Last week we covered the crazy increase in the price of Bitcoins. The biggest problem, we noted, was the same one that’s always worried Bitcoin users: the online currency’s vulnerability to hacker-induced fluctuations. Well, guess what happened today? Many of the major Bitcoin exchange services, including the popular Mt. Gox, went down for hours, Read More
As evidenced in the past week, dealing with Bitcoins can be a traumatic experience. With so many record highs followed by equally steep drops that seemingly happen several times an hour, we wouldn’t be surprised if traders have broken out the Xanax by now.
Now, some fans of the hacker-created, crypto-currency are complaining that their problems are only being compounded by BitInstant, an online exchange service that transfers cash into Bitcoins. Read More
If you’re looking for a secure investment, you usually go with something like gold, not a four-year-old, hacker-created online currency. But when your country basically shuts down all methods of removing your money from banks, you have to start getting creative. Read More
Last week, Betabeat received an email from an anonymous source claiming to have leaked an internal FBI report about the virtual currency Bitcoin. The report, published April 24, revealed the agency is worried the currency could become a payment method for cyber criminals in the near future, and could be used to fund “illicit groups.” (Wikileaks, anyone?) The FBI also determined the currency to be an “increasingly useful tool for various illegal activities beyond the cyber realm,” and could become attractive to money launderers.
The report, titled “Bitcoin Virtual Currency: Intelligence. Unique Features Present Distinct Challenges for Deterring Illicit Activity,” was the FBI’s first research report on Bitcoin. The report was not classified, but it was marked “for official use only.” Betabeat, Wired, and a number of blogs ran with the story without confirming the report’s authenticity, but today we got a call back from the FBI. “It is legitimate, but it was not leaked by the government,” an FBI representative told Betabeat. Read More
The Bitcoin economy may be in some real trouble. After the announcement last week that e-payments service Paxum would no longer support Bitcoin clients, at least one major Bitcoin exchange has shut down. Chile-based TradeHill had been using Paxum, a PayPal competitor, for a large percentage of money transfers. The loss of Paxum, coupled with recent problems banking with Citibank that caused TradeHill to fall behind on processing transactions and other troubles, left the founders feeling like they had no choice but to suspend trading and return client deposits. Read More
Established banks and payments processors are skittish about the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, it would seem, prompting Canadian e-payments service Paxum to drop its Bitcoin clients last week.
Paxum, an e-commerce payments solution popular with adult web sites, started working with Bitcoin exchanges more than a year ago. Paxum hooked up with leading Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox in December 2010, major Bitcoin exchange Tradehill in July 2011, and more recently with BitInstant, a service that speeds up Bitcoin transactions by fronting customers the credit, and others.
But on Friday afternoon, the operators of Paxum’s Bitcoin-related accounts received an email with the subject line “Bitcoin termination.” Paxum’s banking partners, which include MasterCard, had called off the Bitcoin party.
Paxum declined to name the partners that were responsible for the change. Read More
The price of Bitcoin continues to drop by about a dollar every week to ten days, currently settling at about $2.80 USD, and Bitcoin enthusiasts are starting to get worried. “I am not trying to cause a panic here, but the value of Bitcoin has dropped very low today with huge spikes,” one user wrote on the Bitcoin forum on Reddit. “I do suspect it will hit 1 USD mark this week maybe even lower.We need to be discussing thoroughly on promoting Bitcoin and actively putting more effort to spread the message to newer users as I do suspect the popularity is dropping very steeply too.” Read More
The Occupy Wall Street protest has support from the hacker collective Anonymous and major goodwill over on Reddit. But there’s another online community that’s getting excited about the populist movement: the libertarian-leaning users of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, which has dropped out of mainstream attention after an explosive few weeks in the spotlight. Read More
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
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