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/

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/

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/

SEC says bitcoin and ether aren’t securities

Clarity is good.
Image: ULRICH BAUMGARTEN/GETTY

The world of cryptocurrency just got some much needed good news. 

With the prices of bitcoin and ether on a steady downward trend, the Securities and Exchange Commission today provided hodlers with a flash of hope: Neither of the cryptocurrencies are considered securities. 

So reports CNBC, which notes that the SEC’s head of the Division of Corporate Finance, William Hinman, delivered the news at the San Francisco Yahoo All Markets Summit: Crypto conference. If the SEC had decided differently, then exchanges and markets would likely have faced some serious regulation. 

And, well, no one in cryptoland likes regulation.  

The announcement was celebrated by big names in both the Ethereum and Bitcoin space. 

Oh, also, it had quite the effect on price. Coindesk shows both ether and bitcoin spiking on the news. 

But all this doesn’t mean the SEC is washing its hands of the entire emerging industry. According to Hinman, many ICOs are in fact securities and will be on the receiving end of SEC regulatory action. 

Interestingly, Yahoo News reports Hinman as explaining that simply calling something a coin or a token makes no difference in the eyes of his agency. More important is the extent of decentralization involved in the network in question. 

“Over time,” CNBC quotes him as saying, “there may be other sufficiently decentralized networks and systems where regulating the tokens or coins that function on them as securities may not be required.”

So, you know, better hype up your blockchain project’s decentralized attributes now. It may save you from the SEC’s wrath later. 

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/06/14/bitcoin-ether-not-security-sec/

Hot damn, this Bitcoin cat just might convince me to HODL

Yesssssssss.
Image:  iridi/getty

Bitcoin true believers have long promised a blockchain-based revolution, but the only true thing of value to come out of Satoshi’s white paper is this chill-ass cryptocat.  

Sure, the scams and ransomware and general buffoonery in the blockchain space have all been pretty great, but none of that comes close to this Bitcoin maximalist tabby. 

I mean, just check the dude out. 

He’s an absolute unit, with bad-boy appeal. 

Get it.

Image: iridi/getty

And! He’s knows how to accessorize. 

Oh *hell* yeah.

Image: iridi/getty

Let’s not overlook the fact that he believes in saving for retirement. 

Investing in a feline future.

Image: iridi/getty

But he’s not stingy, either. Check this party vibe. 

Crypto rich!

Image: iridi/getty

Also, hell yeah to these shades. My man’s got style. 

Fresh.

Image: iridi/getty

Not only that, he makes a coherent argument about the relative value of cryptocurrency versus fiat. (The tie means he’s legit.)

Farewell to fiat.

Image: iridi/getty

So while the market may be volatile, and the entire blockchain industry is basically a solution in search of a problem, at least it gave us this cat. 🙌 

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/06/01/bitcoin-cat/

Consensus 2018: Dispatches from the ‘Coachella of Bitcoin’

Nightmare fuel has moved to the blockchain.
Image: jack morse/mashable

It’s 8:15 a.m. at the Hilton hotel in Midtown Manhattan, and the escalator has a bouncer. 

An estimated 8,500 blockchain experts and cryptocurrency evangelists have come from around the globe to be here at the 2018 Consensus conference, and the line to pick up attendee badges shows no sign of moving. A security guard in a suit, talking into his sleeve, eventually gives a small group the go-ahead to ride up to the second floor where another line awaits. 

It feels like we’re trying, and failing, to get into New York’s hottest nightclub.

“This is like the Coachella of Bitcoin,” a passerby whispers to her companion as they breeze by. 

You can taste the excitement.

Image: jack morse/mashable

And indeed, while it lacks Beyonce and the questionable wardrobe choices of the Southern California music festival, the Coindesk organized Consensus more than makes up for it in its sheer opulence and buffoonery — a fact made obvious before you even walk through the conference doors.

Parked outside the hotel were three Lamborghinis — an inside joke within the cryptocurrency community — and, opposite them, a man claiming that the developers of NEM screwed him out of over $1.5 million USD worth of cryptocurrency. 

Across the street was an entirely different type of show: specifically, a fake protest. Chanting “hey hey, ho ho, Bitcoin has got to go,” the group of self-described bankers and CEOs (one man told me he got his suit out of a dumpster) carried signs reading “paper checks use less electricity” and “we thought this was a bubble.”

According to a rambling statement on the group’s website, the Genesis Mining-backed demonstrators were actually protesting aspects of the financial industry, but either way, they generated enough of a scene to draw a crowd and put conference attendees in what can only be described as an appropriately absurdist frame of mind. 

Because as soon as those who came to hear the blockchain gospel made it past the aforementioned escalator bouncer and the formidable registration line, they were met with what can only be described as a hodler’s paradise. 

Want 18-karat gold crypto-jewelry to commemorate your ride-or-die status as a Bitcoin maximalist? Consensus 2018 is the place for you. 

But can you verify ownership on the blockchain?

Image: Jack Morse/mashable

I’ll take two, please.

Image: Jack Morse/mashable

And sure, you may know about beer, but have you heard of cryptobeer?

If that’s not your thing, don’t fret, just make you way over to the cyptopuppy (yes, this dog was described to me as a “cryptopuppy”) named after Margaret Thatcher chilling on the fourth floor. 

Still recovering from the Mt. Gox hack.

Image: jack morse/mashable

But just like the SEC trying to shit all over the decentralized parade, the real world did poke its annoying head into the immutable bubble of joy. That’s right, someone ticketed the Lambos. 

Sad times.

Image: jack morse/mashable

What’s more, in what definitely isn’t a metaphor for the entire industry, it turned out that the fancy cars weren’t even the fruit of early Bitcoin adoption. They were just a promotional stunt

But push that all to the back on your head, fellow believer. Because if there’s one thing “the Coachella of Bitcoin” makes clear, it’s that these are serious people with serious ideas — even if, as one major player in the cryptocurrency space told me on background, 80 percent of people in the scene are likely scammers. 

Because scammer or no, at the 2018 Consensus conference we’re all heading to the moon.

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/05/14/consensus-blockchain-cryptocurrency-conference/

A Bitcoin mining company just organized a fake protest

It's the dirty bankers, man.
Image: jack morse/mashable

It’s difficult to stand out in the often bonkers world of cryptocurrency.

With all the scams, hacks, and animated dancing coins, it can be really hard to break through the noise and into the public’s consciousness with your surely revolutionary tech. That’s where the fake protest comes in. 

As the 2018 Consensus blockchain conference kicked off today in Midtown Manhattan, one bitcoin mining company apparently decided that the best way to make a splash was with a few shouts. As the event was getting started, a group of people could be found marching in front of the hotel hosting the 8,500-person-strong gathering. They chanted slogans like “hey hey, ho ho, Bitcoin has got to go,” and held signs informing anyone who passed by that “paper checks use less electricity!”

And, as things often go in the world of Bitcoin, everything was not as it seemed. 

The “protest” was ostensibly organized by a group calling itself Bankers Against Bitcoin, which, as you have probably guessed, is not a 100-percent real protest group. It does have real backing, though. Specifically, that of Bitcoin mining company Genesis Mining

Importantly, it’s not like Genesis Mining is trying to hide it. As the organizer’s website explains, the company wants everyone to get on the cryptocurrency rocket ship before it’s too late. 

“This protest is representative of what will happen to those industries and companies that fail to understand times have changed,” explained Genesis Mining CEO Marco Streng on the Bankers Against Bitcoin website. “The consumer abuse that’s been possible due to a lack of competition is over. The biggest competitor big banks have ever faced has arrived and it’s not a company or organization, it’s a decentralized technology.”

And Genesis Mining is here to help you avoid the soon-to-be grisly fate of the big banks with a “small,” “medium,” or “large” mining package for the low cost of $1,520, $4,440, or $12,960, respectively. 

Act now! Before it’s too late!

Image: genesis mining

We reached out to Genesis Mining with the hope of getting a little more background info on what appears to be, in effect, a well executed publicity stunt. Were the protesters, for example, paid? Unfortunately we don’t know, as we didn’t hear back as of press time. 

But that shouldn’t surprise anyone. After all, when it comes to making it in the world of cryptocurrency, simply grabbing headlines is often good enough. 

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/05/14/consensus-2018-bankers-against-bitcoin/

Bitcoin hit a new record high over Thanksgiving weekend

The cost of one bitcoin passed $9,000.
Image: ALEXANDER DEMIANCHUK/GETTY images

Bitcoin is getting more detailed and better to $10,000.

The cryptocurrency struck a record high of $9,033 per bitcoin early Sunday early morning. The cost increased progressively over the weekend and went beyond $9,000 at around 6:40 a.m. UTC (1:40 a.m. ET), inning accordance with CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index . It now has a market cap of more than $150 billion.

Another digital currency ethereum likewise struck an all-time high of $485.18 on Saturday however has actually considering that dropped to $461.79 on Sunday, inning accordance with CoinMarketCap.

Bitcoin had actually been on an extraordinary run in the latter half of 2017. It was valued at $1,000 at the start of the year and is now closer to reaching the $10,000 mark as we inch towards to 2018. Bitcoin’s worth went beyond $5,000 and $6,000 in October and after that increased over $7,000 and $8,000 in November.

Price per one bitcoin

That stated, it’s prematurely to inform when the rate of Bitcoin will reach that $10,000 turning point due to the fact that the marketplaces act crazily and might deal with a rate correction, as The Merkle kept in mind .

Bitcoin was enhanced by financier interest around Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping, a digital properties expert recommended to CNBC .

Indeed, Coinbase, the biggest bitcoin exchange in the United States, included around 100,000 accounts in between Wednesday and Friday today to reach an overall of 13.1 million. Coinbase had 4.9 million users this time in 2015, inning accordance with CNBC.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/11/26/bitcoin-9000-close-to-10000-price/

Uh oh, a major Bitcoin upgrade just got postponed indefinitely

No 2x today.
Image: Alexander Demianchuk/getty

It ain’t simple being Bitcoin. The cryptocurrency has actually gone through numerous forks in the course of the in 2015 while at the same time escalating in worth and was on course for possibly another fork set to happen in mid-November. It’s that tail end which has actually faced a quite severe speed bump.

Known as Segwit2x , the strategy was to both double the Bitcoin block size to 2MB and to move some deal information off the blockchain . To numerous in the Bitcoin neighborhood, the relocation was questionable. Questionable, in truth, that the backers of the strategy revealed in a November 8 e-mail they would be backing down.

“Although we highly think in the requirement for a bigger blocksize, there is something we
think is a lot more crucial: keeping the neighborhood together,” the e-mail from Mike Belshe, CEO of the bitcoin wallet software application BitGo, checks out. “Unfortunately, it is clear that we have actually not developed enough agreement for a tidy blocksize upgrade at this time. Advancing the existing course might divide the neighborhood and be a problem to Bitcoin’ s development. This was never ever the objective of Segwit2x.”

The e-mail was signed by other kept in mind stars worldwide of Bitcoin, consisting of Mike Belshe, Wences Casares, Jihan Wu, Jeff Garzik, Peter Smith and Erik Voorhees.

So exactly what does this mean for Bitcoin? In the short-term, it indicates the instant possibility of a tough fork disappears. In the long term? Will the block size permanently stay at 1MB — restricting deals and increasing charges in addition to it? That’s uncertain, however Belshe hopes this isn’t really the last we’ve become aware of doubling the block size.

“As costs increase on the blockchain, our company believe it will ultimately end up being apparent that on-chain capability boosts are essential,” he included. “When that occurs, we hope the neighborhood will come together and discover a service, potentially with a blocksize boost.”

The statement comes as the rate of Bitcoin passed $7,700 and appeared to be on its method to $8,000. It was just recently, on November 2, that Bitcoin struck $7,000 in worth for the very first time.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/11/08/bitcoin-segwit2x-called-off/