$1,000 Bitcoin Puzzle Hidden in Paris Street Mural Now Solved

Paris street puzzle bitcoin

It took no more than a week to solve a $1,000 Bitcoin puzzle hidden in a street mural in Paris. The exact solution is yet to be revealed. 


Paris Puzzle Solved

Bitcoinist reported on January 7th that a street artist Pascal Boyart has painted a ‘revolutionary’ street mural in celebration of the 10th birthday of the Genesis block.

Hidden within the mural was a Bitcoin puzzle with a 0.26 BTC or $1,000 reward, which later grew to 0.28 BTC following a few public donations.

Six days later, it seems that the puzzle has been solved.

Twitter account Antoine Giver of Etherium (@a_ferron) wrote:

@marabrito31 & I just found the @pascalboyart’s mural painting puzzle in Paris. We are very happy to win this race. We thank PBoy, @alistairmilne, and every people involved in this artwork for their creativity.

‘Spread Bitcoin’

The exact solution to the puzzle is yet to be revealed.

“We’ll post the story and details of our finding in the following days. Spread Bitcoin!” writes Antoine.

The only thing that the user has shared is that they “think this painting clearly exposes the fight of French citizens who were always united during History to triumph over bankers lies.”

The mural itself does have a revolutionary note to it, depicting a woman waving the French flag in what seems a call to fight, backed by men in yellow vests.

The yellow vest movement in France started in November 2018 after the country’s government decided to raise fuel prices. Thousands of people marched to the streets and a large number of them were wearing yellow vests. Bitcoinist reported that the group is planning a bank run to collapse the Euro.

What do you think about the street mural in Paris and the Bitcoin puzzle in it? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

The post $1,000 Bitcoin Puzzle Hidden in Paris Street Mural Now Solved appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Source: Blockchain

Lightning Network Without Invoices Brings Us Closer to Streaming Money

lightning network bitcoin streaming money liquid

A new feature for Bitcoin’s Lightning Network (LN) implementation allows users to send funds instantly without needing to first create an invoice.


Sphinx Enables ‘New Use Cases’

The latest upgrade, ‘Sphinx,’ which developers describe as being a “work in progress,” is nonetheless already available to anyone.

“The coolest part about this new feature is that it can be used today in the wild as long as both nodes are updated to this branch!” author Olaoluwa Osuntokun wrote in a Github repository dedicated to the project.

The Lightning Network is a protocol currently active for Bitcoin and Litecoin which allows users to send tokens instantly and for a fee averaging less than 1 US cent.

The technology debuted on the Bitcoin network a year ago, and has grown rapidly, but remains in an experimental state as developers iron out stability and reliability issues.

At present, sending or receiving a transaction still requires some technical understanding, which has made Lightning an unattractive option for entry-level users despite its time and cost benefits.

Lightning’s ‘Best’ Feature Yet?

Sphinx, which Osuntokun says “allows users to start exploring a new set of use cases,” aims to solve that predicament.

It removes the need to create a payment invoice for a transaction, allowing more “spontaneous” activity and sidelining a major technical element potentially off-putting for novices.

“This is only a draft implementation and while it works today on mainnet out of the box (if both sides are upgraded) much this will likely change,” he added.

Sphinx caps a frenetic development period for LN which continued throughout 2018. Despite fluctuations, capacity, node and channel numbers have all reached new highs in recent weeks.

According to data from monitoring resource 1ML, Bitcoin Lightning’s capacity is now 571 BTC ($2,076,000) among 5234 nodes and 19,500 channels.

Sphinx meanwhile has already begun to see a warm reception, commentators variously saying it had attracted them to start using Lightning and that it was now the network’s “best” feature.

What do you think about the Lightning Network’s Sphinx? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

The post Lightning Network Without Invoices Brings Us Closer to Streaming Money appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Source: Blockchain

Overstock Becomes First Major US Company to Pay Taxes in Bitcoin

Investment Into Overstock's Cryptocurrency Exchange Causes Share Price to Rocket

Internet retailer Overstock has announced that it intends to become the very first major US-based company to pay a part of its state business tax in Ohio using Bitcoin. 


Taxes With Bitcoin

According to its own investor portal, US-based internet retailer Overstock is set to pay part of its Ohio state business tax using Bitcoin. Supposedly, by doing so, the retailer will become the first major US company to pay its taxes using the digital currency.

Speaking on the matter was Patrick M. Byrne, Overstock CEO and founder, who noted:

We have long thought that thoughtful governmental adoption of emerging technologies such as cryptocurrencies (when accompanied by non-restrictive legislation over these technologies) is the best way to ensure the U.S. does not lose our place at the forefront of the ever-advancing global economy. […] We are proud to partner with forward-thinking governments and officials like Ohio and Treasurer Mandel to help usher in an era of trust through technology for our nation’s essential financial systems.

Earlier in November, Bitcoinist reported that Overstock’s share price soared as the company announced plans to sell its retail-oriented business and to focus on previously acquired blockchain startups.

‘Ahead of Its Time’

Paying taxes with Bitcoin in Ohio became possible in late November 2018 at OhioCrypto.com.

According to State Treasurer John Mandel, who pioneered the idea, Overstock’s move to pay its taxes with the cryptocurrency is ‘ahead of its time’:

We applaud Overstock for becoming the first national brand in America to register to pay taxes via cryptocurrency. Their embrace of blockchain technology was ahead of its time and we’re proud to have them join OhioCrypto.com.

In an interview for Fortune, Mandel also added that paying taxes with Bitcoin reveals certain financial advantages. According to him, taxpayers who use credit cards pay 2.5 percent service fees, while those who use Bitcoin will only incur a fee of 1 percent. Early filers like Overstock, however, won’t incur any fees at all.

What do you think of Overstock paying part of its state business tax in Ohio using Bitcoin? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

The post Overstock Becomes First Major US Company to Pay Taxes in Bitcoin appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Source: Blockchain

‘Ethereum 2.0’ PoS Blockchain Aims to Cut Energy Use by 99%

Ethereum not only hopes to maintain its position as one of the world’s largest cryptocurrencies but also to achieve supremacy by becoming more energy efficient. Ethereum leadership plans to accomplish this objective by minimizing blockchain energy consumption by 99 percent.


‘Ethereum 2.0’ PoS Blockchain Being Built From Scratch

Vitalik Buterin, inventor and co-founder of Ethereum, started 2019 by regaining Ethereum’s position as the second largest cryptocurrency with a market capitalization of over USD 15.5 billion.

However, Buterin admits that Ethereum mining now purportedly consumes more electricity than Iceland. Thus, to sustain or enhance its competitive advantage, Ethereum is aiming to reduce energy consumption by scraping its blockchain based on proof-of-work (PoW) and instead building an entirely new blockchain based on the proof-of-stake (PoS) algorithm.

Vitalik Buterin

In this regard, Vitalik says, “latest ETH update should complete transactions using just 1% of the energy consumed today by replacing PoW with PoS.”

Testnet in 2019? Don’t Hold Your Breath

Peter Fairley, a contributor editor for Spectrum IEEE, writes that energy reduction has been part of Buterin’s vision from the start, concurring that PoW consumes energy excessively.

Buterin envisions that future blockchains will be based on PoS and sharding. Sharding is a database-partitioning technique that involves separating huge databases into smaller, faster and more manageable components, known as data shards.

On December 10, 2018, Buterin tweeted:

Blockchains of the future with proof of stake and sharding will be thousands of times more efficient, and so the efficiency sacrifices of putting things on a chain will become more and more acceptable.

The Ethereum devs decided on the two-blockchain solution in June 2018 dubbed ‘Ethereum 2.0.’ Ethereum contributor Paul Hauner, a co-founder of Australian cybersecurity and blockchain-development firm Sigma Prime, and heads the development of the ‘Lighthouse’ Ethereum 2.0 software client, that uses the Rust code. He expects this app and others to be running PoS on testnets in early 2019.

But due to multiple delays in the past and the complexity of the task at hand, may expect this new radical shift to Ethereum 2.0 to take time and it’ll likely not see the light of day in 2019.

“In October 2017, when mining time had already nearly doubled to 30 seconds, the Ethereum team reset the clock, delaying PoW’s doomsday by about 12 months,” Fairley notes. “And they will likely hit snooze again shortly.”

Weiss Ratings echoed this sentiment, saying they won’t be holding their breath, at least not in 2019.

Do you think a PoS-based blockchain will be capable of reducing energy consumption costs by about 99 percent? Let us know in the comments below.

______________________________________________________________________

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

The post ‘Ethereum 2.0’ PoS Blockchain Aims to Cut Energy Use by 99% appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Source: Blockchain

Bitcoin Price to $17K in 2020, Says ‘Unorthodox’ Mining Difficulty Prediction

Bitcoin price prediction

An ‘unorthodox prediction’ of mining difficulty increases puts the bitcoin price somewhere around $17,000 in 2020 — due to the possible power law relationship between the two.


Bitcoin price and difficulty ‘power law relationship’

Twitter user @100trillionUSD is back again with another intriguing chart — this time plotting the relationship between BTC price 00 and expected bitcoin mining difficulty in the coming years.

The previous graph visualized the relationship between the bitcoin mining reward halving and its impact on price over time, plotting the months before the halving event took place. This time the focus was on mining difficulty and price, since many analysts consider it to be inextricably linked to network hash rate.

 “Price follows hashrate,” said Max Keiser earlier this year. Adding that it’s been his “mantra” since bitcoin was at $3.

Mining is undoubtedly profitable when the hash rate is rising. It also means miners are confident in the future of Bitcoin if they are adding hardware to scale up their operations. However, a high hash rate also causes the Bitcoin mining difficulty to increase. This makes the mining process more resource-intensive as more hash power is needed to achieve the same results as at lower difficulty levels.

If the hash rate is too high relative to the price at which miners can sell their mined bitcoin (as we’ve seen this year), the most unprofitable miners will likely drop out. They may sell their equipment or simply turn off their rigs until the price recovers or it becomes easier to mine as difficulty adjusts. 

“Based on the poll results on bitcoin difficulty and the possible power law relationship between bitcoin price and difficulty (see formula below), an unorthodox prediction of the 2020 bitcoin price would be: $17,317,” explains 100trillionUSD.

Overall, 85 percent of respondents believe the difficulty will increase 10-100 times in the next two years. Meanwhile, only 10 percent think this is the beginning of the end for Bitcoin mining frequently referred to as the ‘death spiral’ (more about this later).

The biggest share of respondents (59 percent) expects the difficulty to rise 10x between today and the end of 2020. A smaller group (27 percent), however, believe the increase could be as high as 100X, which would translate into a price above $28,000.

Granted, the poll sample size was rather small with just over 250 votes. Nevertheless, mining difficulty is an important factor to consider for not only predicting BTC price but also evaluating the state of the network as a whole.

Difficulty Drops But No ‘Death Spiral’

Bitcoinist recently reported that the Bitcoin network mining difficulty just had another downward adjustment to lower price. The biggest in seven years, in fact, amid a year-long bear market that saw an 85 percent drop in market capitalization from its all-time high in late 2017.

But contrary to many ‘experts’ equating a break in the trend to the start of a mining ‘death spiral,’ the difficulty adjustment is an important counterbalance for the Bitcoin network. In other words, the adjusting difficulty (every 2016 blocks) relative to hash rate is a feature that enables the Bitcoin network to find the equilibrium for mining profitability.

What’s more, this is similar to what central banks do by raising and lowering interest rates with changing market conditions. However, in Bitcoin’s case, the adjustment is entirely baked into the code and thus, entirely predictable. 

Is mining difficulty a good metric to consider when predicting price? Share your thoughts below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, blockchain.info, @100trillionUSD.

The post Bitcoin Price to $17K in 2020, Says ‘Unorthodox’ Mining Difficulty Prediction appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Source: Blockchain

Argentina Gets 7 New Bitcoin ATMs For Christmas

Argentina Bitcoin ATMs

Argentina ends the year on a Bitcoin high, as Athena Bitcoin Argentina rolls out seven Bitcoin ATMs (BATMs) with more to come. This now makes it the country with the fourth highest number of BATMs in Latin America.


Argentina Getting More Bitcoin ATMs

Before 2018, Argentina was faring rather badly in terms of BATM numbers, with only two in the whole country. Both of these were in the capital, Buenos Aries, although one was a very cool looking ‘arcade‘ machine, which also acted as an educational tool.

One of the designers of the arcade ATM, Santiago Molins, is now Director of Innovation at Athena Bitcoin. His vision for a Bitcoin-savvy Argentina is clearly a lot larger in scope.

The company has installed five new machines since September, in high traffic locations like shopping malls and Walmart stores. These are all in Buenos Aries, and Molins says there are another two devices not yet showing on CoinATMRadar.

He added that before the end of 2018, they will install another device in the nearby city of La Plata. And then in January. Molins explained:

The idea is to put in the first and second week of January the last ones that we have left in the laboratory, which would be two or three more. At this moment we are covering the Federal Capital, Buenos Aires and its surroundings.

Why The Sudden Increase?

Certainly, the jump from two Bitcoin ATMs to twelve or thirteen is a fairly impressive gain. The reasoning behind it, however, is somewhat less impressive, as sadly Argentina is going through a similar financial crisis to Venezuela.

While in humanitarian terms, the situation is a far cry from Venezuela’s economic turmoil, inflation in the country is rampant. LocalBitcoins volumes have spiked, as residents flock to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in an attempt to protect their savings.

Expect to see a further influx of BATMs in the next year if the Argentinian economy doesn’t get any better.

But What About The 4000 ATMs Promised?

A very good point. In May, Bitcoinist reported that easing of regulations was set to see an explosion of ATMs across the country. US firm Odyssey touted a pre-agreed 4000 of the machines and claimed to have already installed 200 the previous year.

Apparently, that was all talk and no trousers. Back in October, Odyssey was still supposedly planning 150 ATMs by the end of this year, of which 80% were to be operational by the end of January 2019. This was to be followed by about 1600 BATMs by the end of next year.

Seems it’s best to count the devices on the ground, rather than the ones in some executives head.

Can Bitcoin ATMs boost adoption and help people avoid inflation in Latin America? Share your thoughts below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

The post Argentina Gets 7 New Bitcoin ATMs For Christmas appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Source: Blockchain

Bitcoin Hash Rate Stabilizes After Mining Difficulty Adjusts to Lower Price

hash rate stabilize stable blocks

The Bitcoin hash rate – the number of hashes per second the network is performing – has stabilized undergoing its biggest downward difficulty adjustment in seven years amid lower BTC price. 


Bitcoin Network Heals Its Wounds

On the back of the Bitcoin price 00 hitting 15-month lows and dropping 50 percent in the past month alone, miners have faced operational losses or stopped mining altogether.

Bitcoin’s hash rate thus began falling over recent weeks, reversing an upward trend which had persisted throughout previous bull and bear cycles.

The downward difficulty adjustment December 4 helped to offset the lower price of bitcoin for miners.

Now, data from monitoring resource and wallet provider Blockchain confirms that hash rate has naturally begun climbing again following the event.

The data was reproduced on social media by Frank T. Young, chief product officer of fintech services provider Global Payments Tuesday.

Bitcoin Doesn’t ‘Take The Punch Bowl Away’

Bitcoin’s ‘self-correction,’ he argued, serves to illustrate not only the cryptocurrency’s sustainability as an ecosystem, but puts it in another league from the manual processes still used in fiat money systems – including the US Federal Reserve.

St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank: 3 Qualities Bitcoin and Cash Share

On Wednesday, the Fed was due to make a significant policy decision on interest rates.

“(The Bitcoin hash rate) has stabilized via difficulty adjustment,” Young commented.

“When you watch news coming from Wednesday’s Fed meeting ask yourself, ‘which approach is more sustainable?’ The ‘politically driven opinion of appointed Fed officials’ or ‘math?’”

Catalina Marketing chief product officer Ben Sprecher responded in kind, claiming it was “pretty amazing to have a self-correcting, self-throttling mechanism built-in” in Bitcoin.

The whole voodoo of ‘take away the punch bowl as the party gets started’ + ‘add *just* enough stimulus when ‘needed’’ gets replaced by the math of internal equilibrium incentive mechanics.

Saifedean Ammous, to whom both commentators appealed in the discussion, appeared to endorse the Bitcoin – Fed contrast.

Despite prices still hovering near annual lows, others in the industry continue to reiterate their faith in Bitcoin, among whom was Galaxy Digital CEO Mike Novogratz this week.

What do you think about Bitcoin’s hash rate function? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Blockchain.info

The post Bitcoin Hash Rate Stabilizes After Mining Difficulty Adjusts to Lower Price appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Source: Blockchain

To The Moon! Bitcoin Space Travel Gets Closer As Virgin Galactic Takes Flight

Virgin Galactic

Billionaire Richard Branson appeared to cry tears of joy when his ‘Bitcoin-friendly’ Virgin Galactic reached the edge of space for the first time December 13.


World Sees First Commercial Space Flight

Branson, who revealed himself as a Bitcoin believer and investor in 2013, watched as SpaceShipTwo, the latest vehicle from the Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company, broke free of Earth to mark a “momentous achievement” for crewed space travel.

“SpaceShipTwo is now the first crewed vehicle built for commercial service to reach space. (With due credit of course to the amazing SpaceShipOne prototype for paving the way),” he wrote in a dedicated blog post.

Virgin Galactic aims to make both space tourism and long-distance point-to-point travel using rocket power a viable commercial enterprise.

In 2013, Branson announced the project would accept Bitcoin for flights, calling the cryptocurrency a “brilliantly conceived idea.”

“Sometime in the future, innovative payment models such as… Bitcoin will become serious challengers to traditional banks, which will spur more competition and give customers even more options,” he forecast at the time.

Galactic is a company looking into the future, so is Bitcoin. So it makes sense we would offer Bitcoin as a way to pay for your journey to space.

Bitcoin To The Moon

Like the Bitcoin ecosystem, the project has had its ups and downs. In 2014, a crash during the fourth test flight of SpaceShipTwo resulted in the death of its copilot, while its pilot sustained serious injuries.

In the intervening years, Blockchain technology has meanwhile become the focus of a more general push to advance space exploration.

As Bitcoinist reported, NASA is among the entities looking to enhance their operations using both Blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI), specifically within the field of communications.

Blockstream satellite

Bitcoin transactions can also be broadcasted via satellite. Four have been launched by Blockstream to date, covering a large part of the earth to protect against network interruptions and providing anyone in the world with the opportunity to use Bitcoin.

Virgin Galactic, meanwhile, will now continue to conduct tests on SpaceShipTwo with aim of creating longer fights and “creating thousands of private astronauts.”

What do you think about Virgin Galactic? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

The post To The Moon! Bitcoin Space Travel Gets Closer As Virgin Galactic Takes Flight appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Source: Blockchain