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piątek, 29 sierpnia 2014

MrBitcoin's zero emission Bitcoin ATM network.



Amsterdam 29-08-2018: As of today, all electricity used by the MrBitcoin ATM network, the MrBitcoin datacenter and even the coffee maker and fridge here in the office is supplied by wind energy from our own windmill. (google maps: http://bit.ly/greenerBTC )
Should there be a dip in energy production from our windmill, additional renewable energy from wind (42,5%) biomass (41,2%), water (16,2%) and sun (0.2%) is supplied by our electricity company. As soon as we see a permanent increase in power consumption, for example because more ATMs are added to our network every week, more wind-shares will be purchased to compensate for increased electricity consumption.
At MrBitcoin we firmly believe that Bitcoin, especially compared to the existing banking system is a green technology but by greening our Bitcoin operations to use only renewable energy sources we can make even more of a positive statement in the community and hope that other Bitcoin companies will follow soon.
For more information on MrBitcoin visit www.MrBitco.in or visit Windcentrale for more information on our windmill:

niedziela, 24 sierpnia 2014

Bitcoins: A Look at What the Digital Currency has Achieved


apple-bitcoin

It may be cliché, but perhaps no single word sums up bitcoin quite as well as “disruptive”. Computer scientists have been trying to create secure and sustainable digital cash since the earliest days of the Internet, and until Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper introducing bitcoin was published in 2008, their efforts were in vain.
While the public may still be polarized by the digital currency, most people who take the time to learn about bitcoin and the block chain come to realize the significance of a decentralized, trustless network and the impacts it could potentially have in many areas of everyday life.
The use cases of such a technology are only beginning to be explored, but the bitcoin protocol has already proven to be a game-changer, allowing its users to do things that had previously been thought impractical or even impossible.

Previous forays into online-based currencies have resulted in failures like e-Gold or centralized currencies often found in gaming communities, but bitcoin is the first digital-only currency that is completely decentralized to gain significant traction. There are many implications of this, but one key value of a decentralized digital currency is that anyone can create a bitcoin wallet to hold their money, without needing to rely on a bank’s approval or their government’s issued currency.News on Bitcoins

It’s no secret that money transfer services like Western Union and Moneygram are flawed. These companies often take days to transfer money across the globe, and they charge a hefty service fee for their work. Bitcoin, on the other hand, allows anybody with Internet access to send any amount of money anywhere in the world. The notion of smart contracts—contracts that can be digitally created and verified—has been around for years, but is now being approached in a whole new light in the face of bitcoin.

Bitcoin News Video

Watch this video for more “News on Bitcoin”.

Bitcoin Financial News

Society has seen many of our traditional institutions and operations move from analog to digital, and this shift shows no signs of slowing down. As more innovators continue to explore all of the use cases of the bitcoin protocol, there’s no doubt that we can expect the list of things made possible by the digital currency to expand.

Ecuador's Phony Bitcoin Ploy



Few economic injustices are more villainous than stealing from the poor. Yet this is what a government does when it devalues its currency. Pope Francis has stressed the Christian obligation to share with the least of our brothers. Devaluation actually takes from them what they have earned themselves. And while the inflation tax that follows hits everybody, it wallops the low-income population the hardest.
Ecuadoreans are not free to speak against this threat to their earnings and savings. Mr. Correa is well known for using the judicial system and the army to threaten and silence his critics. Earlier this month he won the passage of a new law that makes it a crime—punishable by up to seven years in prison—to "publish, broadcast or spread" news that creates "economic panic." The law suggests that the brash University of Illinois-trained economist is well aware of the trouble his funny money is likely to cause.Ecuador engaged in this insidious practice repeatedly throughout most of the 20th century. The little nation took a giant step in 2000 when it adopted the U.S. dollar as its currency to put an end to theft-by-devaluation. But last month President Rafael Correa pushed through Congress a law to permit the creation of what Ecuador calls a new "electronic" currency. So now the central bank again has a vehicle that will allow it to conjure money out of thin air to finance a political agenda.
Venezuela's Nicólas Maduro and Argentina's Cristina Kirchner, both fellow travelers of the Ecuadorean president, have driven their economies into the ground. Compared with them, Ecuador's dollarized economy looks better. Seven years after Mr. Correa took power, Ecuador reports an average annual gross domestic product growth rate of 4.3% and a drop in the poverty rate to 26% from 38%.
Still, economic statistics compiled by an authoritarian state should always be viewed with some skepticism, as should a June poll that purportedly found the president has a 61% approval rating. Even the government's numbers are hardly miraculous. According to development economists, it takes GDP growth of better than 6% for a decade to authentically move people out of poverty. Dollarization has made people better off by protecting their savings and earnings, but Ecuador has achieved no progress in economic competitiveness, the linchpin of growth. Instead Mr. Correa has run the country on the fumes of high-price oil and borrowing.
In 2008 Ecuador repudiated $3.9 billion in foreign debt. The government had the money to pay its creditors, but the president had other plans for those funds. So Mr. Correa justified the default by alleging that the debt, incurred by previous governments, was "illegitimate" and that bondholders were "real monsters." Then he went on his own spending tear.
This year Ecuador will run a fiscal deficit, including debt service, of some $9.2 billion, more than 9% of GDP. That's what happens with budgeting that forecasts that oil prices will grow to the sky. It will be hard to shrink bloated state payrolls and subsidies, and the cost of servicing rising debt levels isn't getting any cheaper.
To return this year to the international capital markets with a $2 billion 10-year bond, Ecuador had to pay a whopping 7.95% coupon. It also took out a $400 million three-year loan from Goldman Sachs against Ecuadorean gold to meet budget shortfalls. China holds $11 billion in Ecuadorean debt, not including billions of dollars in loans from Beijing secured by future oil shipments at an undisclosed price.
Now Mr. Correa is planning for when he runs out of other people's money. The central bank says its new money will be a parallel currency backed up by dollars or the "equivalent" and used to pay its 500,000 bureaucrats in a "hygienic" manner. But if so, why not use dollars? In today's world, there's nothing special about transferring money electronically. Implying that this is a "virtual" currency is an attempt to lend Bitcoin-like cachet to what will essentially be IOUs issued by a country with a rather dodgy credit history. Coming from a president who ran for office in 2006 pledging to de-dollarize an economy renowned for bouts of hyperinflation, this is more than disconcerting.
Pope Francis is not oblivious to the consequences of monetary meddling. In his November 2013 "apostolic exhortation," he wrote: "Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power."
That's an excellent if somewhat cryptic summation of what may be the most ubiquitous cause of persistent poverty in the world: government fiscal profligacy and the monetary devaluation that follows it. The pope's statement goes to the heart of why Mr. Correa is building the escape hatch to get out of dollarization, and what will happen to Ecuadoreans when he uses it.

sobota, 23 sierpnia 2014

EXCLUSIVE: Key Negotiator In Bter NXT Hack Speaks

BTer recently suffered a hack of over 51 million NXT, which was its single largest market. They were, with the help of a negotiator, able to recover most of the funds. This morning, we were handed a sort of self-interview / narrative written by the key negotiator himself. While we are not in the practice of posting information handed to us verbatim, this piece included exclusive and important information. We felt that it was in the public's best interest that we post this information, since BTer's account of the event (mostly told through its Twitter page) is the only official voice, other than our roundtable interview that included Bas Wiesslink, that we have heard on the BTer hack. The way this information was given to us also makes it an extremely compelling narrative, 

So, what follows is the story of the hack, as told from Jean-Laurent Tari, also known as DoM P on the NXT Forum, the CEO of CFA Consulting and the key negotiator in the deal that saved BTer from complete disaster. It is important to note that the opinions expressed below are his own. We have contacted him for follow up questions and will note them at the end of the article. The following appears, aside from some minor editing and formatting, exactly how we received it. It appears that Tari may have expected us to post it as an interview that we did with him, (judging by the first "question") but that is not something we do here. That said, it is still an extremely compelling narrative of how CFA Consulting was able to bring one exchange back from the brink of disaster. 
Jean, why did you contact us for this interview?
The information that BTer was hacked and that 85% of the stolen NXT were returned is now well spread.
What is not yet known is what happened exactly. Since BTer has decided to come out and announce details about the story, an interview was sought with Mr Tari to learn more about this.
Be ready for a long story…
So, what do you know about the BTer’s hack itself?
The hacker studied BTer and somehow got information about their developers. He then searched information about them, where they had accounts, what online services they used, etc. At some point, he was able to hack into one of those accounts and get the password. That original hack is not linked to BTer’s lack of security, but that of the site. The problem was that this same password was used internally by that developer. So the hacker used this password to get access to privileged information from the BTer database.

"Over 51 million NXT was thus stolen, worth $1.75 million"

Unfortunately, BTer, which had set up 2-factor authentication for accessing most of the sensitive systems, had neglected to do so with their main exchanged currency: NXT. To worsen the situation even further, most of the NXT was in a “hot” wallet. That is, a wallet directly accessible from the site in real time. On the 15th of August, over 51 million NXT were thus stolen, worth $1.75 million.
How did you find the hacker?
The next day (Saturday, the 16th), Bas Wisselink introduced me to Lin, one of the developers at BTer’s, and we started to talk about this issue and its consequences (technical, financial, legal, etc.). Naturally, Lin was highly stressed and welcomed suggestions about the handling of the situation: he had tried to negotiate with the hacker, sent Bitcoins to get the Nxt back, but the deal was broken by the hacker. Lin also wanted help to forge a fork of the NXT blockchain so to create a version of it in which the hack didn’t take place (see previous article here). I told Lin this would not happen, and that major Nxt owners including me were against this idea, as it would kill Nxt as a trustworthy currency: The hack had nothing to do with Nxt, only BTer was responsible, so BTer had to deal with this. With our help, that is.

"We had a credible profile: young male, late twenties to early thirties, computer expert,

very proud of his act and egocentric"

I offered my services to help get the funds back and Lin accepted, so we discussed a “reasonable” price to buy the Nxt back. An offer was made by Lin through the Nxt forum. While the subject was wildly discussed there, I had a talk with Bas Wisselink (Damelon on the Nxt forum) and Florine Oury (Amadeus), one of the co-founders of Crypto Finance Analysis Consulting and a psychologist. Both helped a lot in understanding the hacker: what kind of human was he? How to get through to him? After a while, we had a credible profile: young male, late twenties to early thirties, computer expert, very proud of his act and egocentric. From that derived our strategy to communicate with him. An anonymous web page was created (we didn’t want the action to be linked to us until the end of a possible deal with the hacker) and, at 02:00 AM CET the next day (Sunday, the 17th), I got in touch with Lin from BTer to tell him about the plan: talk to the guy the way he needed to be talked to, to bring him to send some of the money back.
Then Marcos Lopez Porto (The-Lawyer-of-NXT on the forum, CEO of NXT Legal), whom I needed to talk to about legal issues regarding the situation, came online. We discussed a bit then I gave him Lin’s account on Skype so he could chat directly with him. At 03:12 AM CET, Lin accepted the contact and Marcos told me he’d start chatting with him. Since I also urgently needed to talk with Lin, I asked him if he was up. 
What was so urgent?
I had to talk to him about the plan to get to the hacker. But I soon learned it was not necessary: the hacker was here. He may have decided to contact us when he got to learn about the web page I had set up here. The good thing was that the hacker seemed to trust he could have a deal through me. Then started a long night.

"This was the beginning of a lengthy poker game"

So we started a three-way Skype chat with Lin, the hacker, and me. I first asked for a proof of him really being the hacker. This transaction did prove it, so I went on talking to him and telling him what he needed and wanted to hear: how good and brilliant he was, how bad BTer's security was, that his deed would be remembered forever, etc. Being myself an expert at computers, I brought the hacker (calling himself The Sir) to brag about how he managed to get through BTer's security. After this icebreaker, we started talking business: I clearly told him what was at stake for him (the risk of a rollback of the blockchain, the risk that we'd hunt him down to his last day, jail, etc.). This was the beginning of a lengthy poker game between the hacker (playing confident), Lin (extremely worried and stressed, therefore not in a state to negotiate with what he saw as a weak hand), and I (knowing I had a stronger hand that it seemed: there was a possibility that the blockchain could be rolled back, to erase all traces of his deed).
This discussion went on for hours, the hacker asking for much more than BTer could actually pay, and myself trying to make him understand that he should ask for things that were actually possible to do. Meanwhile, I was also chatting with Marcos who also spent the entire night with me, sharing insights about how to handle the situation, and doing research on subjects I needed to know better (legal issues, mainly: the law in China and Russia) but had no time to pursue myself while negotiating.
At some point, you had a deal. What was it exactly?
At 6:15 AM CET, the deal was set: the hacker would return the 46 million NXT that remained on his account against the payment of 400 Bitcoins to a newly created account. This would be done incrementally, starting with smaller amounts and speeding up later. It was decided that I would check, with the help of Marcos, the funds movements on the blockchain to tell Lin when to send some more Bitcoins. Obviously, I had absolutely no trust at all in the hacker's word. A first batch of 2,333,142 Nxt was sent from the hacker. And once we saw it hit the blockchain, Lin sent 20 Bitcoins. Several batches were done this way, which are visible on the blockchain through the links above: 2m Nxt for 20 Bitcoins, 4m for 40, 4m for 35, 6m for 65, 10m for 80, and 10m for 70. That left us with 8,325,356 remaining in the hacker's account, and 70 more Bitcoins to pay.

"It is not surprising that such a person doesn't keep his word, it comes with the character"

08:00 AM CET, the hacker decided to keep the rest of the NXT and leave it at that. We tried to get in touch with him several times during the next two days, to no avail. It is not surprising that such a person doesn't keep his word, it comes with the character.
What's Nxt?
Despite the break of the deal by the hacker, this outcome is very good for the Nxt community, and BTer operators have workable options in front of them. We will go on helping them as we can, but this part of the communication is BTer's responsibility.

"We were highly successful: 85 % of the funds were returned: $1.5 million worth of Nxt"

What about the hacker? This was only the first part of the battle. We were highly successful: 85% of the funds were returned, $1.5 million worth of Nxt, but now is time to work on getting the rest back. It was obvious from the profiling we had made of the hacker that he thought he was smart and cunning. So we talked a lot, saved logs, got information about him. A whole community is now after him, and we started to make progress. So the story will most probably not end here. Contacts with the police will be made shortly, and we will share all the interesting information we have gathered about him with them. Meanwhile, the hacker is trying to hide his Bitcoins. He started moving them around from the receiving account. From now on, one little mistake made by the hacker, and he'll see a jail from the inside. A bounty on his head will probably be created soon.

"Crooks sent mails to BTer, trying to impersonate the hacker, and asked for some BTC in exchange for the Nxt being returned"

That is not all: There are some other issues that arose during this time, and they will also have to be dealt with:
Before we had a chance to talk to the hacker, some people offered him to buy some of the Nxt back at cheap price. This is illegal in most countries and our legal department is working on this on the charge of handling of stolen goods. We advise people who communicated through the blockchain with the goal of getting some cheap Nxt at the expense of the others to come and contact us to seek legal advice and see if a deal can be made to keep them out of trouble. If they don't, BTer will seek them and sue them, which may pay for part of their loss.
As soon as people noticed we had a deal and the Nxt was being sent back to BTer's address, some crooks sent mails to BTer, trying to impersonate the hacker, and asked for some btc in exchange for the Nxt being returned. This, again, was illegal and we have details about them, so BTer may very well sue them also. Again, it may be a good idea to contact us to seek legal advice.
Decentralization can be great, but sometimes it is hard to work on a secret deal while people talk on an open forum and give out information that, while not secret, was not necessarily known by the hacker. On several occasions, we would have preferred to see less activity on the forum. As to now, the hacker can still connect on the forum and read insightful information. Work will be done to find a solution to this problem, if the need for secrecy arises again some time in the future. We learned a lot while solving this issue. We now need a good debrief with the community and share the lessons we've learned.
One last note: We have talked a lot with BTer, and it seems their security has tightened a lot since the incident. We were assured that this couldn't happen again.
Many thanks to those who helped, especially Florine Oury, Bas Wisselink, and Marcos Lopez Porto who helped for the deal, and Come-from-Beyond and Jean-Luc who helped BTer on technical issues.


As mentioned, we have contacted Tari for follow up questions, of particular note is his threat to sue those that impersonated the hacker and those that asked the hacker to sell them some NXT. While there certainly could be an argument made that such acts were illegal, we would recommend contacting a lawyer before coming to any settlement with BTer.com. We also asked him about the secrecy comments regarding the board. He clarified that he did not mean for those comments to be inturrpreted as something that would interfere with free speech on the NXT forum. Rather, he wants to see the creation of a disaster task force and a list of optional guidelines for the community just incase a similar situation presents itself in the future. He also assures me that the hunt for the hacker is ongoing.

Bitcoin ATM Collective is looking for locations.

Good news, we have 5 new BitXatm those are 2 way machines, we want to place them in the first week of September.
We need your help, we are looking for location in Amsterdam and other Dutch cities. If you are a business owner, or your friend is a business owner. Let us know.

www.mrbitco.in

We want to know as well if you know any bitcoin friendly places around Amsterdam that want to accept BTC, we would like to contact them all for Bitcoin City Amsterdam.

And remember to always ask everywhere you buy anything:

- "Can I pay with BTC, please."

https://www.bitxatm.com/wp-content/uploads/tower-black.png

Companies see bitcoin’s potential in PH

THOUGH its uses are more popular in the United States and developed countries, many are seeing a high potential for bitcoins to be exchanged in emerging markets.
Bitcoin is described as an “innovative payment network and a new kind of money,”
according to Bitcoin.org. It uses peer-to-peer technology to operate, with no central authority or banks. Managing transactions and the issuing of bitcoins is carried out by a network. It is also open-source and its design is public, which means nobody owns or controls it.
Opportunities for bitcoins was one of the topics at the Geeks on a Beach conference held at the Mövenpick Hotel Mactan Island last Friday.
Not many know how bitcoins can be exchanged or used but Nick Sullivan of ChangeCoin believes that with time, more people will appreciate using bitcoins to purchase things online. He added that with many overseas Filipinos sending their money back to the Philippines, they will appreciate using bitcoins.
He said he is excited to see now the Bitcoin exchange plays out in the Philippines, noting that 10 percent of the country’s GDP come from remittances. He added that the Filipino culture of being highly social and friendly makes the exchange of Bitcoin
ideal.
He said when more people begin using bitcoins, it could change the world of finance.
Credit card
Antony Lewis of itBIT agreed, pointing out that while the Philippines has a high penetration of social media, it has a low credit card penetration. He believes the introduction of Bitcoin into the Philippines will have a greater impact because of this, unlike the more developed countries that have a wider access to financial services.
Among emerging markets, they said the Philippines is ahead in Bitcoin trade, as it
already has four Bitcoin exchange companies.
Ron Hose, co-founder and CEO of Coins.ph, believes bitcoins address the disparity in access to traditional banking services. He noted that only a few in the Philippines have access to formal banking services and he believes this is not going to change any time soon.
“Traditional banking is expensive. It allocates resources for tellers, trucks and branches. Bitcoin can be a solution. With just a mobile phone, you can transact without the logistics that traditional banks need,” he said.
He added that transactions using bitcoins can push through without intermediary bodies, thus eliminating extra charges.
Sam Kaddoura, CEO and co-founder of BuyBitcoin.ph, said that those who do not want to go through the hassle of opening bank accounts or pass the requirements for credit cards will embrace bitcoins. He also believes the Filipinos can introduce to use of bitcoins to other places because of its OFWs. He cited the high Filipino population in the Middle East, which is not among the countries that have high Bitcoin use.
For now, they see micropayment infrastructure for the web as a good way to introduce the use of Bitcoin.
Mainstream
Kaddoura admitted that it may take a long time for Bitcoin to become a mainstream mode of payment for most but believes there is a bright future for it and that it would do wonders for financial inclusion. He said what they need is to educate the public about its benefits and who things can be made easier.
Currently, he said what some hear about Bitcoin are the negative reports, such as its use in indecent and illegal activity. “Cash is still the number one vehicle for drug trade, not Bitcoin. So, it takes a lot of education,” he said.
Sullivan believes it will stabilize as more people start using it in transactions.
He said there are many ways it can be used, other than for additional perks for online games and online shopping. He said it can be offered as a way to donate to charities, give small payments to those who produce content “that deserve more than a like,” as tips to those who have provided good customer support and fundraising.