Bitcoin (BTC) has a substantial liberating potential, American mainstream newspaper Time reports on Dec. 28.

The aforementioned article claims that “speculation, fraud, and greed in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry have overshadowed the real, liberating potential of Satoshi Nakamoto’s invention.”

According to the article’s author, Bitcoin “can be a valuable financial tool as a censorship-resistant medium of exchange.”

Alejandro Machado, a cryptocurrency researcher at the Open Money Initiative, reportedly said that the fee on a wire transfer from the United States to Venezuela can be as high as 56 percent.

To circumvent such conditions, Venezuelans have reportedly turned to cryptocurrency, receiving Bitcoin from their relatives abroad. The main alternative is to wire money to Colombia, withdraw and bring cash to Venezuela, which according to the article, “can take far longer, cost more, and be far more dangerous than the Bitcoin option.”

Times suggests that Bitcoin is a good way to protect oneself from fiat currency inflation. Venezuela is prime example of that, with the inflation of their native currency projected to top 1 million percent. But there are also other similar examples, like Zimbabwe, where former president Robert Mugabe “printed endless amounts of cash.” But the author points out:

“His successors can’t print more Bitcoin.”

Bitcoin is also, according to the article, a tool to evade mass surveillance in places like China. That being said, as Cointelegraph reported in March, according to U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden, Bitcoin isn’t optimal for avoiding government coercion, and he believes that the world needs a better option.

Times also points out the advantage given by the inability of governments to censor transactions or freeze Bitcoin wallets. In fact, Cointelegraph reported in April that WikiLeaks’ Coinbase account has been suspended due to a term of service violation.

Still, nobody can prevent WikiLeaks from using cryptocurrency wallets where the organization controls the private keys. In fact, WikiLeaks is still accepting cryptocurrency donations and also added support for Snowden’s favorite crypto Zcash in August 2017.

This post is credited to cointelegraph

An American bitcoin trader has been arrested in the Philippines for allegedly killing his girlfriend and dumping her body in a river.

Well-known bitcoin trader and Californian native Troy Woody Jr. was arrested together with Brooklyn native Mir Islam over the murder of Tomi Michelle Masters, according to the Daily Mail. The two are accused of suffocating Tomi, who hailed from Indiana, with a plastic bag before stuffing her body in a box and dumping it in Manila’s Pasig River.

Tragic End of Vacation

bitcoin trader philippines

CCTV footage that has been released shows the two men loading a huge box into the back of a ride operated by Asian taxi-hailing service and Uber-competitor Grab. While the two have confessed to dumping the body in the river, they both accuse the other of the murder, per the head superintendent of Mandaluyong City Police Custodial Facility, Igmedio Bernaldez:

We have yet to establish the motive. The three were here on vacation. If you ask the boyfriend, he will point to his friend as the killer. But if you ask the other suspect, he will say it was his friend who killed her. They are being questioned and the home they were staying at is being searched for evidence.

The suspicious behavior of the two was reported to the police by the cab driver. When the police searched the river, they found Tomi’s body which was wound in duct tape and covered in scratches. A post-mortem indicated that she died of suffocation, according to police. Troy and Tomi had been sharing an apartment in Manila after they moved to the Philippines from California.

According to friends, Tomi and Troy had a falling out earlier this month, and this emanated from Tomi’s desire to return to Indiana where she originally was from. Per Tomi’s father, Shawn Masters, Islam was of the view that if Tomi left for Indiana, Troy would follow her and consequently disrupt their ventures:

Islam needed TJ — he was the brains behind whatever it was they were doing.

‘Early Crypto Investor’

After their arrest, the two men indicated that they were both chief executive officers of Delaware-registered cryptocurrency trading firm known as Luxr LLC. On Twitter where he has more than 17,000 followers, Troy’s profile simply reads “Early Crypto Investor.” Troy’s following on Instagram is many times larger at 250,000, and in both accounts, he has documented a taste for luxuries including Swiss watches, Christian Louboutin shoes, and Dom Perignon champagne.

One of the cryptocurrency trades that Troy celebrated last year was buying Litecoin at US$50 and selling it at US$80 managing to turn a profit of US$24,000 in 11 days.

Besides trading bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, Troy is also believed to be a core member of online mischief-making group UGNazi alongside Islam. Two years ago Islam received a 12-month prison sentence for crimes that included swatting (calling police with false information in order for SWAT teams to raid homes of particular targets), cyber-stalking, and exposing the privileged personal data of his victims online.

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A Taiwanese man suspected of stealing electricity worth over $3 million to mine Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) has been arrested, according to a report from local news channel EBC Dongsen News Dec. 26.

The suspect, whose surname has been given as Yang, has been accused of allegedly stealing the electricity to successfully mine cryptocurrencies worth over 100 million yuan (around $14.5 million). Yang is purported to have used a minimum of 17 various business premises to open toy shops or internet cafes there as a facade for his alleged crypto mining activities.

The report claims Yang hired electricians to rewire the premises in such a way as to evade electricity metering and detection of the stolen power. State-owned utility provider the Taiwan Power Company is reported to have first noticed irregularities in the power supply, prompting a police investigation. In addition to Yang, a suspected accomplice has also been reportedly identified.

Wang Zhicheng, deputy head of the fourth brigade of Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau, is quoted by EBC Dongsen News as saying that:

“The [suspects] recruited electricians who managed to break into the sealed meters in order to add in private lines to use electricity for free before that usage reaches the meters.”

Suspected power theft to fuel crypto mining operations is not unprecedented; this October, a man in China’s northern Shanxi province  was sentenced to three and a half years in jail for allegedly stealing power from a train station to fuel his Bitcoin mining operations.

Also in China — this time in the country’s Anhui province — a separate suspect was arrested for attempting to steal electricity to fund his reportedly “unprofitable” mining operations.

This post is credited to cointelegraph

In a bid to raise awareness about the crypto industry’s energy consumption, the Institute of Human Obsolescence, a Dutch organization focused on data ownership, explored the energy usage of Bitcoin and found that 44,000 would need to provide their body energy for a month in order to mine a single Bitcoin, Motherboard reported on January 3, 2017.

Bitcoin’s Troubling Ecological Footprint Yields Impressive Experiments

The most popular cryptocurrency on the market today, both by market cap and trading volume, has frequently been dubbed the future of finance and is often regarded as the most revolutionary invention of the century. However, Bitcoin does come with its own set of shortcomings, with the least mentioned being its energy consumption.

Back in 2017, before the sudden spike in popularity, a single Bitcoin transaction required as much energy as ten households use in a week. According to a Motherboard report, the Bitcoin network used more energy than the entire country of Bulgaria during 2016.

The troubling ecological footprint Bitcoin has already left on the environment has prompted companies to search for alternative means of energy to stay profitable. One company, however, went to the extreme and tested out whether it would be viable to harvest energy from the human body to power mining.

A Dutch organization called the Institute of Human Obsolescence (IoHO) decided to take advantage of the human body heat and transform it into pure energy.

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(Source: NewsRescue)

The Human Body Is a Battery, Just Not an Efficient One

According to Motherboard, an adult human body generates approximately 100 watts of power while at rest, with around 80 percent of it being wasted as excess body heat. IoHO’s experiment tried to capture some of that energy by using wearable thermoelectric generators, which were used to power the computers mining cryptocurrency.

The experiment started back in 2015 when 37 volunteers contributed 212 hours of mining time to generate a total of 127.2 watts of power. On average, each of the volunteers contributed about 0.6 watts/hour of energy, which means that IoHO collected less than 1 percent of the body heat generated by its volunteers.

Manuel Beltrán, an artist and founder of IoHO, told the publication that the energy generated in the experiment wasn’t used to mine Bitcoin.

“We exclusively mined altcoins, and some of them have risen over 46,000 percent in value. What in the beginning was just small cents now became substantial amounts of money,” Beltrán said. It would take nearly 4,600 people lying still during an entire year to produce 1.2 Bitcoin, with each person earning less than $1 or their year-long endeavor at current Bitcoin prices.

However, Motherboard decided to explore a much different scenario – one where the thermoelectric generators would be much more efficient and able to collect almost all of the heat generated by the human body. In this scenario, there would have to be 44,000 people providing their body energy every second of every day for an entire month to mine a single Bitcoin.

This post is credited to btcmanager

Despite market capitalisation dropping to a low point since Q4 2018, the number of crypto ATMs globally has been on a steady rise. Coin ATM Radar released a statement which further confirmed that there has been a massive increase in interest of cryptos.

209 New Crypto ATMs Worldwide

According to the statement, 209 new ATMs were installed across the world in November alone. This is despite the fall in the value of Bitcoin. It further revealed information on the close down of 68 previously opened kiosks which brings the total number of tellers to 141. This indicates a positive sign for the industry and investors looking for reasons to stay invested in various virtual currency in the next year.

It is important to note that, although teller kiosks do not have the same storage status as institutional investments, neither are they approved by the Exchange Traded Fund or by major advertisement channels like Facebook, they still serve as an indication of which direction crypto adoption is heading towards.

For some crypto enthusiast, the fall in value and price of virtual currency indicates a not so bright future for the industry and innovation of the technology created while for others, it is just “an indistinct background of broader adoption of a transaction using virtual currency and Bitcoin.”

2,243 Crypto ATMs Operational Within the U.S

With 2,243 crypto ATMs operational within the U.S alone, and many more being available globally, it is quite obvious that more people are now getting involved with cryptos.
Data compiled by Coin ATM Radar showed that there was a 59 percent increase in the number of accepted altcoins by crypto ATMs’ by November.

Also, with over 13 million users, the popular U.S. based cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase has been able to make a major impact in increasing crypto exposure for casual investors by adding more altcoins to its meagre selection over the last month.

This post is credited to coindoo

The Government of Canada has advising warnings that citizens should purchase marijuana with cash to protect their personal information on December 19, 2018, highlighting a perfect real-world scenario for Bitcoin.

While Canada made waves back in October by legalizing recreational marijuana, Canada is back in the news due to other countries (notably the USA) turning away Canadian citizens that have purchased marijuana, despite it being legally acquired.

Note this isn’t a problem if a Canadian is traveling to another marijuana friendly country but with the political landscape still heavily against marijuana this is a rather moot point.

How Do Other Countries Know If You’ve Bought Marijuana?  

While the Privacy Commissioner released this guidance document warning Canadians attempting to travel after purchasing marijuana, no one is talking about how the border patrol or another regulatory body would even know if you’ve bought cannabis or not.

Even though the document does its best to assure citizens that privacy measures are implemented, the fact this document exists, and it encourages people to purchase using cash suggests information is still being leaked, sold, transferred, and otherwise being compromised.

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And with recent privacy horrors like an article covered by Business Insider talking about Mastercard selling transaction data to Google back in September, the idea of sensitive consumer information being sold becomes a lot more plausible.

So what can Canadian citizens do to prevent their chances of being turned away at the border?

Citizens Advised To Minimize Information

Since every payment method besides cash leaves not only a unique transaction identifier (credit card numbers, debit card credentials, etc). but the name of the user, these methods can be used to discriminate against citizens that have purchased cannabis, even from licensed dispensaries.

But with many people going cashless, having to stop by the ATM or carrying cash to purchase marijuana can make the entire experience a hassle. This is where bitcoin comes in.

Users could download a wallet to their phone, transact with a similar POS experience (merchants would have to download a wallet of their own or a POS app that accepts bitcoin), all without having to go out of their way to carry cash.

While neither cash nor Bitcoin is truly untraceable (banks could recognize regular ATM withdrawals as marijuana purchases and those motivated enough could track transactions through the blockchain), they provide enough privacy that should prevent them from being discriminated at the border.

This post is credited to btcmanager

Iran is in the middle of a bit of an economic crisis right now. Due to hiccups caused by the sanctions that were imposed by the United States government a while back, the government of Iran has had its hands full with merely keeping its economy afloat. Due to this, it would appear that the citizens are taking matters into their own hands. Having started using cryptocurrency for transactions with the rest of the world, they have now turned to Bitcoin mining as a means of making ends meet, according to a report on the Atlantic Council.

The U.S. imposed sanctions affected the Iranian economy in more ways than one. Perhaps the biggest negative that came out among other effects of the sanctions saw Iran-based commercial banks kicked out of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) network. A direct implication of this move is the exclusion of the Iranian Central Bank from the rest the world, making it impossible for retail banks to process transactions or conduct any form of business with financial institutions in other countries.

Since the sanctions were imposed, Iranians abroad have been somewhat stranded. As a means of ensuring that they are still able to transact and earn a living, a lot of Iranians have turned to cryptocurrency mining.

The sustainability of this new strategy has also been called into question, considering the dire state of the crypto market right now. The bear market has affected crypto markets all over the world, with the slump in prices making it less profitable to mine cryptos.

Energy Subsidies Credited for Profitable Iranian Mining

Despite the bear market, Iranians have found a way to mine digital assets and make some income out of it.

A perfect example is the story of Ali Hosseini and Pedram Ghesemi. The cousins bought an Antminer S9, a crypto mining rig, for $526 some months back, at a time when Bitcoin went for $6,500.  This month saw the price crash to as low as $3,200, but it has recovered a bit to $3,758.58, at press time.

The cousins claim that they pay very low for electricity in Iran to power their crypto mining, so they are still able to stay afloat. This is thanks to the large subsidies for energy in Iran; a fact that has directly been responsible for a massive influx of crypto miners to Iran.

Despite the absence of any form of a regulatory framework, cryptocurrency mining remains legal in Iran. Following the enforcement of the U.S. sanctions, finding outside liquidity for crypto trading could become difficult for Iranian investors, as large crypto exchange Binance warned Iranian investors to withdraw their funds from the platform, as it seeks to comply with the sanctions from Washington.

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A DuPage County, Illinois judge has ruled that a woman charged with paying $10,000 in bitcoin for a Dark Web hitman to have her former lover’s wife killed must continue wearing a GPS monitoring device as the case goes on. 32 year-old Tina Jones of Des Plaines, Illinois has been arraigned on four counts of solicitation of murder for hire, two counts of solicitation of murder and attempted first-degree murder after authorities were alerted about a contract denominated in bitcoin which was placed on the unnamed woman’s life.

Earlier in the year, she was given the GPS monitor as part of her bail conditions – a condition which her lawyer says is now financially unbearable because of the $10 per day fee associated with it. To date he says, Jones has paid more than $2,390 since she was granted bail on April 23. If convicted on the Class X felonies, she faces up to 40 years in prison without the possibility of parole.

In the application, Jones’ lawyer said:

Ms. Jones would otherwise request that all other conditions of bond remain in effect, including that she be required to stay within the state of Georgia unless traveling to Illinois for court, and then she may only stay within Illinois for 24 hours. This court can be fairly assured of Ms. Jones continued compliance because of the support of her family (who travel with her to every court appearance), her performance while on release thus far, and other factors to be discussed with this court.

The judge however turned down the request, stating instead that the clerk’s office should deduct the GPS monitoring fee from the $25,000 bail she posted for the duration of the bail program.

Case Background

The case against Jones started out as an investigation by CBS program “48 hours” into a purported illegal service platform on the internet called ‘The Cosa Nostra International Network.’ While the platform itself turned out to be little more than a scam website harvesting cryptocurrency from inexperienced wannabe criminal masterminds, the investigating team noticed a contract on the website for the murder of a clinical social worker in Naperville.

The police were alerted immediately and Jones was arrested shortly thereafter on suspicion of solicitation of murder. According to police, Jones who is scheduled to appear in court on February 13 provided the purported hitman with a clear blueprint for eliminating her love rival including her lover’s work schedule and instructions to make the murder look like an accident.

In April, Jones was granted bail and allowed to live with her parents in Georgia.

This post is credited to ccn

The crypto market may be down, but that doesn’t mean it’s no longer popular.

According to a new episode of “Fast Money,” the cryptocurrency space is set to undergo several changes in the coming years, particularly when it comes to bitcoin demand. The episode alleges that in the time ahead, teenagers and younger generations will request bitcoin and other crypto assets in place of cash or gift cards when their birthdays or Christmas rolls around.

Crypto Is Replacing Other Desires

In addition, the episode also asserts that central banks and institutions will show a stronger demand for scarce, non-sovereign digital assets, while the opportunities for programmable money will grow heavily.

Cryptocurrency has certainly had an exciting – and shocking – year. Approximately 12 months ago, bitcoin was experiencing an all-time high of roughly $20,000. Months later, coins like Ethereum would join the ranks as powerful crypto contenders, trading at over $1,400 during February 2018, for example. It looked like cryptocurrencies were on top of the world and weren’t about to drop anytime soon.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t quite the case. Many cryptocurrencies, bitcoin included, began to tank at the beginning of the year, and they’ve been unable to stop. Bitcoin has since fallen from nearly $20,000 to just over $3,400 at press time, marking an 82 percent drop in just 11 months, while Ethereum is trading for just over $80. Other currencies, like EOS and Ripple’s XRP, have fallen by more than 90 percent since December 2017.

That’s not to say, however, that things can’t turn around in 2019. In the episode, Spencer Bogart – a partner at Blockchain Capital – alleges that bitcoin will experience a major comeback next year. He admits that his 2018 prediction of bitcoin spiking to $50,000 was incorrect, though he’s certain 2019 has big things in store for the father of crypto.

2019 – The Year of the Crypto Comeback

He mentions:

“At Blockchain Capital, we focus on long-term trends. Could bitcoin still go to $50,000? Absolutely! How long will it take? I’m not sure. Up until recently, bitcoin has been a market predominantly driven by retail players, so in bull markets, we go a little too high and in bear markets, we go a little too low. This has still been a remarkable year for bitcoin. Try to ignore the price. We’ve seen endowments like Yale and MIT enter the space; we’ve seen qualified custodians move into the space, and the level of talent coming in is incredible. Young peoples’ imaginations are completely taken by this technology.”

Will bitcoin show signs of recovery in the coming months? Post your comments below.

This post is credited to livebitcoinnews

Erik Finman, a teenager who became filthy rich during the Bitcoin boom, has now issued a warning to Bitcoin maximalists, the term given to those who believe in the Bitcoin revolution, that the currency has a bleak long-term outlook. Finman has a habit of bashing digital assets. In 2017, he told Mic that he wasn’t convinced about Ethereum, urging investors to go short on the digital asset.

The teenager got into cryptocurrency back in 2011, when the then 13-year-old bought cryptocurrency with money given to him by his grandmother. As of this year, the teenager was worth up to $4 million. However, he is now giving a pretty dark outlook to the future of Bitcoin and Litecoin, warning prospective investors that they will be wrong to put all their eggs in a basket, according to a report on MarketWatch.

“Bitcoin is dead, it’s too fragmented, there’s tons of infighting I just don’t think it will last… It may have a bull market or two left in it, but long-term, it’s dead.”

Finman also expressed pessimism about Litecoin, which has taken a 95% tumble from its peak, saying that it is currently on its way out.

“Litecoin has been dead for a while,” he said. “It’s like when the sun is going down, and there’s that eight-minute period just before it goes dark. Litecoin is in its seventh minute.”

Strangely enough, the teenager is actually of the belief that ZCash (ZEC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) are both better investments than the original cryptocurrency. He said that Bitcoin Cash has a stable technology, stating that the only problem it has is poor marketing, considering the August hard fork and the other circumstances that led to its creation.

Over the past days, Bitcoin hit a one-year low of $3,126, amid reports from analysts that it could even fall below the $3,000 line before the end of the year. However, is has now increased to $3,552.

The asset has dropped over 80% of its value since last December, when it hit an all-time high of $19,783. It’s ironic that Finman could be so pessimistic about the survival chances of a cryptocurrency that has brought him so much wealth, but he is not alone in his view. Stephen Innes, Head of Trading for the Asia Pacific at U.S. commodity exchange Onada, predicted that this bear market would trigger a massive selloff that will see the value of the asset plunge as low as $2,500.

Innes told the network, at the time:

“There’s still a lot of people in this game. [If Bitcoin] collapses, if we start to see a run down toward $3,000, this thing is going to be a monster. People will be running for the exits.”

This post is credited to ccn