

Japanese Internet Giant GMO Postpones Launching Bitcoin Trading Platform to May 31Z.com Coin is GMO Internet Group’s full-service cryptocurrency exchange. Its launch was announced on May 9 as the platform opened for account pre-registration. Bitcoin.com reported on the announcement with details of the trading platform at the time.

However, the company has delayed the launch for a week, due to the growing number of bitcoin and blockchain transactions since its May 9 announcement, stating that (loosely translated):

We will provide customers with a stable trading environment and judge whether it is necessary to conduct additional service verification and system adjustment for the platform to be used with confidence. The start date of the service has been postponed to May 31, 2017.

The company apologized to customers who have pre-registered for accounts. “We deeply apologize for the inconvenience caused to customers who have already applied and are waiting for our service to open.”

Trading on GMO’s Bitcoin Exchange

GMO-Z.com Coin Ltd was established as GMO Wallet Co. Ltd in October 2016 with the purpose of developing a cryptocurrency exchange. In November 2016, the company began testing the system in preparation for the full-scale operation.

Japanese Internet Giant GMO Postpones Launching Bitcoin Trading Platform to May 31Two types of trading will be available at launch; Virtual Currency FX trading and Virtual Currency trading. The former is GMO’s bitcoin margin trading service, which the company described as similar to traditional over-the-counter foreign exchange (FX) margin trading. The latter is a bitcoin exchange service, allowing customers to buy and sell bitcoins.

The company states that trading fees are “0 yen” for all orders. Customers can trade 24-7 on the Z.com Coin exchange, starting at 0.001 bitcoin.

GMO already owns the world’s largest FX brokerage, GMO Click Securities. Bitcoin.com recently reported on a significant group of potential new bitcoin traders. This group is called “Mrs. Watanabe” or retail investors who currently favor FX margin trading, which is a $40 trillion market. Many of them are already trading on GMO Click FX platform, so Z.com Coin bitcoin exchange will offer them a convenient way to start investing in bitcoin. Other Japanese forex brokers that have applied to operate bitcoin exchanges include Money Partners Group and Kabu.com.

How popular do you think GMO’s bitcoin trading platform will be? Let us know in the comments section below.

Fidelity Integrates with Coinbase, Mines Bitcoin and Accepts Bitcoin at its Cafeteria

fidelity-640x426The CEO of Fidelity Investments, Ms. Abigail Johnson, had a lot to announce at Consensus 2017 on Tuesday regarding the firm’s Bitcoin plans. The company is testing Coinbase integration, is already mining some bitcoin using 21 Inc computers, and employees can now pay for their lunch with bitcoin at the company’s cafeteria.

 

Fidelity CEO is Pro Bitcoin

Fidelity Integrates with Coinbase, Mines Bitcoin Using 21 Inc Computers, and Accepts Bitcoin at its CafeteriaMs. Johnson succeeded her father, Edward C. Jonhson, as the CEO of Fidelity Investments at the end of last year following his retirement announcement. Her father served as the CEO for nearly 40 years. The company currently has about $2.2 trillion in managed assets and manages retirement and savings plans for approximately 26 million people and 23,000 companies.

Consensus 2017 was her first major speaking engagement since she became chairman of the company. Ms. Johnson talked about Bitcoin and blockchain technology while giving the audience a glimpse of Fidelity’s plans for them. She said:

I am in a traditional financial services business – but we at Fidelity can see that the evolution of technology is setting our industry up for disruption.

Fidelity Cafeteria Accepts Bitcoin

Ms. Johnson announced that Fidelity employees can now pay for their lunch using bitcoin at the company’s cafeteria at its headquarters. However, she said that so far fewer than 100 employees have used this option, adding that:

I guess we have a lot of hodlers.

Fidelity Integrates with Coinbase, Mines Bitcoin Using 21 Inc Computers, and Accepts Bitcoin at its Cafeteria

Abigail Johnson

She then went on to share the experience of one employee, Alex. The “Bitcoin Viking,” as she calls him, bought a beverage at the cafeteria and paid with bitcoin. He then tried to return the drink. “But the Bitcoin network was being spammed that day,” Ms. Johnson recalled, therefore “the return process was taking hours.”

Alex then “gave up in despair,” she described then quoted him saying, “It’s like the matrix – I can’t actually use it in real life.”

The usability of bitcoin is slowing down adoption, Ms. Johnson claims. “If you are looking for bitcoin to beat Visa at the point of sale today, you are going to be disappointed.” However, she still has faith in the digital currency, affirming that:

I am still a believer.[…] It’s no accident that I’m one of the few standing before you today from a large financial services firm that hasn’t given up on digital currencies.

Integration with Coinbase

Fidelity Integrates with Coinbase, Mines Bitcoin Using 21 Inc Computers, and Accepts Bitcoin at its CafeteriaAnother big announcement by Ms. Johnson involves an integration with the bitcoin exchange and payment processor, Coinbase.

Since November 2015, the firm has been offering the ability for customers to contribute to their charitable giving accounts using bitcoin. So far, clients have donated $8 million worth, Ms. Johnson shared.

Fidelity customers have expressed an interest in the ability to track their digital currency holdings through the Fidelity website, where they have other financial holdings, according to Ms. Johnson. This feature has been tested with employees and is already available to those with digital currencies at Coinbase, she detailed. Soon, it will roll out to all customers and they will be able to see their Coinbase holdings on the Fidelity website.

Exploring Microtransactions & Bitcoin Mining

Fidelity Labs, the firm’s research group, has made venture investments in a handful of Bitcoin businesses as well as partnering with university efforts, including the MIT Digital Currency Initiative, Ms. Johnson revealed.

Fidelity Integrates with Coinbase, Mines Bitcoin Using 21 Inc Computers, and Accepts Bitcoin at its Cafeteria“We have built proofs of concepts that accept bitcoin micro-transactions,” she detailed. In addition to micropayments, the firm is also exploring various use cases of blockchain technology through these partnerships. “Blockchain technology isn’t just a more efficient way to settle securities. It will fundamentally change market structures, and maybe even the architecture of the Internet itself,” she noted.

Furthermore, Fidelity has set up computers built by 21 Inc to mine bitcoin. “We set up small Bitcoin and ethereum mining operations, just done in the spirit of learning,” Ms. Johnson said. So far, “my…computer has mined over 200,000 satoshis,” she conveyed:

I love this stuff … and what the future holds.[…] I’d like to think that huge new markets and products will be built on these open platforms.

What do you think of Fidelity’s various Bitcoin projects? Let us know in the comments section below.

Sidechain Juggernaut RSK Labs Launches Ginger Testnet After $3.5M in New Funding

he highly anticipated project by RSK Labs officially moves into open beta status today with the launch of their public testnet named Ginger. The company is inviting everyone to try out their smart contracts using Bitcoin with their ethereum-like sidechain. They have also secured new funding that will allow them to take the project to full production, planned for later this year.

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Ginger Testnet Launched

RSK Labs Launches Ginger Testnet, Receives $3.5M in New FundingRSK Labs, the company behind Rootstock, announced at Consensus 2017 on Monday the global release of their open source testnet, Ginger. Developers worldwide can now deploy an RSK node, grab some testnet coins, and try out ethereum-style smart contracts on RSK’s sidechain to the Bitcoin network.

Ginger’s source code is now available on Github. A network stats page, an RSK block explorer, and a testnet RSK coin faucet are also available to the public.

The RSK platform is a layer on top of Bitcoin, which aims to better transfer its value. Ginger “adds more functionalities to the Bitcoin network such as smart contracts, greater scalability and a new revenue stream for miners,” RSK Labs described.

RSK Labs Launches Ginger Testnet, Receives $3.5M in New FundingUsers of the network will be able to move the value of their bitcoins back and forth onto the RSK sidechain. RSK’s tokens have no value of their own, and primarily exist to speedily shuttle bitcoin around, giving it greater functionality with RSK’s varied smart contracts. Ginger allows a glimpse of this technology with some of the first smart contracts used on the system, including those that allow for merged mining, private networks, scaling benefits, and confidential transactions.

The RSK team says that over time, they will keep adding new features to Ginger. “These improvements will focus on the company’s vision of bringing the unbanked to the financial system, changing government through liquid democracies and building the Internet of Things,” they conveyed.

Second Announcement: New Funding

RSK Labs Launches Ginger Testnet, Receives $3.5M in New FundingAlong with Ginger’s release, RSK Labs also announced on Monday that it has raised $3.5 million pre-Series A funding from various investors, including Jaxx CEO Anthony Di Iorio, Bitfury and Bitmain.

This amount is on top of the $1 million raised last March by the company from Barry Silbert’s DCG, Coinsilium, and Bitmain.

RSK Labs plans to use their latest funds for R&D, strengthening network security, and deploying a “mainnet in a few months,” which would end the Ginger trial and launch RSK for real usage this year.

Scaling Benefits

RSK Labs plans to add three-tiered networks on top of Bitcoin to scale transactions to new levels. With Ginger, smart contract users can already see scaling benefits up to 20,000 transactions per second using Lumino, the company claimed.

RSK Labs Launches Ginger Testnet, Receives $3.5M in New Funding

RSK’s Gabriel Kurman (Photo\ Micheal Hudson)

Developers should be able to see the full speed improvements now, RSK Labs explained, adding that:

With Ginger, users will be able to run their smart contracts in a platform that can scale up to 2,000 tx/sec on chain and 20,000 tx/sec off chain, providing the scalability needed for global financial solutions.

Merge-Mine Bitcoin with RSK

RSK Labs Launches Ginger Testnet, Receives $3.5M in New FundingRSK Chief Scientist Sergio Demian Lerner gave a presentation on Monday at Consensus 2017. He said miners will be attracted to RSK because it is possible to mine their blockchain and Bitcoin, as well as other coins, all “at the same time and on the same hardware, and with the same power consumption.” The developer revealed that his team has “worked for over a year with mining pools” to develop “open-source plugins for merged mining that are highly efficient.”

This new form of merged mining is a cornerstone feature to RSK that incentivizes the use of their network and also of Bitcoin itself. Similarly, RSK’s smart contracts will reward people who run RSK nodes “from transaction fees,” Lerner described, and then announced that these contracts can be extended to “reward people running Bitcoin full nodes too.”

What do you think of RSK Labs’ Ginger Testnet? Let us know in the comments section below.

Ledger Holdings Generates $11.4 Million to Open U.S. Bitcoin Options Exchange

LedgerX, parent company of Ledger Holdings, generated $11.4 million in a financing campaign to open a regulated options exchange for bitcoin and other digital currencies in the U.S. The venture is led by Miami International Holdings Inc. and Huiyin Blockchain Venture Investments. 

shutterstock_136945139-640x410Ledger Holdings Generates $11.4 Million to Open U.S. Bitcoin Options Exchange

The company is in the process of being granted approval by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). When approval is granted, companies can leverage LedgerX’s platform to acquire bitcoin using exchange-traded and other centrally regulated distributed contracts.

“We believe a regulated bitcoin market could substantially expand the bitcoin economy. In this regard, a vibrant options market, which LedgerX plans to build, is a critical foundation to the entire ecosystem,” said James Wo, President of Huiyin Blockchain Venture Investments.

The president of LedgerX, Paul Chou, also commented on investments inside the bitcoin space:

In the short term, these investments will further our application to become a regulated exchange and clearing house for bitcoin options. In the long term, these strategic investors will help us enter additional marketplaces and territories.

Bitcoin Ecosystem and Company Asset Background

This new investment opportunity comes as bitcoin’s price hits $2275 on coinmarketcap.com. It appears the rising price and Japan’s recent acceptance of bitcoin has created a massive upward trend in the global ecosystem. Now, investment firms and hedge funds have taken an even more keen interest in developing strategies and expanding their regulated portfolios to include more bitcoin options.

The primary company involved Ledger Holdings Generates $11.4 Million to Open U.S. Bitcoin Options Exchangein the recent investment options, Miami International Holdings, Inc., is the parent company of Miami International Securities Exchange, LLC (MIAX Options) and MIAX PEARL, LLC.

The press release by LedgerX says that MIAX already offers trade options in 2,600 different classes. This implies bitcoin and other digital currencies will expand the company’s global monetary influence. This will put bitcoin into the U.S. securities and exchange limelight as the cryptocurrency tries to edge toward a price point of $3,000.

Do you see the creation of this centralized venture exchange for bitcoin as a net positive? Let us know in the comments below. 

Shapeshift Launches Decentralized Portfolio Platform Prism

Today at the Consensus Conference in New York City the Shapeshift founder and CEO Erik Voorhees has announced the launch of Prism, a “trustless asset portfolio platform”. The Swiss blockchain technology company says investors of all types looking to build a portfolio can do so using the decentralized digital asset holding application.

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Shapeshift Launches Prism – the Decentralized Digital Asset Portfolio Without Third Party Risk

Shapeshift Launches Prism the Decentralized Portfolio PlatformLaunched today, the Prism platform provides users with the ability to secure a basket of cryptocurrencies without exposure to third party risk. The platform is built using Ethereum-based smart contracts that enable investors to construct a crypto-portfolio with a broad range of cryptocurrencies to choose from including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Monero, and Ripple.

Shapeshift says bitcoin and altcoins as an alternative investment have grown exponentially over the past two years, as the combined market cap has expanded over 200% in the past year to over $40 billion, explains the company. Prism will forward the cryptocurrency fever by offering the first live platform in a trustless environment dedicated to the users’ crypto-asset portfolio.

“Prism enables investors to gain secure, transparent exposure to digital assets in a way that has never before been possible. The days of leaving funds at an exchange ‘because it’s easier’ are over,” Erik Voorhees, CEO of ShapeShift detailed during the announcement.

Prism’s digital asset portfolios, built entirely on non-custodial smart-contracts, demonstrates a new standard in financial security.         

A Diversified Crypto-Portfolio That Competes With Other Prism Investors

The company says that it has used its proven model from the Shapeshift design to build Prism. The new platform is a “diversified crypto-portfolio that was distilled down into a simple interface: buy, rebalance, and settle, all of which the user can execute with nothing more than their Ethereum wallet,” explains the Swiss startup.

Shapeshift Launches Prism the Decentralized Portfolio Platform

Moreover once a Prism portfolio has been created it is positioned on a leaderboard competing with other Prism users based on investment performance. Furthermore, users can learn from top traders and copy their portfolio choices as well by visiting the public Prism performance leaderboards.

Prism Aims to Open a Whole New World of Borderless Finance

After creating a name for a personal Prism portfolio, users choose from a wide range of digital assets and determine how to split their investments. The investor then provides an Ethereum address that enables them to fund and track their Prism assets. The address gives Prism users proprietary control over their funds and the ability to track the investment vehicle via the Ethereum network. Shapeshift says the following ether wallets have been tested and vetted for use on the Prism platform Exodus.ioJaxx.io and Myetherwallet.

If an investor wants to close out their Prism account, they are asked to send a zero ETH transaction to a provided Ethereum address that will signal the smart contract to close the portfolio. If the Prism’s components went up 20%, the investor will receive 20% more Ether back than they put in, minus displayed fees.

“Prism takes us one step closer to a world of truly borderless finance. We suspect it will kickstart a vast horizon of financial experimentation upon smart contracts,” concluded Voorhees.

What do you think about the Shapeshift’s new portfolio platform? Let us know in the comments below.

Bitcoin Pizza Day: Reliving the Memories and Forging New Ones

Today cryptocurrency enthusiasts around the world are celebrating the notorious “Bitcoin Pizza Day” where two Papa John’s pizzas were purchased for 10,000 BTC. Not only is the transaction deemed the first bitcoin exchange for real-world value, the trade is now appraised at US$20 million at today’s exchange rates.

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‘I Like Having Leftover Pizza to Nibble On Later’

Bitcoin Pizza Day: Reliving the Memories and Forging New Ones The Bitcoin network had been in operation for a little more than a year on May 22nd, 2010 when a developer named Laszlo Hanyecz purchased two pizzas using the forum Bitcointalk.org. The trade Hanyecz made that day is widely celebrated every year by bitcoiners as it is considered the first real-world transaction using bitcoin as a medium of exchange.

“I’ll pay 10,000 bitcoins for a couple of pizzas.. like maybe two large ones, so I have some leftover for the next day — I like having leftover pizza to nibble on later,” explained Hanyecz.

You can make the pizza yourself and bring it to my house or order it for me from a delivery place, but what I’m aiming for is getting food delivered in exchange for bitcoins where I don’t have to order or prepare it myself, kind of like ordering a ‘breakfast platter’ at a hotel or something, they just bring you something to eat and you’re happy!

It Took Two Days for Someone to Accept the 10,000 BTC for Pizza Offer

After Hanyecz had published his post, a few bitcoin enthusiasts talked about making the trade with him. A couple of people contemplated a few ways they could get the pizza to Hanyecz who was living in Florida at the time. A whole day passed, and Hanyecz writes “So nobody wants to buy me a pizza? — Is the bitcoin amount I’m offering too low?”

I just think it would be interesting if I could say that I paid for a pizza in bitcoins   

Another 24 hours later Hanyecz announces that a successful transaction was made thanks to a user named “Jercos.” “I just want to report that I successfully traded 10,000 bitcoins for pizza,” the developer tells people on the thread. A few commenters thought it was great the exchange happened and congratulated Hanyecz that day. The 73-page thread discussion has been kept alive for years, with people commenting on how expensive the pizzas became as time had passed.

‘It Wasn’t Like Bitcoins Had Value Back Then’

Bitcoin Pizza Day: Reliving the Memories and Forging New Ones Years later the transaction is considered one of the greatest moments in Bitcoin history and the two pizzas purchased for $25 USD is now worth over $20 million. Hanyecz did an interview with the New York Times a few years later reminiscing about the infamous day.

“It wasn’t like Bitcoins had any value back then, so the idea of trading them for a pizza was incredibly cool,” Hanyecz told the publication.

Today as bitcoiners celebrate Bitcoin Pizza Day they’ll always wonder how those pizza’s tasted and whether or not Hanyecz really doesn’t regret eating the most expensive pizzas sold on the planet. As long as the pizza didn’t have weird toppings like fish, Hanyecz was pleased with his decision to offer 10,000 BTC for two pies.

“I like things like onions, peppers, sausage, mushrooms, tomatoes, pepperoni, etc.. just standard stuff no weird fish topping or anything like that. I also like regular cheese pizzas which may be cheaper to prepare or otherwise acquire,” Hanyecz said at the time.

Celebrating This Year’s Festivities

There will be a lot of people enjoying Bitcoin Pizza Day in 2017 as the decentralized currency is more popular than ever before. There are businesses such as the Bitcoin Store featuring specialty pizza-themed goods, and some merchants are offering discounts like the artist Satoshi Gallery.

Additionally, the German-based bitcoin banking startup Bitwala recently started a campaign so the cryptocurrency community can donate pizza slices using bitcoin to refugee kids in Berlin. All the proceeds will go to Champions Ohne Grenzen, a Berlin-based NGO that works with children. Every week they hold football training sessions with qualified coaches to empower kids and help them overcome trauma. People from all around the world sent in their donations and the money received will help provide more than 100 slices to the refugee children.

“The fact that someone halfway around the world can have pizza delivered to war fleeing refugees without having to enter credit card info is a great and humane way to explain the power of bitcoin,” explained Bitwala’s CEO Jörg von Minckwitz.

What do you think about the two pizzas sold for 10,000 BTC? Would you have regretted this decision now? Let us know what you think in the comments below.