SegWit2X and the Case for Strong Replay Protection (And Why It's Controversial)


Come November, the remaining signatories of the “New York Agreement” (NYA) plan to deploy the “SegWit2X” hard fork to double Bitcoin’s block weight limit, allowing for up to 8 megabytes of block space. Since not everyone supports this hard fork, this could well “split” the Bitcoin network into two incompatible blockchains and currencies, not unlike Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash (Bcash) did two months ago.But this NYA hard fork is controversial and not only because it lacks consensus. It’s also controversial because of design choices made by the development team behind BTC1, the software client associated with the New York Agreement. Perhaps most importantly, this development team, led by Bloq CEO Jeff Garzik, has so far refused to implement replay protection, a measure that Bcash did take. Partly for this reason, at least one NYA signatory — Wayniloans — has backed out of the agreement.So what is replay protection, why should BTC1 implement it … and why doesn’t it?What Is Replay Protection? (And What Are Replay Attacks?)Bitcoin could see another “split” by November. (It’s arguably more accurate to consider the “splitting” nodes and miners as an entirely new cryptocurrency with a new blockchain and token — not an actual split of Bitcoin itself.) For the purpose of this article, we’ll refer to the blockchain and currency that follows the current Bitcoin protocol as “Legacy Bitcoin” and “BTC.” The blockchain and currency that follows the New York Agreement hard fork is referred to as “SegWit2X” and “B2X.”If this split happens, the two blockchains will be identical. All past transactions and (therefore) “balances” are copied from the Legacy Bitcoin blockchain onto the SegWit2X blockchain. Everyone who owns BTC will own a corresponding amount of B2X.Without replay protection, new transactions will be equally valid on both chains as well. This means that these transactions can be copied or “replayed,” from one chain to the other — in other words, for them to happen on both. This is called a “replay attack.”So, let’s say Alice holds BTC at the time of split, which means she also owns B2X after the split. Then, after the split, she wants to send BTC to Bob. So, she creates a transaction that spends BTC from one of her Legacy Bitcoin addresses to one of Bob’s Legacy Bitcoin addresses. She then transmits this transaction over the Legacy Bitcoin network for a Legacy Bitcoin miner to pick it up and include in a Legacy Bitcoin block. The payment is confirmed; all is good.But this very same transaction is perfectly valid on the SegWit2X blockchain. Anyone — including Bob — can take Alice’s Legacy Bitcoin transaction and also transmit it over the SegWit2X network for a miner to include in a SegWit2X block. (This can even happen by accident quite easily.) If this payment is also confirmed, Alice has inadvertently sent Bob not only BTC but also an equal amount of B2X.And, of course, all of this is true in reverse as well. If Alice sends B2X to Bob, she might accidentally send him BTC as well. A lack of replay protection, therefore, is a problem for users of both chains. No one wants to accidentally send any money — not even if it was “free money.”Technically, there are ways to “split” coins on both chains to ensure they can only be spent on one chain. This would, for example, require newly mined coins to be mixed into a transaction. Tiime-locks can also offer solutions. But this takes effort and is not easy, especially for average users — not to mention that many average users may not even know what’s going on in the first place.To avoid this kind of hassle, at least one side of the split could add a protocol rule to ensure that new transactions are valid on one chain but not the other. This is called replay protection.Why Should BTC1 Implement Replay Protection? (And Why Not Bitcoin Core?)In case of a split, at least one side must implement replay protection. But many — Bitcoin Core developers and others — believe there’s only one viable option. It’s the splitting party — in this case BTC1 — that should do it.There are several arguments for this.First of all, it makes the most sense for BTC1 to implement replay protection because that requires the least effort. BTC1 is a new client that’s already implementing new protocol rules anyway, and it’s not very widely deployed yet. It would be relatively easy for BTC1 to include replay protection.Meanwhile, it would not be sufficient for Bitcoin Core to implement replay protection on its own. While it is dominant, and even considered by some to be the protocol-defining reference implementation, Bitcoin Core is not the only Bitcoin implementation on the network. Bitcoin Knots, Bcoin, Libbitcoin and other alternative clients would all have to implement replay protection, too. (And that’s not even taking non-full node clients into account.)But even more importantly, the reality of the current situation is that all deployed Bitcoin nodes do not have replay protection implemented. And logically, they can’t: Some of these nodes even predate the New York Agreement. So even if Bitcoin Core and other implementations were to implement replay protection in new releases of their software, it wouldn’t suffice. All users must then also update to this new version within about two months: a very short period of time for a network-wide upgrade.If only some of the nodes on the network upgrade to these new releases, Bitcoin could actually split in three: Legacy Bitcoin, SegWit2X and “Replay Protected Bitcoin.” Needless to say, this three-way split would probably make the problem worse — not better.Lastly, there is a bit of a philosophical argument. Anyone who wants to adopt new protocol rules, so the argument goes, has the responsibility to split off as safely as possible. This responsibility should not fall on those who want to keep using the existing protocol: They should be free to keep using the  protocol as-is.Many developers — including RSK founder Sergio Lerner who drafted the SegWit2Mb proposal on which SegWit2X is based — have argued that BTC1 should implement replay protection. In fact, many developers think that any hard fork, even a hard fork that appears entirely uncontroversial, should implement replay protection.But so far, the BTC1 development team will only consider optional replay protection.What’s Wrong With Optional Replay Protection?Implementing optional replay protection, as proposed by former Bitcoin developer Gavin Andresen, for example, is currently on the table for BTC1.In short, this type of optional replay protection would make certain specially crafted (“OP_RETURN”) Legacy Bitcoin transactions invalid on the SegWit2X chain. Anyone who’d want to split their coins could spend their BTC with such a transaction. These transactions should then confirm on the Legacy Bitcoin blockchain but not on the SegWit2X chain. This effectively splits the coins into different addresses (“outputs”) on both chains.Such optional replay protection is probably better than nothing at all, but it’s still not a definitive solution.One problem is that the Legacy Bitcoin blockchain would have to include all these OP_RETURN transactions. This would probably result in more transactions on the network and would require extra data for each transaction. All this data must be transmitted, verified and (at least temporarily) stored by all Legacy Bitcoin nodes. It presents a burden to the Legacy Bitcoin network.But more importantly, it would probably still not be very easy to utilize this option. It might suffice for professional users — exchanges, wallet providers and other service providers — as well as tech-savvy individual users. But these are generally also the types of users that would be able to split their coins even without replay protection. Average users, if they are even aware of what’s going on, would probably find it much more difficult to utilize optional replay protection.Optional replay protection, therefore, offers help to those who need it least and does little for those who need it most.Does the NYA Preclude Replay Protection?While it’s unclear what was (or is) discussed behind closed doors, the New York Agreement seems to be a very minimal agreement. Published on May 23, 2017, it really only consists of two concrete points:Activate Segregated Witness at an 80 percent threshold, signaling at bit 4, andActivate a 2 MB hard fork within six months.With the first point completed through BIP91, the only remaining point is a hard fork to 2 megabytes before November 23. (This assumes that this hard fork wasn’t completed with the creation of Bitcoin Cash which is supported by a number of NYA signatories.)Notably, a lot of details are not filled in. For example, the agreement does not even state that signatories must specifically run the BTC1 software: Any software implementation that implements a hard fork to 2 megabytes might do. This could even include a software implementation that implements replay protection. And, of course, nothing in the NYA stops BTC1 from implementing replay protection; some signatories may have even expected it.Why Won’t BTC1 Implement Replay Protection?There are really several reasons why BTC1 — both stated and speculated — might not want to add replay protection.The first reason is that replay protection would require simplified payment verification (SPV) wallets and some other thin clients to upgrade in order to send and receive transactions on SegWit2X. Replay protection would, therefore, in the words of BTC1 developer Jeff Garzik, “break” SPV wallets; they wouldn’t be compatible with SegWit2X until upgraded.This framing and choice of words is disputed. If SegWit2X were to implement replay protection (and if SPV wallets don’t upgrade), these wallets could still send and receive transactions on Legacy Bitcoin perfectly fine. On top of that, they wouldn’t accidentally spend B2X when they don’t mean to.Meanwhile, if the SegWit2X chain does not implement replay protection (and if SPV-wallets don’t upgrade), users may not be sure if their wallet is receiving or sending BTC transactions or B2X transactions or both. They also may not be sure if the balance in their wallet is a BTC balance or a B2X balance or both. And if hash power moves from one chain to another over time, these wallets could even switch from displaying BTC balances to B2X balances or the other way round without users knowing. (This problem could be solved, to some extent, through another workaround, but this is not yet implemented in either.)Indeed, not implementing replay protection on SegWit2X could arguably “break” SPV wallets much worse.The only (plausible) scenario where implementing replay protection would perhaps not break SPV wallets much worse is if there is no Legacy Bitcoin to speak of. Indeed, the New York Agreement very specifically intends to “upgrade” Bitcoin, rather than split off into a new coin as Bcash did. And based on miner signaling and statements of intent by several big Bitcoin companies, some NYA signatories claim that Legacy Bitcoin will not be able to survive at all.Implementing replay protection is, therefore, sometimes considered an admission that SegWit2X will split off from (Legacy) Bitcoin into something new and will not be considered the upgraded version of Bitcoin.But the assumption that Legacy Bitcoin won’t be able survive is a big one. In reality, miner signaling is effectively meaningless, while Bitcoin Core — the dominant Bitcoin implementation — will not adopt the hard fork. There is also a significant list of companies that have not stated that they support the hard fork, including two top-10 mining pools. Similarly, it’s not clear if many (individual) users will support SegWit2X either. The implementation of wipe-out protection (another safety measure) also suggests that even BTC1 developers aren’t so sure that there will only be one chain.And perhaps even more importantly, it’s not clear that replay protection would affect any of this. If miners, developers, companies and users are to consider SegWit2X an upgrade of Bitcoin, they will probably do so with or without replay protection.This is why it has also been suggested that BTC1 is rejecting replay protection for the specific purpose of being as disruptive as possible. If the Legacy Bitcoin chain is effectively made unusable, SegWit2X might stand the best chance of being recognized as “Bitcoin.”For more information and debate on replay protection, also see the the relevant threads on the SegWit2X mailing list.The post SegWit2X and the Case for Strong Replay Protection (And Why It's Controversial) appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.
Source: bitcoinmagazine.com

Russian Prosecutor’s Office Summons Burger King for Issuing Cryptocurrency


Russian Prosecutor's Office Summons Burger King for Issuing Cryptocurrency

The Russian prosecutor’s office has summoned Burger King to explain the issuance of its cryptocurrency called Whoppercoin. Burger King is confident that it has not broken any laws since there is currently no regulation for cryptocurrency in Russia.

Also read: Major Japanese Travel Agency Accepts Bitcoin and Offers Bitcoin-Exclusive Deals

Burger King’s Cryptocurrency Questioned

Russian Prosecutor's Office Summons Burger King for Issuing CryptocurrencyLess than one month after the fast food giant launched its blockchain token called Whoppercoin in Russia, the company was reportedly summoned by the Izmailovo inter-district prosecutor’s office regarding its cryptocurrency.

A Burger King representative told RNS that the company had received two notifications from the prosecutor’s office; one on September 13 and the other on September 19 “with an invitation to the Izmaylovskoy prosecutor’s office on behalf of the prosecutor’s office in Moscow.” He added:

On the instructions of the Moscow Prosecutor’s Office, information was checked that we issued a cryptocurrency and started making payments with it. Accordingly, we were summoned to be reminded that within the territory of the Russian Federation the turnover of any currency other than Russian rubles was banned and all details of this project were clarified.

What is Whoppercoin?

Russian Prosecutor's Office Summons Burger King for Issuing CryptocurrencyThe Russian network of Burger King revealed in August that it had issued a cryptocurrency in Russia on the Waves blockchain platform. The token platform lets users who download their wallet issue their own coins and trade them with other Waves wallet holders. A decentralized exchange built into Waves wallets allows their tokens to be traded with other cryptocurrencies as well as fiat currencies.

Whoppercoins “will be used to reward customers for their purchases, and can be used to buy burgers in return when enough have been accrued,” Waves detailed at the time. These blockchain tokens are held in Burger King-themed wallets for both Android and iOS smartphones and can be freely transferred and traded online, the platform noted, adding that:

The initiative is being run by Burger King Russia. Whoppercoins have already been issued, with a supply of 1 billion (further Whoppercoins can be issued if required). Customers will receive one Whoppercoin for every rouble they spend (1 USD = 59 RUB), and a Whopper burger can be purchased for 1,700 Whoppercoins.

In its notices, the prosecutor’s office asked Burger King to clarify what a Whoppercoin is and how it works. The company was also asked to provide a statement that it did not conduct a mass issuance of Whoppercoins, Vedomosti detailed.

Burger King Says No Laws Broken

The Burger King representative insisted that the company did not break any laws, according to Vedomosti. Nino Tsiklauri, the senior legal counsel for Burger King in Russia explained:

In the Russian legislation, the concept of ‘cryptocurrency’ is not fixed, as there is no ban on conducting transactions using virtual currency.

The Russian finance ministry and the central bank are currently working to provide a legal framework for cryptocurrencies. A draft law is expected by the end of the year, according to the Minister of Finance. A partner at A2 law firm, Mikhail Aleksandrov, said that in the case of Burger King, the cryptocurrency can be treated like coupons used by food retailers. “It’s more of a marketing story, not a payment story,” he described, as reported by Vedomosti.

In June, the general manager of the Burger King Russia franchise reportedly said that one retail location had been testing bitcoin payments and that “Burger King Russia will begin accepting Bitcoin in 2017.”

What do you think will happen to Whoppercoin? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Waves platform.


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The post Russian Prosecutor’s Office Summons Burger King for Issuing Cryptocurrency appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: bitcoin.com

PR: Aeron Arn Token to List on Binance.com, the Fastest Growing Exchange


PR: Aeron Arn Token to List on Binance.com, the Fastest Growing Exchange

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support this product/service. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

Aeron, the new standard of aviation safety powered by blockchain, today announced its partnership with Binance, the fastest growing digital asset exchange. Binance will list Aeron’s ARN token, as its first exchange platform, once the Aeron token sale event is completed in October 2017.

Aeron is a software company building a global decentralized aviation record system called Aeron Register and focused on flight safety. Powered by blockchain technology, this comprehensive online system includes a global aviation database accessible by online portal or mobile applications.

Aeron Register system allows to solve a range of problems related to aviation safety such as discrepancies in data and human errors. The system can track pilot and aircraft log records which are stored in blockchain, available for public audit and can’t be forged. It could facilitate data exchange on every step of communication between clients, airports, aircraft maintenance and service companies. Thus, all people, involved in operating and flying an aircraft use customized apps – pilots for personal flight logging, aviation companies to collect and verify log data from flight schools, aircraft operators, fixed base operators and others. The Aeron Register system can be also applied to aircraft maintenance records and tracking of spare parts, to confirm that spare parts are authentic and maintenance has been performed according to standards.

Artem Orange, CEO of Aeron commented: “Since the successful launch of our token presale earlier this August, our team has received hundreds of inquiries from users regarding our plans for listing of the ARN token at the crypto currency exchanges. Today, we are excited to partner with Binance to announce the agreement to enable Aeron users to trade the ARN token conveniently and securely. Binance is one of the most advanced digital asset exchanges and we believe our users will benefit from access to its excellent trading engine.”

Deposits and withdrawals of the ARN token on Binance.com will be enabled once the Aeron token sale event is completed. More details will be available on Binance official web site.

About Aeron

Aeron is the new standard of aviation safety powered by blockchain. We believe that aviation safety is closely related to record integrity. Once the log records are stored in blockchain, available for public audit and can’t be forged, both authorities and passengers can be confident that a pilot actually has the experience claimed. Aeron will work with all target audiences: pilots, aviation authorities, maintenance companies, flight schools and the airlines. Aeron’s team has extensive flying experience and includes certified pilots, aviation engineers and developers. Aeron has launched token sale from September 19, 2017.

For more information, please visit https://aeron.aero

About Binance

Binance is one of the fastest growing crypto asset exchanges in the world. The platform is launched in 2017 by a team of technology gurus and enthusiasts, with a combined experience of more than 20 years in fintech and the development of world-class exchanges including Tokyo Stock Exchange, Morgan Stanley, and Accenture. Binance is capable of processing more than 1.4 million orders per second, making it one of the fastest exchanges in the market. Moreover, it focuses on security, robustness, and execution speed – attracting enthusiasts and professional traders alike. Its rigorous selection and auditing process means only the soundest crypto currencies are offered on the exchange.

For more information about Binance please visit www.Binance.com                    

This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.

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Source: bitcoin.com

Vaultoro Continues on Its VC Funding Road to Future Growth With Finlab AG


Vaultoro, a bitcoin-to-gold exchange, has secured funding from Finlab AG, a fintech company based in Frankfurt, Germany.Vaultoro co-founder Joshua Scigala stated that the funding from Finlab will allow them to reach their goals faster. The first upgrade the company plans to implement will be a real-time gold-backed debit card. The card will allow the customers of the firm to hold their allocated gold — stored in a high-security Swiss bullion vault — while they can easily spend the funds anywhere Visa or Mastercard is accepted.This latest funding announcement is in keeping with Vaultoro’s history of seeking funding and support from venture capitalists and established players in the space, rather than following the recent ICO trend.In 2015, Vaultoro conducted a BnkToTheFuture raise. The funds were raised primarily from VCs, as opposed to ICOs. That same year, it hit its first $1 million in gold traded on the platform and was one of three finalists from the blockchain space to compete for the BBVA Open Talent Competition in Barcelona, Spain. Most recently, Vaultoro was selected as one of eight startups for the 2017 Techstars Berlin program.“We decided against an ICO because coins that pay a dividend are not really legal yet, equity taken absolutely illegal[ly], and we didn’t want to confuse the product with a utility coin when we don’t need one. Also, we found that so many ICOs are scams and we didn’t want to be associated with this kind of hype. We have been solidly working on making Vaultoro a name people can trust, a brand with the highest principles.”However, Scigala is not opposed to ICOs in general: “I’m not saying ICOs are bad,” he added. “In fact, I love them, I think they are the future of fundraising because they enable anyone to invest in startups. In fact, we want to launch an ICO later to enable our users to profit from our success, but we want it well thought-out and fully legal for our investors. For this reason, we decided on a standard VC funding round that would not only bring us money but also strategic contacts that will help us grow as quick as possible.”Gold on the BlockchainAccording to Vaultoro, the latest financial crises have been a cause for concern for citizens around the world. People are worried about leaving their fiat funds in a bank account while earning low or no interest. The Vaultoro debit card will allow its customers to hold their funds in gold without the need for a bank. “We see gold as a gateway to crypto. Many people don’t trust crypto, they don’t understand it, but they understand the 3000+ years of value that gold has held. We are currently building an easy-to-use euro/gold wallet so people can easily buy and save in gold. But here is the kicker. They will see a little button, spend your gold as SEPA, SWIFT, debit card or bitcoin. So, many people will want to see what that is,” he said.A Secure Store of Value“Our goal is to have real asset vaulting,” said Scigala. “We have always been a bitcoin-only business but we will bring some other promising digital assets on board. IOTA, ETHEREUM and DASH will be the first. We will also be adding silver, platinum and palladium. The wallet software will enable you to tell the card which asset you would like to spend from.”The firm emphasized that all gold is allocated in the users’ name as their legal property so that even if Vaultoro were to experience a negative event, users’ gold holdings would be protected: even liquidators wouldn’t be able to touch the assets of the company’s clients.“The most important thing about Vaultoro is that all physical assets are allocated to the user and are not on the company balance sheet. That means if anything happens to Vaultoro as a company, no one, not even liquidators, can touch our clients’ property because it has nothing to do with us. It’s the full property of our clients. We are figuring out if digital currencies can also be allocated under bailment laws,” Scigala said.By allowing users to purchase gold for bitcoins and back, Vaultoro customers can benefit from the ease of BTC payments while investing in a stable asset. Unlike bitcoin or a lot of fiat currencies, gold has a very low volatility rate. Investors can invest and trade in cryptocurrencies; however, many of them dislike the volatility associated with them — especially when there is an event that drives the prices toward the bottom, like the recent Chinese regulations on bitcoin exchanges and ICOs.“We are also working on a maker-taker trading fee model for the marketplace so people that place orders into the market don’t pay as much fee[s] as people taking an order from the order book. We hope to lift liquidity drastically.”The post Vaultoro Continues on Its VC Funding Road to Future Growth With Finlab AG appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.
Source: bitcoinmagazine.com

Younger Americans See Bitcoin As Investment Opportunity, Survey Says


A new survey recently conducted by Lend Edu polled Americans about their interest in bitcoin. The survey asked basic questions about whether people have heard about bitcoin, whether it was legal, and if they would use it or invest in it. By and large, younger generations have increasingly heard of bitcoin, and they see it as an investment opportunity.

Also read: South Africa’s Second Largest Supermarket Chain Pick n Pay Trials Bitcoin Payments

General Bitcoin Trends

Younger Americans See Bitcoin As Investment Oppurtunity, Survey Says

Lend Edu commented on some of their findings: “not surprisingly, younger Americans were more likely to have heard of bitcoin as compared to their older counterparts. 86.67 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 24 have heard of bitcoin, while only 75.93 percent of respondents ages 55 and older have heard of bitcoin. It was a consistent trend that as respondents got older, their likelihood of hearing about bitcoin went down.”

The survey suggested bitcoin’s popularity is growing especially with millennials. This growth could be occurring as a result of younger crowds being more technologically savvy. Needless to say, room for bitcoin adoption is being “carved out” in the United States. According to the study, there is certainly a large place for bitcoin adoption in the future.

Younger Americans See Bitcoin As Investment Oppurtunity, Survey Says

Is Bitcoin Illegal?

The study also asked respondents if they believed bitcoin was illegal. 10.69 percent of people asked believed it was not legal to possess. 41.16 percent said that bitcoin is legal, and 47.71 percent said they did not know. The article suggested these answers resulted in the stigma that surrounds bitcoin. Many people still believe it is primarily used by drug lords and other criminal factions. The article continued:

It appears that there is a “dark-web” stigma attached to bitcoin. Most people know what bitcoin is, but they also associate bitcoin as a mechanism for conducting suspicious behavior on the web. Of course, the name “cryptocurrency” certainly does not help bitcoin’s image, as that description makes it sound like you are evading the government.

Other Findings: Younger Americans Adore Bitcoin

The survey also found some other interesting facts. The younger the person was, the moreYounger Americans See Bitcoin As Investment Oppurtunity, Survey Says likely they would invest in bitcoin. The survey revealed, “those between the ages of 25 and 34 were the most likely to invest in bitcoin as an asset for the future, or to be open to using bitcoin for purchases.” Every older generation following the millennials had a decreased interest in investing in bitcoin.

The study also found that more men than women were interested in getting involved with bitcoin. However, the article cautioned against data concerning gender, because it is “more difficult to put a finger on.”

What do you think about these surveys? Is the future for bitcoin bright? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Lend Edu, and Bitcoin.org


Play with confidence! We guarantee that every Video Poker game you play at Bitcoin Games is completely fair. You will be dealt a completely random deck of cards every game, and we can provably demonstrate that we have in no way manipulated the shuffle.

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Source: bitcoin.com

Venezuelans Turn to Selling In-Game Gold for Bitcoin


Venezuelans Turn to Selling In-Game Gold for Bitcoin

According to multiple reports, Venezuelan citizens suffering from the country’s horrible economy are now playing massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) to collect in-game items and sell them for bitcoin.

Also read: Jamie Dimon’s Bitcoin Statements Reported as Market Abuse in Sweden

Venezuelan ‘Gold Farmers’ Are Selling Runescape Items for Bitcoin

Venezuelan ‘Gold Farmers’ Are Selling Runescape Items for Bitcoin
Runescape in-game gold is being sold for bitcoin in Venezuela.

Recently there have been many reports of Venezuelans “Gold Farming” on a MMORPG called Runescape. Recent headlines explain that in-game farmers are selling treasures for bitcoin to make a living. Gold Farming has always been considered a controversial and profitable operation since online gaming became extremely popular. The business model started trending in China where players acquire in-game currencies or items and later sell them for “real money”. In 2009 it was estimated that over 1 million gold farmers were based out of China, but in-game gold farming also happens all around the world. Because of the secrecy, it is hard to get an accurate figure on how much revenue gold farming brings in, but it was estimated to be about USD $300 million in 2008.     

Runescape Gold Farmers Make More Money Than Venezuelan Professionals With Degrees

Venezuelan ‘Gold Farmers’ Are Selling Runescape Items for Bitcoin
Runescape dragons give players 500,000 in-game gold which amounts to $0.50 in real money for Venezuelans.

Venezuelans playing the game Runescape are aiming to kill as many green dragons as they can in order to collect 500,000 in-game gold which amounts to $0.50 worth of real money when sold. Most of the farming players are making roughly $0.50 per hour on Runescape which is allegedly a better wage than most in the country. Some Venezuelans can make up to $2-3 per hour if they have extremely good in-game skill sets and don’t get banned by the moderators. These productive players can kill the boss Zulrah repeatedly and make roughly 3M Runescape gold per hour. Venezuelans with this amount of in-game skill sets are making more money than most professionals in the country with college degrees.   

Venezuelan ‘Gold Farmers’ Are Selling Runescape Items for Bitcoin
Some Venezuelans can make up to $2-3 per hour if they can kill the boss Zulrah repeatedly which is a better wage than most college graduates in the country.

A Guide to Getting Rid of Venezuelan Gold Farmers, While Papusgold.com Offers Netflix Credits and Bitcoin for Runescape Gold

Gold Farming on a MMORPG is against the rules in Runescape and many other online role-playing games. Furthermore, just recently someone posted a guide on Reddit detailing how to get rid of the Venezuelan gold farmers. Runescape gold and other MMORPG online items are sold on the black market in the country, and there are also online websites that purchase the in-game gold for bitcoin. A website called Papusgold.com is just one particular business who buys Runescape gold for BTC and Netflix credits.

Papusgold’s operators seem to want to stay anonymous as the website’s “about us” section is not very informative. The company appears to be based out of Caracas and has a Facebook page with close to 4,000 followers. One Facebook post describes a “scammer” trying to sell the business phony Runescape gold, and the company warns its clients to “be careful.” The company says it has been in the Runescape gold market for two years now and aims to “innovate the Venezuelan market by offering better prices to vendors.” According to one report, the gaming company Jagex which produces Runescape has been contacted about the influx of Venezuelan gold farmers but has yet to comment on the issue.   

What do you think about Venezuelans playing the game Runescape to sell in-game gold for bitcoin? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


Images via Shutterstock, and Runescape 2007. 


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The post Venezuelans Turn to Selling In-Game Gold for Bitcoin appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: bitcoin.com

PR: Lunyr Private Alpha Now Live on Ethereum Mainnet


Lunyr Private Alpha Now Live on Ethereum Mainnet

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support this product/service. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

Lunyr, the first decentralized world knowledge base on Ethereum, has announced that its Private Alpha (called the “Celestial Release”) is now running live on the Ethereum Mainnet. Alpha testers are now able to publish and peer review articles.

“The Celestial Release is an exciting achievement for Lunyr. Valuable articles are now accumulating in the knowledge base. By the time we get to the Open Beta (Interstellar Release), there will be a wealth of knowledge available to users. There is still a tremendous amount of growth in the road ahead.” said Arnold Pham, Cofounder and CEO of Lunyr.

The next milestone in the Lunyr project is the Open Beta (Celestial Release), which introduces several major upgrades and improvements to the Lunyr platform. The current expected release date of the Open Beta is January 2018.

Users interested in joining the Private Alpha can signup here. Invited testers will receive an email with further instructions.

Websites
https://lunyr.com
https://medium.com/lunyr

Media Contacts
Company name: Lunyr Inc.
Email: support@lunyr.com

This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.

The post PR: Lunyr Private Alpha Now Live on Ethereum Mainnet appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: bitcoin.com

Bank of Russia Opposes Cryptocurrency Legalization, Worried About ‘Loss of Control’


Bank of Russia Opposes Cryptocurrency Legalization, Worried About 'Loss of Control'

The head of the Central Bank of Russia has spoken against the legalization of cryptocurrency at a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and representatives of the Russian business circles and associations. Meanwhile, the finance ministry is drafting a bill to legalize cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and regulate their circulation.

Also read: Russian Governor Invites Cryptocurrency Miners to Set Up Mining Farms in Leningrad

Central Bank Worried About Loss of Control

Bank of Russia Opposes Cryptocurrency Legalization, Worried About 'Loss of Control'
Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Meeting.

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with representatives of the Russian business circles and associations on Thursday. The meeting was attended by over 50 business leaders, CEOs of leading companies, banks and public organizations.

At the meeting, Elvira Nabiullina, the head of Russia’s central bank, spoke out against the legalization of cryptocurrency in Russia. This was conveyed to journalists on Thursday by the president of OPORA Russia public association, Alexander Kalinin, according to Tass. Regarding cryptocurrencies, the central bank “opposed their legalization in the Russian Federation,” he explained, noting that:

Elvira Nabiullina said that the central bank is against, because this is actually a loss of control over the money flows from abroad.

Bank of Russia Opposes Cryptocurrency Legalization, Worried About 'Loss of Control'
Meeting Between Putin and Representatives of the Russian Business Circles and Associations.

Early this month, news.Bitcoin.com reported on the Bank of Russia issuing a statement warning about the risks of digital currencies including bitcoin as well as initial coin offerings (ICOs). “The Bank of Russia considers it premature to admit cryptocurrencies, as well as any financial instruments nominated or associated with cryptocurrencies, to be circulated Bank of Russia Opposes Cryptocurrency Legalization, Worried About 'Loss of Control'and used in organized trades and in clearing and settlement infrastructure on the territory of the Russian Federation for servicing transactions with cryptocurrencies and derivative financial instruments on them,” the bank’s statement read.

A few days after the above statement was issued, Nabiullin said at the Moscow Financial forum 2017 that cryptocurrencies will not be admitted to the Russian market as money surrogates, Tass reported at the time. She was quoted saying:

The use of cryptocurrency as a monetary surrogate is actively proposed for the calculation of goods and services, in our view, this has the risk of undermining monetary circulation and, of course, we will not allow the use of cryptocurrency as a money substitute.

Finance Ministry Favors Legalization

Bank of Russia Opposes Cryptocurrency Legalization, Worried About 'Loss of Control'
Finance Minister Anton Siluanov.

While the central bank opposes the legalization of cryptocurrencies, the Russian finance ministry is drafting a bill to legalize them, according to the Finance Minister Anton Siluanov early this month. News.Bitcoin.com reported on him stating that the draft law, which provides the legal framework for the circulation of cryptocurrencies in Russia, will be prepared by the end of this year.

As the legal framework is being drafted, discussions are underway regarding how to define cryptocurrency. Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev proposed in August for cryptocurrencies including bitcoin to be regulated as financial assets and be listed on stock exchanges, such as Moscow Exchange. However, he also suggested that they should only be available to qualified investors. This idea did not receive strong support from other government officials.The finance minister suggested at the Moscow Financial Forum that, instead of banning them from individuals, they should be made available in the same way federal loan bonds (OFZ) are currently.

Bank of Russia Opposes Cryptocurrency Legalization, Worried About 'Loss of Control'
First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov.

The finance minister suggested at the Moscow Financial Forum that, instead of restricting them to qualified investors, they could be made available to anyone in the same way federal loan bonds (OFZ) are currently.

First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov also made a statement following Moiseev’s suggestion. Regarding Moiseev’s proposal, he said “this is only the proposal of experts,” RIA Novosti reported. He added that there is still no official definition or legislation of cryptocurrency but this matter will be seriously discussed “in the near future.”

What do you think of the Russian Central Bank’s stance on cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Kremlin, Russian Central Bank


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The post Bank of Russia Opposes Cryptocurrency Legalization, Worried About ‘Loss of Control’ appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: bitcoin.com

Bitnovo Offers Loaded Bitcoin Cards at Fifty Spanish Carrefour Retail Stores


On September 20 the Spanish bitcoin payment platform, Bitnovo, announced residents from Spain can now purchase redeemable bitcoin cards at fifty Carrefour retail stores located across the country.

Also Read: Spanish University Holds Two-Day Bitcoin & Blockchain Course

Loaded Bitcoin Voucher Cards Now Available Throughout Fifty Carrefour Retail Locations

Bitnovo Offers Loaded Bitcoin Cards at Fifty Spanish Carrefour Retail StoresThe startup Bitnovo is continuing to expand throughout Spain, launching pre-loaded bitcoin cards that can be purchased at over fifty of the well-known Carrefour shops located in the country. Spain is Carrefour’s second most popular market next to France, with the company currently operating in more than 30 countries worldwide. The Carrefour redeemable bitcoin card sales are part of Bitnovo’s launch of over 4,000 new physical locations throughout Spain and the startup’s Visa brand bitcoin debit card.

“With our eagerness to continue bolstering cryptocurrency to all the corners of the planet we have launched a new product,” explains Bitnovo’s translated announcement.

You can now buy bitcoin at Carrefour —  Easy, fast and safe and no need for records.  

Spanish Residents Can Now Buy Bitcoin Without a Registration Process  

Bitnovo Offers Loaded Bitcoin Cards at Fifty Spanish Carrefour Retail StoresThe Bitnovo redeemable bitcoin cards are available for purchase at the store’s gift card rack alongside restaurant coupons, Itunes cards, and other retail store vouchers. The company says customers can buy the bitcoin cards with cash or credit card and without registration. To purchase a Bitnovo loaded bitcoin card, Spanish residents can go to one of the fifty partnering locations and select a card with the desired amount of funds. The company says the bitcoin cards can be redeemed instantly into any BTC-based wallet. In two steps, the user enters the PIN tethered to the purchased card alongside entering a forwarding bitcoin address.  

“The gift card format is ideal to give as a gift and to initiate your relatives or friends into the exciting world of cryptocurrency,” Bitnovo states. “With our cards, you do not have to keep bitcoin with us; you can store it in your favorite wallet and just convert the bitcoin when necessary. It’s a very quick process, with no logins or registrations, as simple as it gets.”

Bitnovo Offers Loaded Bitcoin Cards at Fifty Spanish Carrefour Retail Stores
Bitnovo loaded bitcoin cards being sold at a Carrefour gift card kiosk in Spain. 

The Bitcoin-Based Voucher Market in Spain is Slim Pickings

The primary competition to Bitnovos bitcoin cards is a company called 247 Exchange, who sell loaded bitcoin vouchers issued by the France-based company Neosurf. According to the trading platform, customers can purchase digital currencies throughout many local stores that use the Neosurf prepaid voucher/card system. Otherwise, Bitnovo seems to be the only business in Spain producing bitcoin voucher cards for Spanish residents right now. In 2015 a startup called Coinay attempted to start a loaded bitcoin voucher business in Spain but failed.

What do you think about Bitnovo partnering with the Spanish retail chain Carrefour shops to sell loaded bitcoin voucher cards? Let us know what you think in the comments below.  


Images via Carrefour, and Bitnovo.


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Source: bitcoin.com

Major Japanese Travel Agency Accepts Bitcoin and Offers Bitcoin-Exclusive Deals


One of Japan’s largest travel agencies, H.I.S., will start accepting bitcoin payments at some of its stores via Japan’s largest bitcoin exchange, Bitflyer. The company will also offer some bitcoin-exclusive tour packages to commemorate the event.

Also read: Japan’s Largest Rewards Site Operator With 5 Million Users Launching Bitcoin Exchange

H.I.S. & Bitflyer

Major Japanese Travel Agency Accepts Bitcoin and Offers Bitcoin-Exclusive DealsH.I.S. Co. Ltd will start accepting bitcoin payments on September 23 through Bitflyer, as announced by both companies on Tuesday. The transaction amount for purchases will be limited to the equivalent of 2 million yen. The companies claim that H.I.S. is the first major company in the Japanese travel industry to accept the digital currency.

Founded in December 1980, H.I.S. is a Tokyo-based travel agency specializing in low-cost package tours. Among the group’s many businesses are two theme parks, Huis Ten Bosch and Laguna Ten Bosch. In June this year, Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) provided an analysis of 49 major Japanese travel agents. It showed that H.I.S. ranks second for outbound travel for the year ending February 2017, behind only the industry leader JTB.

According to H.I.S.:

The number of H.I.S. Group’s business offices has expanded to 295 in Japan and 230 overseas in 66 countries. The number of countries where offices are held is the largest in the world as a travel agency.

Major Japanese Travel Agency Accepts Bitcoin and Offers Bitcoin-Exclusive Deals

Bitflyer is the largest Japanese bitcoin exchange by volume, according to Coinhills. The Major Japanese Travel Agency Accepts Bitcoin and Offers Bitcoin-Exclusive Dealsbusiness also offers bitcoin merchant processing services. Bitflyer recently helped one of Japan’s largest department stores, Marui, accept bitcoin on a trial basis, in addition to helping the country’s electronics giant, Bic Camera, accept bitcoin nationwide since July.

Stores to Accept Bitcoin & Bitcoin Specials

Major Japanese Travel Agency Accepts Bitcoin and Offers Bitcoin-Exclusive DealsH.I.S. decided to introduce bitcoin payments to add convenience for domestic customers as well as attract new markets. Initially, 38 H.I.S. stores in the Tokyo metropolitan area will accept bitcoin. However, the company plans to add more stores in the future.

The 38 stores are: Shinjuku – 15 stores, Shibuya – 3 stores, Ginza – 6 stores, Marunouchi – 3 stores, Ikebukuro – 2 stores, Hawaii Shinjuku 3-Chome – 2 stores, Ginza Core Sales office, Roppongi Sales office, and H.I.S. Travel, books, coffee, and Omotesando office – 5 stores.

Major Japanese Travel Agency Accepts Bitcoin and Offers Bitcoin-Exclusive DealsThe company’s Shinjuku Head Office will introduce the payment system on September 21. A launch event will be held between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m. on that day. The company will give 5,000 yen worth of bitcoin to the first 10 buyers of bitcoin promotional packages at the head office.

On September 23, the group will also offer some special bitcoin tour packages. For example, the “Seoul 3 days” package will cost 16,800 yen, while the “Hawaii 5 days” package will go for 69,800 yen during the promotion.

What do you think of H.I.S. accepting bitcoin and offering bitcoin promotional tour packages? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, H.I.S., Bitflyer


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The post Major Japanese Travel Agency Accepts Bitcoin and Offers Bitcoin-Exclusive Deals appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: bitcoin.com