All about Bitcoin: the rise and trials of an anonymous virtual currency

Bitcoins (Casascius)

Bitcoin, a virtual currency "mined" from computer transactions, could one day challenge the hegemony of nation-issued money and create a truly viable decentralized, anonymous currency. Along the way, though, supporters must deal with the challenges of building a new exchange system — and the inevitable winners and losers that creates.

153 updates and 9255 comments below.

Jul 17 5:12p

New York proposes 'BitLicense' rules for companies that buy and sell virtual currency

The New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) has released a copy of proposed "codes, rules, and regulations" for companies that buy and sell bitcoin and other virtual currencies roughly a year after the agency announced an inquiry into regulating bitcoin.

The proposal, which outlines requirements for a special "BitLicense" (truly), will be entered into the record on July 23rd. The proposed rules apply to businesses that buy, sell, transfer, store, or maintain custody or control of...

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Jul 01 9:59a

Newegg now accepts bitcoin

Newegg, the online electronics retailer beloved by geeks, on Tuesday announced it would begin accepting purchases made with bitcoin. Newegg is turning to the bitcoin-payment processor Bitpay to handle orders paid with the virtual currency. Claiming that Newegg's customers were among some of the first bitcoin miners, the company's chief marketing officer Soren Mills said in a statement that "adopting bitcoin as a payment method is another way we’re responding to our customers’ diverse needs."


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May 29 11:34a

Dish Network invites its 14 million customers to pay in bitcoin

Dish Network just became the largest company to accept bitcoin, a major endorsement for the still-nascent virtual currency.

The company has teamed up with Coinbase, a startup funded by big Silicon Valley investors that makes it easy for merchants to accept bitcoin. Dish customers will be able to pay their bills in the virtual currency starting in the third quarter of this year.

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May 07 3:17p

Be careful about investing in bitcoin, SEC warns

Consumer protection agencies are getting worried about cryptocurrencies. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an investor alert today warning about the risks of investing in bitcoin and other virtual currencies such as Peercoin, Dogecoin, and Minacoin.

This is actually the SEC's second cryptocurrency-related alert. The first was issued last summer after the agency prosecuted a man for running a pyramid scheme in the virtual currency. Meanwhile, the Financial Industry...

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Apr 29 10:55a

MIT club giving every undergrad $100 in bitcoin

A club at MIT wants to see what will happen when an entire community has access to a digital currency, and to find out, it plans to give every undergraduate student on campus $100 worth of bitcoin this fall. The MIT Bitcoin Club says that it's raised a half million dollars from alumni and the bitcoin community, which it plans to use to cover the cost of bitcoin for the campus' more than 4,500 undergrads and to finance informational programs about bitcoin. The group also plans to work with...

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Mar 25 2:40p

IRS rules Bitcoin will be taxed as property, not as currency

The IRS previously admitted it wasn't sure how to tax Bitcoin, but today it's reached a decision. Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are considered property, not currency, according to a notice posted today. That means Bitcoin owners may have to pay taxes on the income they gain as Bitcoin increases in value, and may be able to deduct a loss if Bitcoin loses value, just as if Bitcoin were a stock.

"In some environments, virtual currency operates like 'real' currency," the IRS writes, "but...

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Mar 21 10:33a

Mt. Gox finds over $100 million of customers' missing bitcoins

Troubled Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox says that it located nearly a quarter of the around $485 million worth of missing bitcoins that it's been searching for since shutting down its site and filing for bankruptcy protection late last month. Mt. Gox, once Bitcoin's top exchange, previously chalked much of the currency's disappearance up to hackings over the course of several years, leading to some obvious questions about its accounting practices and how this could have gone unnoticed until...

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Mar 10 12:30p

The new gold rush: Bitcoin ATMs are coming

Sebuh Honarchian, a developer from Los Angeles, showed up at the South By Southwest Interactive trade show in Austin, Texas on Saturday because he heard there would be a Bitcoin ATM and he needed to pay rent. He found the machine in a corner of the trade floor, flashed it a QR code on his phone, and retrieved $3,000 — less than five BTC at current prices.

"I just cashed my Bitcoin out because I need to pay some bills, you know I got rent and other things," he tells The Verge. "You have to...

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Hackers claim bankrupt Mt. Gox still has customers' bitcoins

Tokyo-based Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox lost $400 million worth of bitcoins in February. Its management said the amount was stolen after hackers exploited a transaction bug to divert the funds, but some of Mt. Gox's users are not so sure, suggesting instead that the exchange's owners pocketed the cash. Now, facing silence from those owners about the fate of the money and the methods by which 6 percent of all of the Bitcoin in the world could have been stolen, a group of hackers claims it has...

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Mar 07 3:04p

Newsweek stands by Bitcoin story as Reddit offers alleged creator money and model trains

Since its publication yesterday, Newsweek's huge Bitcoin scoop has proved unsurprisingly explosive both online and offline. A cover story by reporter Leah McGrath Goodman strongly stated that a man who went by the name Dorian Nakamoto was in fact Satoshi Nakamoto, the secretive creator of Bitcoin. But the piece has raised questions about everything from journalistic ethics to whether model trains would make an appropriate apology gift. Amid heavy criticism, however, Newsweek says it's still s...

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Japan says Bitcoin is not a currency

Over the past 24 hours, a man believed to be the founder of Bitcoin was chased through the streets of Los Angeles, only to deny having any involvement in the project. But the identity of the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto isn't the only Bitcoin news of the day: Japan has decided that Bitcoin isn't actually a currency.

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Mar 06 8:05p

So-called founder of Bitcoin denies starting the virtual currency

A California man who Newsweek claimed was the inventor of the popular digital cryptocurrency Bitcoin is now denying the report. Dorian Nakamoto told the Associated Press that he's not "the face behind Bitcoin," despite a claim by Newsweek that he was deeply involved with its inception.

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Press chases alleged Bitcoin creator through Los Angeles

In the wake of this morning's Newsweek article purportedly unmasking mysterious Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, the man known as Dorian Nakamoto has become the subject not just of more investigative reporting but of a car chase and is apparently denying being the creator of the currency. Los Angeles Times reporter Joe Bel Bruno and others have taken to Twitter as they follow Nakamoto and an AP reporter, who successfully convinced Nakamoto to come with him for lunch.

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Newsweek claims it's found the man behind Bitcoin

Newsweek has published a story purporting to have uncovered the real identity of Satoshi Nakamoto, the enigmatic creator of cryptocurrency Bitcoin. A trail of investigation reportedly led to "a 64-year-old Japanese-American man whose name really is Satoshi Nakamoto," and who has "a career shrouded in secrecy, having done classified work for major corporations and the US military." Nakamoto is said to live in southern California and to have kept his work on Bitcoin secret even from his family.


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Mar 04 11:40a

After $620,000 theft, another Bitcoin service shuts down

In the wake of Mt. Gox, a six-figure bitcoin heist has resulted in another shuttered service. This time, the service is Flexcoin, a wallet and banking service that lost 896 bitcoins to attackers, and has announced it will be unable to continue functioning after the loss. The attack emptied the service's hot wallet, where funds were kept for easy access, but the attack did not reach into the offline storage, and Flexcoin has promised to return those funds to customers as soon as possible.

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Feb 28 12:26p

Fortress Investment Group reports a $3.7 million loss on Bitcoin

The first public company to invest in Bitcoin had a $3.7 million paper loss on the digital currency, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Fortress Investment Group, which was founded as a private equity fund but expanded into hedge funds and other types of investments, reported that it bought $20 million worth of Bitcoin in 2013. The company was still holding onto its Bitcoin as of the filing, meaning it could recoup its losses and even make money if the currency's value...

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Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox files for bankruptcy protection with $64 million in liabilities

After weeks of speculation over its financial health, the beleaguered Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox has filed for bankruptcy protection. A company lawyer made the announcement at an impromptu news conference held at Tokyo District Court, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Feb 26 2:48p

Who stole $400 million from Mt. Gox?

Mt. Gox headquarters in Tokyo.

By now, Mt. Gox's fate is more or less sealed. The Bitcoin exchange probably won't be bailed out, CEO Mark Karpeles will move on, and the rest of the Bitcoin economy will move on as if this was just a bump in the road. But as the community recovers, it's left a single, thorny question unanswered: who took $400 million worth of bitcoins from Mt Gox's vault?

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The Mt. Gox fiasco won't kill Bitcoin

By Adrianne Jeffries and Russell Brandom

On Monday at around 11PM Mt. Gox, the largest exchange for trading the virtual currency Bitcoin, started disappearing piece by piece. First the homepage disappeared. Next the support page was pulled, followed by the press releases and then the API. "The requested page was not found on this server," customers were told when they tried to access their deposits. Users started to panic as they realized they might never get their bitcoins back.

It had...

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Feb 25 10:36p

Mt. Gox under investigation while its CEO sidesteps theft claims

The woeful situation for Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, which went offline earlier today, is seemingly no close to getting better. A pair of reports suggest that the company is now being investigated by prosecutors in the US as well as Japan, while another suggests that it could have indeed lost over 744,000 Bitcoins in a theft several years ago. Citing an unnamed source, The Wall Street Journal says federal prosecutors subpoenaed Mt. Gox sometime this month, asking it to preserve documents.


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Mt. Gox disappears as Bitcoin community goes into damage control mode

The embattled Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox has gone offline, after several organizations from the Bitcoin community released a joint statement distancing themselves from the Tokyo company's troubles. Mt. Gox's website remains inaccessible, and the exchange appears to have deleted its entire Twitter feed.

The joint statement was originally billed as "regarding the insolvency of Mt. Gox," but was later updated to remove that language. A spokesman for the group told Recode, however, that "Mt. Gox...

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Feb 22 6:41p

Nine state regulators form Emerging Payments Task Force to study Bitcoin

Bitcoin may be thriving as a relatively unregulated currency, but governments are beginning to pay it more heed as it grows in popularity. On Thursday, a group of nine state regulators formed the Emerging Payments task force; it is charged with studying virtual currencies and learning "how new entrants and technologies affect the stability of payment systems and the broader financial marketplace." Thus far, the move has been met with support — The Hill reports that Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) c...

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Feb 21 10:57a

Nearing $1M in bitcoin sales, Overstock CEO says he wants to 'further the cause of Bitcoin'

For those hoping to buy real goods with bitcoin, Overstock.com is still the biggest game in town, and a new CEO profile by Forbes's Kashmir Hill helps explain the story behind the early adoption and the company's newfound devotion to cryptocurrency. With new Bitcoin reward programs and plans for a Bitcoin-like stock market, CEO Patrick Byrne's devotion to Bitcoin goes far beyond a simple business opportunity. "I want to be able to pay vendors and employees in Bitcoin too if they choose,"...

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Feb 19 11:01a

'Mt. Gox, where is our money?'

Mt. Gox, once the largest Bitcoin exchange in the world, is operated from an unmarked Tokyo office block that offers no indication of its major, controversial influence on the digital currency's health. No indication, that is, unless you've walked past the headquarters in the past week, where protesters are attempting to draw unwelcome attention to the company's existence. "Mt. Gox: Where is our Money," reads one sign. "Mt. Gox: Are you solvent?" reads another. What's going on?

Feb 14 5:27p

Major Bitcoin company releases open source library to make it easier to build Bitcoin apps

Bitcoin, the virtual currency that approximates cash on the internet, has been around for five years now, and its popularity has soared. But although its reach has spread beyond the initial circle of very technical, very insider-y circle of cryptographers and programmers, its audience is still largely restricted to people who are at least a little bit nerdy. Ask any Bitcoin enthusiast what's the biggest obstacle to the currency becoming mainstream, and they'll tell you the same thing: it's...

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Feb 13 4:54p

The Silk Road 2 has been hacked for $2.7 million

The second incarnation of the Silk Road has run into some trouble, with the administrator known as Defcon claiming today the site has fallen victim to a hack, and that all the associated accounts have been emptied. Judging by the blockchain records, attackers made off with roughly $2.7 million in bitcoin, the site's complete holdings.

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Feb 11 3:55p

Bitstamp halts withdrawals amid targeted attack

The Bitcoin exchange Bitstamp has announced it is suspending withdrawals as a result of the same transaction malleability bug that triggered a freeze at the M. Gox exchange earlier this week. According to Bitcoin core developer Jeff Garzik, the issue is more widespread than the team initially realized, and other software may need to be patched. "It's mainly a nuisance," Garzik told The Verge, "forcing everybody to stop and fix their website software and Bitcoin wallets." BitStamp says none of...

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The Bitcoin bump: stores turn to virtual currency for a marketing boost

Sapan Shah started accepting the virtual currency Bitcoin at his Subway franchise in the Philadelphia suburb of Allentown in November. Almost immediately, people began trickling in from out of state just to experience the novelty of buying a sandwich with their digital coins.

Andrew Torba and a friend drove 45 minutes. "During the ride we spoke about the potential Bitcoin had to completely revolutionize global commerce and finance, which only heightened the anticipation to make our first...

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Feb 10 4:09p

Bing gets Bitcoin converter

Bing is making it easy to find the going conversion rate for Bitcoin. As of today, Bing users in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and India will be able to calculate Bitcoin conversions straight through its search field, just like they would when converting between any other currencies. Bing is partnering with Coinbase to make the integration happen, using Coinbase's Bitcoin-pricing metrics to determine its current value. Though Bitcoin conversion is a small and niche feature for Bing, the...

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Mt. Gox blames account freeze on Bitcoin-wide vulnerability

Bitcoin exchange Mt Gox first halted withdrawals two days ago, spurring a selling panic and furious speculation — but now, they've finally come clean about why. In a post this morning, the team said it noticed a currency-wide vulnerability called "transaction malleability" that would allow a user to alter transaction details to make it seem as if a transfer failed when it had actually succeeded. Since users regularly report to exchanges that particular transactions did not go through, it...

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Feb 09 12:44p

Russia bans Bitcoin use

Russia's Prosecutor General's Office recently made its stance on Bitcoin abundantly clear. "Systems for anonymous payments and cyber currencies that have gained considerable circulation — including the most well-known, Bitcoin — are money substitutes and cannot be used by individuals or legal entities," the office said in a recent press release reported by Reuters. Any use of Bitcoin will be considered "potentially suspicious," as the Russian government has linked Bitcoin usage to illicit...

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Feb 07 3:50p

Three bitcoin traders arrested in Florida on money-laundering charges

Florida state police have arrested three alleged money-launderers after a lengthy investigation into the world of face-to-face bitcoin trading, reports Krebs on Security. Working through the site localbitcoins.com, the traders arranged face-to-face meetings in which they would hand over Bitcoin wallet codes in exchange for cash, rendering the transactions effectively untraceable. Unfortunately for them, the state attorney considers that a money transmittal business, and is charging the men...

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Mt. Gox suspends Bitcoin withdrawals, causes price to plunge

The popular Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox is suspending withdrawals for an unstated period of time in order to perform maintenance. The exchange hopes to resolve withdrawal delays that some users have been complaining about for months now, which have allegedly held up transactions for weeks or longer. It began working to resolve the issues late last month — noting that only a "limited number of users and transactions" were impacted — but it now says that it's necessary to fully halt withdrawals in...

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A string of thefts hit Bitcoin's most reputable wallet service

In a few hours on December 15th, Jeff lost nearly $10,000.

It was 10.6 bitcoins held in the wallet service Coinbase, the most well-funded and widely implemented service on the market. Jeff, who asked that we not use his last name, got the news of the transaction as soon as it happened, and after going back and forth with a customer-service representative, he had his money refunded. Exactly one month later, it happened again.

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Feb 04 10:30a

The coin prince: inside Bitcoin's first big money-laundering scandal

What last week’s arrest of Charlie Shrem means for the virtual currency Continue reading »

Feb 03 2:24p

Law Library of Congress releases report on Bitcoin's legal status around the world

The question of how to legally account for Bitcoin is becoming more urgent as adoption of the virtual currency spreads and Bitcoin-related companies come under legal scrutiny. But for users and entrepreneurs, the global legal landscape is murky at best.

More and more governments are coming out with semi-official opinions on how the virtual currency Bitcoin should be treated under the law. Many countries such as Germany have explicitly stated that Bitcoin is not legal tender and cannot be...

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Jan 31 9:29a

US Treasury confirms Bitcoin miners and investors won't be regulated

Bitcoin miners and investors will not be regulated by the US Treasury. The clarification came in a pair of rulings yesterday from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the US Treasury Department, which said that people who mine virtual currencies for personal use and businesses that buy and sell virtual currencies purely as an investment will not be considered money transmitters, exempting them from requirements to register with the government and comply with certain...

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Jan 28 1:00p

Charlie Shrem resigns from the Bitcoin Foundation after arrest

Charlie Shrem, a prominent member of the Bitcoin community who was arrested for money laundering yesterday, has resigned his position as vice chairman of the virtual currency trade organization The Bitcoin Foundation.

Shrem is accused of supporting an illicit Bitcoin exchange for users of Silk Road, the underground marketplace best known for illegal drugs. Shrem's company, BitInstant, provided temporary credit in order to speed up transactions in the virtual currency, which can take up to a...

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New York considers creating a 'BitLicense' for Bitcoin businesses

New York is now the first state to consider adding a special license called a "BitLicense" for businesses that operate primarily in Bitcoin and other virtual currencies, after receiving a flood of requests from Bitcoin entrepreneurs asking how they should register.

The New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has been investigating the issue for six months, but today the agency begins a two-day hearing of testimony from experts ranging from lawyers and entrepreneurs to the...

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Jan 27 12:07p

The IRS doesn't know how to tax Bitcoin

Bitcoin users want to pay their taxes come April, but the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) won't tell them how. The agency needs time to study the issue, it told the National Journal in a statement, before it can give guidance on how taxpayers should treat the virtual currency.

"The IRS is aware of the potential tax-compliance risks posed by virtual currencies," the agency's statement said. "The IRS continues to study virtual currencies and intends to provide some guidance on the tax...

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CEO of Bitcoin exchange charged for laundering $1 million for drug users

Charlie Shrem, the CEO of Bitcoin exchange company BitInstant and a well-known voice in the virtual currency community, has been charged with scheming to sell and launder $1 million worth of Bitcoin to users of the illegal drug website Silk Road.

The criminal complaint, unsealed today in Manhattan federal court, says that the 24-year-old Shrem conspired with Robert Faiella, a 52-year-old who used the handle "BTCKing." Faiella allegedly obtained Bitcoins from Shrem, then sold them anonymously...

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Jan 22 10:28a

Why is this Las Vegas developer selling his $7.85 million mansion for Bitcoin?

The largest transaction ever completed in Bitcoin, the virtual currency that approximates cash on the internet, was for $1 million worth of computer hardware. That’s impressive for a currency that’s only been around since 2009, but Jack Sommer hopes to top it — by a lot. The casino-owner-turned-developer is selling his 25,000-square-foot Las Vegas mansion for $7.85 million, and he’s willing to accept the whole sum in Bitcoin.

"It’s very volatile, and of course … there is a lot of...

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Jan 21 4:18p

Bitcoin now accepted at two Las Vegas casino hotels, but you still need US dollars to gamble

You can now fund a Vegas trip with bitcoins. Two casino hotels in Las Vegas' old Downtown are now accepting the cryptocurrency — but there's a big caveat. Your bitcoins will only be welcome at the front desks of both The Golden Gate and The D hotels, as well a few locations around the properties. Significantly, that means Bitcoin will not be accepted at casino tables, and there will be no way to gamble with the virtual currency. Instead, it seems that bitcoins are limited to paying for hotel...

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Jan 10 10:55a

Overstock.com is now accepting Bitcoin

Bitcoin got a major new ally this week, as Overstock.com began accepting the alternate currency system as payment. Overstock isn't the first company to accept the currency, but it's larger and more powerful than previous companies like Reddit and OKCupid. Now Bitcoin users will be able to buy more conventional goods, from washing machines to coffee makers, giving a huge boost to the Bitcoin-only economy.

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Jan 08 9:00a

Meet the traveling Bitcoin ATM

Early prototypes of ATMs dispensing Bitcoin first appeared about a year ago: put dollars in, and the machine will transfer you the equivalent amount in virtual currency, minus a fee. We first heard stories of such an ATM in Cyprus, then we saw two first-generation models at the Bitcoin 2013 convention in May. At Def Con, we glimpsed one in the form of a briefcase that accepted physical coins and printed out a QR code to redeem the digital ones.

More ATM-like Bitcoin machines have sprung up...

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Jan 04 4:41p

Zynga tests Bitcoin payments for seven online games

Zynga hasn't had much to celebrate lately — the social gaming company suffered a huge drop in users last year and it hasn't had a hit title in some time. But now it's taking a new tack, turning to the Bitcoin community. In a post on Reddit's Bitcoin subreddit last night, the Zynga team said it is currently "testing expanded payment options for players to make in-game purchases using Bitcoin," specifically through the payment provider Bitpay. Currently, only seven Zynga games support Bitcoin...

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Jan 02 12:06p

Kanye West-themed Bitcoin clone said to launch this month

Coders have announced that a new Kanye West-themed cryptocurrency called Coinye West will launch on January 11th. Coinye is based on Bitcoin, the virtual currency that approximates cash on the internet, but will be easier to use, the creators say. "Coinye West is a cryptocurrency for the masses," the creators tell Noisey.

The effort may be nothing more than an elaborate joke, but launching a cryptocurrency is actually relatively easy since the Bitcoin source code is public. Many serious and...

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Dec 31 10:54a

Why don’t economists like Bitcoin?

Nobel prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote a blog post this weekend with a tantalizing title, "Bitcoin Is Evil," that has provoked the expected backlash from proponents of the virtual currency.

The headline over-promises, unfortunately — while you could make an argument that Bitcoin nefariously wastes computer power, enables crime, and encourages anarchy, that’s not what Krugman’s saying. (Science fiction writer Charlie Stross’ "Why I want Bitcoin to die in...

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Dec 30 2:08p

Bitcoin miners don't have to register with the US government

The US Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued guidance earlier this year outlining how virtual currencies like Bitcoin should be regulated. According to the guidelines as originally interpreted, both companies and individuals trading in the cryptocurrency would need to register with the US government as money-services businesses, putting a great burden on those only mining Bitcoin for themselves. Now, according to correspondence sent to one Bitcoin company,...

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Dec 27 4:57p

Indian feds raid Bitcoin exchange as other traders suspend service

On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of India sent out a stern warning against trade in Bitcoin and other virtual currencies, stating that the currencies were not approved by the central bank and more ominously that "the traders of VCs on such platforms are exposed to legal as well as financial risks." It was an ambiguous message, seen by many as a restatement of the fundamental risks of virtual currency, but just a few days later, one exchange found out about those legal risks the hard way.

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Dec 23 12:33p

News anchor receives Bitcoin on TV only to have it promptly stolen

Theft has been rampant in the Bitcoin community ever since the virtual currency was launched in 2009. That's why it's important to understand how it works before you try to use it.

Bloomberg TV host Matt Miller gave two anchors $20 worth of Bitcoin each using a paper certificate with a QR code made by the company Lazzerbee. Unfortunately, Miller flashed one of the private keys at the camera, unaware that he'd opened the account up to theft. It wasn't long before someone collected the Bitcoin....


Inside a $4 million Icelandic bitcoin-mining consortium

In Dealbook, Nathaniel Popper takes a look at a bitcoin-mining business called Cloud Hashing, that's moved its computers to Iceland in search of easy cooling and cheap, renewable power. The current set up requires over 100 computers, designed specifically for cracking the obscure algorithms that unlock new packets of bitcoin, and all cooled by direct blasts of arctic air. Cloud Hashing currently serves mining contracts for 4,500 customers, keeping 20 percent of its capacity open for its own...

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Dec 21 1:32p

Online retailer Overstock.com plans to accept Bitcoin payments next year

You'll soon be able to go to one online retailer to buy everything from a toaster to jewelry and furniture using bitcoins. Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne tells both the Financial Times and The Los Angeles Times that the company plans to accept Bitcoin in the second half of next year — and possibly within the next four months. The retailer does over $1 billion of revenue primarily reselling closeout merchandise it acquires from other stores, and it would be the largest retailer to accept the...

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Dec 18 8:57a

Bitcoin's value tumbles in half after China forces top exchange to stop trading

China's largest Bitcoin exchange, BTC China, has stopped taking orders in Chinese currency because of regulatory pressure from the government, which has ordered businesses to stop accepting the virtual currency.

Bitcoin, which approximates cash on the internet, was driven to an all-time high of more than $1,000, in part because of demand from China. The move by BTC China sent the price of the virtual currency down more than 50 percent.

BTC China will continue taking deposits in other...

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Dec 15 11:44p

Norway's government says Bitcoin isn't real money

Governments worldwide are trying to solidify their positions on Bitcoin. Chinese regulators banned financial institutions from using Bitcoin earlier this month, while in July, Thailand's government declared the virtual currency's use illegal due to a lack of applicable laws. Now Bitcoin has taken another hit to its legitimacy: Norway — Scandinavia's richest nation — has said that the currency doesn't qualify as real money.

Norway's director general of taxation, Hans Christian Holte, said the...

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Dec 13 11:46a

Casascius, maker of shiny physical bitcoins, shut down by Treasury Department

Mike Caldwell, the man who designed a set of collectible coins with Bitcoin keys hidden inside, has shut down his business after receiving a letter from the government.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a branch of the Treasury Department, informed him last month that minting physical bitcoins qualifies him as a money transmitter business, which means he needs to register at the federal level and probably get state licenses too.

Caldwell hasn't decided what to do yet. If he...

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Dec 12 9:40a

Dark money: only 35 Bitcoin dealers are compliant with US law

Earlier this week, a Bitcoin user in Pennsylvania reportedly received a letter from his bank, Firstrust Bank, asking him to stop sending money to Coinbase, a popular wallet for storing the virtual currency.

"We respectfully request that you no longer perform transactions with this company or other companies of this kind," the letter says. "If there should be a reoccurrence of this type of activity, we will regretfully be forced to close your account."

Bitcoin is not illegal. It’s been...

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Bitcoin Foundation opens London office, announces Australia and Canada chapters

The Bitcoin Foundation, the de facto trade group for the emerging virtual currency, is embarking on an international expansion. The announcement sounds like something out of a sci-fi novel, describing a sort of United Federation of Planets for the virtual currency, ready to "protect, standardize, and promote the use of Bitcoin worldwide."

The foundation has partnered with the Bitcoin Embassy of Canada and the Bitcoin Association of Australia as the inaugural chapters in its new...

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Dec 06 10:57a

Lamborghini dealership starts accepting Bitcoin

A Tesla Model S has been purchased with Bitcoin, the virtual currency that mimics cash on the internet, at a California dealership.

"That's right, an electronic currency was used to purchased a fully electric vehicle," Lamborghini Newport Beach announced on its blog. The dealership will also be accepting Bitcoin going forward.

A Model S has a base price of $62,400. The blog post is dated Wednesday, when a single Bitcoin was worth around $1,150, so the car would have cost around 55 bitcoins....

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Dec 05 12:25p

Bank of America says Bitcoin could become a 'major means of payment'

Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch issued the bank's first research report today on Bitcoin, the virtual currency that approximates cash on the internet, concluding that the currency has the potential to become a "major means of payment for e-commerce" as well as a "serious competitor to traditional money transfer providers."

Assuming Bitcoin becomes mainstream, Bank of America currency strategists estimate it is worth $1,300 apiece. But with the value at $1,000 today and increasing...

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Bitcoin banned from Chinese banks amid fears of laundering

Chinese regulators have banned financial institutions from using Bitcoin, warning that the virtual currency could be used for illegal activities and speculation. China's central bank, the People's Bank of China, announced the decision in a statement released Thursday, though it stopped short of banning Bitcoin altogether. Individuals are still free to use the digital currency in China, albeit at their own risk. Bitcoin prices fell in response to today's announcement, dropping to as low as...

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Dec 02 5:56p

Online black market members hunt down $100 million in bitcoins, blame site owners for theft

Users of online underground bazaar Sheep Marketplace are trying to figure out who got away with $5 million, $40 million, or even $100 million worth of bitcoins from the site — and whether it might be the owners themselves. Yesterday, Reddit user CrazeeFruito posted a message from the front page of Sheep Marketplace, which appeared to have been shut down.

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The secret Hong Kong facility that uses boiling goo to mine Bitcoins

A single bitcoin is now worth over $1,000, but the process of mining for the digital currency — in which people devote computing power to facilitate global Bitcoin transactions and secure the currency's network — is growing increasingly expensive. Serious miners have started to build dedicated facilities for the sole purpose of Bitcoin mining. Journalist Xiaogang Cao visited one such center in Hong Kong, the "secret mining facility" of ASICMINER, reportedly located in a Kwai Chung industrial...

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Nov 29 4:56p

This Princeton professor is building a Bitcoin-inspired prediction market

Computer scientist Ed Felten has done a lot of work on Bitcoin over the years, but his latest project looks to step beyond mere currency, applying the principles of Bitcoin to the broader spread of information through the world. In a blog post today, the Princeton professor announced a project to build a prediction market based on the anonymous and self-arbitrating principles of Bitcoin. Similar to Intrade, the market will trade shares in possible event outcomes (a particular candidate...

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Top Bitcoin exchange explains virtual currency in simple web tutorial

Leading Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox has released a new website that provides a simple explanation of what Bitcoin actually is. The site, Bitcoins.com, is essentially a tutorial on the virtual currency, a single unit of which last week reached the price of $1,000 for the first time ever last week. Mt. Gox's site walks users through the basics — what Bitcoin is, why people use it, and how it works — before leading into a step-by-step guide on how to get started. It's certainly not a comprehensive...

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Nov 27 10:49a

Bitcoin hits $1,000 for the first time

The virtual currency Bitcoin, a decentralized form of money that approximates cash on the internet, has never been worth more. The price of a single bitcoin has soared above $1,000 on Mt. Gox, one of the main exchanges where the currency is bought and sold. As of this writing, the price is $1,020 on Mt. Gox but is averaging closer to $945 on other exchanges. This means the total market is worth around $11.4 billion.

Bitcoin has seen several massive price hikes before which were all followed...

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Nov 26 11:01a

Second major Bitcoin heist this month allegedly takes over $1 million

Hackers have allegedly stolen over a thousand bitcoins from the European payment processor BIPS in a theft that's now valued at over $1 million. BIPS tells Mashable that most of the bitcoins — 1,295 in total — came from the company's own holdings, but "several consumer wallets" were also compromised in the hack. The payment provider says that it was initially hit with a DDoS attack on November 15th, followed by a second attack on November 17th that managed to take the funds. Though BIPS...

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Nov 22 10:20a

Richard Branson endorses Bitcoin, says Virgin Galactic will accept the virtual currency

Richard Branson believes in Bitcoin, and he's putting his money where his mouth is. The billionaire CEO has announced that his commercial space startup Virgin Galactic will now accept payment from future astronauts in the virtual currency.

"Virgin Galactic is a company looking into the future, so is Bitcoin," Branson writes in a blog post on the Virgin site. "So it makes sense we would offer Bitcoin as a way to pay for your journey to space."

Bitcoin is a semi-anonymous, decentralized...

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'Bill and Ted' actor launches Kickstarter campaign for Bitcoin film

Alex Winter, the actor-turned-director best known for his role as Bill in the movie Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, is raising $75,000 on Kickstarter to make a documentary about the digital world that has been built around the virtual currency Bitcoin. He's also recruited the producer from the Academy Award-winning documentary Undefeated and the marketing strategist from Banksy's subversive film Exit Through the Gift Shop.

"Guns, drugs, and murder, and a new global currency that exists...

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Nov 21 3:40p

Federal Election Commission 'not ready' to approve campaign donations in Bitcoin

The Federal Election Commission declined to approve the use of the virtual currency Bitcoin for political donations today. Despite an early advisory opinion that said the currency should be allowed as in-kind donations, the commission deadlocked when it came time to make the change official. The three Republican members of the commission were ready to approve the use of Bitcoin, but the three Democratic members were concerned that the currency's semi-anonymous nature would allow donors to...

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Bitcoiners announce virtual shopping deals for Bitcoin Black Friday

Fans of the virtual currency Bitcoin have organized their own version of the nightmarish American shopping tradition known as Black Friday, recruiting a coalition of 100 merchants and counting to offer discounts on November 29th.

"Supporters of the math-based currency are rallying the internet to solidify Bitcoin’s place in the most mainstream sphere: the holiday shopping season," reads a press release from Fight for the Future, a digital rights advocacy group coordinating the campaign.


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Now you can pay college tuition with Bitcoin

The University of Nicosia in Cyprus today announced it will accept payments from students in Bitcoin, making it the world's first accredited university to do so. The move doesn't come as a huge surprise, as the island nation of Cyprus has been closely linked with Bitcoin this year. As the country's financial crisis deepened last Spring, Cypriot leaders accepted a bailout deal from the EU that involved taxing almost 10 percent on deposits over €100,000 ($134,000), leading to a rush on the...

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Nov 18 6:13p

Bitcoin hits $700 during surprisingly friendly Senate hearing on the virtual currency

Bitcoin, the decentralized virtual currency that approximates cash on the internet, had a big day today. The four-year-old currency had its first hearing in Congress as experts from the government, the Bitcoin community, and the nonprofit sector appeared to discuss the implications of the growing popularity of virtual currencies. And while that testimony took place, a single Bitcoin soared to $700 on the market at the tail of a two-week climb.

"Virtual currencies, perhaps most notably...

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Bitcoin-powered assassination market targets Obama, Bernanke, and others

Bitcoin has long been accused of aiding money-laundering, but today it's been implicated in a more grisly business: assassination. In Forbes, Andy Greenberg details a site called Assassination Market, which offers up crowdfunded bounties for the murder of public figures. As previously reported in The Daily Dot, the site is primarily motivated by hostility to overreaching government, offering bounties ranging from 40 bitcoin for President Obama to a whopping 124 bitcoin for outgoing Federal...

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Nov 16 10:09p

New York State considers licensing Bitcoin traders

On Friday, the New York State Department of Financial Services announced it will be holding a public hearing on virtual currency regulation, specifically considering whether a certification called "BitLicense" might help manage the spread of online currencies like Bitcoin. The new license would require consumer protection services, as well as anti-money laundering requirements, designed to make the currency less useful in cases of fraud and criminal activity.

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Nov 08 5:52p

Over $1 million stolen from Bitcoin digital wallet service, claims site owner

Another hack has hit Bitcoin. Over a million dollars have been stolen from a service that offered a digital wallet service for owners of Bitcoin, according to the owner of the site. The site was called Inputs.io, and it offered a convenient way for users to store and use Bitcoins. But it's all gone horribly wrong for those who trusted the site with their Bitcoins. An anonymous young Australian man — who goes by the name TradeFortress — revealed on the site that two separate attacks in late...

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Bitcoin could soon be approved for campaign donations

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is moving to allow Bitcoin donations as a campaign contribution in national races. Under the rules, Bitcoin donations would be considered "in-kind contributions" rather than direct money contributions, because the digital currency isn't the official currency of any nation and doesn't entitle holders to the ability to exchange it for cash like a check or money order might. The rules were proposed in a draft yesterday, and according to The Hill, they'll...

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Oct 31 1:11p

3D-printed gun maker Cody Wilson is raising $50,000 for an anarchist Bitcoin wallet

Cody Wilson, founder of Defense Distributed, in the crowdfunding campaign video for a new Bitcoin wallet.

Cody Wilson, creator of the 3D-printed gun, is raising $50,000 on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo to develop a service aimed at returning the digital currency Bitcoin to its anarchist roots.

Dark Wallet is an app for storing, sending, and receiving Bitcoin, with some extra security features built in. As law enforcement cracks down on services using Bitcoin to evade authorities — the...

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Oct 26 2:04p

The world's first Bitcoin ATM is coming to Canada next week

After dumping the penny last year, Canada is taking another step towards the fiscal future with the launch of the world's first publicly-accessible Bitcoin ATM next Tuesday. As Wired reports, the landmark machine will be installed outside of a coffee house in downtown Vancouver, allowing members of the public to exchange their Canadian Dollars for Bitcoins, or vice versa.

Machines that exchange physical currency for Bitcoins have made quite a few appearances at industry shows and conferences,...

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Oct 25 3:06p

FBI reportedly seizes $28.5 million in bitcoin from Silk Road mastermind

The FBI has seized $28.5 million worth of bitcoins from the alleged mastermind behind the online drug market Silk Road, according to a report from Forbes. An unnamed FBI official reportedly tells Forbes that the agency seized a collection of 144,000 bitcoins that belonged to Ross Ulbricht, who earlier this month was arrested and charged with being the owner of Silk Road. This is reportedly the largest seizure of bitcoin — the semi-anonymous digital currency — ever made, and is said to have...

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Oct 04 5:20p

Someone found the FBI's Bitcoin wallet and now people are sending mean notes to it

When the FBI seize took control of the digital black market Silk Road, it also seized control of a bunch of money: about 26,000 bitcoins, a virtual currency that approximates cash on the internet. Bitcoins are worth about $122 each, which means the government is sitting on a pretty pile of cash. So why are enraged users sending the federal agency Bitcoin donations?

It's possible to attach text to Bitcoin transactions using the site Blockchain.info, where messages are streamed for the public...

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Oct 02 2:22p

Bitcoin price nosedives after bust of underground drug market Silk Road

The price of Bitcoin, the semi-anonymous e-currency that acts like virtual cash, is falling rapidly after the bust of underground drug marketplace Silk Road. Silk Road was by far the largest single source of Bitcoin transactions, conducting more than $1 billion worth of business exclusively in the virtual currency. Federal agents shut the site down today and arrested the man they say is behind it.

The news of Silk Road's demise sent the price of Bitcoin, which had been holding at around...

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Sep 25 8:00p

Bitcoin Booster: new fund aims to make the virtual currency a mainstream investment

Despite its many booms and busts, cries that it’s a passing fad and a technological fallacy, Bitcoin simply won't go away. Five years after it was introduced to the world on an obscure mailing list for cryptography experts, the bitcoins in circulation are now worth around $1.5 billion. But so far, most traditional investors have stayed away, frightened off by occasional government shutdowns of the largest trading hubs, volatile price spikes, and the difficulty in exchanging bitcoins quickly.


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‘Get rich quick’ scams hit Bitcoin

Back in August, weird ads began appearing for something called the Bitcoin Robot that purported to earn massive profits by making hundreds of small transactions a day in the virtual currency, a version of the lucrative high-frequency trading done on Wall Street. The Bitcoin Robot claimed to have a waiting list of 20,000, even though the promo video through which it debuted has fewer than 500 views. Four days after launch, the Bitcoin Robot advertised that "EVERY Bitcoin Robot User Is In...

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Sep 20 11:27a

The hidden Bitcoin economy of Florida's 'homeless geeks'

For most, a life on Bitcoin is a short experiment. For some of Pensacola, Florida's homeless, though, the currency has become a lifeline, making up the gap that low-paying or intermittent jobs and public assistance can't fill. Wired profiles the men and women who have developed an alternative virtual economy, raising charity money through Bitcoin and making small amounts of money through Mechanical Turk-like jobs that pay in Bitcoin rather than requiring a bank account. Though Bitcoin still...

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Sep 12 12:49p

Federal Election Commission considers whether to allow campaign donations in Bitcoin

The Federal Election Commission is deliberating whether political contributions may be made in Bitcoin, and if so, how. The commission has until October 28th to determine whether donations in the emerging virtual currency comply with campaign finance restrictions, in response to a request filed last week by the Conservative Action Fund PAC.

Some politicians are already accepting donations in Bitcoin — it's especially popular with Libertarians — and Bitcoin proponents say it will be widely...

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Aug 30 12:39p

Bitcoin-friendly Internet Credit Union suddenly dumps accounts, citing 'regulatory issues'

The Internet Archive Federal Credit Union, an experimental financial institution run by the eponymous nonprofit that archives web history, has established itself as a Bitcoin haven. In contrast to traditional banks, which snubbed businesses built around the virtual currency, the IAFCU basically put up a Bitcoin welcome sign. "These are not drug dealers, money launderers, or whatever. These are average folks," IAFCU CEO Jordan Modell told Wired.

That all changed yesterday, however, when the...

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Aug 26 10:00a

Bitcoin lobbyists host meet-and-greet with Homeland Security and other agencies today

Members of the Bitcoin Foundation, the trade organization that represents the virtual currency that approximates cash on the internet, are having a series of "educational meetings" today with politicians, regulators, law enforcement officials, and federal agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, Treasury Department, and Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The overall message that the Foundation is trying to send is that Bitcoin has proven itself to be a useful and enduring tool,...

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Aug 23 4:40p

US government seized $5 million from Bitcoin behemoth Mt. Gox

Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles and chief marketing officer Gonzague Gay-Bouchery at their Tokyo office.

Things keep looking worse for Mt. Gox, by far the largest company in the nearly four-year-old economy that has sprung up around the virtual currency Bitcoin. Back in May, federal agents seized $2.1 million from the company's account with payments processor Dwolla. According to court documents uncovered by the Bitcoin-focused blog The Genesis Block, that wasn't all. The government took an...

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Aug 19 11:01a

Germany's ruling on Bitcoin paves the way for its legitimacy in the EU

The German Ministry of Finance has issued an official statement recognizing the virtual currency Bitcoin as "Rechnungseinheiten," a legal designation that translates to "units of account" — more than Monopoly money, but not quite currency. This type of accounting unit, which also covers regional currencies, is also referred to as "artificial currency" or "side payments." (Think barter clubs or Disney dollars.)

The announcement came in response to a direct question from a member of the German...

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Aug 14 5:42p

Silk Road manager says Bitcoin let it win the War on Drugs

Online drug bazaar Silk Road was made possible by Tor's anonymity software, but the site's head — known as the Dread Pirate Roberts — says it was Bitcoin that let it grow. "We've won the State's War on Drugs because of Bitcoin," he tells Forbes for an interview and profile. But even as new competitor Atlantis promises "dank buds" in a blunt, now-deleted YouTube ad, Roberts describes his site as an ideological blow against regulation and surveillance. And the anonymity he values extends far...

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Aug 11 11:45p

Bitcoin companies subpoenaed as New York financial regulators dig for answers

New York financial regulators are asking the Bitcoin industry tough questions as they mull new guidelines to try and rein in virtual currencies. The Wall Street Journal reports that the New York Department of Financial Services has issued subpoenas to roughly two dozen companies connected to Bitcoin, asking questions related to programs against money laundering, investment strategies, and consumer protections. BitInstant, Coinsetter, and other companies — including some backed by the...

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Bitcoin developers say critical Android flaw leaves digital wallets vulnerable to theft

In a blog post the developers of Bitcoin have announced the discovery of a critical weakness in Android that leaves Bitcoin wallets subject to theft. The vulnerability affects every Bitcoin wallet app for Android, including popular options like Bitcoin Wallet, blockchain.info wallet, BitcoinSpinner and Mycelium Wallet.

The developers say that the vulnerability lies in Android's ability to generate secure strings of random numbers, which help keep your Bitcoins safe. Exchange front-end...

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Aug 07 2:07p

Bitcoin is real money, says US district court

Bitcoin's status as a form of unregulated virtual money doesn't mean it's not subject to US currency laws, a federal district court has found. In a published decision from August 6th, Judge Amos Mazzant ruled that the SEC's case against an alleged Bitcoin Ponzi scheme master could go forward. Trendon Shavers, the accused, had argued that the court didn't have jurisdiction to prosecute Bitcoin-related crimes under existing securities law. According to him, "no money ever changed hands" — just...

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Aug 03 12:30p

Bitcoin suitcase eats your pocket change, spits out digital currency

Unless you're one of its many evangelists, you probably still don't own any Bitcoins, the math-based digital currency that's all the rage among hackers, free market libertarians, and crypto-anarchists alike. A group of tinkerers at the Def Con hacking conference in Las Vegas is trying to fix that with a suitcase vending machine that eats your old-fashioned metal coins and spits out digital ones.

Jul 29 5:39p

Bitcoin tries to become a legal currency in Thailand, gets outlawed instead

Internet-only currency Bitcoin has just suffered a setback on its up-and-down journey to wider acceptance — the currency has just been banned by the Thailand government. That means that as of now, Bitcoins are not able to be sold, purchased, or used as currency in any purchase, nor can they be transferred in or out of the country. According to The Telegraph, that makes Thailand the first country to ban the currency outright. Somewhat ironically, this ban came as a result of local exchange...

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Jul 24 2:03p

Man charged for running $4.5 million Bitcoin Ponzi scheme

Some promises are too good to be true. The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged a Texas man with operating an illegal Ponzi scheme using the virtual currency Bitcoin in place of dollars. Trendon T. Shavers took in 700,000 Bitcoins from investors, the SEC alleges, through his unregistered fund Bitcoin Savings & Trust while operating with the ironic alias "pirateat40." The Bitcoins were worth $4.5 million at the time but would be worth $60 million on the market today due to the...

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Jul 11 6:00p

You can now bet on the sex of William and Kate’s baby in Bitcoin

Is the predictions market back?

Intrade, the popular betting site where one could place odds on anything, was shut down back in December. The loss deprived gamblers of their wages, and media and pundits of a trend indicator that was often more accurate than polling.

A new site launching today could resurrect the practice, however. Predictious is a predictions market conducted entirely in Bitcoin, the virtual currency that approximates cash on the internet. Predictious is based in Ireland,...

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Jul 01 11:00p

Winklevoss twins' Bitcoin trust aims to introduce investors to alternative currency

In April Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss claimed their Bitcoin portfolio was worth $11 million — around 1 percent of the currency's dollar equivalent at the time — and now the pair are hoping to bring the alternative currency to traditional investors. As reported by The New York Times, the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust would function as a normal exchange-traded fund — but instead of focusing on stocks, the fund would be made up of Bitcoins. Since shares in these types of funds are traded, investors...

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Bitcoin trader Mt. Gox registers as currency exchange to comply with US money laundering laws

Bitcoin trading giant Mt. Gox has officially registered with the US Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in an apparent effort to comply with government regulations that have previously caused hiccups for the exchange. FinCEN recently began mandating that entities trading between Bitcoin and other currencies register as part of its financial crime investigation efforts. The potential for virtual currencies like Bitcoin to be used in money laundering schemes has been an...

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Suspected 'hacker' who demanded $1 million in Bitcoins from Mitt Romney caught and charged

Michael Mancil Brown, who allegedly called himself "Dr. Evil" on the internet, has been charged with six counts of extortion and six counts of wire fraud for attempting to extract $1 million in Bitcoins from Mitt Romney. During the election season, an anonymous "hacker" claimed to have gotten hold of the presidential candidate's tax forms by sneaking into his accountant's office. The hacker threatened to release the private documents if Romney didn't pay up. It didn't work. There is no...

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Jun 26 7:39p

Drug Enforcement Administration seizes 11 Bitcoins from alleged Silk Road dealer

The Drug Enforcement Administration has seized 11.02 Bitcoins worth $814.22 from an accused drug dealer in South Carolina, according to a government press release spotted by Bitcoin bloggers. It is the first known instance of the government seizing the virtual currency as if it were property or cash.

The DEA arrested Eric Daniel Hughes on April 12th, 2013. One Bitcoin sleuth traced the user name "Casey Jones" to user "Truckin" on the underground drug bazaar Silk Road, where he appears to...

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Jun 23 2:45p

California tells Bitcoin Foundation to stop trading or face a fine

California's Department of Financial Institutions is going after Bitcoin. Today, Forbes published a cease and desist letter sent to the Bitcoin Foundation, an organization devoted to creating best practices for the decentralized currency. Regulators accused the foundation of being "engaged in the business of money transmission" without license or authorization under California's Financial Code. If it doesn't comply with the order, it faces a fine of $1,000 to $2,500 per day or per...

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Jun 20 4:41p

Mt. Gox, the largest Bitcoin exchange, suspends withdrawals in dollars

Mt. Gox chief marketing officer Gonzague Gay-Bouchery and CEO Mark Karpeles.

Mt. Gox, which processes around 70 percent of all Bitcoin transactions in the world, just announced it is suspending wire transfer withdrawals denominated in US dollars for the next two weeks. The company claims it has been experiencing unusually high volumes of deposits and withdrawals recently, which "made it difficult for our bank to process the transactions smoothly and within a timely manner" and caused...

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May 30 4:45p

Treasury Department official says money laundering crackdown isn't part of an anti-Bitcoin campaign

In March, US Treasury department FinCEN — which handles enforcement of financial crimes — turned its eye towards the world of virtual currency. The bureau published guidelines for how the federal Bank Secrecy Act applied to both centralized and decentralized virtual money, most prominently Bitcoin. FinCEN's guidance was cautiously welcomed by some and decried by others, who opposed rules asking Bitcoin miners or trading floors to register with FinCEN and submit tax information. Now, the issue...

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May 21 9:30a

Why won’t Bitcoin die?

The virtual currency has had many near-death experiences in its short four year life, but it just keeps bouncing back Continue reading »

May 16 6:11a

Biggest Bitcoin exchange accused of violating US financial regulations, CEO faces fine or jail

The asset freeze at Mt. Gox was due to the Bitcoin exchange's failure to obey financial regulations as required by US authorities. The news comes via IDG, which obtained a copy of the seizure order from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The agency froze the Dwolla (a US-based online payments system) account of Mutum Sigillium (aka Mt. Gox) on the grounds that it had lied in an official form. When asked if his company "[accepts] funds from customers and send[s] the funds based...

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May 15 3:16a

US seizes and freezes funds at biggest Bitcoin exchange

Authorities in the US have reportedly frozen a mobile payments account associated with Bitcoin exchange MtGox, as part of an investigation announced Tuesday. Dwolla, an Iowa-based mobile payment startup, confirmed to Betabeat Tuesday that it has halted all activity associated with the account belonging to MtGox, after receiving a warrant from the Department of Homeland Security. A spokesperson for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) later told CNET that an investigation is...

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May 06 11:12a

Four years and $100 million later, Bitcoin’s mysterious creator remains anonymous

Bitcoin, the four-year-old virtual currency that approximates cash on the internet, now powers an economy worth more than $1 billion and is widely admired for the technical sophistication that allows it to operate without a central authority. It got its own ticker on CNBC and inspired a legion of startups. And yet, we still don’t know where it came from.

Bitcoin was first introduced to the world by the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto, a persona that communicated by email and in the official...

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May 02 11:20p

Top Bitcoin exchange faces $75 million lawsuit as international partnership reportedly breaks down

This past February, the largest Bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, announced a partnership with an American company called CoinLab. The goal of the partnership was to give Mt. Gox access to US customers through CoinLab, as the company is strongest in Japan. It also served to help Mt. Gox navigate new regulation guidelines the US government has proposed for Bitcoin transactions. In all, it looked like it could have been a win-win — but as Gawker reports, that doesn't appear to be the case.


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Employee creates Bitcoin botnet to exploit ESEA's 500,000-member gaming community

The ESEA gaming network has been exploiting its users' powerful graphics cards to mine Bitcoins without their knowledge. "Mining" is the way Bitcoin is created — it involves dedicating some or all of a CPU or GPUs power to solving hashes, which in turn generates the virtual currency. The mining began on April 13th and affected thousands of gamers, who unwittingly mined over $3,700 worth of the currency. ESEA, which describes itself as "the largest competitive video gaming community in North...

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Apr 23 9:30a

Gold 2.0: can code and competition build a better Bitcoin?

Bitcoin has had a wild ride these past few months. The stateless digital currency’s price has soared to new heights only to plunge back down to earth at less than half its previous value. As the price of gold takes a nose dive of its own, some serious economists have risen to Bitcoin’s defense as true believers urge traders to hang on. Others argue the electronic money scheme is either a dangerous fad, a form of Dadaist art, or more simply, not money at all. But even as the debate rages on,...

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Apr 17 10:38p

Bitcoin exchange BitFloor shuts its doors, promises to return everyone's money

Bitcoin exchange BitFloor is closing its doors, halting trading and announcing that it will return everyone’s funds. In an announcement on its main site, the company’s founder, Roman Shtylman, says that "due to circumstances outside [BitFloor’s] control" it "must cease all trading operations indefinitely." More specifically, BitFloor says that because its US bank account is closing it won’t be able to provide the same level of dollar deposits and withdrawals that it has been up to this point....

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Apr 16 5:33a

Dating site OKCupid wants to help Bitcoin users find love

Online dating giant OkCupid is the latest in an increasingly-long line of companies to accept Bitcoin for payments. The site has teamed up with Bitcoin wallet site Coinbase to allow singles to subscribe to its premium service using the digital currency. Other sites that have recently opened their doors to Bitcoin payments include Reddit and expense report site Expensify. OkCupid may not seem like a typical fit for Bitcoin, but as Coinbase puts it, "this is one more step forward for bringing...

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Apr 12 12:59a

Mt. Gox goes back offline as the Bitcoin exchange reveals 'huge' DDoS attack (update)

After a self-imposed 12-hour halt in trading due to crammed servers, Tokyo-based Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox attempted to get back in business today with upgraded hardware — but it didn't take long before things went wrong again. The site is currently offline due to what the exchange tells The Verge is a "huge" DDoS attack; trading resumed for less than two hours.

Apr 11 4:02p

What's cooler than a million dollars? Winklevoss twins claim to own 1 percent of all Bitcoin

They may not have invented Facebook, but twin tech entrepreneurs Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss — better known to the world as the Winklevoss twins, or Winkelvii — are deep into the next big online trend. The brothers claim to have amassed one of the largest portfolios of Bitcoin in the world, worth around $11 million, or about 1 percent of the entire currency's dollar value equivalent, as the New York Times Dealbook reports.


Largest Bitcoin exchange halts trading after tumultuous price fluctuations

Major Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox is shutting down trading for 12 hours following wild fluctuations in the currency's valuation yesterday. The exchange handles three-quarters of all Bitcoin trading, and inaccurate reports of a DDoS attack on its website lead to a mass selling of the digital currency, causing its price to rapidly rise and fall. Though no DDoS attack had actually occurred, the large influx of sales was enough to disrupt Mt. Gox's website, and the exchange is now upgrading its...

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Apr 10 2:45p

Bitcoin price fluctuates wildly after massive run-up, DDoS attacks reportedly to blame (update)

Open-source currency Bitcoin is currently experiencing an incredibly volatile day — after reaching a daily high of $266 earlier, one Bitcoin is currently valued at $178, though pricing has gone as low as $150 as of this writing. That's a difference of more than $100, quite the roller coaster for Bitcoin investors. This comes in the wake of a pretty massive increase in Bitcoin's value — a few weeks ago, the value of all Bitcoins in circulation broke $1 billion, and even today's volatile...

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Apr 05 1:48p

Phishing attacks hit users of Bitcoin banker Coinbase after data leaks

Users of Coinbase, a Silicon Valley-funded startup that offers some Bitcoin banking services, have become the target of phishing attacks. The booming virtual currency has grown into an increasingly appealing target for hackers, soaring from a valuation of around $13 each at the beginning of January to around $140 currently. Earlier today it was found that some Coinbase users' transaction records were discoverable by search engines, and the company believes that the attackers used this...

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Apr 04 12:30a

Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox says technical problems are result of major DDoS attack

Tokyo-based Mt. Gox, the world’s biggest Bitcoin exchange, says it’s been hit by a major DDoS attack that’s causing lengthy trading lags, 502 errors, and in some cases, preventing people from logging into their accounts. The news follows a hack of Bitcoin wallet site Instawallet earlier this week, which precipitated an indefinite suspension of its service.

Apr 03 4:26p

Bitcoin service Instawallet 'suspended indefinitely' after hack

Bitcoin wallet site Instawallet has been taken offline after a security compromise, the latest in a trickle of hacks or thefts of the decentralized currency. VentureBeat has posted a missive from Instawallet's homepage, which is currently unavailable: "The Instawallet service is suspended indefinitely until we are able to develop an alternative architecture. Our database was fraudulently accessed, due to the very nature of Instawallet it is impossible to reopen the service as-is."

Users who...

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Apr 01 11:30a

Barons of Bitcoin: the Tokyo-based powerhouse that controls the world's virtual money

Mt. Gox chief marketing officer Gonzague Gay-Bouchery, left; CEO Mark Karpeles, right.

The virtual currency Bitcoin isn’t backed by any assets or central authority. It’s only three years old and its exact origin is a mystery. And yet, for some reason, tens of thousands of people have determined that a single Bitcoin — essentially a unique sequence of letters and numbers — hit $105 US dollars earlier today, the most in its short history. At a time when the euro seems increasingly unstable,...

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Mar 31 11:02p

'Listen to Bitcoin' generates soothing sounds for every Bitcoin transaction worldwide

Bitcoin, the decentralized virtual currency now worth over $1 billion, was designed to be as open and transparent as possible. Unlike traditional currency, you can download every Bitcoin transaction that's ever taken place and, more interestingly, tap into those transactions in close to real time. Using this freely available data, University of California student Maximillian Laumeister created "Listen to Bitcoin," a website that generates soothing chimes for every transaction that takes place...

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Mar 30 2:46p

Total Bitcoin value passes $1 billion

The combined value of all Bitcoins in circulation surpassed $1 billion this Thursday, as the exchange rate for each individual unit of the encrypted digital currency rose above $92. The milestone comes as the total number of Bitcoins nears 11 million and represents a huge jump from the record value of $32 recorded just one month ago. At the time of writing, the currency's market capitalization has dipped back below the billion mark, but small ups and downs are not uncommon — the current rate...

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Mar 28 3:43p

An optimistic theory of Bitcoin as a 'hedge against the entire global currency system'

Businessweek has a thoughtful and well-written defense of Bitcoin, the open source virtual currency that approximates cash on the internet. Writer and programmer Paul Ford points out that the Bitcoin experiment, so far, is working: it's actually being exchanged as money, and the underlying technology has proved "to be impeccable and completely functional." He makes a persuasive point that Bitcoin is "no more arbitrary than derivatives or credit default swaps." At the time of this writing, a...

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Mar 27 11:55a

Expensify now lets companies reimburse international employees in Bitcoin

Businesses using Expensify will soon be able to reimburse international employees in Bitcoin. The expense report company today rolled out support for the virtual currency, lending yet more momentum to the decentralized form of payment. Speaking to The Next Web, Expensify CEO David Barrett said that Bitcoin fills a legitimate need for the company. "As our user base grows internationally, we’re getting an increasing number of requests for cross-­currency reimbursement, and Bitcoin is absolutely...

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Mar 20 4:03p

Is the US government trying to regulate Bitcoin?

The community around Bitcoin, the fast-growing virtual currency that sustains an economy worth more than $650 million, has been shaken by what seems to be the first government response to its phenomenal rise. Yesterday the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the US Treasury Department, published some guidelines for how virtual currencies should be regulated — and it says many Bitcoin businesses need to register with the US government.

After mulling over its response...

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Mar 12 2:28a

Technical problems cause Bitcoin to plummet from record high, Mt. Gox suspends deposits

Technical problems caused preeminent Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox to suspend deposits today, and led to a major sell-off of the cryptographic currency. The news was reported by Ars Technica, and follows an unprecedented run that’s seen Bitcoin rise from a low of $2 in June of 2011 to a high of over $48. While the price at one point fell below $37, losing nearly a quarter of its value, it quickly recovered to within a few dollars of its high.

Mar 08 3:41p

Hackers steal over $12,000 of Bitcoins from transaction broker Bitinstant

Online institutions of all types are vulnerable to hacking, and Bitcoin is no exception: last week, hackers stole over $12,000 worth of Bitcoin currency from Bitinstant, one of the bigger Bitcoin transaction sites. As with many recent hacks, the Bitcoin theft was executed thanks to a bit of social engineering. According to the Bitinstant blog, the attacker went to the company's domain registrar posing as a Bitinstant employee — the attacker had a similar enough email address and knowledge of...

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Mar 04 12:03p

New Bitcoin-only electronics retailer hopes to undercut huge competitors like Amazon and NewEgg

Have you amassed a wealth of Bitcoins, perhaps through some lucky winnings in your local Bitcoin casino? There's a new place to spend them — all-around Bitcoin guru Roger Ver has just launched his new venture, the creatively-named Bitcoin Store. The Bitcoin Store focuses on consumer electronics and electronic gadgets across a pretty wide range of categories. It doesn't look like it has the newest or most cutting-edge stock, but there is still a good variety of products available, particularly...

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Feb 28 3:25a

Bitcoin value reaches new all-time high against the dollar, continuing upward trend

The Bitcoin digital currency hit an all-time high Wednesday, as its US dollar exchange rate climbed past $32 for the first time ever. According to Bitcoin Magazine, that eclipses the currency's previous high of $31.9099, reached in June 2011.

This week's milestone, while notable, doesn't come as a major surprise. After bottoming out at under $2 in 2011, Bitcon's value has steadily risen over the past several months, as the anonymous currency has entered new markets. Last year, a French bank r...

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Feb 16 9:54p

Kim Dotcom teases new 'secure' and private Mega email, chat, voice, and video services

As part of a (brief) rant on Twitter today about the dangers of using web services that are based in the United States, Mega founder Kim Dotcom said the service will expand "in the coming years" beyond cloud storage to offer secure email, web chat, voice, video, and "mobile" (emphasis his) products. Naturally, no details have been offered beyond the single tweet teasing the new features, but from a series of messages on Twitter it's clear that the focus is on privacy. The tease came after...

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Feb 14 5:53p

Reddit now accepting Bitcoin as a payment option

The open-source currency Bitcoin may slowly be going mainstream, but that isn't stopping Reddit from adopting it as a new payment source for Reddit Gold (which gets you additional features when using the site). The site just announced Bitcoin as a new payment option, which will live alongside existing options Google Wallet and PayPal. Reddit also announced that it's simultaneously going to start accepting standard credit card payments for Reddit Gold, a bit of a more traditional payment...

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Feb 01 5:50p

23-year-old releases new chips that 'mine' Bitcoins 50 times faster

There's an entire industry of Bitcoin miners out there, people that set up specialized computer rigs to run 24 hours a day to mine the digital currency. Thanks to a 23-year-old kid from Brooklyn, this cottage industry is about to change. Yifu Guo, a digital media student on hiatus from NYU-Poly, has released the first batch of ASICs, which are chips custom-built to do one thing: mine Bitcoins.

These ASICs are capable of mining Bitcoins at a far higher rate than is possible with common...

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Jan 23 10:10a

Bitcoin-funded online casino turned a $572,000 profit after six months of operation

The digital currency known as Bitcoin has recently found a home in online casinos as a way to circumvent the government's crackdown on digital gambling. Now, a few of those casinos have released some financial data for 2012 and at least one managed to turn a nice profit over the last year. SatoshiDice, which offers up a game where players choose a number and bet on the chance that a randomly-rolled number is higher than their choice, says that it posted a profit of ฿33,310 — that works out to...

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Jan 11 9:58a

Bitcoin punks go corporate at CES

The controversial digital currency Bitcoin has a display at CES. It's a good-sized booth, featuring a giant picture of a smiling woman holding an iPhone running a Bitcoin app. Crystal Campbell, a waitress who works at an Orlando restaurant that accepts Bitcoin, greets curious conference-goers with a friendly but not overeager smile. "It's basically like the cash of the internet," she explained to a tall brunette who had heard of Bitcoin, but wasn't sure exactly what it was.

It was a...

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Jan 04 7:22a

Online gambling sites adopt Bitcoin in an effort to circumvent the law

Online gambling sites are turning their attention towards Bitcoin, with BusinessWeek describing how one site is letting US users pay with the digital tender following a huge poker site crackdown in 2011. Money never hits US banks at all, allowing the sites to operate without fear of reprisal from the government. Even the payouts are quicker what normally takes up to 12 weeks with a US bank transfer takes only a matter of hours with Bitcoin. The new use for the decentralized currency will no...

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Dec 07 12:10p

Bitcoin exchange gains clearance to operate as a real bank in France

Bitcoin-Central is set to become the first Bitcoin exchange to operate as a real bank, thanks to new approvals from French regulators. Run by Paymium, Bitcoin-Central partnered with two French companies — the payment processor Aqoba and bank Credit Mutuel — to create a payment service based on Bitcoins. Customers will be able to deposit their funds into the service in either euros or Bitcoins, and they will be able to easily convert the funds between the two currencies.

Thanks to the...

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Nov 28 10:44a

Total number of Bitcoins hits 10.5 million, production halves to stop inflation

The total number of Bitcoins in circulation just hit 10.5 million, triggering a safeguard against inflation that was hardcoded into the digital currency. This means a drastic change in the number of new Bitcoins being created, which is expected to have a huge impact on the economy that has been developing around the ecurrency.

The safeguard has to do with the "block reward," the number of Bitcoins that can be created at a time, which has dropped from 50 to 25. Bitcoin miners, geeks who...

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Nov 21 12:00p

Online drug dealers back on Silk Road after mysterious two-week outage

The anonymous online black market known as the Silk Road, which offers everything from drugs to pirated Red Bull, is back up after an outage that lasted about two weeks.

When Silk Road became inaccessible earlier this month, the rumors started flying. Its psuedonymous operator Dread Pirate Roberts was temporarily incommunicado, prompting theories that he’d been picked up by the FBI or had run off with the site’s deposits. There were also claims that the site had been hacked, or flooded with...

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Nov 16 9:43a

Miner problem: big changes are coming for Bitcoin's working class

New chips from Butterfly Labs, a leading Bitcoin equipment manufacturer, promise speeds of 4.5 gigahashes per second to 1,500 gigahashes per second.

Jim O’Shea, a web programmer, gadget lover, and family man living in Pennsylvania, became a digital gold miner in June of 2011.

The resource he mines is not World of Warcraft currency, personal data, or fancy new domain names. It’s Bitcoin, the internet-native currency that many believe has the potential to become a revolutionary new universal...

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Nov 15 7:05p

WordPress.com starts taking payment in Bitcoin

WordPress.com, the popular blogging platform / content management system is expanding its payment options for upgrades like going ad-free. Beginning today, users around the world will be able to pay with Bitcoin — the unregulated, decentralized digital currency built on public-key cryptography. Explaining its decision, the company noted that PayPal currently blocks access from over 60 countries, and that many credit card companies have similar restrictions, whether because of politics, fraud,...

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Oct 01 12:01p

Can the Bitcoin Foundation build legitimacy for an outlaw currency?

Some of the biggest names in the world of Bitcoin, the unregulated virtual currency with a small but devoted user base, are looking to give it a friendlier public face. Announced last week, the Bitcoin Foundation — which counts lead developer Gavin Andresen and Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles among its board members — is meant to do for Bitcoin what the Linux Foundation has helped do for open source software, paying selected developers for full-time work and nailing down best practices. In a letter...

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Sep 27 1:17p

Hacked Bitcoin exchange BitFloor back online, founder promises to repay stolen funds

BitFloor, the Bitcoin exchange site that had about $250,000 in virtual currency stolen earlier this month, has reopened with a promise to make the theft up to users. In an interview with IDG, founder Roman Shtylman said that "I feel it's important to try and be clear of my intention to try and recover the coins," although he called that payback a "long-term plan" and said he wasn't sure when it would be done. For now, BitFloor is working again, and Shtylman says he's reported the theft to the...

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Sep 05 7:12a

Bitcoin exchange BitFloor suspends operations after $250,000 theft

Popular Bitcoin exchange BitFloor — described by its owner as "the #4 USD exchange and #1 in the US" — has been forced to suspend operations after the equivalent of $250,000 was stolen in a virtual heist. Writing in a post on the Bitcoin Forum last night, founder Roman Shtylman explained that an attacker had gained access to an unencrypted backup of the exchange's wallet keys, using them to transfer "the vast majority of the coins BitFloor was holding on hand," a haul which Shtylman later...

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Aug 27 3:43p

Suspected multi-million dollar Bitcoin pyramid scheme shuts down, investors revolt

Remember pirateat40, the e-currency banker we speculated could be the Bernie Madoff of Bitcoin? Well, it looks like he owes a lot of people money. On August 17, pirateat40 announced the closure of Bitcoin Savings & Trust, a virtual hedge fund that promised to pay high rewards to investors who parked their Bitcoins there. Ten days later, investors are still waiting to get paid and pirateat40 is on the defensive. "When I know, you will," says his away message in the fund's official chat room,...

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Aug 22 1:32p

BitInstant officially announces Bitcoin-based debit card, says it will launch in eight weeks

Hours after MasterCard quashed rumors that it was talking to BitInstant about releasing a Bitcoin-based debit card, BitInstant has issued its own statement, officially announcing what it calls the BitInstant Paycard. The prepaid debit card will let users spend their Bitcoins at any store that accepts MasterCard, the company says, once they have been sent to BitInstant for holding. The company also maintains that it already has multiple partners for the card's release and that the Paycard will...

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MasterCard denies Bitcoin debit card rumors (update)

MasterCard has said that it's not aware of plans to develop a credit or debit card based around Bitcoin virtual currency. Yesterday, it was rumored that transfer service BitInstant was partnering with two unnamed banks to release a Bitcoin MasterCard in the next two months. But according to MasterCard, it's never been approached by BitInstant. We've received the following statement:

MasterCard has no relationship with BitInstant. There are issuers who allow the conversion of Bitcoins to US...

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Aug 21 1:48a

BitInstant reportedly launching Bitcoin debit card within two months (update)

BitInstant is reportedly set to launch an international debit card based on the BitCoin virtual currency. That's according to Coding In My Sleep, which has published the transcript of an online chat in which BitInstant co-founder Charlie Shrem allegedly confirmed that the company is in the final stages of developing the card, which would launch within the next six to eight weeks. Shrem also posted a mockup of the Bitcoin card, embedded above.

According to Shrem, the card will operate as an...

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Aug 15 2:27p

The Bernie Madoffs of Bitcoin? As market heats back up, virtual hedge funds claim fantastical profits

The market for Bitcoin — the digital currency of choice for the tech-savvy libertarian set — is hot again. The price of the popular online currency has steadily risen over the last six months, and the number of Bitcoin transactions per day has increased roughly 400 percent since May. The resurgence has several causes: the debut of a popular Bitcoin betting game, increased interest from Europe, and the growing success of the underground illegal drug bazaar, Silk Road. But the currency’s...

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Aug 10 4:20p

Bitcoin woes: users file lawsuit over $460k in missing funds

Four men have sued Bitcoinica, one of the larger Bitcoin currency exchanges before it shut down in May, alleging that the exchange owes them $460,457.70 in lost deposits plus damages. It's a story that will sound familiar to anyone who has been following the saga of the fledgling currency and its nascent economy, a digital Wild West where bad actors routinely take advantage of inexperienced buyers and sellers in the absence of a sheriff.

Bitcoinica was launched by Zhou Tong, who claimed to...

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Jul 16 12:02p

German art student builds Euro-to-Bitcoin vending machine

Despite growing popularity in the shadier parts of the internet, the anonymous, peer-to-peer currency Bitcoin has yet to break into the mainstream — but a new effort by German art student Max Albrecht may help to raise its profile. As a project for his university's summer exhibition, Albrecht has built a vending machine that converts €1 coins (about $1.20) into their equivalent Bitcoin value, currently around 0.15 BTC.

When a coin is inserted, the machine issues a printed receipt with a...

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Feb 14 10:46a

Bitcoin exchange Tradehill suspends trading, returns funds

Bitcoin, the alternative currency based on a clever application of cryptography, has had its fair share of problems lately: first the dominant Mt. Gox exchange got hacked back in June, and now Tradehill, another major exchange, is suspending trading following the exit of e-wallet service Paxum from the Bitcoin market and a $100,000 loss from a fraudulent payment processor.

While Bitcoin was conceived as a peer-to-peer system, the difficulty in manually managing your own transactions,...

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Nov 27 1:41a

Bitcoin: a look at a promise unfulfilled

The digital currency Bitcoin once seemed poised to become a viable alternative to physical money. Wired has delved into its history, from the origins in a pseudonymously-written research paper, to its move out of the subculture shadow and the rapid disintegration that followed. Originally conceived as a libertarian alternative to corrupt global banking systems, Bitcoin was seen by some as potentially the greatest disruptive force since the internet itself, with units reaching a valuation of...

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