Storj Network Launches New Test Phase

Storj is an open source project aiming to offer a completely decentralized, secure, and efficient cloud storage service that also serves as a peer-to-peer payment system like Bitcoin.

Storj allows users to rent out their unused space to other participants. The network uses StorjcoinX (SJCX), as the currency for driving the network. In an effort to ensure a good performance, the Storj team has started a test phase for their network. The team is inviting users who want to participate and accurately deliver reliable and relevant feedback about the network operation.

Storj nodes, or average computers running the software, sell resources to store and transfer information and earn Storjcoin X, or other cryptocurrencies, in exchange for their services. Anyone can run the software and earn some extra cash for leasing their spare hard drive space and bandwidth.

The Storj team already finished the first Test Phase and is currently preparing to begin a second and final Test phase which will be focused on the system functionality and capacity.

In the first test phase, users in the Group A were able to experiment with the two main applications of Storj, MetaDisk and DriveShare. asked power-users in Test Group A to spot problems and provide feedback.Storj_article_1_NewsBTC

The group consisted of interested parties who took part in the initial token sale, and purchased over 10,000 SJCX. Storj assessed the group’s response while accruing load testing experience, statistics on the verification nodes, and statistics on farmer uptime.

Test Group B will see the introduction of SJCX. Access will be available to those who took part in the original crowdsale, and new interested parties who can buy in with 10,000 SJCX, currently $191.99 USD.

Farmers on Test Group B will be rewarded for participating in DriveShare Live, receiving contracts for storage, and periodically performing audits.

The Test Group B main goal will be to focus on capacity, ensuring that the nodes and farmers are actually providing an effective cloud storage solution.

Storj is currently re-architecting some aspects of the platform based on the delivered feedback from Test Group A data. The team stated that further announcements are to be expected in the near future.



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Investments in Bitcoin, as an asset class, have been going downhill because of the unnatural volatility, thereby leading to a further drop in the price. In 2014, even with investments in the underlying technology soaring to all-time record levels, Bitcoin bagged the “worst performing currency of the year” with a sharp 80 percent decline in value. Bitcoin has till date, utterly failed in reversing those losses and continues to trade near $230.

However, for Bitcoin enthusiasts and investors, who are looking to make an entry into the cryptocurrency at current levels, there is good news!

An online portfolio building platform, InvestYourWay, has announced the addition of Bitcoin to its wide range of fund adds to deliver more choice to its customers.

InvestYourWay @investyourway tweeted today: “InvestYourWay adds Bitcoin to our range of fund add-ons to deliver more choice.

Interested parties may opt for a free demo to completely grasp the ins and outs of the product, which is available as part of a diversified portfolio and requires clients to show a sum of £2,500 in order to purchase the service.

CEO of InvestYourWay Michael Newell said, “Unlike traditional fund managers who are restricted by the funds they have on offer, we have built this business on the principle of the right for a client to be able to choose the type of investments we include in their bespoke fund, from particular global regions to individual products. With this latest enhancement clients can now choose to include Bitcoin as part of that solution.

The InvestYourWay product can be easily customized to meet the needs of the clients and provides them with real-time access and visibility into their funds’ performance. With the latest offering, clients can request that these tailored funds include Bitcoin, in addition to the unparalleled flexibility provided by the professional grade products such as CFDs.

Earlier today, we published our twice-daily bitcoin price watch analysis piece. In the piece, we highlighted some of the levels that we had been watching throughout Tuesday evening, and suggested what we felt might be the ones to watch as we headed into Wednesday’s session. Now action has matured throughout the European session, and we are heading in to the US afternoon, what are the levels we are watching, and did we manage to draw any profit from our scalp trades in the market today? Take a quick look at the chart.

bitcoin price

As the chart shows, shortly after we published our analysis, we got a test of support and an almost immediate run towards in term resistance. We broke above it, putting us long, and we hit our targets very quickly. Highs reached 234.63 mid morning (GMT), and this is now the level to keep an eye on to the upside (in term resistance). Looking to the downside, in term support sits at 233.16.

We are currently trading mid-range, so we will look for a break above 234.63 to put us long, with an initial upside target of 237 flat. On this trade, a stop loss somewhere around 234 flat will keep our risk to reward profile favorable.

Looking the other way, if we get some downside momentum, a break below 233.16 (in term support) will put us short towards the day’s lows at 230.99. We can afford a slightly wider stop on this trade, as our potential reward is slightly larger, so a stop loss somewhere around current levels – 234.5 would do nicely – will ensure that, if we do get a spike upwards or a return to trade within the range following a downside break, we are taken out of the trade for just a small loss and can easily recover.

Charts courtesy of Trading View

Global Bitcoin P2P lending platform Bitbond has raised 600,000 euros in second tranche of angel funding. The platform’s total funding for the round has now reached 800,000 euros.

The prominent angel investors this time included Florian Heinemann and Uwe Horstmann (Project A), Christian Vollmann (early investor in ResearchGate), and Felix Jahn (co-founder of Home24).

Bitbond will utilize the funding to expand its customer base and make a highly pronounced impact on emerging markets.

Bitbond, which was introduced in 2013, has processed over 600 loans with the number of registered customers touching 10,000 from over 120 countries.

Radoslav Albrecht, founder & CEO of Bitbond said: “The additional resources will help us to continue realizing our mission which is to make lending and borrowing globally accessible. We are happy to have such experienced investors supporting us on this exciting journey.

On the development, angel investor Christian Vollmann commented that, “Currently over 50% of small businesses are underserved by banks and don’t have access to credit. Bitbond provides a technological solution to this problem. It’s great to see such an innovative approach being developed in the Berlin startup scene.

The International Finance Corporation of the World Bank estimates that the global credit gap of microenterprises and SMEs is approximately $2trillion. Bitbond, with its easy global lending policies, aims to fill this gap by providing Bitcoin loans to small and medium sized businesses.

Upon receiving its first funding in 2014, Bitbond made great technological strides by introducing exchange rate pegged loans to allow borrowers and lenders to minimize the risks associated with Bitcoin price fluctuations.

About Bitbond

Bitbond allows small businesses – who need financing for their operations- list their loan request on Bitbond after successfully completing a credit check. The loans are then funded by individual and institutional lenders who charge interest on their Bitcoins.

Back in 2013, TransferWise had stopped processing transfers to Bitcoin exchanges. The money transfer service however was extremely apologetic, and simply blamed their banks for making them take such a “heart-breaking” decision, saying:

“The banks – just like everyone else in the sector – are nervous because they don’t know what to think of Bitcoin. The regulators and politicians’ silence on the topic leaves us all in the dark.”

TransferWise was visibly sandwiched between its very own morals and the bankers’ muscles. The UK-based firm had always supported the digital currency technology, for it suited their own idea of innovating global remittence sector. A friend of an enemy is friend, but it took two years for them to accept it publicly.

In a recent interview to CNBC, TransferWise CEO Kristo Kaarmann admitted that he personally holds a soft corner for Bitcoin. “It think there is something very interesting in the blockchain technology.” he said but, at the same time, also raised concerns about the world’s perspective that is still confused about Bitcoin.

Prior to speaking about Bitcoin, Kaarmann briefly discussed the issues related the traditional banking sector that, despite being slow and less transparent in making global transactions, ends up pocketing around $400 billion each year. He later stressed on the benefits of futuristic payment technologies over the traditional ones, and cited his own company — as an example — that saved around $200 million of users’ money by offering a cheap and quick remittance service.

From the look of it, Bitcoin and TransferWise is working on a same goal. The latter has always been supportive to this new technology and holds a great promise to carry its potential further. What now it looks for is a definite stand from financial regulators, a firm support that protects disruptive business technologies from crony capitalism.

A cryptocurrency exchange in Europe announced the launch of a  Next gen 2.0 bitcoin debit card, which is in compliance with the region’s financial regulators. Danish exchange CCEDK said that the Bitcoin Debit NanoCard  Next gen 2.0 bitcoin debit card will enable withdrawals from their multi cryptocurrency exchange to ATMs and  Next gen 2.0 bitcoin debit card-enabled merchants worldwide.

Bitcoin Debit Card Features

Critics have noted that this bitcoin debit card doesn’t guarantee anonymity or privacy protection unlike competitors such as BitPlastic. However, the fraud protection feature might be its selling point, as any financial movements of CCEDK’s customers are strictly regulated under European anti-money laudering (AML), know-your-customer (KYC) and counter-terrorist financing (CTF) guidelines.

Apart from that, users can tap into  Next gen 2.0 bitcoin debit card features such as unlimited withdrawal limits, depending on the verification with CCEDK and its banking partners. Aside from that, the exchange also has some plans to add more cryptocurrencies to the mix.

“At first, the Bitcoin Debit NanoCard  Next gen 2.0 bitcoin debit card will only support bitcoin, but CCEDK plans to implement further cryptocurrencies as there is demand – including NuBits, BitUSD, NXT and LTC. In the meantime, other coins can of course be exchanged for bitcoin on the exchange, to be used to fund the NanoCard,” said a CCEDK spokesperson in a written statement.

The  Next gen 2.0 bitcoin debit card is set to start shipping by mid-June. For point-of-sale purchases, Level 1 users can spend 250 euros per year and other fees apply for services like having your name embossed on the card, card activation, card delivery via email, card delivery via airmail, cash withdrawal at ATM, and POS transactions.

Having declined steeply over the weekend, we reported in yesterday’s bitcoin price watch piece that the BTCUSD initially kicked off the day trading gently to the upside within a predefined range, before kicking off a further decline and taking out our downside target. We later reported that we were looking at a fresh range throughout the evening on Tuesday, and that we would enter a short-term scalp trade if we don’t break out of this range. Now as we enter a fresh European session, is this range still pertinent, and what things will be looking for in the event of a fresh break today? Take a quick look at the chart.

bitcoin price

As you can see from the chart, the range that we outlined last night has pretty much held throughout the evening. In term support today sits at 230.99, while in term resistance sits a 233.16. These are the levels we will be keeping an eye on today.

We are currently trading just shy of resistance, so we will look for a break above 233.16 and a close on an intraday level to validate an initial upside scalp trade target of 234.32. As a secondary target to the upside, and if we get a break above our initial goal, we will look to 236 flat. A stop loss somewhere around 232.5 will maintain a positive risk reward profile for both the initial and the secondary target.

Looking the other way, and if current resistance holds firm, we will enter a short trade towards in term support from resistance at 233.16. A stop loss somewhere around 234.00 and a target of 230.99 presents us with a favorable reward profile, while ensuring we are taken out of the trade in the event of a bias reversal and a spike to the upside.

Charts courtesy of Trading View

A new legislation called the Money Transmitters Act has been passed in North Carolina and this regulation might wind up hindering growth among bitcoin companies in the state. The bill was originally introduced in 2001 and has received nearly unanimous support in the recent round of voting.

“You may have heard the term bitcoin; bitcoin is obviously a virtual currency. It is one of the pieces of virtual currency that will become regulated under this act. The bill itself is non-controversial: it went through banking unanimous, it went through finance unanimous. There is no known opposition,” said Representative Stephen Ross. He is a primary sponsor on the bill and also happens to hold the position of Vice President and Investment Officer for Wells Fargo Advisors.

Bitcoin Companies in Danger?

“What this bill does [is] simply [go] through the existing money transmitter act and revise the act to include the virtual currency world that is growing by leaps and bounds,” Ross added. He also referred to Apple Pay and Google Wallet in speaking about the rise of cryptocurrency operations.

Any party seeking to process payments would be required to pay $1500 for registration, as a money transmitter, and incur additional fees after an annual assessment. Bitcoin companies and other cryptocurrency operations are officially designated as currency in this bill, and therefore fall under the blanket of regulation.

Bitcoin regulation is also being voted upon in California and this might pose a threat to bitcoin companies in the state as well. Fees are steeper and the bar is far higher in the proposed California bill, prompting resistance from owners of bitcoin companies in the area.

“Attempts to impose further restrictions on the purchase, sale, or use of bitcoin by private businesses and individuals would serve to limit access and prevent people from gaining the full range of benefits provided by this innovative technology,” remarked PawnCoin founder John Light.

If you think that diamonds are way too traditional to have on a wedding ring, consider this bitcoin wedding ring instead. The BTC Ring combines 3D printing and bitcoin technology in creating personalized jewelry that can come with a QR code for your bitcoin wallet address.

According to its website, The BTC Ring is the only bitcoin ring that marries real value and design, with a catchphrase “You don’t store value in a rock. Store it in a block.”

Bitcoin Ring Inscriptions

The company says that the real value of a wedding ring or gift lies in knowing how much exactly it is worth. It makes use of a decoupling design, which can be upgraded to newer styles since the actual value is in the code instead of the physical ring.

The ring owner can look up the value of the ring using the blockchain inscriptions through an Android app that reads the value of the associated wallet address. According to the group, personalized blockchain inscriptions not only make the ring more sentimental, but also prevent relationship double spends. In addition, the couple can split the private key in order to mutually decide what to do with the stored bitcoin value in the future.

Another security features is that the rings are loaded and inscribed by an address represented by Base58 encoding. This process is aided by tools from Crypto Graffiti to ensure that private keys are not disseminated.

To create one, all you need to do is download an OpenSDCAD file and input the bitcoin address you want to have inscribed on the BTC Ring. After compiling and rendering the data, you can export the file for 3D printing.

For plastic rings, the company recommends the FormLabs printer for better precision. Further discussion on this gimmick yet interesting use of bitcoin technology can be found in this forum thread.

The blockchain is inspiring a new generation of artists in and around the tech scene. NewsBTC’s Andrew Wagner interviewed one well-known artist on to get the scoop.

Andrew: What is your background, and how did you get into Bitcoin? Would you call yourself an enthusiast?

Zoran Kutozovic: As a multimedia artist, I worked with several different media and materials during the last fifteen years. My paintings are based on wood panels together with wooden frames that I made by myself, thus creating a unique and original artwork.

Working with audio and video media is in the “standby” position at the moment; I stopped it because I am quite busy with new paintings. Working with audio media as a producer of electronic dance music was quite interesting during last ten years, and I released over twenty vinyl records and CDs for various international labels.

At the time, my brother worked on some web design projects, and he was paid in bitcoins for the first time. It was the first time I heard of Bitcoin, and I must say it seemed a bit funny to me.

A year later, I decided to check it out to see how Bitcoin works. I became a part of the Bitcoin community and an enthusiast about new Internet money systems and their potential in the real world.

Andrew: I’ve seen one of your abstract Bitcoin wallet paintings. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind those?

Zoran: “Bitcoin Mechanical Wallet” was a second series of ten paintings. It is the idea of having mechanical and digital parts together in the same device to store your bitcoins. A system that could lock and unlock without electricity, like an old mechanical bike locking system–something hackers could not come inside.

Of course it is just my imagination. Nowadays, there are several hardware wallets and safety is becoming better and more friendly user.

Andrew: How about the sculptures? Are you into cryptocurrency trading?

Zoran: If you really wanna learn all about Bitcoin, you will find yourself in a new area-cryptocurrency trading. I have never used it before–I haven’t any knowledge–but I tried it and found it really exciting. Trading can make you stare at the graph for hours, expecting something to happen, to win or lose. Now I only trade from time to time, because it just takes too many hours.

Cryptocurrency trading inspired me to make art sculptures called “Bitcoin Peaks.” This series is dedicated to all the traders; there is a small desktop version in a glass case, and a big wall version of the sculpture. I will continue the series with colorful designs.

Andrew: What are you working on now, and what are your plans for the future?

Zoran: Currently, I am working on some new paintings and preparing my second Bitcoin art exhibition in Croatia. In the meantime, there is an idea of a new sculpture raising in my mind, and it is almost finished. Sculpture can take many cool forms; this will be a modular sculpture.

Andrew: Any other thoughts on the decentralized space and how it relates to art?

Zoran: There are some really nice ideas about how to connect Bitcoin technology with art. I am sure every artist today will accept payment with Bitcoin, if he or she knows about Bitcoin and checks it out. It is not easy to explain the Bitcoin technology to ordinary people, but they will hear about it, that is for sure.

Artists are gonna love it because of the blockchain technology behind it. The certificate of authenticity of artworks could be different in the future. There is quite enough space for Bitcoin in the world, even if it never becomes a mainstream currency.

Bitcoin is already a big thing, and it is still so young. I wonder what’s gonna happen when all 21 millions bitcoin are mined… There will be no bitcoin to mine? Interesting, but that’s a story for future times.