Bits and Pieces Aug13th2013

Critical Vulnerability Found in Bitcoin Android Wallets. The Android software itself has a vulnerability in the way it generates random numbers. Long story short, if you have Bitcoin wallet on an Android phone you’ll want to upgrade your app and/or temporarily move your bitcoins off your phone. Details here.

It looks like Bloomberg is testing a Bitcoin ticker. Abbreviating Bitcoin as XBT, Bloomberg terminal users can now look up Bitcoin’s pricing history. Data comes from Bitcoin exchange service Mt. Gox as well as Tradehill. More details here.

The Bitcoin ATM is now available for pre-order. The makers of the Bitcoin machine, Lamassu, are now accepting orders for the machine. Lamassu will sell the machine with the appropriate software installed and leave regulatory compliance to those operating the ‘ATM’.  Customers in the US are required to sign a due diligence questionnaire.  Prices start at $5000 via Bitcoin or wire transfers. Order yours here.

Why Libbitcoin matters. Libbitcoin is an advanced alternative implementations of the Bitcoin protocol. While there are other alternative implementations, this one is unique it allows Bitcoin users with some technical skills but not necessarily experienced programmers to “work directly with the underlying [Bitcoin] building blocks.”

This may be a competitor to the current implementation, bitcoind and have the effect of limiting the influence of Bitcoin updates coming from authorities such as the Bitcoin Foundation. This may help to maintain Bitcoin’s decentralized nature and has some political implictions as explained here.

Bitcoin is officially Money. The SEC is suing Trendon Shavers for running a Ponzi scheme, the Bitcoin Savings & Trust. Part of Mr Trendon’s defence was to claim that Bitcoin investments are not securities and Bitcoin is not money; last week a judge disagreed.

 

Bitcoin, Regulators and Online Markets – a look at the World of Bitcoin Exchange

forexExchanges are the link between the old world of banking and the new world of crypto-currencies; they play a vital role in supporting the growing Bitcoin economy. If Bitcoin hopes to continue rapidly gaining new users it needs this bridge between the old and new systems to be up and functioning. While Bitcoin is in no way dependant on a link to the traditional banking system, its smooth transition into mainstream use certainly is.

Unfortunately these bridges which make up the exchange market are concentrated and often broken.  This leads to concerns over reliability and security, which can cause market panic and extreme volatility. As Bitcoin enters the mainstream a wave of new businesses, services and software developers have recently dedicated their efforts to solving this problem. Their task will not be easy, and the while the exchange rate has seen some recent stability, there is a long way to go before obtaining bitcoins can be called user friendly and reliable.

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A possible Bitcoin fork? – Bitcoin 2: Freedom of Transaction

Those following the internal rift in the Bitcoin community over regulation have often discussed the possibility of a fork.  The Bitcoin world moves quickly.

Hitting the web only hours ago is a paper detailing the how and why of a proposed “Bitcoin 2”. The authors, and many in the Bitcoin community, are concerned that changes will be made to the Bitcoin protocol turning it into “a distributed PayPal instead of a censorship resistant currency”.  

The paper discusses inherent weaknesses and changes to the protocol currently being discussed which could see users lose the option of anonymity or see miners concentrate into larger centres of control. The proposed “Bitcoin 2” aims to increase Bitcoin’s resistance to centralization, censorship and political control and prevent it from being “absorbed by the established financial and regulatory environment.”

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True peer-to-peer currency exchange?

One of the biggest problems currently facing the Bitcoin economy is the exchange market. The market suffers from continued concentration and price volatility. In order to maintain their links to the traditional banking world, these businesses have the unenviable task of attempting to shove Bitcoin into the world of bank accounts and anti-money laundering policies. New exchanges are joining the Bitcoin economy but regulatory compliance is no small barrier to entry. The few existing online exchange services continue to be significant points of failure for the Bitcoin economy.

MetaLairA network of small, peer-to-peer transactions would likely bypass many of these issues and would be a fitting solution for the brilliantly decentralized Bitcoin network. But is such a thing possible? The guys behind MetaLair, a UK based start-up, think so and are working hard to develop the software and find the investors to make it a reality.

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The e-gold story

As Bitcoin continues its move towards the mainstream and Bitcoin businesses experience rocky relations with bankers and regulators, now is a good time to look at previous leaders in the digital currency world.

In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, e-gold was the industry leader.  As one of the world’s first successful online payment systems e-gold was a pioneer using many now standard practices such as SSL connections and API’s.  Brought down by a run in with regulators in 2008 the e-gold story is required reading for anyone involved in the digital currency world.

Sent in by Wikipedia editor Cadwallader, below is a thoroug review of the e-gold story.

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Zerocoin, a potential Bitcoin extension, aims to improve anonymity

Bitcoin is pseudonymous, but not exactly anonymous. A group of Cryptographers out of John Hopkins University are aiming to change that. The group, led by Professor Matthew Green, has been working on Zerocoin, a proposed Bitcoin extension that would increase Bitcoin’s anonymity.

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The Economist: Airtime is Money – pre-paid mobile phone minutes as currency

In a recent article, The Economist takes a brief look at the continued, and growing, use of mobile air time as money in many African countries.  It would seem that banks everywhere, Africa included, just can’t give people what they want. Mobile air time holds its value and can be transferred in small amounts quickly and anonymously.

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Introducing the DGC Digital Currency Wiki

In keeping with our goal of being the best source for news and information on monetary alternatives, we have created the DGC Digital Currency Wiki.

We plan for this wiki to be a source of information on different digital currencies, currency providers, supporting technology, terminology, digital currency structures and business models, etc.

The plan had been for the Wiki to contain a large amount of content prior to announcing it. However, it seems that I have a chronic problem with dramatically over estimating the amount of time in the day. As such, we are introducing it now and will continue to add content when we can.

Editing can only be done after registration for spam avoidance purposes.

-Julia

Assange tells RT that the internet has become a tool for totalitarian rule

In an interview with RT’s Laura Smith conducted in Ecuador’s London embassy, Assange says that nearly everything everyone does online is permanently recorded as it is cheaper to spy on everyone rather than single people out.

“We have this position where as we know knowledge is power, and there’s a mass transfer as a result of literally billions of interceptions per day going from everyone, the average person …  all the infrastructure has been built for absolute totalitarianism It’s just the matter of turning the key.”

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Voucher-Safe, a Next Generation Digital Currency – Part I

Digital Gold Currency is a fantastic idea. Gold enjoys thousands of years of history as an excellent currency and store of value. It is a form of money that is constantly chosen by the market and that needs no legislation to support its value. Gold is stable, solid and cannot be pulled out of thin air. With modern technology gold can be used as a currency online without any more effort than it takes to check your email. Brilliant!

But as DGC’s were starting to take off and be recognized for their many benefits, the rug was pulled out from under the industry with the prosecution of e-gold. The old DGC business model is centralized and vulnerable to seizure, censorship and prohibitive regulation.

The Voucher-Safe system allows for a more decentralized, Anti-Money Laundering compliant way to anonymously exchange value. It’s DGC 2.0, a more flexible and resilient system where anything can be money. “The idea behind voucher-safe is that it isn’t about making just one thing money. Money  can be gold, it can be existing national fiat currencies, it can be bitcoins, it can be silver, it can be anything of value that people want to exchange.”

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