What do Core think of Bitcoin Cash?

The question in the title is misleading. Because what Core think, and what Core and Blockstream want you to think and believe, are two entirely separate things.

Recently Bitcoin Core developer Luke Dashjr (aka Luke-jr) wrote an opinion piece almost entirely about “Bitcoin Cash” itself.

But before we get onto the Bitcoin Cash topic here, let me address one glaring point made by Luke early on in his piece. Given that Segwit2x is well underway now, Luke actually makes an admission – stating, and I quote “Basically, BIP148 (UASF) was an early success”. This statement conclusively reaffirms statements I made in an earlier piece that Blockstream (UASF) and DCG ( Segwit2x) are in bed together. And I’m going to restate this – big blockers have been played.

But Luke’s ponderous post is genuinely a marvel in deceit. He bewilderingly states that “Bitcoin Cash” is an altcoin, and that it is an attempt to hijack Bitcoin.

This play on words is all too common within the Blockstream camp. The hijacking came from Blockstream and no one else. But to help illustrate this point, allow me to paint this picture. Suppose you are part of an open source project. You release a founding paper specifying your project’s inner workings, methods, and overall operation. Your project is unfunded, but passionately developed within an open, transparent, thriving community. A new company emerges, and cleverly makes its way among your development team, and receives an incredibly large amount of funding from some very big players in the industry. This company then starts to weed out some of the early developers of the project, and particularly those who don’t agree with the company’s very distinct vision.

Discussion and promotion of the original founding paper is prohibited. This company then (for argument sake let’s just call it Blockstream) rewrites the project to a vision that is incompatible with its original founding paper. So then in retaliation a small group of people, some who were there in the beginning, come together, and re-launch or rather see the continuation of the original project with the original intention, following the original founding paper.

Who in the above paradigm hijacked the project? Unless you are heavily compromised, it takes no genius to figure out the answer. Blockstream took over Bitcoin, fundamentally changed its course direction, and are now actively attacking the minority who wish to retain the original vision.

Bitcoin’s community has been aggressively split for several years now. If Luke’s heart was in the right place, he should genuinely wish Bitcoin Cash all the best, and in fact thank them for going their own way, and finally ending years of dispute. Instead he chooses to attack further.

Segregated Witness is an extreme departure from the Bitcoin described in inventor, and creator, Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper.

Satoshi in his wisdom wrote “Bitcoin can already scale much larger than [VISA] with existing hardware for a fraction of the cost.” Bitcoin was already scaleable, it didn’t need Segwit. The threat “Bitcoin Cash” poses  is that it can finally prove itself, with the removal of the 1MB temporary cap it will demonstrate to the world that Core devs were lying all along, and Bitcoin can scale to astronomical heights, and operate very efficiently and securely.

So now the new agenda by Core and Blockstream is to attack “Bitcoin Cash” as an altcoin, and to discredit its position as the true Bitcoin. But anyone reading Satoshi’s whitepaper and other writings will instantly recognise that ‘Bitcoin Cash’ is indeed the coin the inventor and creator desired. But this isn’t about doing it for ‘Satoshi’. It is about recognising that there was nothing ever wrong with the original roadmap for Bitcoin. The derailment by Blockstream into Segwit isn’t for Bitcoin’s benefit, it is actually for the benefit of Blockstream and its many investors.

Luke also stated that “this isn’t a particularly unique or even first-of-kind altcoin: “Bitcoin Dark” and “Bitcoin Plus” have tried to hijack the “Bitcoin” name previously”.

Again, he mentions the term ‘hijacking’. This isn’t hijacking anything. If Blockstream chooses to fundamentally change the inner workings of Bitcoin, and a group of loyalists who truly believe in Bitcoin’s capability in its current form with the transaction cap removed choose to keep things as they are –  why should it not be called Bitcoin? Bitcoin Cash is true Bitcoin in every sense of the word, and is 100% aligned to the whitepaper description.

Luke’s stated “Bitcoin Plus” and “Bitcoin Dark” are both non-compliant to Bitcoin’s whitepaper, and further they did not maintain Bitcoin’s existing ledger as they were not forks of the main chain. Luke’s inclusion of these two cryptos is intentionally misleading.

Segwit on the other hand is so much so a departure from Bitcoin’s whitepaper that if you would determine altcoins on technicalities alone, Segwit would be it, hands down. Where does the white paper mention splitting witness data?

Why should a central body, such as Blockstream, have the final say as to what Bitcoin is and isn’t. Bitcoin Cash’s value and status will in the end be determined by the free and open market, not by the rantings of a Core developer.

Eli Afram
@justicemate

New Blockchain Patents Up 100% In 2017

The rate of applications for blockchain patents has doubled in 2017, as the technology becomes accessible to a wider range of industries and use cases.

According to data from the US Patent and Trademark Office, the number of applications for protection of blockchain and cryptocurrency patents has increased by over 100% in 2017, with some 390 patents filed in the first half of the year.

This accounts for almost 90% of the total patent applications filed in 2016, and shows the accelerating rate of adoption of these core technologies within commercial and governmental applications.

With both public and private sector interests coalescing around blockchain technology and the possibilities it offers, the data reflects the obvious boom in developmental activity around the tech, with countless other projects already in the pipeline.

In 2016, the full year saw a total of 469 patent applications, a dramatic increase in just a few years, up from a mere 71 applications in 2012.

But while the rate of applications has shown a steady increase over the years reported, the chances of success have slimmed down significantly, and seem to be decreasing as more applications are filed.

Only 152 of those filed in 2016 were granted, down from 70 out of around 120 in 2013, with roughly a 50/50 chance based on the total applications submitted and approved over the period.

Several of these patents have also courted media attention, including Goldman Sachs securing the patent for their SETLcoin, and AT&T for its subscriber-driven blockchain application.

These numbers demonstrate the transition from the theoretical to the practical, as blockchain technologies begin to move from proof-of-concept and proof-of-work stages, through to final testing and launch phases.

The following 12 months is expected to see countless other high profile blockchain projects come to a head, with the trend only set to continue as more organizations find their own specific use cases for the technology.

As ever, securing patent protection allows developers to retain their exclusive intellectual property surrounding blockchain projects, critical in this environment of rapid and extensive development.

Beginning of the End: Altcoin Meets the SEC

The sale of altcoins in the US is subject to US securities regulation, according to findings from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The body tasked with regulating securities in the United States, including startups raising capital from the markets, declared their oversight this week following an investigation into issues around The DAO offering.

Now, some analysts are interpreting this as the beginning of the end for altcoin, which some have suggested could lead to a new era of blockchain tokens.

The DAO was an ethereum-driven project which lost some $60 million worth of ether at the hands of a code exploit. The DAO tokens issued by the project were found by the SEC to be securities, which brings them within the remit of current laws.

It is also thought that other ICOs and token issues for raising capital fit into this bracket, despite earlier attempts to distinguish from the regular format for raising capital.

Ethereum has become popular as an alternative to bitcoin, and particularly amongst companies looking for a regulation-light way of raising funds. Dubbed by some as a form of crowdfunding, the model has seen several popular ICOs, or initial coin offerings, go on to raise hundreds of millions of dollars.

The SEC’s position would allow them to press charges against individuals and organizations involved in these ICOs where they haven’t adhered to the laws governing these processes.

However, the SEC has said it is not interested in prosecuting, but in changing the behavior of participants in this space ahead of future attempts to issue blockchain tokens for capital.

It is thought that this decision could have an adverse impact on ethereum, and indeed other altcoins, pushing more participants towards bitcoin. But with the scaling deadline fast approaching, it is now more urgent than ever that common sense prevails.

Bitcoin Unlimited is one of the favored approaches recommended by those who take this view, allowing for a quick, secure and final scaling of the bitcoin network to handle the future transaction load.

Whether Bitcoin Unlimited will win out as the favored scaling solution amongst its rivals remains to be seen, in spite of the strong support for this model.

Sportsbooks Accepting Bets on Post-Scaling Bitcoin Price

Bitcoin is looking down the barrel of its biggest ever week, as the looming scaling deadline draws ever closer.

By August 1, the bitcoin community will have either reached sufficient consensus about the future direction of its network, or be subject to a so-called hard fork, which could ultimately lead to a split in the chain.

As analysts, developers and speculators look on with intrigue, sportsbooks are now capitalizing on the uncertainty by quoting odds on the price of bitcoin at the end of the big day.

As ever, the odds give implications about where the majority of sentiment lies, and the odds being quoted are already reflecting how the market price of bitcoin might be expected to behave following the milestone in question.

Online sportsbook Bodog is offering a proposition bet on the price of bitcoin at 11.59pm on August 1, based on the EST time zone.

At the time of writing, the favorite remains the $2000-$2500 range, where prop odds of -150 imply the market feels this is the shortest outcome. By contrast, there is more support for over $2500 (+130) than there is for under $2000 (+550), and the actual price point will depend significantly on how the forking issue plays out on the day.

Judging by these odds, it looks as though the bulk of sentiment is leaning towards bitcoin having a stable to strong day on August 1, a result which would be regarded as close to success by the wider community.

With many investors exposed to bitcoin and other alternative currencies inextricably linked to bitcoin’s value, there is a great deal riding on the outcome of the August 1 process.

While sentiment remains broadly optimistic, there is still far from a firm idea of where the market goes next, with SegWit2x still regarded as the favored proposal.

But some analysts have pointed out that even if SegWit2x does go ahead, its temporary fix could serve only to delay the underlying scaling problem, with the Bitcoin Unlimited model preferred as a permanent and the easiest solution available.

Australian Bitcoin Exchange Completes $815k Series A Funding

A new bitcoin exchange serving the Australian market has successfully completed a Series A funding round, raising $815,000 as it aims to move to the next level of its growth.

Based in Melbourne, Bitcoin.com.au raised the funds from a combination of private interests, with Dominet Venture Partners and Alium Capital amongst the biggest contributors.

The funding will be used to help the company roll out its successful platform to the UK and Canadian markets, following its growth to date in domestic markets.

The company’s founder Rupert Hackett also suggested that the funding would help develop support for additional digital currencies, with XRP and ethereum amongst those under active discussion.

The successful funding comes at a time of increased investment activity in the cryptocurrencies space, with both venture and private capital becoming increasingly focused on investments in blockchain platforms and systems.

The funding raised was higher than the initial target of $500,000, which was set by the firm to help its operations across both physical and virtual exchange services.

Rajeev Gupta of Alium Capital said that with the investment, the company was gaining further traction in this quickly emerging market.

“We believe Rupert and the team at Bitcoin.com.au provide a platform that is a pure play 21st century asset class for digital cryptocurrencies in Australia.”

The announcement comes at a time when Australian regulators have given clear indications about their regulatory intentions for the space.

Most notably, steps towards removing an anomaly of the Australian tax system which sees double taxation on digital currency transactions is thought to have given confidence to investors and developers alike.

As the legal position around digital currencies shapes up, investors are hoping Bitcoin.com.au will be best placed to provide exchange services, both to consumers and businesses in the region.

It comes at a time when other governments, regulators and central banks worldwide are taking steps to clarify the legal standing of cryptocurrencies.

The funding has been welcomed by the team at Bitcoin.com.au, as they continue to develop their exchange services for customers in Australia and beyond.

Time to back Bitcoin and shed the alts

Recent very complex and wordy stuff from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is the strongest sign yet that alt coins are a distraction we can no longer tolerate. While we here at CoinGeek love anything that disrupts in a positive way, for cryptocurrency to move forward it’s time to get behind our guy, Bitcoin.

For those that want to delve into the minutiae of what SEC have announced, our friends at CoinDesk have made a very good fist of sifting through it and also supply copies of the actual documents released by SEC.

What we think its imperative to realize is just how hard it is to fight the banking system and how hard they are prepared to go to see Bitcoin fail. After failing to kill it at birth they sent in Bitcoin Core to try and create civil war, in essence, divide and conquer.

Alt coins now present a similar divisive risk. Without wanting to sound all Games of Thrones, we need one true King.

Hard or Soft: Bitcoin Community Gears Up For August 1 Showdown

Bitcoin is set to undergo its most significant upgrade to date, as the community wrestles for consensus ahead of the August 1 deadline.

As the well-publicized scaling issues continue to delay transactions and increase settlement costs, getting the mining community on the same page ahead of the fork is proving difficult.

Some analysts now fear that a hard fork could still occur, despite the likes of Coinbase declaring they will only support a soft fork, and concern is increasing amongst bitcoin stakeholders looking to capitalize on these events.

nChain Inspiring Confidence in BU?

Bitcoin development body nChain announced its support for the Bitcoin Unlimited version of the fork this week, in a move that has been welcomed by proponents of the technology.

Designed to simply remove the upper cap on block sizes, currently set at 1MB, it is thought that the support from nChain could inspire confidence in the mining community to signal for a Bitcoin Unlimited-style resolution to August 1.

At the time of writing, most consensus remains behind the SegWit2x proposals, so called BIP 91. But with nChain and others supporting the rival Bitcoin Unlimited model as a more efficient and effective way to achieve scaling, it is still the favoured model amongst developers and certain analysts.

Monitoring the Fork

BTCForkMonitor.info is a simple website that has been set up to monitor the changing sentiment amongst the bitcoin mining community, and reflects at a glance whether a split has or is likely to form in the blockchain.

Seen by many as the worst-case outcome from the August 1 fork, signaling for a hard fork could suggest a split in the bitcoin blockchain is on the way.

The site sets out the picture in five boxes, corresponding to each of the main proposals for the August 1 deadline, and demonstrates at a glance which has the upper hand.

Coinbase Goes Soft

Coinbase, the world’s most notable cryptocurrency exchange, has said they will refuse to back a UAHF.

If a UAHF were to emerge from the August 1 wranglings, this would effectively create two blockchains for bitcoin, in addition to significant uncertainty and market volatility.

In response to this possibility, Coinbase have said they will suspend transactions in bitcoin for four hours before activation in the case of a UASF (soft fork).

But should the hard fork come to pass, and an effective split form in the bitcoin blockchain, Coinbase will not allow users to access their funds in new BTC, and will maintain support for the original bitcoin blockchain only.

For those wishing to access their funds in the eventuality of a hard fork, they must be moved from Coinbase to private wallets ahead of the August deadline.

Belarus Central Bank Gives Blockchain for Settlement the All Clear

The Central Bank of Belarus has become the latest central bank to give the all clear to the use of the blockchain within the banking system.

Blockchain technology will be used in transmitting bank guarantees and settlements, helping banks save time and money in efficiency gains.

The move was made official last week, when the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus published proposals as part of a wider drive to embrace blockchain technology.

While the bank ruled out looking at digital currencies as part of its blockchain research focus for the time being, it suggested that it was open to exploring all use cases for the tech in future, which some have taken as an indication of at least conceptual interest in digital currencies.

The technology will be used by banks offering guarantees to cover loan losses to other banks, a fundamental process for ensuring liquidity in interbank settlements.

Discussing its proposals, the central bank said that the technology would be mutually beneficial to its partners across the region.

“The new mechanism of maintenance of the register of bank guarantees will ensure the mutual access of the economic entities of the states being members of the Eurasian Economic Union to the procedures of the government procurements of goods (works, services).”

“The implementation of the project will make it possible to organize this register on the qualitatively new level, that will create conditions for improvement of transparency and further development of the stock market in the Republic of Belarus.”

The bank is also thought to be working on proposals for an over-the-counter securities trading blockchain, just one of a number of use cases under active investigation for the wider financial services sector.

This implementation of blockchain technology within the Belarusian banking system comes at a time of similar sentiment from central banks and regulators worldwide.

As the implications of blockchain for the financial sector become more evident by the day, governments and regulators around the globe have been keen to leverage blockchain development as a means of making financial services more efficient.

Belarus are joined by the likes of Sweden, Singapore, Dubai, the UK, the US, South Korea, Japan and others in investigating new exciting use cases for the technology.

nChain Unveils Tech Support for Bitcoin Unlimited Ahead of August 1

Blockchain development company nChain has today announced technical support for Bitcoin Unlimited’s client software, in a significant boost for the BU model ahead of the August 1 deadline.

The firm, regarded as a pioneer in blockchain research and development, supports the aims of Bitcoin Unlimited in tackling the network’s scaling issues, which are set to come to a head in just a couple of weeks’ time.

Their support for Bitcoin Unlimited’s solution will be welcomed by advocates of their approach, which is favoured by many analysts over the competing visions for the future of the blockchain.

The bitcoin blockchain is heading rapidly towards a significant turning point in its future, as the community attempts to reach consensus on the best next steps for resolving existing scaling issues.

As it stands, the bitcoin blockchain has an artificial block size limit of 1MB, initially designed to restrict the flow of malicious microtransactions which had previously plagued the network.

However, as bitcoin has become more popular, transaction costs have increased, alongside delays in execution time, as a direct consequence of this artificially low block size limit.

Bitcoin Unlimited favours proposals that would simply remove the artificial limit altogether, allowing the bitcoin blockchain to immediately resolve its scaling problems.

This is at odds with other elements in the blockchain community, who still insist on including some form of block size limit after the August watershed.

SegWit2x has emerged as the primary alternative to Bitcoin Unlimited’s vision, which would place a 2MB size limit on the blocks, as well as moving some transactional data off the blockchain.

However, proponents of the Bitcoin Unlimited model argue this only defers the scaling problem, rather than solving it, and nChain’s decision to back the Bitcoin Unlimited model will be seen as a significant step in achieving this reality.

nChain’s decision to announce technical support for the Bitcoin Unlimited protocol has been welcomed by Andrew Stone, lead developer of Bitcoin Unlimited.

“I am excited to work with the nChain team to make Bitcoin Unlimited a stronger, more useful client. Bitcoin Unlimited already has significant support as an alternative to Bitcoin Core, but better software will only enhance its role as the foundation to a faster, more powerful network — the network that the bitcoin community has always envisioned.”

nChain’s Steffan Mathews appealed for common sense to prevail, recognising the polarisation in the community ahead of the August scaling deadline.

“Bitcoin has reached a critical juncture, and its community has become highly polarized. It’s time to remember we’re all on this bitcoin journey together, and there is more than enough opportunity for everyone to succeed. While reasonable minds may disagree on how network growth should occur, let’s not artificially divide the community. Instead, let’s find more ways to collaborate and foster ‘coopetition’ to achieve a rewarding bitcoin future for all.”

How deep does the rabbit hole go?

In my article titled “Bitcoin is under attack because it is a threat”, I specifically made mention of the incompatible relationship Bitcoin has with an organisation like MasterCard. There’s no way of twisting this around. Bitcoin as a P2P money system is in direct competition with MasterCard, VISA, Paypal, Western Union and the rest.

Now on one hand you have MasterCard, actively funding for the implementation of Segregated Witness, by funding Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group, which brought forth the New York Agreement for Segwit2x.

So when a product’s development is being funded by a competitor, it can only mean one thing. “Takeover.”

Take Rob Reeg’s quotes on the subject. He is the president for operations and technology at MasterCard. He says:

“It is an interesting technology and we are working on it. I personally don’t care about Bitcoin, but I do care about blockchain technology.”

This line has been paraphrased numerous times. Effectively downplaying Bitcoin at every turn, but talking up the technology behind it at every other turn.

If you have the time, it’s very well worth watching President South East Asia for MasterCard Matthew Driver’s speech on the topic. Driver lists a large number of concerns he has with Bitcoin, and specifically attacks the anonymity front of Bitcoin.

Of course, talking up Bitcoin in 2014 would have meant giving credit to the competitor. Except – credit IS what is being given today… MasterCard funds DCG because MasterCard wants Segregated Witness online. Because by removing the P2P component of the main chain, you suddenly have a settlement layer that is quite useful for financial institutions, and with high fees due to restricted blocksize (even at 2MB), it forces a majority of the population onto second layer solutions.

If such financial organisations simply wanted a secure blockchain to implement such technologies on top of, then they could simply have opted to go with Litecoin, which has a decent marketcap (bigger than what Bitcoin had when Blockstream came in power), also has Segwit online right now. But LiteCoin is not the competitor here. Bitcoin is.

And so on the other hand we have AXA and many others funding Blockstream, which failed to galvanise a community and implement Segwit to enable second layer functions on the protocol.

I’ve written about this before, but here it is again – Blockstream’s survival depends on the fulfilment of its funding purpose: to develop sidechains, and second layer protocols. It’s for this reason that the implementation of Segwit is of absolute necessity to the survival of Blockstream.

So if DCG implements Segwit, it actually fulfils Blockstream’s funding purpose. From then on, Blockstream can implement their patented second layer solutions.

There’s been a lot of talk that if Segwit2x activates, it would mean Blockstream are out of a job.

Not true.

DCG are heavily invested in Blockstream. Take Silbert’s tweet directly. Or if you prefer check out DCG’s portfolio, specifically listing Blockstream.

UASF and Segwit2x are a dual effort to make something appear better than it really is. It is a way of creating a terrible compromise, seem half good.

Blockstream are not concerned by the NYA, nor Segwit2x. Why do BS/Core aligned forums not censor Segwit2x topics? By all means, all other forks or implementations of Bitcoin are very heavily censored. In fact, on reddit’s r/bitcoin, talk of altcoins is strictly prohibited, but LiteCoin had great advertising material throughout it during its Segwit campaign. When ‘Bitcoin Cash’, or Bitcoin Unlimited are strictly prohibited, but Segwit2x talk is welcome, you have to ask why…

They’re all on the same team, seeking the same outcome.

Big blocker miners have been played. Admittedly by the masters of social manipulation and censorship.

The attacks on big blockers continues. Coinbase for example recently sent their customers an email advising they will not be honouring the ‘Bitcoin Cash’ (which they only referred to as UAHF) fork, and practically telling users to leave their service if they wish to get their coins.

What Coinbase don’t tell you in the email is that they get to keep money that should have been yours.

Turbulent times.

Eli Afram
@justicemate