Land grab: Governments may be big backers of the blockchain

  • But now it also uses the technology underlying bitcoin, called the “blockchain”, to help secure Georgian government records.
  • Experts are eyeing the experiment for proof of whether blockchain technology could alter the infrastructure of government everywhere.
  • Brian Forde, a blockchain expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, argues that governments will drive its adoption—an ironic twist for something that began as a libertarian counter model to centralised authority.
  • According to a recent IBM survey of government leaders (conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, our sister company), nine in ten government organisations say they plan to invest in blockchain technology to help manage financial transactions, assets, contracts and regulatory compliance by next year.
  • Valery Vavilov, BitFury’s head, says blockchains are not merely a business opportunity, but a way to change how governments serve their citizens.

IN THE hills overlooking Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital, sits a nondescript building housing rows of humming computer servers. The data centre, operated by the BitFury Group, a technology company, was built to “mine” (cryptographically generate) bitcoin, the digital currency.
Continue reading “Land grab: Governments may be big backers of the blockchain”

Virtual vertigo: What if the bitcoin bubble bursts?

If a tulip isn't the right analogue for the rise of bitcoin, how about gold?

  • MARKETS frequently froth and bubble, but the boom in bitcoin, a digital currency, is extraordinary.
  • Many already familiar with bitcoin investing have moved on to bet on alternatives, such as Ethereum, and “initial coin offerings” (ICOs), in which firms issue digital tokens of their own.
  • Rather than being just a form of digital gold, bitcoin aspires to loftier goals: to be a means of exchange like the euro, yen or the dollar.
  • Some of the price surge can be explained by Japan’s decision to treat bitcoin more like any other currency.
  • If bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies are unlike anything else, what are they?

MARKETS frequently froth and bubble, but the boom in bitcoin, a digital currency, is extraordinary. Although its price is down from an all-time high of $2,420 on May 24th, it has more than doubled in just two months.
Continue reading “Virtual vertigo: What if the bitcoin bubble bursts?”

Bitcoin is taking off after China’s biggest exchanges allow withdrawals

#Bitcoin is taking off after China's biggest exchanges allow withdrawals

  • The cryptocurrency trades up 4.1% at $2,407 a coin following news that China’s three largest bitcoin exchanges are allowing customers to withdraw bitcoins from their accounts.
  • The news follows months of uncertainty for customers of the exchanges, who back in February were told they would be unable to take bitcoin out of their accounts.
  • At the time, bitcoin was threatening its record high of $1,161 a coin before plunging more than 10% on the news.
  • Aside from the US Securities and Exchange Commission rejecting two bitcoin ETFs, bitcoin has seen a steady stream of good news.
  • Additionally, Russia’s largest online retailer, Ulmart, began accepting bitcoin despite Russia’s saying it wouldn’t consider the use of the cryptocurrency until 2018

    Last week, the Digital Currency Group, representing 56 companies in 21 countries, reached a scaling agreement at the Consensus 2017 conference in New York.

Bitcoin is back to its old ways after a few quiet sessions. The cryptocurrency trades up 4.1% at…
Continue reading “Bitcoin is taking off after China’s biggest exchanges allow withdrawals”

Antarctic ice crack takes major turn

Antarctic ice crack takes major turn - BBC News #bitcoin #Antarctica

  • There has been an important development in the big crack cutting across the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica.
  • Image copyright
    NASA

    When the berg’s calving does finally take place, the block will probably drift away quite gradually from the ice shelf.

  • Taking out such a large chunk of ice would mean the Larsen C shelf would lose more than 10% of its area.
  • Similar calving events on the more northerly Larsen A and Larsen B ice shelves eventually led to their total break-up.
  • In recent decades, a dozen major ice shelves have disintegrated, significantly retreated or lost substantial volume – including Prince Gustav Channel, Larsen Inlet, Larsen A, Larsen B, Wordie, Muller, Jones Channel, and Wilkins.

One of the biggest icebergs ever seen is a step closer to forming on the edge of the Larsen C shelf.
Continue reading “Antarctic ice crack takes major turn”

Chinese bitcoin exchanges resume withdrawals after freeze

Chinese bitcoin exchanges resume withdrawals after freeze

  • REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

    SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Major Chinese bitcoin exchanges have started to resume allowing withdrawals of the cryptocurrency after nearly a four-month freeze that followed increased scrutiny from the central bank.

  • Two industry sources said OkCoin, China’s third major cryptocurrency exchange, had resumed allowing withdrawals.
  • Major exchanges halted withdrawals of bitcoins in early February, introduced trading fees and stepped up scrutiny of clients amid discussions with authorities.
  • While withdrawals were suspended, investors could buy and sell bitcoins on Chinese exchanges but were barred from transferring them or downloading and removing them.
  • Bitcoin’s relative anonymity prompted some industry observers to say it had become an attractive, if niche, option for tech-savvy Chinese to hedge against the yuan and skirt rules limiting how much foreign exchange individuals could buy each year.

Major Chinese bitcoin exchanges have started to resume allowing withdrawals of the cryptocurrency after nearly a four-month freeze that followed increased scrutiny from the central bank. Bobby Lee, chief executive of BTCChina, said in a statement on Thursday that his exchange had started “testing
Continue reading “Chinese bitcoin exchanges resume withdrawals after freeze”