Congressman proposes banning bitcoin at House hearing

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Burn the coins!
Image: D-Keine/getty

Look, cryptocurrency is complicated. We get it. What with all the different coins, tokens, ICOs, exchanges, scams, protocols, and DApps, it’s borderline impossible for the casual observer to keep it all straight. 

And so, with that in mind, let us now turn to approximately three combined hours of our elected officials rambling on about the blockchain and our decentralized future.

The fun started early Wednesday, when members of the House Committee on Agriculture held a hearing to discuss the future of the crypto-verse. 

“We should prohibit US persons from buying or mining cryptocurrencies.”

“This hearing will shed light on the promise of digital assets and the regulatory challenges facing this new asset class,” committee chairman Rep. K. Michael Conaway of Texas (R-Texas) explained. “Our committee has a deep interest in promoting strong markets for commodities of all types, including those emerging through new technology.”

But that wasn’t the only fun to be had today. Later in the afternoon, the House Financial Services Committee met to “examine the extent to which the United States government should consider cryptocurrencies as money and the potential domestic and global uses for cryptocurrencies.”

And what did we learn from this esteemed group? Well, for starters, that bitcoin’s got to go. 

“We should prohibit U.S. persons from buying or mining cryptocurrencies,” Rep. Brad Sherman of (D-Calif.) blasted from the podium. “Mining alone uses electricity which takes away from other needs and-or adds to the carbon footprint. As a store, as a medium of exchange, cryptocurrency accomplishes nothing except facilitating narcotics trafficking, terrorism, and tax evasion.”

Good ol’ Sherman.

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Image: screenshot/house financial services committee 

Did you catch that? Mining uses electricity, and therefore should be banned. 

But not everyone agreed with Sherman. Conaway, in his closing statements, seemed to argue in favor of bitcoin — at least as opposed to more privacy-focused cryptocurrency like Monero or Zcash. 

“As long as the stupid criminals keep using bitcoin, we’ll be great,” he observed when commenting on the pseudonymous nature of bitcoin. 

Hear that, stupid criminals? Stick to bitcoin

Other fun gems include Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) admitting that “there’s a lot of things here that don’t make much sense to me.” And yet, Peterson actually seemed to have some relevant statistics at hand, like the fact that “over 80 percent of the initial coin offerings are scams.” 

Good on you, Peterson. 

Over all, the two hearings painted a picture of our elected officials attempting to wrap their heads around this brave new cryptoworld. And hey, that’s a good thing. Everyone has to start somewhere. 

After all, we can’t all be self-assured teen crypto millionaires

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/07/18/congressional-cryptocurrency-hearing-ban-bitcoin/

Bitcoin just passed $7 thousand so BRING ON THE MEMES

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$1,000,000 here we come!
Image: PESHKOVA/GETTY

Oh hell yeah. Bitcoin’s back, baby.

After languishing in the depressing realm of the six thousands for what seemed like forever, the price of bitcoin has skyrocketed straight to the moon! 

Well, skyrocketed past $7,000, anyway.

Yes, friends, it’s time to join the hordes of true believers on Twitter and Reddit in celebration. And while you’re at it, you definitely want to ignore the fact that last December, bitcoin briefly hit $19,000, which means that the current price is less than half of that. But you’re not going to let a little thing like context get in the way of your fun, right? 

Right. Let’s start things off with r/Bitcoin, which celebrated the destruction of the so-called “7k wall.” 

TFW you miss these memes.

Image: screenshot/reddit

And there’s definitely nothing remotely ironic about this roller coaster that only goes up. 

Always up.

Image: screenshot/reddit

Also, it isn’t a party without bitcoin choking out Warren Buffett!

Invest in memes.

Image: screenshot/reddit

Twitter also dropped some of the old-time favorites.

Meanwhile, presidential candidate John “I’ll eat my own dick on TV if Bitcoin doesn’t hit $1,000,000 by 2020″ McAfee has been surprisingly quiet about this rally, but we should expect celebratory comments from him any time now. 

Of course, those meddlesome nocoiners are trying to rain all over this cryptocurrency parade. 

But don’t let them yuck your yum! This price spike is totally organic, has nothing to do with fraud, and can only continue going up forever!

So bask in that sweet, sweet $7,000 feeling — it’s not like it could all come crumbling down in the blink of an eye. Again.

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/07/17/bitcoin-passes-7-thousand/

Bitcoin price passes $7K bringing all 100 top coins up with it

Bitcoin is moving up, and it’s taking 99 of its best friends along for the ride. In the last 24 hours, every one of the top 100 coins by market cap was in the green, with 84 of them posting gains of over 5 percent. At the time of writing, Bitcoin was sitting at $7,310, up 14 percent in the last 7 days and up almost 10 percent in the last 24 hours.

CoinMarketCap Top 100

Bitcoin itself crossed the $7,000 mark for the first time in the last month, an indication — but no sure sign — that it might be shaking off a summer slump that’s seen prices plunge below $6,000 on more than one occasion. Bitcoin is quickly moving back toward early June norms around $7,500, though may meet resistance at $7,750. In March, Bitcoin dipped below the $10,000 mark and it’s been unable to mount a rally back above that level in the months since.

screenshot via CoinMarketCap

They may not last, but mid-July’s gains aren’t just a Bitcoin story. Out of the top 100 coins, 24 coins made double-digit gains in the last 24 hours, including 0x and Zcash, two coins recently tapped by Coinbase as potential assets that the platform is “exploring.” Big Bitcoin jumps normally lead the charge for altcoin growth, though seeing its peers so uniformly follow suit isn’t something you see every time the most prominent coin’s price shoots up.

So why is the price up? Potentially all or none of these reasons:

  • Yesterday, Coinbase shared the news that U.S. regulators will open the door for the exchange to list tokens that are categorizes as securities.
  • Last week, Coinbase announced it was exploring the addition of Cardano, Basic Attention Token, Stellar Lumens, Zcash and 0x.
  • At Goldman Sachs, current COO David Solomon will move into the chief executive role. Solomon is regarded as a cryptocurrency-friendly choice for CEO.
  • Asset manager BlackRock created a working group to examine blockchain and cryptocurrencies, though its CEO cautioned that he hasn’t observed “huge demand for cryptocurrencies.”
  • Japan’s LINE is launching a cryptocurrency exchange known as BitBox this month, though the token-to-token exchange won’t serve the U.S. or Japan.
  • The major Japanese financial firm SBI Holdings just opened its doors to traders on a cryptocurrency exchange based in the country.

As with any price shift, headlines in one part of the world are just a single rumble among the many invisible international seismic signals sending coins up or down on a given day. As one reads the tea leaves, it’s worth remembering that correlation ≠ causation when it comes to big price moves. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the tea.

Why is Bitcoin’s price down to two-month lows?

Disclosure: The author holds a very small position in some cryptocurrencies, mostly because it seemed like a fun idea back in 2013 and then she forgot about it. Regrettably, it is not enough for a Lambo.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/07/17/bitcoin-price-july-2018/

SEC comments about a proposed bitcoin ETF are as dumb as youd expect

Lit, dude. Just totally lit.
Image: Jag_cz/getty

Nothing quite captures the excitement of bitcoin like a proposed exchange-traded fund.

I mean, just say it out loud. Bitcoin ETF. It’s sexy, right? And if public comments submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission in favor of the latest would-be fund are any indication, it’s also goddamn lit. 

But before this party pops off, some background: As Coindesk reported in late June, the SEC is considering allowing the creation of a bitcoin ETF. The fund, the brainchild of investment firm VanEck and blockchain startup SolidX, would allow futures exchange Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc. to list and trade SolidX Bitcoin Shares. 

According to the Cboe filing statement, “the Trust will invest in bitcoin only.” One share will be roughly equivalent to 25 bitcoin, notes CryptoSlate, and only accredited investors will get to play with this particular bag. 

The SEC, which has shut down previous attempts to create bitcoin ETFs, decided to open this proposal up for public comment. And the comments, well, they’re pretty great. 

Take this one, from someone who listed their name as Laosy Guesses.

Pure fire.

Image: Sec/screenshot

Yes, ETFs are so lit, my dude. 

Or how about this comment from Alex Hales, which suggests he’s hoping the SEC’s approval will pump up the price of bitcoin. Pump and dump for the win. 

Pump pump pump.

Image: sec/screenshot

And then there’s this guy, who seems to think that our long, national nightmare is soooo close to being over — assuming the SEC approves bitcoin ETFs. 

Save us, SEC.

Image: sec/screenshot

We shouldn’t overlook the simple and often effective appeal to ego. Our man Rahsaan has that covered. “You’ll be regarded as financial visionaries,” he tells the SEC. “Please,” he begs, “take us under your wing.”

Holding our hands.

Image: sec/screenshot

Yes, spread out those wings, dear SEC — but not for any fans of Bitcoin Cash. This party is for institutional bitcoin investors only. 

Of course, if flattery doesn’t work, there’s always the opposite approach: Let the SEC know you think it’s garbage. 

Quit your messing.

Image: sec/screenshot

Unfortunately for our commenting friends, we don’t yet know whether or not the SEC will approve a bitcoin ETF this time around. But we do know one thing for sure: Whatever the SEC decides, it’s going to be liiiiiiiiiit.

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/07/10/sec-public-comments-bitcoin-etf/

Someone Found a Use for Bitcoin. Russian Hackers!

Bitcoin is a pain to spend. It is energy-guzzling, perilously slow and, with the prospect of dazzling returns (at least until recently), perhaps best to HODL ‘til you retire. But Bitcoin can count at least one group of spendthrifts among its users: Russian hackers accused of hacking in the 2016 election.

According to an indictment released Friday by the DOJ, the Russian intelligence officers who orchestrated the 2016 hacks of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign funded their operation using $95,000 worth of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The hackers allegedly used the funds to purchase the domains, servers, and accounts involved in obtaining and disseminating the stolen materials. Charging “conspiracy to launder money,” the indictment states the arrangement allowed the hackers to “avoid direct relationships with traditional financial institutions, allowing them to evade greater scrutiny of their identities and sources of funds.”

Bitcoin, however, is not necessarily the most obvious choice for those looking to conceal their transactions. While pseudonymous, payments on the Bitcoin blockchain are far from untraceable, a fact that has inspired competing currencies marketed to true privacy hounds, such as Zcash and Monero. Yet it remains the workhorse of hackers for a simple reason: Bitcoin is, compared to competitors, a breeze to spend around the world.

“The payments of goods and services are going to take place in the most liquid and easy to use environment. Right now that’s Bitcoin, and it’s going to be for a long time,” says Jonathan Levin, co-founder and COO of Chainalysis. The company’s software, which traces connections between entities on the Bitcoin blockchain to detect fraud and money laundering, has been used by agencies including the DOJ to conduct cybercrime investigations.

While Levin couldn’t confirm whether Chainalysis software was involved in the current investigation, blockchain analysis typically focuses on intermediaries such as the exchanges that facilitate cryptocurrency purchases. Those exchanges, which are subject to anti-money laundering regulations, can act as a link to forms of real-world identification, like addresses and bank accounts.

The indictment says that the hackers took additional steps to conceal their tracks, purchasing Bitcoin using prepaid cards and via peer-to-peer exchanges, which facilitate direct transactions between individuals, often unsurveilled. According to the indictment, they also mined their own Bitcoin, using those freshly minted funds to purchase the DCLeaks.com domain, which disseminated the stolen materials, as well as the tools used in the spearfishing campaigns.

“This is a good case in point showing that the types of cases cryptocurrency touches has broadened to the full spectrum between local crimes and national security issues,” says Levin. Increasingly, investigators in the US are catching on. On Wednesday, President Trump signed an executive order forming a Task Force on Market Integrity and Consumer Fraud—which focuses on digital currency fraud and money laundering—to coordinate investigations across federal agencies.


More Great WIRED Stories

Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/russian-hackers-bitcoin/

Hollywood is bringing Bitcoin to the big screen

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/debug/bitcoin-movie-crypto/

Bitcoin Jumps Back Above $6,000 to Give Respite to Investors

The weekend is offering some respite for Bitcoin investors.

The bellwether of the cryptocurrency world rose 8 percent to $6,338.22 as of 5:30 p.m. in New York on Saturday, according to Bitstamp prices. The gain, which comes after the digital asset crashed through the $6,000 threshold last week for the first time since February, means the token has still lost about two-thirds of its value since reaching a record high of nearly $20,000 in December.

Saturday’s rise marks a pause from the jarring decline through most of 2018. It follows the increase of more than 1,400 percent last year as Bitcoin exploded onto the mainstream. The peer-to-peer currency developed after the 2008 global financial crisis traded at as little as 30 cents at the end of 2010.

While it’s difficult to identify specific catalysts for Bitcoin’s decline, the bursting of a speculative bubble may be at the heart of the matter as questions about the long-term viability of the virtual currency and price manipulation abound.

Bitcoin was “very much” a bubble, Robert Shiller, the Nobel laureate economist whose warnings about dot-com mania proved prescient, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Tom Keene on June 26. Last year’s surge was “not a rational response.”

(Updates with latest price in second paragraph.)

    Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-30/bitcoin-jumps-back-above-6-000-to-provide-respite-for-investors

    This space heater mines bitcoin while keeping your house warm

    Problems.
    Image: Chesnot/getty

    They’ve changed. They promise. 

    To hear the San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase tell it, they’ve turned over a new leaf. Sure, SEC documents revealed scores of customer complaints against them — ranging from allegations of fraud to negligence — but those were in the (very recent) past. These days, insists the company in a series of blog posts and statements to Mashable, Coinbase is a different animal.

    But over the course of 2018 its customers have deluged the Better Business Bureau with complaints. Maybe they missed the memo?

    The precursor to the Better Business Bureau was founded in 1912 by a Boston ad executive. The organization’s early form was the so-called National Vigilance Committee; their goal was to curb misleading advertising. Today, you may know the Better Business Bureau as the organization that rates businesses across the US and acts as a public clearing house for consumer complaints. It’s often the last recourse for people who feel they’ve been screwed over by a company but don’t have the resources to pursue legal action.

    When it comes to Coinbase, the Bureau has received quite a few of those complaints — enough to give them an “F” rating based on “the total number of positive, neutral, and negative reviews posted.”

    These complaints are recent. In contrast to the documents Mashable obtained following a FOIA of the SEC, the tales of poor customer service and frozen funds are not from the time of “unprecedented growth” as described by a May 18, 2018, blog post written by VP of operations and technology Tina Bhatnagar.  

    “In 2017, the cryptocurrency space experienced a profound uptick in mainstream awareness and growth,” she wrote at the time. “As part of that, consumer demand for our services increased by 40x and we experienced transaction volumes in November and December of that year that grew by 295%.”

    Coinbase wouldn’t make the same mistake twice, she assured us. And yet.

    Ouch.

    Image: screenshot/better business bureau

    Of the 1,155 Coinbase customer complaints available on the BBB site, there are a substantial amount from this year. 

    “My account disabled to log in on Nov 19th,” reads one complaint from April. “I filed a case report to CoinBase but it is never resolved up to now. I have money in my CoinBase account and have been waiting for 5 weeks to refreeze it. I cannot withdraw the money and trade Cryptocurrency.”

    That complaint was far from unique. 

    “I wired $14000 (USD) to coinbase over a month and a half ago to purchase Bitcoin and the money hasn’t been processed into my account or returned,” reads another one from April. “I’ve opened up a ticket within coinbase 2 weeks after wiring the money but they have not given me any idea why the funds have not posted to my account.” 

    How about a few more, all from May of this year, for good measure: 

    Sent wire transfer 4 months back and haven’t received it in my **** account. Have called the **** support number numerous times and am still waiting for them to email me back with an update.

    Coinbase froze my account. I can not access my funds to settle pymnt. I have asked coin base to unfreeze my account so i can make payments from my accouny.

    I have been attempting to withdraw my funds from Coinbase since January 3rd, 2018. I have been back and forth with the technical team since then but they abruptly stop replying. I recently have talked to the support team on the phone twice but they mention I can’t escalate or speak to anyone else…regarding this issue. My money is stuck in limbo in their system and I have received no solution or answers.

    in December 2017 I placed an order of $2000 dollar on coinbase, they however double charged me for another $2000 dollar which they refuse to refund me for. It’s been over 3 months and their support still wont acknowledge this. I’ve tried to get the money back via my bank but they say coinbase is…claiming the transaction was authorized (of course they would say that), and so I’m stuck with $2000 missing.

    Again, these are not claims made late-2017 while Coinbase was experiencing a surge in new customers and activity. Rather, these are from a time when the value of bitcoin is down — along with interest in cryptocurrency in general.

    A quick look at Google Trends puts this downturn into perspective. 

    Way, way down.

    Image: screenshot/google trends

    According to Forbes, Coinbase generated $1 billion in revenue last year. Some of that, if the company is to be believed, was put toward beefing up its support staff following what can only be described as a tumultuous 2017.

    It clearly has a few more hires to make. But hey, Coinbase will get there eventually. It promises.

    Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/07/03/coinbase-better-business-bureau-complaints/

    35 arrested after dark net sting seizes drugs, Bitcoin, and a grenade

    Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/darknet-sting/

    Bitcoin price plunges after hack in South Korea

    Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/debug/bitcoin-price-plunges/