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What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a digital crypto-currency with no single point of failure due to its decentralized peer-to-peer architecture. The source code is publicly available and changes to the reference Bitcoin client are made via concensus within the community. Advantages of Bitcoin include irreversible transactions (i.e. no possibility of chargebacks as with credit cards), pseudo-anonymous, limited and fixed inflation, near instant transactions, multi-platform, no double-spend and little to no barriers to entry and more. It was created by an anonymous person known as Satoshi Nakamoto. Find out more at WeUseCoins.com.

Bitcoin Latest News

Can Bitcoin's First Felon Help Make Cryptocurrency a Trillion-Dollar Market? - Fortune


Fortune

Can Bitcoin's First Felon Help Make Cryptocurrency a Trillion-Dollar Market?
Fortune
Bitcoin's first felon is in his favorite mode: full-on bluster. We're in Sarasota, where he lives, perched on stools at Pangea Alchemy Lab, a faux-speakeasy tucked behind a curtain in the back of a sandwich shop. The bartender is a bearded anarchist ...

Posted on 26 June 2017 | 4:30 am

Getting Smarter About Smart Contracts

A lawyer breaks down the existing legislation that determines whether smart contracts are smart, legally binding or a even contract at all.

Source

Posted on 26 June 2017 | 4:00 am

'Flippening' Flop? As Ethereum's Price Pulls Back, Market Remains Bullish - CoinDesk


Sarasota Herald-Tribune

'Flippening' Flop? As Ethereum's Price Pulls Back, Market Remains Bullish
CoinDesk
But while bitcoin, the original cryptocurrency, has historically been the largest, its market share has been declining steadily, spurred in no small part by the growing use of ethereum. The question now on many investor minds is will this trend ...
Move over bitcoin. Ether is the digital currency of the momentSarasota Herald-Tribune

all 5 news articles »

Posted on 26 June 2017 | 3:05 am

'Flippening' Flop? As Ethereum's Price Pulls Back, Market Remains Bullish

After weeks of growth, it seems ether's much-hyped 'Flippening' – overtaking bitcoin as the most valuable cryptocurrency – is on hold.

Source

Posted on 26 June 2017 | 3:00 am

Bitcoin Price, Explained - CoinTelegraph


CoinTelegraph

Bitcoin Price, Explained
CoinTelegraph
In 2009, the year Bitcoin was created, nobody could have thought it would gain such popularity. The initial price was about $0.001. Over the next five years there were no significant events, so the price rose slowly with little fluctuations. In 2013 ...
Money systems: Why rupee should mimic BitcoinThe Express Tribune

all 3 news articles »

Posted on 26 June 2017 | 2:43 am

Barclays spoke to regulators about bringing bitcoin 'into play' - CNBC


CNBC

Barclays spoke to regulators about bringing bitcoin 'into play'
CNBC
Barclays U.K. CEO Ashok Vaswani told CNBC that the bank has spoken to regulators about cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. Vaswani did not reveal the content of the discussions with Britain's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), but said it involved talking ...

and more »

Posted on 26 June 2017 | 2:27 am

How to Use Your Bitcoin Wallet to Get Free Coins - 99 Bitcoins (blog)


How to Use Your Bitcoin Wallet to Get Free Coins
99 Bitcoins (blog)
As a distribution method, giving away quantities of a new coin to Bitcoin holders – individuals with a proven interest in cryptocurrency – is perhaps the surest way to build an initial base of receptive users. If the new coin also delivers (in terms of ...

Posted on 25 June 2017 | 7:05 pm

Bitcoin Miners are Rejecting Segwit For Non-Technical Reasons - The Merkle


The Merkle

Bitcoin Miners are Rejecting Segwit For Non-Technical Reasons
The Merkle
It has become evident that miners are not opposed to the Bitcoin Core development team's transaction malleability fix Segregated Witness (Segwit) given the overwhelming support towards Segwit2x, a proposal made by Barry Silbert-led Digital Currency ...

Posted on 25 June 2017 | 12:10 pm

ICOs: Why There's More Than One Way

EY's Pascal Leblanc discusses an alternative approach to ICOs, putting forth a new model aimed to mitigate the price volatility of tokens.

Source

Posted on 25 June 2017 | 7:00 am

EOS: Unpacking the Big Promises Behind a Possible Blockchain Contender

Dan Larimer says his new project has an infinitely scalable blockchain, but skeptics doubt the controversial figure's ability to pull it off.

Source

Posted on 25 June 2017 | 6:22 am

How to buy bitcoin, ethereum - CNBC.com - CNBC


CNBC

How to buy bitcoin, ethereum - CNBC.com
CNBC
We'll show you how to buy Bitcoin in this simple step-by-step guide.

and more »

Posted on 24 June 2017 | 7:46 am

Analyzing Ether: A Bitcoin Investor's Skeptical Take

Miner and investor 'P4man' looks at the altcoin market to see if there is a credible alternative to bitcoin. Can ethereum cut the mustard?

Source

Posted on 24 June 2017 | 4:00 am

Changing Exchanges: Will the Coinbase of Tomorrow Be Decentralized?

A new wave of decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges that exist almost entirely on a blockchain could do away with middlemen.

Source

Posted on 24 June 2017 | 3:03 am

Local Government in China Trials Blockchain for Public Services

A city district in southern China is using blockchain to streamline government services for its one million residents.

Source

Posted on 23 June 2017 | 3:15 pm

OneCoin 'License' is a Fake, Says Vietnamese Government

OneCoin doesn't have a license to operate in Vietnam despite claims to the contrary, the government said this week.

Source

Posted on 23 June 2017 | 1:25 pm

Top Secret? Bitcoin Scaling Plan Segwit2x Leaves More Questions Than Answers

While SegWit2x has significant support, according to some in the bitcoin community, the group is closing off software development to outsiders.

Source

Posted on 23 June 2017 | 11:20 am

The FBI Received Over 2,600 Ransomware Complaints in 2016

The law enforcement agency received more than 2,600 complaints about ransomware last year, according to a new report.

Source

Posted on 23 June 2017 | 8:15 am

Coin Center: US Senate's Digital Currency Bill Is 'Counterproductive'

US advocacy group Coin Center has said that an anti-money laundering bill before the Senate could disrupt existing rules for digital currency firms.

Source

Posted on 23 June 2017 | 7:00 am

Accounting Coalition Moves to Work with Regulators on Blockchain Innovation

To prevent regulation falling behind innovation, the Accounting Blockchain Coalition launched five working groups at an event this week.

Source

Posted on 23 June 2017 | 6:00 am

Cryptocurrency: How We Hook the Masses

Could cryptocurrency rewards demonstrate the value of the technology and ultimately help bring mass adoption? Jaywalk CEO Rich Svinkin believes so.

Source

Posted on 23 June 2017 | 4:00 am

Too Many Cryptocurrencies? Huobi Launches Quantitative Model for Investors

A major China-based exchange has launched a new quantitative analysis tool designed to help traders make long-term cryptocurrency investments.

Source

Posted on 23 June 2017 | 3:00 am

Blockchain-Based Remittance Companies Win at RemTECH Awards Ceremony

RemTech Awards

The global remittance industry’s blockchain-based startups got a boost recently at the Remittance Technology (RemTECH) awards held at the United Nations in New York, from June 16 to 18 as part of the UN Global Forum on Remittances, Investment and Development.

Of the 11 award-winning remittance companies, five startups built on the blockchain were winners. The entries were judged on price, speed, the onboarding of enterprise clients (for white label solutions) and seamless delivery.

The aim of the RemTECH awards is to showcase the most innovative and outstanding ideas, models and projects designed to improve remittance services worldwide by improving transparency, speed, cost and reliability for companies and end-users that send and receive remittances.

Hugo Cuevas-Mohr, Director of the RemTECH Awards, told Bitcoin Magazine:

“Even though large money transfer companies still don’t see the importance of the breakthroughs of blockchain-based and Bitcoin remittance startups, the RemTECH Judging Panel was impressed by some of the solutions presented by companies like Bitso and Everex, just to name two of them.”

“The Awards gave new blockchain startups a chance to shine in the spotlight of the United Nations Forum where the public and private sector met to discuss the challenges of the remittance industry. At IMTC (International Money Transfer Conferences) we are striving to create this dialog of incumbents and fintech firms to work together and create win-win partnerships. It’s not easy but it is happening,” added Cuevas-Mohr.

Bitcoin and blockchain services AirPocket, Bitso, Everex, Moneytis and Trulioo took home the following awards:

Remittances and Financial Inclusion: AirPocket

AirPocket, built on the Bitcoin blockchain, serves Latin America with tens of thousands of payout locations and is supported by the top banks in each country.

Pioneering Spirit: Bitso

Mexican bitcoin exchange Bitso, which raised $2.5 million last September, has been working with Canadian payments startup Paycase to create a new remittance corridor between the two countries and send funds from bank accounts in Canada to Mexico.

Most Innovative Service: Moneytis

Bitcoin blockchain-based Moneytis aims to offer the lowest possible fees to help empower unbanked groups in the developing world. They also have a notification service that monitors all exchange rates in real-time and sends alerts when a significant change happens.

Potential for Growth: Trulioo

Trulioo is a Canadian blockchain-based financial technology company that in addition to remittance services, offers identity verification services for businesses and organizations worldwide using government and private databases.

Service Originality: Everex

Everex was the only Ethereum-based platform nominated. In addition to its contributions to remittance services, Everex has also developed a system for placing national currencies on the blockchain. By doing so, Everex allows people living in cash-based societies to earn a public financial reputation.

“The judges knew about Ethereum, and were excited by the ongoing experiments taking place on the network by individual users, small businesses and multinational corporations,” said Alexi Lane, CEO of Everex, in a statement. “This technology will transform the remittance industry and increase financial inclusion everywhere.”

Greta Geankoplis, a CEO and IMTC (International Money Transfer & Payments Conferences) advisor and entrepreneur who has developed blockchain systems and technology, co-chaired the judges panel. She told Bitcoin Magazine:

“Blockchain (and some Bitcoin specifically) platform-based companies competed shoulder to shoulder with older technology for delivering cross-border value to diverse customers in widely varying environments.

But this is just the beginning. Blockchain platforms in the $700 billion remittance industry holds the promise of leveraging many other needed services in the fastest growing markets: mobile based, micro insurance, loans, education, and remote healthcare to name a few.”

Other blockchain-based companies that were nominated for a RemTECH award included Bitex, Cashaa, DigitalX and OKLink.

The post Blockchain-Based Remittance Companies Win at RemTECH Awards Ceremony appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 22 June 2017 | 11:18 am

Coinbase Appeals Decision in Cryptsy Collapse Lawsuit

Coinbase is appealing a court decision from earlier this month in a lawsuit filed on behalf of customers of Cryptsy.

Source

Posted on 22 June 2017 | 10:35 am

Cambodian Central Bank Is Trialing Blockchain Technology

cambodia.jpg

The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) announced that it plans to launch a blockchain trial at the end of 2017 that aims to improve the central bank’s ability to monitor and facilitate interbank lending.

In April, the Cambodian central bank entered into a partnership with Japanese blockchain startup Soramitsu to co-develop the Hyperledger Iroha ledger to build a new payment infrastructure on top of distributed ledger technology. Hyperledger Iroha is an open-source blockchain software that allows users to store and transfer data as well as develop smart contracts, which makes it suitable for the development of digital payment systems.

However, the National Bank of Cambodia stated that it is not focusing on creating a new digital currency at this point. Instead, the new blockchain trial will aim to reduce the costs in Cambodia’s interbank lending market, according to a local news publication.

“We expect the new technology to provide smooth, efficient, safe and affordable interbank transactions which will ultimately benefit end users. At this stage we will focus on the operational functionality of the system, but we believe the system can further be customized with application development to benefit the [central] bank’s monetary policy, including the use of the local currency,” NBC Director-General Chea Serey told the Phnom Penh Post.

Having said that, Serey also mentioned that “a cashless system is less costly and more transparent for the whole economy. This has always been on our agenda, but we needed time to study the different platforms available,” suggesting that a digital Cambodian riel is not off the table in the future.

Serey further added that the National Bank of Cambodia’s motivation for developing blockchain solutions is to give the central bank greater control over the country’s monetary policy, which is constrained by the Kingdom’s heavy use of the U.S. dollar.

Central Banks Around the World Look to the Blockchain

The National Bank of Cambodia is not the only central bank looking at possible implementation of blockchain technology.

The People’s Bank of China, for example, announced in January that it has completed a blockchain trial for a new Chinese digital currency by digitizing the Chinese yuan and transacting with a range local banks. The Canadian central bank, the Bank of Canada, is also interested in what blockchain technology can offer, having run a similar trial to test blockchain-based digitized fiat currency for interbank payments.

The Bank of England is also exploring blockchain opportunities through its multi-year research program that explores the implication of central banks issuing digital currencies. For Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, the most interesting use case for blockchain technology is the securities settlement process. He called it “ripe for innovation.”

“A typical settlement chain involves many intermediaries, making it comparatively slow and keeping operational risks high. Industry has begun to work together to determine how distributed ledger technologies could be used to solve these issues at scale,” Carney added, speaking at a fintech conference in London in April.

Given the number of blockchain trials that central banks are conducting across the globe, it will not be surprising to see a wave of digitization of fiat currencies taking place in the years to come.

The post Cambodian Central Bank Is Trialing Blockchain Technology appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 22 June 2017 | 9:43 am

Illicit Cryptocurrency Use Targeted in Proposed 2018 FBI Budget

Cryptocurrency is being cited by the FBI as a reason it needs to increase its spending in an effort to combat more advanced cybercrime.

Source

Posted on 22 June 2017 | 9:25 am

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US Government Seeks Blockchain Solutions for Contract Bidding System

The US government’s main logistical agency is looking at blockchain as a way to re-envision its contract review process.

Source

Posted on 22 June 2017 | 8:45 am

IMF's Lagarde Touts Distributed Ledger as Defense Against Terror

The head of one of the world's largest financial organizations has issued new comments addressing blockchain trends.

Source

Posted on 22 June 2017 | 6:53 am

Ether Price Analysis: Here’s What Just Went Down

Ether Price Analysis

A few days ago, just before a 25% market pullback, ETH-USD reached all-time high values upward of $420 as ICO investors desperately tried to accumulate ether to purchase Bancor tokens. The Bancor ICO was single-handedly responsible for congesting the Ethereum networks as users scrambled to get their ICO orders in time. This created a scenario where individuals were spending large sums of ETH to expedite their transactions and push other transaction times further and further back — the sheer volume of which could not be handled by many exchanges and wallets.

Coinbase Status.png

Figure 1: Coinbase Ethereum Transactions Delayed

Across multiple exchanges, messages like the one above began popping up yesterday as the perfect storm of ICO congestion from “Status” met a flood of ETH being sold off to BTC via the ETH-BTC markets (shown in yellow in the figure below). At the time of this article, the aftermath of the Status ICO is still being felt as many wallets and exchanges still have Ether-related services disabled. coinbase-ethbtc-Jun-21-2017-14-41-33.png

Figure 2: ETH-BTC, 1 HR Candles, GDAX

Once the services begin to open up and allow cold storage holders to get their coins on the market, one can only speculate how far the price will continue to be pushed down. Given the long-term, bearish indicators on the ETH-USD markets, it is entirely possible that we will see further tests of the lower support levels (shown in brown). The relatively low volume on this recent dip indicates the real price action has yet to truly begin. Because of the backlogged transactions from the Status ICO event, the volume we have seen thus far has mostly likely only been by those who held their coins on the exchange. The MACD and RSI (indicators of market momentum) are showing no sign of divergence (market momentum reversal) and there is very little upward pressure to keep the price aloft.

coinbase-ethusd-Jun-21-2017-15-55-12.png

Figure 3: ETH-USD, 6 HR Candles, GDAX

Where the bottom of this bear run truly lies remains to be seen. However, for the first time since the double-digit values, the 1-day candles are showing a bearish trend on the MACD (shown in purple), and the RSI is showing a loss of momentum (divergence shown in orange). As it stands, ETH-USD is sitting on the first Fibonacci Retracement Line at ~$315 where it is flirting with the idea of lower values.

kraken-ethusd-Jun-21-2017-16-13-58.png

Figure 4: ETH-USD, 1 Day Candles, Kraken

Bancor and Status set record transaction volumes and accumulated millions of USD in the form of ETH. Is $300 the bottom of this Bear Run? Maybe. But one has to ask, “What would you do if you just had two of the largest ICOs in history, where the value of the ETH used to fund your project is at all time high values? Would you watch your capital dwindle away under bearish conditions, or would you cash out?"

Trading and investing in digital assets like bitcoin and ether is highly speculative and comes with many risks. This analysis is for informational purposes and should not be considered investment advice. Statements and financial information on Bitcoin Magazine and BTCMedia related sites do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BTCMedia and should not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation to buy, sell or hold. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

The post Ether Price Analysis: Here’s What Just Went Down appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 21 June 2017 | 2:10 pm

Dogecoin Creator Jackson Palmer Is Concerned About Ethereum’s ICO Bubble

Dogecoin Creator Jackson Palmer Is Concerned About Ethereum’s ICO Bubble

One of the biggest stories in cryptocurrency over the past couple of months has been the meteoric rise of the ether price and the speculative frenzy around the Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) launching on top of the Ethereum platform. In a recent video uploaded to his personal YouTube channel, Dogecoin creator Jackson Palmer shared some of his thoughts on ICOs and their effect on the ether price.

“The real reason the [ether] price has been going up something like a hundred dollars per week for the past month is really just greed: greed from developers, greed from investors [and] greed from everybody in this speculative market,” said Palmer in a summary of his main point on the topic of Ethereum and ICOs. “And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. People making money is how the world works. But it’s the way in which it’s been happening and the speed at which people have been doing these ICOs that is a little bit concerning.”

This Is Not Our First Rodeo with ICOs

Before getting into the details of the current speculative bubble around ICOs, Palmer pointed out that this is not the cryptocurrency community’s first rodeo when it comes to these sorts of token sales and speculative investment opportunities.

As specific examples of past token sales from an earlier time, Palmer pointed to Mastercoin (now Omni) and Ethereum itself.

Then there was Havelock Investments, “literally a platform where you could buy securities or invest and get equity in a company based on bitcoin,” added Palmer.

In addition to Havelock Investments, public offerings for investment were also made on platforms such as Bitfunder, BTC-TC and GLBSE.

Palmer also brought up several infamous cases of bad investments or outright scams from the past.

He discussed Neo & Bee, a startup that failed in spectacular fashion after raising funds through various bitcoin-based stock exchanges. Cyprus eventually issued an arrest warrant for Neo & Bee CEO Danny Brewster.

Then Palmer also recalled the infamous case of Josh Garza and his schemes related to cloud mining and the altcoin known as Paycoin.

“They launched a coin that was literally just a token to facilitate their Ponzi scheme,” said Palmer. “And they would actually sell a product that didn’t exist.”

Why Are We Seeing a Flurry of ICOs Right Now?

So, if these sorts of schemes have existed in the past, why are we seeing a boom around the concept today? In Palmer’s view, Ethereum’s ERC20 token standard has made it easier for anyone to launch a token sale on their own.

“Because it’s so easy and a standard to copy, there’s been a lot of people that can just fire up an ICO in a couple of minutes,” said Palmer. “There’s actually a couple of websites out there that’ll let you generate an ICO or generate a token on Ethereum with no coding required.”

Although previous token sales did not involve much more than a Bitcoin address and a spreadsheet, Palmer said there’s something more tangible about the process on Ethereum.

“Something that is more tangible about Ethereum ICOs is that when you send the ether to the contract, the Ethereum network does recognize — and many wallets out there because of the ERC20 standard will recognize — that you got whatever coin or whatever token shows up in your wallet,” said Palmer. “So, it’s a lot more tangible. You’re not just sending money somewhere and never hearing about it again.”

Palmer added that developers need to take a step back and question whether it’s right for them to raise $150 million for their “little startup.” As a comparison, Palmer noted that normal seed round funding for a startup is between half a million to a million dollars.

“Many of them don’t even have a tangible product yet,” claimed Palmer.

While Palmer’s video casted a cautious tone over the entire ICO market, he did mention Status.im and Civic as two projects with legitimate, tangible technology behind them.

How Are These ICOs Affecting the Price of Ether?

Another aspect of the speculation around Ethereum-based ICOs is the effect these digital assets have had on the price of ether. There’s been a flurry of ICOs launched on the platform in the past few months, with some projects raising over $100 million in a matter of minutes.

“When [an ICO is launched], the only way to buy into these ERC20 contracts or these ICOs is through ether or Ethereum, so if these companies are raising $150 million in ether, that’s locking that ether up in that contract,” said Palmer. “And so, it’s taking that money off the market. So, what happens is you have this shortened supply, but there’s an ICO coming on the market every single week. And so, people are getting really excited about this and trying to buy up ether.

“This is what’s really happening,” Palmer continued. “This is what’s driving the bulk of the [ether] purchases and trade right now is people buying ether to send to a contract in the hope they’ll get rich quick off one of these ICOs.”

In Palmer’s view, the speculative boom and FOMO driven by the ICO market has spilled out into the entire cryptocurrency market.

Watch the full video here:


The post Dogecoin Creator Jackson Palmer Is Concerned About Ethereum’s ICO Bubble appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 21 June 2017 | 10:49 am

Op Ed: How Cryptocurrency Holders Can Diversify While Deferring Taxes

Quasi-charitable Trusts: How Cryptocurrency Holders Can Diversify While Deferring Taxes

With the historic rally in Bitcoin and Ethereum, there are more investors than ever seeking to diversify their newly expanded cryptocurrency holdings. Whether this diversification involves exchanging cryptocurrency for fiat, other cryptocurrencies or a mix of both, the downside can be capital gains tax exposure.

Capital gains (if the underlying property has been held for over a year) are taxed at 15 percent, 18.8 percent or 23.8 percent, dependent upon the amount of income received during the year. One common method of tax reduction is to spread sales/exchanges over multiple years, in order to “soak up” the maximum amount of income into the 15 percent and 18.8 percent brackets.

If you're seeking to diversify, it’s really only practical to spread sales over a few years at most. But what if there were a way to sell immediately while still deferring this capital gains income over a much longer period, such as 20 years or even a lifetime? And what if this method were able to also provide some benefit to charity, with a corresponding charitable deduction?

Enter the Charitable Remainder Trust

This can actually be done with a quasi-charitable trust, namely a charitable remainder trust. With a charitable remainder trust, you contribute some amount of your cryptocurrency to a trust before selling. The trust then sells the cryptocurrency (or otherwise diversifies) on a completely tax-free basis. The proceeds of sale stay within the trust, where they can be reinvested in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, other cryptocurrency or almost any other investment asset.

In exchange for your contribution of cryptocurrency, the trust makes a payment to you each year for so long as you are alive. (You can alternatively choose to have the payment made for the joint lives of you and your spouse, or some shorter fixed term of years.) You choose the amount of this annual payment at the time you create the trust.

The whole process is sort of like receiving an annuity in exchange for your cryptocurrency. This payment can be a fixed amount, or it can be expressed as a fluctuating percentage of trust assets each year. When you pass away, whatever is left passes to a charity of your choice.

There are numerous tax benefits:

  1. The sale or exchange of cryptocurrency is completely tax-free.

  2. You personally only pay tax each year on the annual payment you receive from the trust. So if you use a charitable remainder trust to sell $5M of Bitcoin in 2017, but your annual payment for the rest of your life is $250,000 per year, then you only pay tax on $250,000 in 2017. This payment would be taxed at favorable capital gains rates. Depending on the amount of your other annual income, this strategy will likely keep you in the lower capital gains brackets.

  3. In the year of trust creation, you receive an income tax deduction equal to the actuarial value of the charity’s projected gift. This actuarial value is a calculation done by your attorney-CPA. The smaller the payment you select, the larger the charitable deduction. Assuming you choose an appropriate charity, the deduction can be used to reduce up to 30 percent of your income in a given year, and any unusable amount carries forward for up to five future years. For example, if a 42-year-old man were to contribute $2.5M of cryptocurrency to a charitable remainder trust in 2017 and selected an annual payment equal to 5 percent of trust assets, he would receive a charitable deduction of approximately $480,000 (at current IRS rates). That deduction could be used against his taxable income in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

You can even reserve the right to serve as trustee of the trust and to change the charitable remainder beneficiary whenever you please.

There are of course many technical caveats that need to be complied with. Most important, the IRS requires that the actuarial value of the charity’s share must be at least 10 percent of the assets contributed to the trust. Be sure to consult with appropriate counsel to ensure you meet the 10 percent rule and other technical requirements.

If you are looking to reduce and defer income taxes while keeping a guaranteed income for life and doing some good in the process, a charitable remainder trust can be the way to go.

This article is a guest post by Jeff Vandrew Jr. It does not necessarily reflect the views of BTC Media or Bitcoin Magazine and is for general information purposes only; it should not be taken as investment advice. Investors should conduct their own due diligence and consult with a qualified tax/investment professional before attempting anything described in this article.

The post Op Ed: How Cryptocurrency Holders Can Diversify While Deferring Taxes appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 21 June 2017 | 8:47 am

Bitcoin Miners Are Signaling Support for the New York Agreement: Here’s What that Means

Miners Are Signaling Support for the New York Agreement: Here’s What that Means.

As of today, over 80 percent of miners (by hash power) are including the letters “NYA” in the blocks they mine. This follows the publication of letters (translation) in which a group of Chinese Bitcoin companies — notably including most mining pool operators — announced that they would signal support for “the New York Agreement.”

Here’s what this means in the context of Bitcoin Core’s scaling roadmap, the upcoming BIP148 user activated soft fork (UASF) on August 1, 2017, and Bitcoin’s broader scaling debate.

The New York Agreement

The New York Agreement, sometimes referred to as “the Silbert Accord” or “SegWit2x,” is a scaling agreement forged within a significant group of international Bitcoin companies and published just before the Consensus 2017 conference in New York last May. Based on this agreement, a fork of the Bitcoin Core software client is being developed under the name “BTC1.” BTC1 developer Jeff Garzik announced the alpha release of this software last week.

While technical specifics for BTC1 are still being worked out, it seems that rollout of the New York Agreement essentially consists of two stages.

The first stage regards deployment of Segregated Witness (SegWit), the backwards compatible protocol upgrade originally proposed by the Bitcoin Core development team. With 80 percent has power support, BTC1 should actually trigger activation of the SegWit implementation embedded in Bitcoin Core clients and should also be compatible with BIP148 clients as long as activation happens before August 1st. With BTC1’s “official” release date set for July 21st, this should be possible.

The second stage concerns the deployment of the hard fork itself, which is not backwards compatible with older Bitcoin clients. This hard fork would double Bitcoin’s “base block size limit” to two megabytes, which combined with the block size limit increase brought by Segregated Witness should make for a total maximum of eight megabytes of block space. This is scheduled for exactly three months after activation of the first stage. So if the “BIP148 deadline” of August 1st is met, the second stage should go into effect before November 1, 2017.

Through letters published shortly after the announcement of the BTC1 alpha software, Chinese mining pool operators confirmed their intent to honor the New York Agreement. Additionally, they announced to include the letters “NYA” in their “coinbase strings.” That’s what we’ve been seeing today.

So what does this “NYA” string actually mean?

Signaling and Signaling

For each block miners mine, they get to send themselves one transaction that includes brand new bitcoins. This is called the “coinbase transaction.” (Not to be confused with the company “Coinbase.”) Like all transactions, this transaction can include a little bit of extra data that actually has nothing to do with the transaction itself. This is what miners sometimes use to “signal” information to the rest of the world.

But broadly speaking, there are really two types of “signaling.”

The first type is signaling support. This requires that actual Bitcoin software has been written to monitor the signals and, once these signals reach some kind of threshold, something actually activates in all of these Bitcoin clients. For example, code for the Segregated Witness soft fork as included in Bitcoin Core clients, will enforce the Segregated Witness rules once 95 percent of newly mined blocks include a specific piece of data in the coinbase strings. If that happens, all these nodes will actually reject transactions and blocks that break the SegWit rules. (Edit: It should be noted that SegWit signaling doesn't use the coinbase transaction for signaling, but the block header.)

The second type is signaling intent. As opposed to signaling support, signaling intent doesn’t actually do anything on a technical level. Rather, it's literally miners sending a message to the world, which has in the past, for example, been used to state a preference for a potential scaling solution. (While miners can also do this through letters or blog posts, coinbase signaling cannot possibly be faked, so it’s a bit more reliable.)

The recent “NYA” signaling is of the second type. It doesn’t actually trigger any code, but it instead lets the world know that the miners intend to support the New York Agreement. Specifically, they seem to indicate that they will be signaling support for the New York Agreement once the BTC1 client is officially released: presumably by July 21st, or at least in time for August 1st. (Though earlier is possible, too.)

But notably, most miners are not signaling support yet — even though it’d be possible to activate SegWit through existing activation methods implemented in Bitcoin Core or BIP148 clients straight away.

Hard Fork

The technical specifics for BTC1 are still being worked out, and that’s especially true for the hard fork part of it.

Right now, it seems that signaling support for SegWit2x should also trigger the hard fork code to be implemented in all BTC1 clients — but only three months down the road. So if SegWit activates before August, BTC1 users should start accepting, and potentially mining, “base blocks” larger than one megabyte by November. In fact, the first base block on the BTC1-chain, the “cut-off block,” will likely even have to be bigger than one megabyte.

But it’s far from certain that most non-BTC1 clients will follow this chain. Most notably, the odds of Bitcoin Core — currently the dominant client on the network — adopting the SegWit2x hard fork seem slim. None of the regular Bitcoin Core contributors were part of the New York Agreement, none of them support it, and contentious hard forks have so far not been implemented by the Bitcoin Core development team, more or less as a matter of policy. And even if the Bitcoin Core development team does merge the hard fork code, it would require all users to upgrade to this new version, which is probably even less likely.

As such, if BTC1 users — such as the New York Agreement signatories — follow through and actually run the software three months after the soft fork, there will likely be a split in the Bitcoin network. Some nodes will follow a chain with bigger blocks, some will stick to smaller blocks, and there would effectively be two different coins with a shared history.

But it is too soon to say how such a scenario will play out exactly —  or if it will happen in the first place. Three months is a long time in Bitcoin terms and, in the end, neither written agreements, nor signaling intent are binding on a Bitcoin protocol level.

The post Bitcoin Miners Are Signaling Support for the New York Agreement: Here’s What that Means appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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