Tag Archives | alternative currencies

Idiot’s Guide to Bitcoin

Bitcoin banknoteJust in case there are any disinfonauts still wondering what this Bitcoin thing is, Venturebeat supplies an idiot’s guide:

Drama, greed, controversy, conspiracy, crime, risk, theft, speculation, wealth — such was the world of Bitcoin in 2013.

The crypto-currency captivated us with its soaring highs and plunging lows in 2013, rising from $10 to $1,200 in the course of a year. It surpassed the value of gold at its peak before crashing down to $500. Today it flutters between $380 and $682 on different exchanges.

We watched breathlessly as early Bitcoin owners became millionaires and authorities seized millions of dollars worth of Bitcoins from the the Web’s notorious black market, the Silk Road. We witnessed efforts to uncover the identity of Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, and we listened to luminaries in finance and economics heatedly debate Bitcoin’s future.

Millions of people followed the saga, but far fewer chose to buy Bitcoin themselves amidst all the uncertainty and volatility.

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Bitcoin Smackdown: Kanye vs. Coinye

coinyeannounceLook for the launch of Coinye, a Bitcoin wannabe, to be moved up from the planned January 11, 2014 release date to as soon as 7 PM PST today, January 7. Unless Kanye West ruins the fun and succeeds in suppressing Coinye, that is. The Wall Street Journal reports on his legal foray thus far:

Lawyers for Kanye West filed cease-and-desist papers against the seven anonymous coders behind Coinye West, a virtual currency that went from chatroom joke to Internet sensation last week.

The legal document, dated Jan. 6, includes an image of Coinye – a cartoon representation of West on a gold medallion. West’s lawyer argues trademark infringement.

“Given Mr. West’s wide-ranging entrepreneurial accomplishments, consumers are likely to mistakenly believe that Mr. West is the source of your services,” wrote Brad Rose, a partner at Pryor Cashman LLP, which has previously worked for West.

Hoping to keep pace with the self-assured, brash West, the techies aren’t backing down.

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Bitcoin Flirts With Price Above $300 Per Coin, New Record High

opengraphBitcoin has achieved the impossible, becoming the world’s most valued currency not created by any central bank or government entity. Earlier today, markets saw Bitcoin go above $300 per coin with a total market capitalization above $3.2 billion.

As Bloomberg News noted, today’s price spike might have to do with the BTC China exchange coming online, providing another way for international users to buy and sell their Bitcoin holdings.

At time of publication, I hold a small quantity of Bitcoin. The price of Bitcoin is volatile, not insured, and may lose value.Read the rest

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Two Million Dollars a Month in Bitcoin Drug Sales

Photo: Satoshi (PD)

Via Ars Technica:

A recent Carnegie Mellon study sheds light on the Bitcoin-fueled economy of the internet’s underground drug bazaar Silk Road.

Silk Road is an online marketplace that uses Tor and Bitcoin to preserve the anonymity of all involved. The site itself is set up as a Tor hidden service, which makes it practically impossible to locate the site’s servers. And the use of Bitcoins prevents the authorities from identifying market participants by following the money.

Most of the items listed for sale are illegal drugs. To place an order, the buyer transmits the appropriate number of Bitcoins to the site operators, who hold the funds in escrow while the goods are shipped. Once the buyer confirms the product has arrived, the escrowed funds are released to the seller.

Christin began crawling Silk Road in November 2011. From February to July of this year, he attempted to crawl the site on a daily basis, yielding a wealth of data about activity on the site.

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