Social Network of No

Social Network Is Powerless to Prevent ISIS From Using it to Recruit, Organize

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 3.23.44 PM

App creators are often surprised by how people end up using their creations. Unfortunately for *diaspora, a hands-off social network that allows people to control their own decentralized groups, their software is being used by terrorists.

Terrorist organization ISIS has now fled other social networks to the aptly named diaspora*, a company that, by its own admission, can’t actually kick anyone off of their network. diaspora* has responded by publishing a blog post advising their citizen moderators how to deal with accounts that could belong to terrorist organizations:

diaspora* is a completely decentralized network which, by its nature, consists of many small servers exchanging posts and messages. There is no central server, and there is therefore no way for the project’s core team to manipulate or remove contents from a particular node in the network (which we call a “pod”). This may be one of the reasons which attracted IS activists to our network.

Read More

genius dispatch

Novelty Rules: Inside China’s Startup Culture with George Ruan

George Ruan.

My homie George Ruan is a serial entrepreneur with experience in China. Both of us are passionate about Bitcoin. China is my favorite country, and – especially with the advent of Bitcoin – the Chinese Internet intrigues me. Chinese people do everything better than us, so I am pretty sure someday the Chinese Internet will be much better than our crappy Internet. The Chinese version of Genius is going to be way better, for sure, since the entire website is a Confucian concept…

George was kind enough to sit me down and school me to the memes. He is currently the CEO of Honey, dope startup in Pasadena. Read More

Bitcoin Nation

You Can Now Sign Your Name Digitally Using The Same Technology as Bitcoin

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 4.41.34 PM

Since cryptocurrency cultists began buzzing about bitcoin years ago, they’ve hinted that bitcoin’s technology might have much bigger implications than the ability to just move around digital coins. As Bitcoin startups become fintech’s latest craze, these kinds of applications are starting to rear their head in the startup community.

Blocksign, a startup that launches this morning, is using bitcoin’s giant records database, the Blockchain, to build an entirely un-financial application. Their service lets you sign legally binding documents and agreements in the same system that keeps all records of bitcoin transactions. Read More

Bitcoin Mania

Bitcoin Startups Are Raking in Record Amounts of VC Cash

Child movie star Brock Pierce has gone on to lead a syndicate of 57 angel investors who invest in crypocurrency startups. (Photo via Brock Pierce)

At first, bitcoin was just the purview of cryptography nerds and libertarian redditors. Since then, digital currencies have been used to fund everything from World Cup betting rings to congressional elections. Now that bitcoin is out in front of legislators and safer than ever to use, investors are starting to pour record amounts into bitcoin startups.

From April through June of this year, bitcoin startups pulled in a record $76.8 million in investments, which is almost as much as the entirety of 2013, CB Insights reports. Read More

Bitcoin Nation

Capitol Hill Is Hosting Its First Bitcoin Demo Day Today

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 5.00.16 PM

Rep. Jared Polis, the “Gamer Congressman,” has been a big advocate for Bitcoin on Capitol Hill. He’s taken BTC for campaign donation, lampooned his colleagues for speaking out against Bitcoin, and invited fellow congressmen to give Bitcoin a shot. Now, he’s helping bring Washington, D.C. its first Bitcoin Startup Demo Day.

Today, a few major Bitcoin startups like Coinbase, BitPay and BitGO will set up shop in the Rayburn House Office Building to convince Washington regulators to embrace Bitcoin. They’ll be joined by major companies who have successfully integrated Bitcoin into their business models, like Expedia, who started taking payments in Bitcoin earlier this summer and have been more than happy with the results. Read More

Expert Thoughts

“Bitcoin Is The Truth,” Says Rap Genius Founder Mahbod Moghadam

Mahbod Moghadam (Photo via Facebook)

My introduction to Bitcoin came from the smartest living man. Balaji Srinivasan is the youngest General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz. Currently he is building a development wing for Andreessen—a project that, to my knowledge, no VC has ever undertaken. Ben Horowitz calls him “Young Einstein”.

Balaji is Indian, but has piercing green eyes. Looking at his face is hypnotic. He is a prodigy — he started teaching at Stanford when he was 26. The first time I met him, he took me to brunch in Williamsburg and we discussed asking Nas to record a diss track on this bitch-ass tech reporter whom we both loathe…

The conversation quickly turned to Bitcoin. Read More

Fun With Bitcoins

You Can Now Use Bitcoin to Bet on the World Cup

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 10.18.46 AM

The World Cup begins this Thursday, and if you’re American, you probably have a number of questions: What sport is this again? Is the U.S. even playing? And (most importantly) how can I place bets? The answers to those questions are “soccer,” “yes,” and now, “in Bitcoin.”

A new service called Bitkup is taking bets on your projections for the World cup. You can either opt into the betting pool with a single payment of 0.05 BTC ($33 at time of writing) or simply play along without betting. Playing for fun won’t qualify you to win the jackpot, but could lead to winning Bitcoin-themed prizes. Read More

More Money More Problems

50 Cent’s New Album Available for Bitcoin Puchase

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 3.56.46 PM

As politicians and businessmen are getting on board with digital currencies, 50 Cent has hopped on the bitcoin bandwagon. The rapper’s new album Animal Ambition, along with his other merch, is now purchasable through BitPay, allowing consumers to use cryptocurrency to get 50’s latest.

“The bitcoin community represents his target demographic — young men between the ages of 18 and 30,” Stephanie Wargo, VP of Marketing at BitPay, told Betabeat, “The bitcoin community is also an untapped market ready to spend their money. Accepting bitcoin is a great business decision for a popular and independent hip-hop artist such as 50 Cent.” Read More