BitTorrent Client to Reward Users with Bitcoin for Seeding

In order to encourage torrent seeding on its platform, a BitTorrent client called JoyStream is venturing into rewarding its users with bitcoin. For now, it is on alpha release for a limited time for users who have signed up on the Bitcoin Testnet.

The company was founded by Dr. Bedeho Mender who sought to improve the levels of bandwidth contribution and the lack of incentives for content providers known as seeders in the original BitTorrent client. Micropayments to torrent seeders could be made using bitcoin.

Bitcoin Payments for Torrents

This will require leechers or those who download torrents to pay seeders or those who host in bitcoin. With that, seeders can be able to charge higher fees for premium or high-quality content.

“I think the seeding market is very close to a perfectly competitive market, which means that seeders will compete the price down to the marginal cost of supplying the content, which is quite low,” Mender said. “Getting to that sort of situation does, however, take some time, and in the initial stages the first seeders will be able to charge somewhat monopolistic prices. This is temporary, and will give people an incentive to go through the trouble of preparing content and creating torrent files. It is hard to come up with an exact number, but I think the very low monthly prices of VPNs could be taken as an indication of how cheap bandwidth really is.”

With these incentives, leechers might also have the option to pick faster download speeds and pay additional costs to those seeders who support that. This could increase activity in the network and lead to more downloads for the platform.

“The alpha release will be on Testnet, where everyone can try it out without risking any of their bitcoins, after that the goal is to get to a stable and secure version running on Mainnet with real bitcoins,” Mender added.

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ShapeShift.io, an instant Bitcoin and altcoin exchange service this week made their latest announcement. The instant exchange is integrating their API with Coinomi, a free, open-source wallet for Bitcoin and multiple crypto-currencies, available as an Android application.

The latest API integration allows Coinomi wallet users to quickly convert between each supported altcoin within the wallet without the user having to leave the Android application.

Coinomi Founder & CEO George Kimionis stated:

 “We are very excited about this API integration as for the first time users holding more than one coin in their wallet will be able to seamlessly convert from one coin to another without having to leave their wallet app but also to spend their altcoins where only bitcoin payments are accepted without having to manually convert their coins.”

Coinomi is a free, user-friendly, lightweight, secure, fast, reliable, open-source, universal HD Wallet for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, currently available for Android devices. The coins currently supported are: Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Litecoin, Peercoin, Dash, Monacoin,  Digibyte, Reddcoin, NuBits, NuShares, Blackcoin, Feathercoin, Rubycoin, Digitalcoin and Cannacoin, with many more to come.

ShapeShift COO commented:

“From the start Coinomi has always been the most used mobile wallet in our office because of its multi-coin capability and so we are very excited for this partnership,” said, “Converting cryptocurrencies within the app itself has been a magical experience.”

The Coinomi wallet currently supports Dogecoin, Litecoin and Bitcoin, as well as many other major cryptocurrencies. Only available as an Android app, Coinomi plans to release their IOS app version within the next few months. Developed to be primarily used as an API, ShapeShift’s integration with Coinomi’s wallet is the first of many the instant altcoin exchange hopes to support.

Outside of their API offering, ShapeShift offers an intuitive, user-friendly website exchange for direct consumer usage. Coinomi integration will enable Shapeshift.io to allow immediate altcoin conversion to fiat currency.

Press Releases provided by Shapeshift.io

 

Sand Hill, an experimental stock market using bitcoin, has been fined $20,000 by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for alleged violations of the US Security Law. The company is a Boost VC graduate which allows investors to purchase synthetic shares in unlisted Silicon Valley companies, similar to a fantasy sports version of the stock market.

“An SEC investigation found that Silicon Valley-based Sand Hill Exchange was offering and selling security-based swaps contracts to retail investors outside the regulatory framework of a national securities exchange and without the required registration statements in effect,” said the agency in a statement. The founders of the site didn’t admit to or deny the allegations but agreed to SEC’s cease-and-desist order.

Bitcoin Stock Market Fines

According to Sand Hill’s website, all the money they garnered from users has been refunded. “I personally accept all responsibility for any and all wrongdoing throughout the entirety of Sand Hill Exchange,” said Sand Hill creator Gerrit Hall in a video statement in response to the SEC allegations.

Hall says that the SEC investigation was prompted by a decision in March to allow users to pay using bitcoin during a private beta. “I believed the 2006 UIGEA provided a carve-out for skill-based competitions with parimutuel outcomes. The SEC found otherwise, determining this constitutes a securities-based swap. We have complied with their cease-and-desist order, terminated our beta and refunded our friends,” he explained.

“We were able to act quickly before any losses materialized in this offering that occurred outside the proper regulatory framework,” said SEC official Reid Muoio.

However, Hall says that they plan to continue operating Sand Hill without the use of any real currency. He also called for the creation of flexible financial innovation frameworks or “sandboxes” – something that bitcoin enthusiasts have been demanding in order to regulate cryptocurrency developments without restricting innovation.

Bitcoin retail company Harborly recently announced to expand into the United States, one of the world’s highly emerging digital currency markets.

harborly

The Texan company, which is already operational in Canada, further discussed its future plans to attract the US customers, saying that it will be bringing in some new features to their platform, in addition to its Bitcoin purchase and selling services. One of these features, as Harborly added, is a Bitcoin value locking service, titled “Locked Wallets”. Excerpt:

“Locked Wallets give users the ability to lock the price of their Bitcoin to various fiat currencies, including U.S. Dollars. While some of our users look to actively trade Bitcoin and profit from price fluctuations, our Locked Wallets are intended to cater to those who simply want to buy, accept and/or use Bitcoin without worrying about volatility.”

As it looks, the new feature is likely to attract companies, freelancers and all sort of users who wish to use Bitcoin only as a mean to store value. Using Harborly’s Locked Wallets feature, they would be able to sideline the volatility risks of Bitcoin. Harborly meanwhile is expecting to be the first US Bitcoin company that offers Bitcoin trading and value-locking services under the same umbrella.

“We are currently on-boarding customers based in California and Texas and plans to roll out [our] services to other states in the coming months,” the company added.

A US-India Remittence Corridor in Pipeline

In addition to Locked Wallets, Harborly is further planning to address the growing remittence solutions need between India and the US. The company has therefore setup a special team in the South Asian country that is currently working on creating a platform that could address the said requirements.

“A large unbanked population in India and heavy inflow of remittances into India from various countries, including the U.S., make India a logical market for a Bitcoin-based remittance solution,” said Harborly while recognize the nation’s sizable potential. The company’s immediate goals however is to open a viable platforms for Indians to buy and sell Bitcoins at the most competitive rates.

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency software products company Newnote Financial Corp has announced that Canadian fiat settlement is now possible on online cryptocurrency marketplace Coinpayments.com using its Cointrader.net Bitcoin exchange. Newnote has a 20% equity stake in Coinpayments.com.

The integration makes it possible for over 13,000 Coinpayments merchants to sell their Bitcoin on Cointrader.net and receive the amount in fiat cash via an electronic transfer or direct ACH transfer to their bank accounts. Merchants can accept 55 different cryptocurrencies using one of the 25 popular shopping cart plugins that the Bitcoin marketplace offers.

According to the media release, Coinpayments has also enabled merchants to instantly exchange one coin for another via Shapeshift. The company is planning to offer USD exchange in the near future.

President and CEO of Coinpayments Inc. Alex Alexandrov states: “We love crypto but recognize that purchasing Bitcoin can be often a challenge, so we are looking to make it super easy.  Very soon you will be able to simply buy Bitcoin online via Interac Online Checkout on our site via our partnership with Bluzelle.com. The team is very excited to bring more people into the crypto world by breaking down barriers and allowing them to participate.

About Coinpayments Inc.

Canada-based Coinpayments Inc. is the third largest payment processor and the only company accepting 55 cryptocurrencies. Coinpayments Inc. has over 13,000 merchants in 146 countries worldwide. The small team of crypto enthusiasts has a vision and goal of making crypto broadly accessible to the both consumers & merchants through smart integrations with great companies in the digital money ecosystem.

About Newnote Financial Corp.

Newnote Financial Corp. is a cryptocurrency and Bitcoin related software products and services company, which owns and operates the Cointrader.net Bitcoin Exchange, PayIvy.com Online Store Builder, CoinExchange Android App. The company also has several Bitcoin ATM Machines in London, Tokyo and Vancouver under its control.

Earlier this morning, shortly before the markets open in the UK, we published our twice-daily bitcoin price watch analysis piece. In the piece, we highlighted the levels that we would be looking at during the day as price action matured, and looked at where we would get in and out of the market in the event that the bitcoin price reached or broke through these levels according to our intraday breakout strategy. Now as we head into the US afternoon, and beyond into the Asian overnight session, are we still looking at the same levels, did we manage to get into the market today on a break out, and what will we be looking to trade going forward? Take a quick look at the chart.

bitcoin price

 

As you see from the chart, we get a break below the level that we had slated as in term support briefly on a slide downwards, but we did not close below support on the 15 minute chart and so we remained flat as far as a position was concerned. However, we quickly ran up to break through in term resistance at 248.92, and a close above this level put us long. We’ve  got quite a tight stop loss on this one, just shy of 247 flat, and we are now trading back within range just ahead of the stop, so it is looking like we may get taken out of the trade for a small loss. However, for those not yet active, the levels we presented this morning remain the ones to watch. The aforementioned 248.92 is in term resistance and 242.07 presents us in term support.

If we do break above 248.92 once again, a long entry towards an initial upside target of 257.36 would be valid, with a stop loss – as mentioned – somewhere around 247 flat. An aggressive short-term trade could be from current levels towards in term support at 235.95, with a stop just ahead of daily highs at 251.5.

Charts courtesy of Trading View

The concept of digital currency has been in the gaming sector for a while now.  If you are used to playing games online or on a mobile phone then you will be familiar with the game coins or special XP points. Whenever you reach a milestone these XP points gets credited, which can be used to buy upgrades. In order to accumulate enough points, you will have to put in a lot of gaming hours. Alternatively, one can buy these achievement points in the form of in-app (or in-game) purchases. In order to make these purchases, one has to pay with fiat currency.

There are many online gambling platforms where people have been wagering with fiat currency. This might be more relevant to destinations outside of the US and there are those who play with the “cryptocurrency” bitcoin – this is for both standard gaming and online gambling.

Let’s take a closer look at bitcoin developments in both the online gaming and gambling industries:

Recent Bitcoin developments in the online gaming landscape

The next steps and actions that may be anticipated in the gaming space vary between allowing for “in game payments”, “competing for bitcoin” and “bitcoin rewards”, the “purchase of games with bitcoin” as well as “console integration”. This was the report by Venture Beat, and it’s clear to see the value in these options. As a currency which is only available in a limited supply, it is certainly sought after. Even though the value has dropped, at a rate of 237 US dollars per coin – it’s still quite valuable.

It seems that gaming service providers have caught onto this, as they explore the different avenues in which they can include the acceptance of the currency as a mode of payment.

Gizmag reported late last year that bitcoins could now be exchanged for Microsoft App’s and games and so there definitely appears to be progress with the integration of its usage or at least the acceptance of this mode of payment in the online gaming space. It’s not to say that it will be integrated in all online gaming, but if a multinational like Microsoft is making strides towards integrating the usage thereof, we’re sure that more will jump ship.

Recent Bitcoin developments in the online gambling space

Much debate exists around the use of Bitcoin in online gambling, especially with the controversy around the legalities in the US and the continuous developments and changes in legislation. There are some that might think it the perfect solution to online gambling, due to its privacy and anonymity – but we hardly think that illegal pursuits are worth following and it’s definitely not worth the risk. However, in the meanwhile you could instead opt for   which although not entirely modelled around traditional gambling – could still give you a taste of casino themed games without breaking the law!

Recently Betkurus, the online bitcoin gaming platform collaborated with CoinMatrix to raise $670,000 investment. Betkurus is one of the leading online gambling platforms that allow’s players to deposit bitcoin into their gaming accounts and convert it into any fiat currency of their choice to place bets.

Given the size of gaming industry, the ease of transactions using Bitcoin are in store for the Bitcoin gaming industry.

Although it seems that some of the hype around Bitcoin has died down, from the actions taken by businesses to allow for the “cryptocurrency” to be used as a payment method, it’s clear to see that it’s not going anywhere. We’ll keep our eyes open and ears on the ground to keep you posted on the next developments in the months to come.

Sources:

http://venturebeat.com/2015/03/11/bitcoins-next-frontier-a-reward-for-gamers/

http://www.coindesk.com/bitcoins-gambling-boom-just-getting-started/

http://www.gizmag.com/microsoft-accepts-bitcoin/35209/

http://newsbtc.com/2015/02/26/bitcoin-gaming-whats-big-deal/

One of two former US agents accepted that he had pocketed thousands of dollars in Bitcoin during the Silk Road investigation, reports Bloomberg.

drugs bitcoin graffiti

Shaun Bridges, who worked as a forensic expert for the US Secret Service, reached a plea agreement with the prosecutors over his alleged role in degrading the Baltimore task force’s investigation. He accepted that he stole around $820,000 in Bitcoins, all of which belonged to the Silk Road mastermind, Ross Ulbricht, who recently was given a lifetime in prison for operating the internet’s most notorious drug bazaar.

“Mr. Bridges has regretted his actions from the very beginning,” Steve Hale Levin, a lawyer for Bridges, told Bloomberg in a phone interview. “His decision to plead guilty reflects his complete acceptance of responsibility and is another step towards rehabilitation.”

Bridges will be tried on charges related to money laundering and obstruction of justice, and will be expecting to receive a minimum of 10 years in prison. He is scheduled to submit his plea on August 31st this year.

Another Accused

While Bridges might be at peace with himself, Carl Force, another accused in obstructing justice during the Silk Road probe, is still pleading innocence. The US Drug Enforcement Agent had allegedly wired about $235,000 to an offshore account, the money which is presumed to be extorted from Ross Ulbricht as a part of a negotiation. Force is also facing charges of conducting illegal background checks for a digital currency company.

Bitcoin Community’s Reaction

Ross Ulbricht’s conviction came as a shock for the entire Bitcoin community. The young entrepreneur, as everyone believed, was nothing but a scapegoat in a drug case which might have rooted to even more powerful people inside and outside the law. The corruption charges on the two US said agents further proved that the investigation could have been cooked up heavily.

And now with one of them actually pleading guilty, the latest reaction is nothing short of boiled.

Many believe that the US court will grant Bridges a far less severe conviction than what has been given to Ross Ulbricht, an experimental economist, who took fall only for earning commissions out of a free trade market that happens to be trading drugs, alongside dozen other non-serious products.

All we have to do now is wait and see how the constitution compares an online experiment with a self-motivated corruption. Its all about technicalities, after all.

Poland might now join the ranks of those countries not open to cryptocurrency developments, as banks in the nation refused to accept payments using bitcoin exchanges. According to news from Polish bitcoin forum bitcoinet.pl, bitcoin payments are no longer available on cryptocurrency exchanges Cryptocoin.com, Bitbay.pl. and Bitmarket24.pl.

“All this is due to the ultimatum that the four largest Polish banks bring to operators and BlueMedia CashBill payments,” the forum noted. With that, bitcoin exchange Bitbay.net has already advised its users that they can no longer make accelerated bank deposits because its online payment provider, Cashbill, has terminated its contract with Bitbay.net.

Issues with Bitcoin Exchanges

“CashBill contacted us and informed that he will need to end the cooperation with us due to the warning it got from banks,” Justyna Laskowska Witek, chief marketing officer at Bitbay.net shared. “Banks demanded from CashBill an immediate termination of the contract with our bitcoin exchange – BitBay.net. One day later, it turned out that it wasn’t only our case. Moreover, we did not receive any information (neither from the operator nor from banks) about the possibility of such a situation.”

With that, BitBay.net is now encouraging its customers use an alternative online payment service, BlueCash, to make deposits. However, this process is limited and is not as fast as using CashBill.

Bitcoin enthusiasts in Poland have been disgruntled over this move and called on financial institutions to be more open to cryptocurrency industry developments. Supporters have even urged bitcoin exchanges to take action against these unfair practices by Polish banks.

“In Germany and Switzerland, the BTC is simply treated as another foreign currency,” an observer noted on the Polish cryptocurrency forum kryptpolonia.info. “In Poland, as usual, we have a circus. It is a pity that the bank does not inform earlier that plans to block the account to a company. This is a frivolous treatment of their customers.”

In its recently released research paper, European bank Santander claimed to have listed 20 to 25 potential uses of bitcoin. These span various areas such as international money transfers, trade finance, syndicated lending and collateral management as some of the areas where blockchain technology could be applied.

In fact, the institution has claimed that banks could save as much as $20 billion with these uses of bitcoin in their regular operations. Other banks have also been looking into the technology, with some Australian financial institutions already integrating bitcoin applications in their internal activities.

Different Uses of Bitcoin

“For us, the first obvious space to explore all of this in is payments, particularly international payments. Later on we think smart contracts have the potential to transform many of the other things we do,” said Julio Fora, head of innovations at Santander. “We still haven’t made anything official, we haven’t announced anything publicly, but we have an internal team working on this. We’ve done some proof of concepts.”

This has been the main product of the bank’s InnoVentures initiative, which comprises a $100 million fintech investment fund. Insiders say that most of these funds have been channeled into blockchain-related ventures that explore the various practical uses of bitcoin.

“We’re very excited about distributed ledgers and blockchain technology. They really have the potential to disrupt many of the basic processes we have underlying our transactional products,” said Mariano Belinkey, head of Santander InnoVentures. “What we see as the foundation use case, which is international payments, we don’t really need a coalition of 50 banks to make it work. We have ten major geographies. Just us connecting our ten major geographies will allow 100 million customers to make instant payments worldwide. If we partner with two or three banks similar to us we’ve got pretty much global coverage.”