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What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a digital crypto-currency with no single point of failure due to its decentralized peer-to-peer architecture. The source code is publicly available and changes to the reference Bitcoin client are made via concensus within the community. Advantages of Bitcoin include irreversible transactions (i.e. no possibility of chargebacks as with credit cards), pseudo-anonymous, limited and fixed inflation, near instant transactions, multi-platform, no double-spend and little to no barriers to entry and more. It was created by an anonymous person known as Satoshi Nakamoto. Find out more at WeUseCoins.com.

Bitcoin Latest News

Bitcoin Lightning Fraud? Laolu Is Building a 'Watchtower' to Fight It

With all eyes on the Lightning Network, bitcoin developer Laolu is working on a technology which takes fraud watching off the hands of users.

Posted on 21 February 2018 | 9:44 pm

The Legal Risk to ICOs That No One's Talking About

Even if the SEC doesn't pursue an enforcement action against a token seller, buyers can sue privately under U.S. securities laws to unwind the sale.

Posted on 21 February 2018 | 8:21 pm

Venezuela's Cryptocurrency Is Here, But Who's Involved Isn't Clear

Several companies have been so far linked to Venezuela's petro cryptocurrency initiative in the wake of this week's launch.

Posted on 21 February 2018 | 3:45 pm

Korean Regulator Tips Cryptocurrency Prospects Back Toward “Normalization”

Korean Regulator Tips Cryptocurrency Prospects Back Toward “Normalization”

On February 20, 2018, investors saw signs of yet another directional shift in South Korea’s regulatory stance on cryptocurrencies. According to Reuters, Choe Heung-sik, the governor of South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), told reporters, “The whole world is now framing the outline (for cryptocurrency) and therefore (the government) should rather work more on normalization than increasing regulation.”

The head of the FSS has wrestled with cryptocurrency regulation and the lack of legislation on the industry for some time. He stated in November 2017 that “supervision [of cryptocurrency exchanges] will come only after the legal recognition of digital tokens as legitimate currency.”

Choe also warned of a bitcoin bubble in December 2017 that paired with another warning that month, when he stated, “All we can do is to warn people as we don’t see virtual currencies as actual types of currency, meaning that we cannot step up regulation for now.”

The FSS, which has been spearheading the government’s regulation of cryptocurrency trading as part of a larger task force, has had an uphill battle in the face of Korean officials’ variable attitudes to the burgeoning industry. While the FSS-led taskforce set the nation’s first official rules around cryptocurrency trading on December 13, 2017, uncertainty around issues of taxation and regulation of the exchanges remained.

January brought even less certainty to the peninsula as South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges were raided by police and tax agencies on January 10, 2018, kicking off a week of contradiction by top Korean officials that precipitated a market-wide meltdown known as “Red Tuesday” on January 16, 2018.

Choe then had to state at a parliamentary hearing on January 19, 2018, that one FSS employee was being investigated “on suspicion that he or she traded a digital currency” ahead of the government’s announcement of toughening its stance on cryptocurrency trading. At the same hearing, the Office for Government Policy Coordination also disclosed a probe into two officials for alleged profiteering on government information after the events of Red Tuesday.

Korean officials rounded off the month of January by announcing on January 23, 2018, that anonymous accounts would be banned from trading cryptocurrencies as of January 30, 2018.

Merely three weeks after the ban on anonymous accounts took effect, Choe seemed to suggest rosier regulatory prospects for the cryptocurrency industry. These statements of normalization came only days after the sudden death of Jung Ki-joon on February 18, 2018. Jung, a 52-year-old man who led economic policy for the Office for Government Policy Coordination and was instrumental in spearheading the January crackdown, died of “unknown” causes in his home, though initial reports suggested that he’d had a heart attack.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 21 February 2018 | 3:41 pm

Bitcoin on track for worst day in two weeks - MarketWatch


MarketWatch

Bitcoin on track for worst day in two weeks
MarketWatch
Digital currencies lost ground Wednesday as overall market sentiment waned, pushing the price of bitcoin back under $11,000. After trading above $11,700 late Tuesday evening, the price of the No. 1 digital currency by market cap, bitcoin BTCUSD, +4.55 ...

Posted on 21 February 2018 | 2:28 pm

This Upstart Cryptocurrency Exchange Is Making Inroads in Canada

Coinsquare

Cryptocurrency and precious metals exchange Coinsquare is taking steps toward its goal of leading the cryptocurrency exchange market in Canada. On February 20, 2018, it announced a new partnership with Processing.com, after wrapping up a recent investment of $30 million, for a total $47 million raised in the last four months.

The partnership with Processing.com will allow Coinsquare to facilitate instant fiat currency payments of digital currencies for the general public through debit and credit card transactions.

In a release, Processing.com’s James Bergman said:

“We are very excited to partner with such a respected and fast-growing trading platform as Coinsquare. As digital currencies increasingly make their way into the mainstream conscious, service providers have a responsibility to ensure the broader public can access the rapidly growing blockchain ecosystem.”

Marketing Strategy

Besides increasing its Canadian market share, Coinsquare also has plans to move on to establishing new exchanges internationally, initially in the U.S. and the U.K.

Coinsquare CEO Cole Diamond acknowledges that he is continuing original owner Virgile Rostand’s marketing strategy of emphasizing Coinsquare’s Canadian foundations, with its economic and political stability and relatively light regulatory environment.

Diamond said: “Virgile Rostand, Coinsquare's founder, was an early industry pioneer and blue-chip banking industry veteran. He built a custom platform that is unrivaled in Canada, boasting extremely high security standards."

Coinsquare is also continuing Rostand’s unprecedented service to the French-speaking community.

In an interview with Bitcoin Magazine, Diamond noted: “We are the only trading platform that we know of that has a French website. Five percent of our users view our website in French, and we have been commended for it and are proud of it.”

A recent review of exchanges by education website Blockgeeks, placed Coinsquare in the top 10 exchanges. Forex also reviewed Coinsquare and gave it a thumbs up.

Despite positive reviews, however, there have been some dissatisfied customers who have voiced concerns on social platforms and below the Forex review. Common complaints cite long wait times, lost funds, high fees and a non-responsive staff. Comments on other sites also mentioned an unclear fee structure and lack of customer support. Coinsquare has not responded to request for comment from Bitcoin Magazine regarding these concerns.

Canadian compliance expert, Amber D. Scott, CEO of Outlier Solutions told Bitcoin Magazine: "With price volatility and a massive influx of new clients, most exchanges are likely having some growing pains and Coinsquare is likely no exception."

Diversification as a Priority

Coinsquare, based in Toronto, Canada, wants to diversify its business beyond cryptocurrency holdings.

The company already has its own mining operation with 2 MW of power and 1700 mining units in operation.

They are planning to invest in two more mines. Canada, particularly the province of Quebec, is attracting lots of interest from mining companies based on inexpensive electricity and cooler temperatures.

“Canada is about to become a central source,” explained Diamond in a recent interview with Global News. “I think there’s definitely a rush happening now. I think we’re going to have a significant amount of mining in the next few months.”

Trading precious metals is also a part of Coinsquare’s diversified holdings. They trade in silver coins and silver and gold bars.

Coinsquare is planning a Trading and Arbitrage division to take advantage of cross exchange and hedge opportunities.

Also in the works is the launch of CoinCap Funds, a group of funds focused on investments across the digital asset landscape.

Security

According to Coinsquare, they store 98 percent of their assets in cold storage and their trading platform is based on the same technology as that used by the NYSE.

While Bitfinex and Coinbase announced recently they are adopting SegWit, Coinsquare does not have any plans to follow suit just yet.“The decision to use Segwit is an ongoing discussion at Coinsquare and we are not for or against it at this time,” said Diamond.

Meanwhile, they are working on developing trading platforms for international markets and white labelling and licensing its technology for markets around the world.

Coinsquare offers trading in Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Dash, Dogecoin and Litecoin and has a special OTC service for those wanting to trade large amounts.

Scott is optimistic about the future for Coinsquare: “At this stage, Canada has taken a relatively light touch from a regulatory perspective. This has been a boon for exchanges like Coinsquare in many ways. They’ve been able to focus on managing their risks and building their business, rather than fitting into paradigms that weren’t built with them in mind.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 21 February 2018 | 2:02 pm

Here's What Bitcoin Must Prove Before Goldman Sachs Would Invest - Fortune


Fortune

Here's What Bitcoin Must Prove Before Goldman Sachs Would Invest
Fortune
Goldman Sachs thinks it may have found Bitcoin's biggest problem: It doesn't have one. No, that wasn't a trick answer. In a new missive this week, a top Goldman Sachs (gs, -0.63%) investment strategist explained what Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies ...

and more »

Posted on 21 February 2018 | 1:46 pm

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US Government Arrests Bitcoin Stock Exchange Founder

The owner of BitFunder, a long-defunct bitcoin investment platform, has been hit with two lawsuits filed by the U.S. government.

Posted on 21 February 2018 | 1:35 pm

Bitcoin Regret Club shows what you could have made from cryptocurrency - Mashable


Mashable

Bitcoin Regret Club shows what you could have made from cryptocurrency
Mashable
The value of Bitcoin has been a roller coaster, and a select few have come out on top. If you, like most of us, are not among the cryptocurrency elite, never fear. The Bitcoin Regret Club, featured on Product Hunt, is here to remind you just how ...

and more »

Posted on 21 February 2018 | 12:13 pm

Venezuela Launches “Petros” Cryptocurrency Amid Growing Skepticism

Venezuela Launches “Petros” Cryptocurrency Amid Growing Skepticism

With crushing debt and a starving population, the Maduro government in Venezuela is launching what it says is the world's first sovereign cryptocurrency.

The cryptocurrency is designed to bypass U.S. government sanctions against the socialist regime. The “Petros” cryptocurrency will have an initial value tied to the price of a barrel of Venezuelan crude oil in mid-January, which was $60 per barrel, with a target of 100 million Petros to be sold.

The U.S. Treasury Department warned that the move may violate last year’s sanctions, while Venezuelan opposition leaders say the sale constitutes an illegal issuing of debt.

After the first day of trading, President Maduro claimed to have raised $735 million. State officials are claiming a 5x increase in traffic to the website, but some critics, including Venezuelan product designer and cryptocurrency writer Alejandro Machado, are skeptical.

In speaking with Bitcoin Magazine, Machado commented that he was unable to find any transactions on the blockchain regarding Petros and, while the token was originally slated to be released on the Ethereum network, it since has transitioned to NEM.

“The government hasn't confirmed that this is the address, but they confirmed they're using NEM, and it's the only mosaic matching the Petro description,” Machado said. “The mosaic's metadata also uses similar phrasing to the white paper.”

Machado has been writing about the upcoming Petros since early December 2017, remarking, “Many think it’s yet another episode of empty propaganda, but I profoundly disagree: chavismo is facing the existential danger of running out of funds, and they’re betting heavily on the Petro.”

His skepticism about the plan runs deep: “No doubt aware of their terrible track record, the government is incentivizing participation in the private sale by offering a 60% discount. What company in the world would sell 38 million units of a product for less than half their market value? A company that doesn’t intend to ship you the product after you buy, of course.”

With $150 billion in foreign debt, quadruple-digit inflation, the collapse of their oil output, and crushing sanctions by the U.S. and the EU, the Venezuelan government has become increasingly creative in ways to generate revenue. Petros represent nothing more than a promise against the 300 million barrels of oil that Venezuela believes they can recover but have yet to pull from the ground. There is an additional problem that U.S.-based investors purchasing the Petros would be in violation of American sanctions and could find themselves in trouble with Uncle Sam.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 21 February 2018 | 11:25 am

Lawmakers Renew Calls for US to Lead on Crypto Innovation

Following a U.S. Congressional hearing on cryptocurrency and blockchain, three lawmakers are renewing calls for the government to embrace innovation.

Posted on 21 February 2018 | 11:20 am

Iran Isn't So Keen on Bitcoin After All. But It May Have Other Cryptocurrency Plans. - Fortune


Fortune

Iran Isn't So Keen on Bitcoin After All. But It May Have Other Cryptocurrency Plans.
Fortune
According to the independent Iranian news site Iran Front Page, the country's central bank has denied ever recognizing Bitcoin as an official currency, along with the idea that it was actively facilitating Bitcoin transactions. “The wild fluctuations ...

Posted on 21 February 2018 | 10:08 am

Crypto Nodes Are One Step Closer to Legal Protection in Arizona

The Arizona House of Representatives passed a bill protecting blockchain node operators from local restrictions.

Posted on 21 February 2018 | 10:00 am

A Computer Glitch Let a Trader Claim $20 Trillion in Free Bitcoin - Fortune


Fortune

A Computer Glitch Let a Trader Claim $20 Trillion in Free Bitcoin
Fortune
An error in the price calculation system at Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Zaif has allowed some customers to claim digital tokens for free—including one who “purchased” $20 trillion worth of Bitcoin. That's problematic on a number of levels, but ...
A Bitcoin exchange bug sees one user try to cash out $20 trillionDigital Trends
Bitcoin Sold For Free, Briefly; Price Retreats Back Below $11000Investor's Business Daily
Bitcoins for free? Japanese cryptocurrency exchange lands in hot water againReuters
Gizmodo -Motley Fool -UPROXX
all 51 news articles »

Posted on 21 February 2018 | 9:09 am

Ripple Paper Pledges New Support for $40 Billion XRP

Ripple, the startup behind the world's third-largest cryptocurrency, has released two white papers that it hopes will move the technology forward.

Posted on 21 February 2018 | 9:00 am

Ripple Adds 5 New Clients Across 4 Countries

Two banks and three money remittance firms across four different countries are turning to Ripple's blockchain networks for cross-border payments.

Posted on 21 February 2018 | 8:05 am

R3 Pilots Blockchain Trade Finance Platform with Global Banks

Blockchain startup R3, trade finance tech provider TradeIX and major banks have moved their Marco Polo trade finance platform to the pilot stage.

Posted on 21 February 2018 | 7:01 am

A Token to Regulate All Tokens? Messari to Raise ICO

The entrepreneur behind Messari shares his vision for how the crypto industry could self-regulate ICOs and forestall a regulatory apocalypse.

Posted on 21 February 2018 | 6:01 am

Building a Base? Crypto Market Hovers Around $500 Billion

The market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is gyrating around the $500 billion mark – and possibly building a base for a step higher.

Posted on 21 February 2018 | 5:05 am

Customer Tries to Withdraw $20 Trillion in Crypto Exchange Glitch

A system error at a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange saw a user attempt to make off with a huge amount of bitcoin, according to reports.

Posted on 21 February 2018 | 4:10 am

Bitcoin Looks to Test $12K After Overnight Sell-Off - CoinDesk


CoinDesk

Bitcoin Looks to Test $12K After Overnight Sell-Off
CoinDesk
Bitcoin (BTC) has recovered 38 percent of an overnight sell-off and remains on track to test the long-term inflection point above $12,000, technical charts indicate. The cryptocurrency ran into offers above $11,700 yesterday, according to CoinDesk's ...
Bitcoin price news: Will BTC hit $12k this week after overnight sell offExpress.co.uk

all 4 news articles »

Posted on 21 February 2018 | 3:12 am

Bitcoin Looks to Test $12K After Overnight Sell-Off

Bitcoin bulls remain in control, despite a sell-off overnight, and thus look set to test the long-term inflection point over $12,000.

Posted on 21 February 2018 | 3:00 am

Russia Is Leading the Push for Blockchain Democracy

Russia may not be known as a defender of democracy, but the capital city of Moscow is using an ethereum-based voting platform to change that.

Posted on 21 February 2018 | 2:00 am

Gibraltar Will Take Market-Driven Approach to ICO Rules

Top officials say Gibraltar will let the market determine what 'good' ICOs look like, and hinted that crypto investment fund regulation is to come.

Posted on 21 February 2018 | 12:00 am

Venezuela Claims $735 Million Raised in First Cryptocurrency Sale

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro claimed Tuesday that a presale for the country's national cryptocurrency netted $735 million on its first day.

Posted on 20 February 2018 | 9:15 pm

Tesla's Cloud Hit By Crypto Mining Malware Attack

Tesla has become the latest victim of crypto mining hacking attack, according to a report from cybersecurity software firm RedLock.

Posted on 20 February 2018 | 8:00 pm

Dutch Bank ING Says Crypto Exchange Bitfinex Is An Account Holder

Troubled cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex has reportedly secured a banking relationship, according to reports by Bloomberg and Reuters.

Posted on 20 February 2018 | 4:00 pm

SegWit is Coming to Coinbase and Bitfinex’s Bitcoin Exchanges

SegWit is Coming to Coinbase and Bitfinex’s Bitcoin Exchanges

Today, two of the world’s largest cryptocurrency investment platforms, Coinbase and Bitfinex, both announced that they were adopting support for Segregated Witness (SegWit) protocols for bitcoin (BTC) traded on their exchanges.

In its announcement, Bitfinex stated, “The SegWit implementation means Bitfinex users can benefit from lower BTC withdrawal fees (approximately 15 percent) and improved processing times on transactions across the Bitcoin network.” The exchange did make clear that the support for bitcoin deposits and withdrawals using pay-to-script-hash (P2SH) SegWit addresses were the only ones thus far slated for bitcoin and not applicable to bitcoin cash (BCH).

Coinbase, on the other hand, tweeted that it had finished testing for SegWit for Bitcoin. It will phase in the launch, with the goal of “targeting a 100% launch to all customers by mid next week.” Coinbase affirmed its plan for a 2018 SegWit implementation on December 15, 2017 and seemingly delivered on the SegWit statements it made on February 13, 2018.

Reasons for the support of using SegWit addresses are clear.  Prior to the activation of the Segregated Witness soft fork in August 2017, there were concerns about the scalability and malleability of Bitcoin due to the size limit of the blocks and a potential manipulation of the transaction ID. These concerns had been a source of debate for years until the “soft fork” allowed for protocol upgrades to the software.

While many hard and soft wallets already adopted support for SegWit protocols, the move by both companies is huge given the volume of bitcoin traded on each platform. At the time of this writing, both Bitfinex and Coinbase’s exchange, GDAX, accounted for nearly one tenth of global bitcoin trades over the previous 24 hours. This number underestimates the impact on BTC trading volume as it does not include Coinbase’s wallet platform. Both Bitfinex and GDAX are ranked as top 10 exchanges in the world by trading volume, at 5th and 8th, respectively.

The positive news for both exchanges comes at a time of mounting pressure from the public. Coinbase has faced community backlash on higher Bitcoin transaction fees, customers’ inability to withdraw funds to PayPal accounts and credit cards being disabled as a payment method for U.S. customers.

Bitfinex’s announcement comes on the heels of a tumultuous end to 2017 and a rough start to 2018, inclusive of new account registration issues, a CFTC subpoena and firing of auditor Friedman LLP.

With the announcements of SegWit adoption for Bitcoin, it seems that Coinbase has addressed a major issue for its consumer base, and Bitfinex has been able to release some much-needed positive news for its customers amidst its recent controversies.

For more information on Segregated Witness, check out our earlier articles on Bitcoin Magazine.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 20 February 2018 | 3:26 pm

US Securities Regulator Rejects BitConnect Records Request

The SEC has turned down a FOIA request related to BitConnect, citing an exemption commonly seen with records related to law enforcement.

Posted on 20 February 2018 | 3:15 pm

Wyoming House Unanimously Approves Two Pro-Blockchain Bills

Wyoming House Unanimously Approves Two Pro-Blockchain Bills

In a watershed moment for United States blockchain and cryptocurrency law, Wyoming’s House of Representatives unanimously voted “aye” to pass two blockchain bills – HB 70 the “utility token bill” and HB 19 the “bitcoin bill” –  sending them to the State Senate for consideration. HB 70 defines utility tokens as neither traditional money nor securities; HB 19 exempts cryptocurrency from the 2003 Wyoming Money Transmitter Act (passed in the state before Bitcoin’s invention in 2008).

In an interview with Bitcoin Magazine, Wyoming Blockchain Coalition co-founder, and 22-year Wall Street veteran, Caitlin Long, attributed much of the bills’ successes so far to teamwork between Wyoming banking and security regulators and the efforts of House of Representatives member Tyler Lindholm, who is a co-sponsor and advocate of all five blockchain-related bills.

Wyoming aims to set the standard for blockchain-friendly regulation in the U.S. and to become a hub for blockchain-based innovation with these two bills. Long explained, “There are already bitcoin miners setting up shop because of [Wyoming’s] cheap electricity, no income tax and no franchise tax.”

HB 70: Utility Token Definition

The Wyoming HB 70 defines a utility token, or “open blockchain token,” as neither traditional money nor a security if it meets the following conditions:

  1. The token has not been marketed by the protocol developers as an investment opportunity.
  2. The token is exchangeable for goods or services. (This implies that protocols must offer a working product or service before tokens are issued, similar to Switzerland’s recent ICO framework.)
  3. The protocol developer has not entered into a repurchase agreement of any kind or entered into an agreement to locate buyers for the token.

Similarly, people who facilitate the exchange of an “open blockchain token” are not deemed traditional broker-dealers of securities.

HB 19: Cryptocurrency Exemption

HB 19 exempts cryptocurrency from the Wyoming Money Transmitter Act. A 2015 interpretation of this act by the Wyoming Division of Banking made it impractical for cryptocurrency exchanges to operate in the state. As a result, Coinbase suspended operations in Wyoming indefinitely in June 2015.

The passage of HB 19 moves Wyoming one step closer to cryptocurrency-friendly exchange regulation. Should the bill receive a majority vote in the Senate, exchanges such as Coinbase could resume operation in Wyoming.

Other Bills in the Pipeline

The Wyoming House of Representatives is also reviewing bills HB 101 and HB 126 in the House and SF 111 in the Senate.

HB 101, the “blockchain filings bill,” promises to update Wyoming’s Business Corporations Act to authorize the creation and use of blockchains to store records, the use of a network address to identify a corporation's shareholder and the acceptance of shareholder votes signed by network signatures.

At a high level, HB 101 specifies requirements for all corporations using electronic network or (blockchain) databases. HB 101 has passed the first reading in the House.

HB 126, the “series LLC bill” allows for the creation of “series LLCs.” This type of LLC structure is favorable towards decentralized protocols, as it enables LLCs to establish a compartmentalized series of members/managers, transferable interests or assets, and distributions to members.

HB 126 has also passed the first reading in the House.

SF 111, the “crypto property tax exemption bill,” has already been approved in the House, and its goal is to exempt cryptocurrency from Wyoming state property taxes. The bill is now awaiting consideration in the Senate.

Nothing Is Carved in Stone

While HB 70 and HB 19 have both passed in the House by a vote of 60–0, they must also pass in the Senate to be recognized as official acts.

Long expressed her optimism, while acknowledging the difficulties that lie ahead:

I don’t want to sugar-coat that it won’t be difficult. The Senate is a more uncertain chamber. But, we have incredible momentum, and all we need [for the bills to become acts] is a majority vote in the Senate.

Should the bill pass in the Senate and become an act in Wyoming, federal regulation and the SEC Howey Test could still nullify all of the advocates’ blood, sweat and tears. However, Long believes that Federal Law with regards to utility hasn’t been established yet — and, that there are people in the blockchain/cryptocurrency industry “flush with cash, interested in litigating this issue.”

Long and other Wyoming blockchain proponents hope for a final Senate outcome on HB 70, the “utility token bill,” and HB 19, the “Bitcoin bill,” as early as the middle next week.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 20 February 2018 | 9:42 am

NASA, ESA Considering Innovative Applications of Blockchain Technology

NASA, ESA Considering Innovative Applications of Blockchain Technology

NASA and other space agencies, such as the European Space Agency (ESA), are considering potential applications of blockchain technology to space missions and internal operations.

According to a NASA presentation titled “Bitcoin, Blockchains and Efficient Distributed Spacecraft Mission Control,” blockchain technology could have useful applications in distributed spacecraft missions involving multiple elements. Artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technologies could be further integrated to make space-based sensor networks more efficient and responsive.

In September 2017, NASA awarded a $333,000 grant to University of Akron (UA) Assistant Professor Jin Wei to research how to make space hardware smarter and more autonomous. The research program, titled “RNCP: A Resilient Networking and Computing Paradigm for NASA Space Exploration,” wants to improve the automation, environment awareness and intelligence of NASA space probes, which is an important requirement for deep space missions.

“The objective here is the application of blockchain and distributed intelligence to our space and ground network communication assets,” said Thomas Kacpura, advanced communications program manager at NASA’s Glenn Research Center. “If successful, the overall objective will be to incorporate Dr. Wei’s research in our overall portfolio to ultimately optimize our communication networks."

ESA is also quietly researching innovative blockchain-powered solutions. Recently, the Agency has been investigating the applicability of blockchain technologies to key challenges for ESA’s space activities and administrative areas. A position paper titled “Distributed Ledger Technology: Leveraging Blockchain for ESA's Success,” authored by trainee Torben David and senior coordinator Gianluigi Baldesi, offers a concise summary of blockchain technology and its main applications, and then goes on to list several potential applications to the Agency’s mission.

In particular, the paper mentions faster and more accurate payments, blockchain-based smart contracts applications to streamlining procurement, audit processes and record-keeping, data traceability and access rights, and voting and direct democracy.

It’s worth noting that the ESA paper focuses on blockchain technology applications to administrative processes but doesn’t address embedded blockchain technology for space hardware and software, which is covered by NASA’s RNCP. However, since ESA’s exploration of blockchain technology is just beginning, it seems likely that applications to space missions will be considered in due course.

In conversation with Bitcoin Magazine, Baldesi confirmed that the Agency is considering potential applications of blockchain technology with keen interest and a forward-looking approach. In the framework of “the Space 4.0 era” with diverse space actors around the world, including emerging private companies and citizen groups empowered by digital technologies, ESA launched the “Exploring Threats and Opportunities through Mega Trends in the Space 4.0 Era” initiative with the support of consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, and hosted a related workshop at the ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, on October 23, 2017.

“In the era of Space 4.0 — as in our own lives — we have to be adaptive to change and nurture a culture of pro-activeness and open-mindedness to both disruption and opportunity,” said Baldesi.

The workshop was live-streamed and is now available for public viewing. Several presentations discuss blockchain technology as a key enabler of disruptive innovation in a wide range of industries, including space. Potential space applications of blockchain technology include  mission data; smart contracts and smart procurement to optimize the supply chain; and information management where applications may include virtual spacecraft (traceability and configuration consistency) and configuration control (hardware and documentation).

Baldesi explained that the Agency is awarding exploratory research contracts related to blockchain technology, such as a Satcom Maker Space initiative that includes Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for satellite telecommunications and a “Testbed for Blockchain supporting satellite M2M/IoT,” as well as an intended “Blockchain for Space Activities” study and an intended “fintech” initiative for innovative fintech-related applications and services based on the integration of space and non-space technology.

The governance and “direct democracy” applications mentioned in the position paper are especially interesting. Baldesi explained that the current Director General of the Agency, Johann-Dietrich Wörner, known for his vigorous support of bold, visionary initiatives such as the “Moon Village,” is determined to systematically use tools such as Kahoot for crowdsourced decision making and has launched several pilot e-voting initiatives, not only internally but also with the participation of external actors.

Blockchain-based e-voting platforms are, according to Baldesi, especially promising and in line with the desired openness and inclusiveness of Space 4.0.

These sorts of Space 4.0 citizen initiatives are growing in popularity; projects like Space Decentral project are moving in a similar direction.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 20 February 2018 | 9:33 am

Bitcoiner Faces Charges After Selling BTC to an Undercover Cop

Bitcoiner Faces Charges After Selling BTC to an Undercover Cop

On February 9, 2018, officials from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, arrested Morgan Rockcoons (aka “Morgan Rockwell” or “Metaballo”), CEO at Bitcoin, Inc. and an entrepreneur behind several other bitcoin startups, at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Rockcoons was charged with money laundering and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, according to court records.

According to those same records, in Southern California, between December 30, 2016 and January 8, 2017, Rockcoons allegedly exchanged around 10 bitcoin (worth around $9,200, at the time) for $14,500 in cash with an undercover law officer. That officer allegedly told Rockcoons in advance that the cash came from the manufacture and distribution of “hash oil,” which contains tetrahydrocannabinol, a controlled substance at the federal level.

Money laundering happens when a person takes ill-gotten money and turns it into “clean” money that cannot easily be tracked back to its source. Thus, if Rockcoons knew the cash was dirty, but traded it for bitcoin anyway, that would constitute money laundering.

Rockcoons was also allegedly operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business in Southern  California “from a date unknown” through August 30, 2017. Money transmitters are required to register with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

The warrant for the arrest was issued by the Chief Magistrate for the Southern District of California on November 8, 2017, which indicates it may have taken authorities three months to track down Rockcoons, possibly because he moved out of the original jurisdiction.  

A Different Story

In private messages with Bitcoin Magazine and a series of public tweets, Rockcoons, who is actively seeking donations to pay for his legal fees, which he expects to be between $150,000 - $300,000, tells a different story than what is reflected in court records.

Where the court document says that the the cash given to him was already dirty, he claims that bitcoin he sold to the buyer became dirty after it left his hands.

“Someone bought a machine that makes cannabis oil with the BTC they purchased from me,” he said to Bitcoin Magazine. “I guess I'm not allowed to sell Bitcoin as a U.S. citizen for cash especially if [responsibility for] what people do with that money lies on me.”

In communication with Bitcoin Magazine, Rockcoons said that the buyer told him via text message that the bitcoins would be used to buy a “medical hash machine.”

He added, “Buying equipment in California is not illegal especially medical equipment in a medical State that's been a medical state for 25 years. [A] controlled substance does not have anything to do with the equipment because CBD oil can be extracted from Cannabis and that doesn't have anything to do with Tetra Hydro cannabinol.”

Both Rockcoons’ tweets and his subsequent communication with Bitcoin Magazine seemed to imply, initially, that he had no idea he was selling bitcoin to a law enforcement officer.

On Friday Feb 9, I was arrested in my home by Department Of Homeland Security over a #Bitcoin transaction from nov 2016 and am released under a personal recognizance bond. I am being charged with:

18 USC 1956 - Money Laundering Instrumenthttps://t.co/4w7NJIi4jw

Asset Forfeit pic.twitter.com/5kINtbxH17

— Morgan (@NODEfather) February 14, 2018

According to Rockcoons, the exchange took place in November 2016 (not the first week of January, as listed in court records) while he was living in Northern California (not Southern California, as the records state).

Rockcoons said the buyer found him through LocalBitcoins, an online platform that facilitates direct selling of bitcoin. A user can register as a seller on the platform and be contacted by interested parties. Transactions are done in person or via online banking.

Rockcoons claimed on Twitter that he received $9,200 for the bitcoin, though court records allege the law officer gave him $14,500. Rockoons later told Bitcoin Magazine that he specified to the buyer he wanted less than $10,000, but the buyer insisted on sending him $14,500.

“They tried to entrap me,” Rockcoons told Bitcoin Magazine. “I asked for only less than $10,000, they sent me $14500 [or] refused to send anything and then I sent under $10,000 [worth of bitcoin] to follow the law.”


After agreeing to the terms of the sale online, Rockcoons claims he received a cash payment. He described this payment, in his communication with Bitcoin Magazine, as being received in an envelope sent through the mail. He has not replied to requests for clarification as to whether or not he met with the buyer in person, though he did say that he and the buyer communicated via text messages.


At the time of the exchange, he was camping in the Mendocino National Forest, where he was living in a tent and working on a new project, a voice-operated Bitcoin wallet. Rockcoons said he had been living in the Northern California wilderness since 2015; however, fire and floods were making it increasingly difficult to survive in the area. After another fire ravaged the land, he said he needed cash for evacuation emergencies.

“I was living like a mountain man, so I didn’t really need money but eventually I needed to buy food so I decided to sell some coin; when someone asked me to buy some I usually just always turn it down but I needed cash to eat,” he told Bitcoin Magazine.

He claims the fires were what eventually forced him to move back to Nevada.

Time in Jail

After his arrest in Las Vegas on Friday, February 9, 2018, Rockcoons was locked up over the weekend in Henderson Detention Center in Clark County, Nevada, for three days. He pled not guilty at a Federal Court hearing on February 12, 2018, and was then sent to Clark County Detention Center for two more days for an unrelated charge of failure to appear on a traffic ticket.

“I was in jail for five days with some of the scariest humans on Earth,” he said. “But I [taught] most of them how Bitcoin works, so it was worth it.”   

In his series of ongoing tweets since his release from jail on February 14, 2018, Rockcoons has been portraying the charges against him as an attack on Bitcoin.

It's not my mess, it's everyone on Earths [sic] battle now or you can kiss your access to BTC goodbye,” he wrote in one tweet.

This is a attempt to redefine the regulation and the law,” he told Bitcoin Magazine.

“Bitcoin is my religion,” he wrote in another tweet. “God says I can use bitcoin everyday.”

Rockcoons is also claiming he was targeted due to his relationship with the state and the federal government and his Bitcoin-related startups.

Because of my relationship with the State & Federal Government as well as my relationship with the US military, because of my involvement in creating @BitSwitchIO at @BitcoinKinetics and possibly the opportunity to pull a @CharlieShrem case in California to get the west coast.

— Morgan (@NODEfather) February 14, 2018

He is looking to others to join the “battle” with him, and he is even asking the the Bitcoin Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports Bitcoin adoption and education, to cover 15 bitcoin (worth around $150,000) of his legal costs.

“It seems to me the Bitcoin Foundation has been absent from the Bitcoin Community during troubling times, this would be a good opportunity to show face and show the community that you're here for all of us," he tweeted.


Rockcoons’ arraignment is on February 22, 2018 at the San Diego Superior Court in California. He has hired Las Vegas criminal attorneys David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld to represent him. He says he plans to pay them in bitcoin.


(Note: Shortly before publishing this article, Rockcoons blocked the writer from viewing his Twitter account.)

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

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February 21, 2018 -
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