Early Holidays

Introducing the ‘Bitcoins for Christmas’ Campaign

(bitcoinsforchristmas.com)

Josh Strike of Bitcoin gambling house StrikeSapphire Casino and Mark Miele of thebitcointrader.com just launched a merry marketing push that the entrepreneurs hope will be considered “a Christmas present to the whole Bitcoin community.” Aw, you guys! Bitcoins for Christmas encourages Bitcoin users to put some digital currency in the digital stockings of their families and friends, sending lucky recipients an electronic candygram with instructions on how to pick up their BTC. Read More

Bitcoin Mining Still Profitable for Some; Hardcore BTCers Keep the Faith

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Is mining Bitcoin still profitable at current prices? By some calculations, no. Energy costs per kWh vary widely state-by-state, from $.07 in North Dakota to $.17 in New York, and hobbyists mining at home may find the numbers discouraging. Yesterday afternoon, Bitcoin was trading at $2.23 when Betabeat checked in with Alex Spitzer, a developer for the New York-based recommendation engine Hunch, who has been mining for about a year and a half in Massachusetts, where the price is $.14 per kWh. He estimated that he mines about .35 BTC a day–so if the price stayed the same, it would take him more than 1,000 days to be profitable. If he didn’t have free power at a buddy’s office, that is. Read More

Bitcoin Drama

The New Yorker’s Joshua Davis Attempts to Identify Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto

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The New Yorker has a great story in its upcoming issue about Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency still trucking along after a glorious rise in value to $33 USD due to a spate of media-driven attention followed by a plunge to about $5 USD, where it stands now. The writer, Joshua Davis, attempted to find Bitcoin’s creator, the probably pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto, who after years of prolific postings on the internet wrote to Bitcoin project lead Gavin Andresen in April that he had “moved on to other things.”

“He’s a world-class programmer, with a deep understanding of the C++ programming language,” Dan Kaminsky, one of the country’s top internet security experts, said of Mr. (or Ms.) Nakamoto. “He understands economics, cryptography and peer-to-peer networking. Either there’s a team of people who worked on this, or this guy is a genius.”

Mr. Davis started following Mr. Nakamoto’s trail of online writing, and noticed that, after an initial post announcing Bitcoin that used American spelling, the programmer used the British spelling, referred to London newspapers and at one point using the phrase “bloody hard”–suggesting he had lived or studied in the U.K. or Ireland.

Mr. Davis headed to the close-knit cryptography conference Crypto 2011 to find more traces of Nakamoto. He found nine attendees who fit the bill. Two were dismissive of Bitcoin; two had no history with large software projects. Then Mr. Davis started looking into a man named Michael Clear. Read More

It's All About the Bitcoins

Despite Cyberattacks and Overspeculation, Bitcoin Economy Continues to Evolve

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Bitcoin has been trading at the depressed price of between $6 and $7 USD for the past few weeks, which seems bad for the once high-flying digital currency that had climbed to $33 USD at one point. Hardly a week has gone by without some extreme crisis. In addition, New Yorker finance columnist James Surowiecki, wrote a long treatment of Bitcoin for the MIT Technology Review in which he notes pessimistically that “the number of actual transactions conducted in bitcoins, and the value of those transactions, has been shrinking.” Read More

It's All About the Bitcoins

Bitcoin as a More Socially Responsible Alternative to Gold

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“Gold’s current price of almost $1900 will certainly mean more abuse, corruption, militarization and the erosion of indigenous rights around the world,” writes anti-gold bug Sakura Saunders, the co-founder and editor of ProtestBarrick.net, a campaign against the gold mining company Barrick Gold, the world’s largest pure gold mining company, which ProtestBarrick claims is guilty of human rights violations and environmental destruction in the course of doing business. The activist group has decided to throw its weight behind Bitcoin as a more socially-conscious alternative to gold. Read More

8-Bit Traders

Bored With Bitcoin? BitInstant Is About to Goose the Market By Making Trading Faster

Wake me up when the markets move.

The Bitcoin markets have been sleepy over the past week or two, and Bitcoin traders are starting to whine. What happened to the drama of hacks, the excitement of skyrocketing prices? The biggest news out of the weekend’s Bitcoin World Conference and Expo was that the organizers teased future conferences in Thailand and Amsterdam. “As fun as it was, seems there were no great world-shattering announcements that would affect the world of bitcoin in the near future,” one Bitcoiner who was present told Betabeat. “Other than more conventions as announced by Bruce.” On the Bitcoin Forum at bitcointalk.org, user tacotime wrote: “Well, someone buy or sell a bajillion BTC and do something, it’s boring as hell right now out there.”

But the Bitcoin markets may soon pick up again as a Bitcoin start-up launching later today, in partnership with one of the better-known exchanges, is likely to encourage a new crop of casual traders and the Bitcoin-curious.  Read More

8-Bit Traders

Bitcoin Enthusiasts Gather in NYC to Meet IRL and Show Off Bitcoin Start-Ups

Gavin Andreson, technical lead for the Bitcoin project, speaking in New York on Saturday.

Bitcoin, the sophisticated three-year old digital currency that recently spread from hackers and programmers to a less-technical set, continues to fascinate.

Bitcoin enthusiasts headed to New York this weekend for the first Bitcoin World Conference and Expo in east Midtown, an event comprised of networking; workshops on mining and coding; showcasing of Bitcoin start-ups; announcements of future Bitcoin conferences in Thailand, Amsterdam as well as a Bitcoin cruise in 2013; meals at restaurants that accept Bitcoin; and talks by e-currency luminaries including Gavin Andresen, the technical lead for the Bitcoin project.

About 75 people, all but a handful of them male, gathered this weekend in east Midtown at the Roosevelt Hotel and at the studios of OnlyOneTV, which produces the web show The Bitcoin Show and organized the conference.

Attendees included representatives from Mt. Gox, the largest exchange which is based in Japan; TradeHill, the second-largest exchange; CampBX, a Georgia-based exchange, who lost their luggage on the flight; along with a host of other Bitcoin businesses. About a third of the audience were miners; about a fourth said they’d heard of Bitcoin before it was cool since November. Attendees wondered if the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, the purported and potentially pseudonymous inventor of Bitcoin who last contacted Mr. Andresen by email in April, was among them. Read More

Bitcoin Drama

Search for Owners of MyBitcoin Loses Steam

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Energy has flagged in the hunt for the people behind MyBitcoin.com, the popular e-wallet service that disappeared with, according to them, 154,406 Bitcoins back in early August. After days of silence, a spokesman emerged for the site and a claims process was initiated to refund users 49 percent of their deposits, which in today’s prices shakes out to $861,755.

But that still leaves 78,747 BTC ($896,929 USD at today’s prices), which MyBitcoin’s spokesman says were taken by hackers, unaccounted for. Read More

New Money

You Can Now Buy Bitcoin With Cash at Any Chase or Wells Fargo

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The Redwood City-headquartered ExchB, founded in May 2011, just started accepting cash and check payments via brick-and-mortar banks to speed up the sometimes-lengthy process of crediting an account with USD in order to buy BTC. “ExchB customers can walk up to any of over 15,000 locations nationwide and make a cash deposit at any Chase or Wells Fargo branch,” president David Sterry wrote last week. “Simply walk up to the teller, deposit your cash or check, and e-mail us an image of your receipt. Cash clears when we verify your e-mail and check deposits typically clear overnight.” Read More