Category: Cryptocurrency

15 Mar 2018

Happy Pi Day, Here’s Some piCoin, piCoin is Actually a Thing


The joy of Pi Day may tempt you into purchasing some pi-based cryptocurrency. As trendy as that sounds, you’d probably be better off sticking with real pie today.

This is not a joke: piCoin is a thing that actually exists. The cryptocurrency launched in 2013 (and then re-launched in 2014) with the aim of creating a crypto with mathematical and educational underpinnings. piCoin’s specifications revolve around the infinite-digit number that gives its name. The maximum number of coins is capped at 31,415,926,535. Its block time (or: how long it takes to solve each transaction in its blockchain) is 314 seconds. And the reward for solving that initial block is 314,159 coins. And so on.

Convinced? Don’t jump for your wallet just yet.

At its launch in March 2014, bloggers seemed to see piCoin as an interesting enough concept. According to a forum post from that time, the founders had lofty goals for this math-oriented concept, hoping to popularize it among “mathematicians, math teachers, math enthusiasts, and every student in the world taking a math course.” And indeed, it had a wild ride! As the coin grew, the founders imagined “opportunities for charitable efforts will arise; math scholarships, education for those in need, and even funding a school in a third world country are all distinct possibilities down the road.”

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Within two months of that 2014 launch, buying had slowed to a dribble, though the coin’s developers claimed to be working on some marketing ideas. Within three months, even enthusiasts of the coin were declaring it officially dead. CryptoSlate currently lists the coin as abandoned.

So it’s probably not a great idea to complete your Pi Day with a heaping slice of piCoin. Instead, use piCoin as a cautionary tale — as crypto continues to surge in popularity and grow as a mainstream interest, it’s probably best to exercise a reasonable amount of caution when approaching new coins with attention-grabby conceits. Or, at the very least, give them more caution that you’d approach, say, an actual pie.

Source: Futurism

10 Mar 2018

Sierra Leone Just Held the World’s First Blockchain-Powered Election


For the first time, blockchain was used to oversee a national election — verifying the recent results of Sierra Leone’s contentious presidential race.

On March 7, 2018, blockchain startup Agora oversaw the results of Sierra Leone’s presidential election, marking the first use of the technology in this capacity.

For voters, the process wasn’t any different than previous elections. They arrived at their polling center, showed election officials their IDs, and then cast their votes on a paper ballot for one of 16 candidates.

What happened next was unlike any other election, though. As Agora’s chief operating officer Jaron Lukasiewicz explained to Coindesk, the Swiss startup then manually recorded the votes on a permissioned blockchain.

Permissioned blockchains aren’t quite the same as public blockchains, like those supporting the cryptocurrencies bitcoin. While anyone can validate transactions on a public blockchain, only authorized persons can validate transactions on a permissioned blockchain.

In the case of the Sierra Leone election, the authorized parties included people from Agora, the Red Cross, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), and the University of Freiburg.

However, like a public blockchain, anyone can view transactions recorded on a permissioned blockchain. That means that once the groups managing the blockchain verified the Sierra Leone votes, anyone — voters, candidates, or just interested third parties — could see the election results.

According to Agora, the company even produced their results two hours sooner than election officials.

Sierra Leone has a history of violence surrounding elections, with several incidents reported in the days prior to 2018’s presidential election. The nation’s government is also more corrupt than most, so the small West African country served as an appropriate testing ground for a technology designed to increase fairness in the election process.

“A country like Sierra Leone can ultimately minimize a lot of the fall-out of a highly contentious election by using software like this,” Lukasiewicz told Coindesk.

Agora’s use of blockchain for the Sierra Leone election isn’t the company’s ultimate vision for the technology. Eventually, the startup hopes to eliminate the use of paper ballots altogether, allowing voters to cast their votes via personal electronic devices. This will cut down on election costs, increase voter accessibility, and eliminate a potential avenue for corruption.

Still, Agora’s work in Sierra Leone marked an important milestone on the path to a more transparent and fair democracy built on blockchain technology.

Source: Futurism

24 Feb 2018

A New Georgia Bill Could Allow Residents to Pay Taxes with Bitcoin

Georgia has become the latest US state to consider allowing its residents to pay their taxes using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Senate Bill 464, which was introduced on Feb. 21 by Republican state senators Michael Williams and Joshua McKoon, aims to amend Georgia’s laws regarding tax payments to compel the state’s revenue commissioner to accept cryptocurrencies as payments for taxes and license fees.

“The commissioner shall accept as valid payment for taxes and license fees any cryptocurrency, including but not limited to Bitcoin, that uses an electronic peer-to-peer system,” the bill states.

The bill stipulates that upon receiving a Bitcoin tax payment, officials have 24 hours to convert the funds into fiat currency and credit the taxpayer’s account for the converted dollar amount.

This could cause some headaches for taxpayers seeking to take advantage of the feature, as cryptocurrency prices often fluctuate greatly from day to day. However, it could prove popular among cryptocurrency enthusiasts as adoption continues to increase.

It’s unclear whether the bill will garner enough support to pass the legislature, as other similar bills have failed in the past in other states across the country. Two years ago, for instance, Bitcoin-friendly New Hampshire voted down a bill that would have made it the first state to accept Bitcoin tax payments.

Notably, though, Georgia is not the only US state currently considering whether to make cryptocurrencies a valid payment method for state taxes.

As CCN reported, Arizona has the jump on accepting Bitcoin tax payments. SB 1091, which includes similar language to Georgia’s bill, passed the Arizona Senate 16 to 13 earlier this month and is currently working its way through the legislative process in the state’s House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, Wyoming — a state that does not have income taxes — is on the cusp of approving a measure that would exempt cryptocurrency holdings from the state’s property tax, effectively equating it to other forms of money, which have always been exempt from property tax obligations.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Souce: CNN

15 Feb 2018

Mining Crypto Takes So Much Bandwidth, It’s Inhibiting the Search for Alien Life


Astronomers listening for radio messages from alien civilizations require lots of processing power to crunch the data. Now, those astronomers are finding the GPUs they need in short supply as crypto miners buy them up.

Thanks to the cryptocurrency craze, we might miss out on a call from E.T. Astronomers are reporting that they can’t as easily access the graphics processing units (GPUs) needed to run their powerful telescopes and radio arrays, as they’re being bought up by those looking to mine cryptocurrency.

Daniel Werthimer, chief scientist for the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) project at the University of California-Berkeley, told the BBC that he’s found GPUs in short supply only over the past few months. Aaron Parsons, another Berkeley astronomer who works on the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionisation Array (Hera) radio telescope, had a similar story: he told the BBC that the price of GPUs his team needed had doubled.


Though designed specifically to render visual tasks, GPUs have been recruited for cryptocurrency mining thanks to their speed and efficiency at performing the repetitive computations needed. But they’re also essential for scientists that need to process large quantities of data, like those scanning radio waves from huge swaths of the universe in hopes of catching an extraterrestrial message.

“At SETI we want to look at as many frequency channels as we possibly can because we don’t know what frequency ET will be broadcasting on,” Werthimer told the BBC. “And we want to look for lots of different signal types – is it AM or FM, what communication are they using?” As a result, SETI has as many as 100 GPUs at some telescopes.

Radio astronomy isn’t the only victim of the cryptocurrency craze; a 2017 report highlighted the high carbon emissions produced by crypto mining, which requires large quantities of energy. Yet that cost could be remedied if the electricity needed were generated from renewable resources, rather than fossil fuels.

Parsons expressed concern that radio astronomy work, meanwhile, could be halted entirely if the GPU shortage continues. In that time, we could potentially miss a call from our galactic neighbors — and Earth doesn’t currently have an answering machine.

Source: CNBC

27 Jan 2018

Canada’s Blockchain Trial Adds Transparency to Government Funding


Countries all over the world are experimenting with blockchain technology. Now, Canada has announced that it will trial the use of blockchain to add transparency to government funding and research grants.


The Canadian government is testing out the use of blockchain tech to improve transparency in government funding.

Specifically, Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) is sharing information about funding and research grants for its Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) in real time via the Catena Blockchain Suite, which is built on the Ethereum blockchain.

For Canada’s blockchain trial, every time the NRC creates or alters a grant, that information is added to the blockchain, which will be connected to a publicly accessible online database.


Besides elevating transparency between the government, research organizations, and the public, Canada’s blockchain trial also increases security. Data on a blockchain is stored in encrypted blocks that are managed by a decentralized global computer network. Essentially, this setup renders the data unalterable.

The NRC likely chose the Ethereum blockchain for several reasons. It is one of the most established blockchain technologies in existence right now, and unlike the blockchain supporting the bitcoin cryptocurrency, the Ethereum blockchain can run smart contracts, which gives it far more utility.


Canada’s blockchain trial isn’t wholly unique — a number of other nations are looking for ways to integrate blockchain technology into their operations.

Australia is expected to begin using blockchain to clear and settle trades on its stock exchange in March, at which point it will become the first nation to have a blockchain-based stock exchange. Meanwhile, Estonia is exploring ways to use blockchain to support its e-residency program and is even considering the possibility of creating its own cryptocurrency.

By using blockchain to add transparency to its funding efforts, Canada can both establish trust with the public and potentially get citizens more involved in the process. For example, a person may notice a certain area of research is being neglected and be inspired to reach out to their representatives about the issue.

With a blockchain, the viewer will know that what they are seeing is accurate, and given the amount of misinformation available on the internet, that alone is a major benefit of the initiative.

Source: Futurism

13 Jan 2018

Kodak Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Ledger Will Help Photographers Protect Their Copyright


In the digital age, it’s tough for photographers to know when their work is being reproduced. Kodak is working on a blockchain platform and an accompanying cryptocurrency to solve this problem.


Photography giant Kodak has become the latest company to announced its intention to launch its own cryptocurrency. KODAKCoin is set to make it easier for photographers to get paid for the work, and maintain control over their intellectual property.

Kodak will also collaborate with WENN Digital to implement a platform called KODAKOne, which will use blockchain technology to underpin a digital ledger documenting who owns the rights to individual images. The KODAKCoin cryptocurrency will be used as a method of paying for permission to use these photographs.

“For many in the tech industry, ‘blockchain’ and ‘cryptocurrency’ are hot buzzwords, but for photographers who’ve long struggled to assert control over their work and how it’s used, these buzzwords are the keys to solving what felt like an unsolvable problem,” said Jeff Clarke, the CEO of Kodak, in a statement.


In the digital era, it’s more difficult than ever before for photographers to keep track of where their work is being reproduced, so it’s easy to see why content creators would welcome this platform with open arms.

Kodak is no stranger to the challenges of the medium’s transition to digital – despite accounting for as much as 90 percent of film sales and 85 percent of camera sales in the US at its peak, the company struggled with changes to the market in the late 1990s and was forced to refocus on new technologies.

Up until now, most of the cryptocurrencies that have hit the scene have been general purpose coins intended to compete with Bitcoin. Recently, some more specific use cases are emerging. Blockchain is a versatile technology, and we’re already seeing everything from stock exchanges to the trucking industry to the world of entertainment reap the benefits.

Source: Futurism

10 Jan 2018

J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Says He Regrets Calling Bitcoin a Fraud


In September, Jamie Dimon called bitcoin a fraud, saying that “If you’re stupid enough to buy it, you’ll pay the price for it one day.” Dimon now changed his mind, though he still worries about how governments will react to bitcoin’s growth.


After the highs and lows seen by bitcoin in 2017, J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has publicly changed his opinion of the cryptocurrency. Back in September, Dimon called bitcoin a fraud and elaborated: “it’s just not a real thing, eventually it will be closed,” and “if you’re stupid enough to buy it, you’ll pay the price for it one day.”  But Dimon has changed his tune, now saying on Fox Business that “the Blockchain is real,” and he regrets calling bitcoin a fraud.


Despite taking back last year’s inflammatory statements, Dimon still has some reservations about the cryptocurrency. He is unsure of how “governments are going to feel about bitcoin when it gets really big,” a widely shared concern as the currency has gone up over 1,500 percent within the past year alone.


Dimon is not alone in his controversial opinions about bitcoin and the concept of cryptocurrency. Recently, Morgan Stanley analyst James Faucette publicly stated that the true value of bitcoin may well be zero and it cannot even be considered a true currency because it doesn’t have an associated interest rate. He believes that because only few retailers currently accept payments in bitcoin, its real value would plummet should the number shrink further, possibly reaching zero.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz told Bloomberg that bitcoin “ought to be outlawed.” He doesn’t see the crypto serving any useful social function and noted that it could easily be taken down by regulation alone.

There is certainly a host of legitimate criticisms of cryptocurrency as a concept. For instance, it was found that mining bitcoin uses more energy than what is consumed yearly by 159 individual countries. Also, there is still a sizable gap between the currency and consumer use in a retail environment. However, cryptocurrencies like bitcoin do have the potential to contribute to sustainable living and advancing technologies, like autonomous vehicles, that may one day contributing to saving lives.

Source: Futurism

27 Dec 2017

Belarus Acknowledges Bitcoin as a Legal Currency, Legalizes ICOs

The government of Belarus, with the approval of its President Alexander Lukashenko, has officially acknowledged bitcoin as a legal currency and has legalized initial coin offerings (ICOs), smart contracts, and blockchain development.

Tax-Free, ICO Legalized, Blockchain Industry

The document approved by President Lukashenko entitled “On Digital Economy Development,” read:

“The main goal of the document is to create such conditions that global IT companies would come to Belarus, open their representative offices, development centers, and create popular products in the world.”

Unlike several major bitcoin markets like South Korea, the Belarus government will not tax mining, trading of cryptocurrencies, and sale of digital tokens. According to Belarus Hi-Tech Park director Vsevolod Yanchevsky, activities related to mining, creation, acquisition and sale of digital tokens will remain tax-free until 2023, throughout the next five years.

“Having adopted the Decree, Belarus Becomes one of the world’s most comfortable jurisdictions for IT business. Besides, the country is creating favorable conditions for the development of blockchain technology and businesses based on it,” said Yanchevsky.

The primary motive of the government of Belarus in providing a favorable environment for both cryptocurrency businesses and investors is to better facilitate the growth of its digital economy, beginning with the fastest growing technology and financial network in bitcoin.

Similar to Zug in Switzerland, better known as Crypto Valley, the Belarus government plans to address the rapidly growing demand for ICOs and token sales by establishing an ecosystem in which blockchain projects and startups can freely, without being concerned about regulatory conflicts and boundaries, issue crypto-tokens.

Denis Aleinikov, a senior partner at law firm Aleinikov & Partners, who is one of the main individuals that led the cryptocurrency bill to presidential approval, emphasized that the government also seeks to see an exponential growth rate in its smart contracts and blockchain industry.

As such, the government aims to provide full support towards decentralized applications and blockchain projects working toward commercializing and deploying smart contracts at a large scale.

“Smart contract may solve the fundamental problem of all humanity which is a failure to fulfill what has been agreed on paper. A computer program takes the function of a contract’s automatic fulfillment,” said Aleinikov.

Significance of Belarus’ Friendly Regulations

Currently, the global cryptocurrency market is largely dominated by four regions: the US, South Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong. The US and Japan settle more than 60 percent of the global bitcoin and cryptocurrency trades, while South Korea and Hong Kong account for more than 10 percent of the market.

In the past, leading cryptocurrency markets like Australia with innovative startups and well-backed early-stage companies struggled to demonstrate success due to the inefficient and impractical policies imposed by the government. This year, the Australian government passed various regulations to eliminate taxes for investors and offer friendly regulations for businesses. Still, the Australian bitcoin market is lagging behind other regions.

At this early stage of development and adoption, countries like Belarus could solidify themselves as leading regions in the global cryptocurrency market by garnering talents, startups, and projects.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Source: CNN

23 Dec 2017

Experts: Each Bitcoin Could be Worth $60,000 by December 2018


If its price hikes are any indication, 2017 has arguably been a successful year for Bitcoin. Just how much higher could this cryptocurrency go?


There’s no doubt about it: Bitcoin has proven itself to be the most resilient cryptocurrency around, overcoming a number of hurdles, including hard forks, in 2017. The currency hit a new record price of $19,796 per coin on December 17, before falling to its current price of $13,164 per coin (at the time of writing). Naturally, the record year has observers rife with speculation about the future of Bitcoin.

Experts predict that, a year from now, the price of bitcoin could grow more than triple its record value. “Bitcoin can reach $60,000 by [December] 2018,” Mike Dumont, a senior editor for, told Futurism.

Medicalchain COO Mohammed Tayeb shared a similar prediction. “Bitcoin could reach $50,000 by this time next year, if not more,” he told Futurism. “I think all of us are less and less surprised by the headlines that are coming out nearly monthly about the breakthrough Bitcoin is making and it should come as no surprise when it does reach $50,000.”

Bitcoin’s meteoric price hike has already gone beyond what some experts have previously predicted. Just a few months ago, one estimated that it could hit a now-modest-seeming $6,000 before the year ends, while another said Bitcoin would reach $10,000 by April 2018.

Jeremy Epstein, the CEO of Blockchain startups marketing firm Never Stop Marketing, believes that the price of Bitcoin could go up to $18,000 before the end of 2017. “Like anyone, I’ve been mega-surprised by how quickly Bitcoin has hit the mainstream,” he told Futurism.

“As far as the price goes, I tell everyone the exact same thing. It’s not about a year price horizon. It’s about a 5-year price horizon and there’s a 50-50 chance,” Epstein added, saying that he wouldn’t be surprised if Bitcoin reaches $250,000 or more in the next 5 years. He did note, however, that it’s still “a coin toss between huge success and total failure.”


While the growth of Bitcoin is undeniable, it’s perhaps the same trend that makes some less excited about the cryptocurrency. Critics have often referred to Bitcoin as a bubble, and one that could burst with potentially extreme consequences.

“[I]s it a bubble? … yes,” said Armindo Araújo, the head of finance, planning and control at French corporate and investment bank NATIXIS, in an interview with Futurism. “[T]he demand for it will keep it moving up, yes. For how long? I would love to know.”

“My understanding is that [Bitcoin’s] position in one year will depend, on one side, on the evolution of regulation and acceptance by the global markets,” Araújo added, “and on another side, on the increasing demand and acceptance of Bitcoin as it grows mainstream.”

Epstein shares this sentiment. “Bubble is a convenient, pejorative word used by some to explain something they don’t understand. I don’t think it’s a bubble because the deflationary nature/fixed supply is what makes Bitcoin unique,” he explained, adding that the bubble “is in many of the alt-coins. Much of them are nonsense.”

He did, however, call for caution. “I am planning on HODLing,” Epstein said, which is his acronym for Hold On for Dear Life. “I think it’s wise to take some money off the table… maybe what you invested, plus whatever you consider to be a great return.”

Whatever the case may be, these experts agree that the price of Bitcoin will continue to rise, at least for the coming year. At the same time, cryptocurrencies seem to have a pretty solid future ahead. “Cryptos are here to stay because money can only be digital in our digital world,” Dumont explained. “At some point, humans stopped using seashells and exotic bones as money. Digital money is an upgrade over paper money. You can’t take $1 billion in paper cash and transport it via spaceship to a human base on the moon or Mars.”

“We are seeing a radical shift in power and decentralization,” Tayeb told Futurism. “2018 will continue from 2017, to be an exciting time to be involved in cryptocurrencies.”

Source: Futurism

20 Dec 2017

A Web Company Is Offering to Pay Their Employees’ Salaries in Bitcoin


A Japanese web hosting company will begin offering their employees the option of receiving part of their salaries in the form of bitcoin. Starting in February, workers can opt to receive between 1,000 yen ($88) and 100,000 yen ($890) of their paychecks in the popular cryptocurrency.


GMO Internet, a Japanese web hosting company, has just offered to pay a portion of their employees’ salaries in bitcoin.

The shift is entirely optional, and the company is offering a range of entry points into the initiative. Starting in February, some workers will have the option of receiving as little as 10,000 yen (around $88) or as much as 100,000 yen (around $890) of their salaries in bitcoin. The offer will eventually expand to all of the company’s more than 4,000 employees.

Image credit: Antana/Flickr
Image credit: Antana/Flickr

In May, GMO Internet debuted a bitcoin trading and exchange business, and in January, they will add a bitcoin mining business to their roster of services. The company is even planning to launch their own initial coin offering (ICO) for the GMO coin, which owners could use to purchase cryptocurrency, next-gen mining boards, or a piece of a cloud mining business.

GMO Internet believes this employee compensation program could help them become more familiar with bitcoin as they dive further into the cryptocurrency space. “We hope to improve our own literacy of virtual currency by actually using it,” company spokeswoman Harumi Ishii told The Guardian.


Bitcoin has enjoyed a wild ride this year, surging in both popularity and value. At the beginning of 2017, prices hovered around the $1,000 threshold, but now, bitcoin sits well above the $18,000 mark. Expectations are high that it will surpass $20,000, possibly even before the end of the year.

Bitcoin is also gaining traction with businesses, which are helping to legitimize the crypto by accepting it as a valid form of payment. Still, bitcoin is now in an unprecedented position as a currency that’s being used more as an investment than something to spend.

No one can really say, to any degree of certainty, what the future holds for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Some experts see this impressive year as just the growing of a massive bubble set to pop at any moment, while others believe the upward swings in value are ushering in a new era in finance.

GMO Internet is hoping to offset some of bitcoin’s volatility by offering employees a 10 percent bonus if choose to receive a portion of their salaries in bitcoin. Employees that do could convert their bitcoin salary into traditional currency at any point or see where the bitcoin rollercoaster takes them.

Some analysts predict that bitcoin could continue soaring upward toward a value of $400,000, so employees willing to wait out any ups and downs could ultimately be heavily rewarded.

Bitcoin’s path may be unwritten, but with every person or organization that decides to give it a go, the crypto’s continued success becomes a bit more certain.

Source: Futurism