The North American Bitcoin Conference is Here!

Following its success in Amsterdam and Chicago, The North American Bitcoin Conference ( is heading to Miami.  From January 16-18, bitcoin enthusiasts will be given the opportunity to travel to Florida and hear some of the most respected members of the cryptocurrency community educate and inform.  Some of the speakers set to headline the event include CEO of GAW Miners Josh Garza; bitcoin core developer Adam Black; ChangeTip CEO Nick Sullivan, and OKCoin CEO Star Xu. Full agenda here.

Bitcoin’s popularity is growing every day, and some of the largest companies in the world, from Windows to Yahoo to Greenpeace are recognizing its importance.  The NABC is doing wonders to spread the word.

Over the last two years, the conference has grown from a simple 100 attendees to well over 2,000 from over 30 different countries.  The ability to link nations financially and aid unbanked populations makes bitcoin one of the most prominent and powerful currencies in existence today, and the North American Bitcoin Conference is counting on you to help push it along.  Networking opportunities are available, so get your tickets today!

The Conference will take place at the historic Jackie Gleason Theater at Filmore Miami Beach.  The kick-off party will be held at the Clevelander Hotel in a special pool-side setting.

The most respected Bitcoin conference in North America, the NABC has been featured in CNN Money, Forbes, Gizmodo, Yahoo! Finance, the Chicago Tribune, International Business Times, the Miami Herald and The Wall Street Journal.

To purchase tickets and further info, visit

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Following ShapeShift’s ceased relationship with PayCoin, creator Josh Garza is challenging the associate director of Litecoin Andrew Vegetabile to a public debate, regarding the growing controversy around PayCoin and its history of “broken promises.”

Garza started the spark earlier this week by announcing:

“I challenge Andrew to an open public debate in person online any time to discuss how this kind of action is bad for our industry and all the coins out there.  If he asked the Litecoin community as a whole and had a vote, would the Litecoin users want a new place to use their coins and support their choice of currency?  I think yes, they would.”

Whether Garza actually meant to follow through on any such action or whether it was all for show will probably never be known, but now Garza will have to study hard and get himself prepared, as Vegetabile has accepted the challenge and is readying to face Garza head on in the coin ring.

Vegetabile has lain forth a few terms and conditions that he is asking be adhered to before the debate occurs.  Some of those terms, for example, include the debate taking place online, either through Skype or through Google Chat.  He is also asking for an unbiased moderator and that questions are prepared and submitted to both he and Garza at least 12 hours before the debate is to set to begin.

Following a response from Garza, a date for the event should be set in stone.

Following a malicious attack that resulted in approximately $5 million worth of bitcoins being stolen, bitcoin exchange Bitstamp is now back online and resuming operations, this time with a newly revamped website.

Company CEO Nejc Kodric took to the Bitstamp blog to offer the following explanation to customers:

“Dear Bitstamp customers,

We are happy to announce that we are back open for business with a newly redeployed website and backend systems that are safer and more secure than ever.  Thank you for your patience during our temporary disruption of services this week.”

The blog goes on to state:

“We took the decision to rebuild our systems from the ground up from a secure backup for a few reasons.  By redeploying our system from a secure backup onto entirely new hardware, we were able to preserve the evidence for a full forensic investigation of the crime.  We have also taken this time to implement a number of new security measures and protocols so that customers can resume using Bitstamp with full confidence and trust.  While this decision means we have not been able to provide you with services for a number of days, we feel this extra measure of precaution was in the best interest of our customers.”

The exchange is now offering a number of new features to heighten security in light of the hacking, including multi-sig features, a completely new hardware infrastructure, Amazon web services and commission-free trading.

*This is a personal perspective piece on bitcoin.  All who read it are invited to comment and/or challenge the thoughts posted here.


Bitcoin has come a long way since it began in 2009.  Now accepted by global companies such as Yahoo and Windows, and by charities such as Greenpeace, it continues to make a name for itself in the digital universe, and blockchain security is often considered some of the best by bitcoin enthusiasts.

There are those, however, that still question whether bitcoin really has a place in the financial world.  Governments continue to wonder if bitcoin is even a currency, and debacles such as Mt. Gox and the recent Bitstamp hacking often put a damper on bitcoin’s reputation.  Events such as these put users on edge, and worse, make bitcoin doubters doubt even more.

But these kinds of attacks and negative points do little to diminish the intentions behind the currency itself.  Bitcoin has done lots to aid the unbanked populations of various countries; populations who simply do not possess the credit or financial means to remain afloat with the rest of the world.

Bitcoin aims to financially link countries together, and thus one can look at the situation in a positive light and realize that nothing is merely black and white.  Like all things in an early stage (and many do consider bitcoin to still be in an infantile state), there are kinks to be worked out.  Some are small, and some are large, but no matter what the odds may be, things with good intent and will power are destined to survive, and despite all its blunders, bitcoin has continued its rate of survival, and its popularity still grows.

Does bitcoin have a large future ahead?  Post your comments and let us know.

In the long-running tradition of banking institutions despising bitcoin and digital currency, German bank Sparkasse has made the decision to block all bitcoin-related transfers.

Bram Ceelen, who works with the Anycoin Direct coin exchange in the Netherlands, has commented that the company is now unable to process any incoming our outgoing bitcoin orders, and that the decision is being met with massive complaints and disappointment from users.

Ceelen states:

“We are running an honest company but the bank just blocks transactions without contacting us or the customer, very frustrating.  This is exactly why we need Bitcoin!  The bank abuses his power without any good reason or explanation.”

The bank has been approaching the issue in an odd fashion.  Thus far, they are issuing refunds for all transfers that they think might have anything to do with cryptocurrency.  While customers are claiming that they have managed to get a few transfers through by phone, this is a seemingly rare case, and for the most part, the results are failed transfers and refunds.

Anycoin Direct took to Reddit to give the following explanation regarding the bank’s behavior:

“At this moment we only experience problems with Sparkasse, other banks like Fidor cooperate in a normal way.”

What do you guys think?  Is Sparkasse making a mistake through its refusal to process bitcoin?  Let us know your thoughts below.

Bitcoin mining firm CoinTerra has put many of its customers on edge.  While the company website is remaining operational, many users are receiving emails that the firm is unable to issue any payments following a default on its “secured notes,” an alleged form of debt.

A Reddit user posted a copy of the email online:

“The company has defaulted on its secured notes.  The note holders have senior, secured and, we believe, perfected liens on all of CoinTerra’s assets, including servers.  We have proposed a plan to the note holders.  However, at this point we do not know how they are going to react to our proposal.  The note holders are evaluating their options.  Until this is resolved, CoinTerra will be unable to make further payments.”

The email concludes with the following statement:

“What this means is that we cannot issue any payments to customers at this time.  Rest assured we will let you know if this situation changes or if there are any relevant new developments but, for now, we have no further information.”

Several social media enthusiasts have posted their thoughts on Reddit to express their anger and frustration with the company, which has been the subject of various problems and legal issues over the last year including a class-action lawsuit filed in mid-2014.

What do you all think about CoinTerra?  Post your thoughts and ideas below.

Apple has approved an IOS game that tips players in bitcoin.

Known as SaruTobi, users play as a monkey that collects bitcoin tokens while swinging from trees and vines.

Sure, the graphics seem like something out of the original “Mario Bros” venture, but who cares?  For old-school fanatics who also happen to be bitcoin enthusiasts, the game is right up their alley.  Forget the look of the game… It’s the bitcoins that players likely care about.

Developer Christian Moss describes the game:

“SaruTobi is literally Japanese for ‘Monkey Fly’, and this is pretty much the premise of the game.  The user… flings him across an 8-bit jungle collecting floating bitcoin along the way.”

Moss explains why he chose to integrate bitcoin and why it’s so important to the game’s style:

“I thought it would be a nice way to introduce bitcoin to people who are not familiar with it yet… The bitcoin tips come from the game’s shared bitcoin wallet, called a ‘pot’, revenue generated by the game (from in-app purchases and ads) is converted into bitcoin and added to the pot… I have come across a few concept games that use bitcoin micro-transactions; however nothing on the IOS app store… I believe having a popular IOS app that incorporates bitcoin can go a long way to helping it become mainstream.”

Players can download the game for free on iTunes.

South African bitcoin exchange ICE3X has now made it possible to trade bitcoin in Nigeria through a partnership with Nigerian payment processor VoguePay.

Exchange founder Gareth Grobler described the situation with enthusiasm, and feels that Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is the prime area for a possible bitcoin market:

“The market… is potentially massive.  VoguePay have spotted the opportunity bitcoin offers, seeing as one of the primary attributes of bitcoin is its security.  Nigerian online consumers simply do not have the same access to goods and services from international vendors due to one simple thing – credit card fraud.  Bitcoin solves that problem… The idea is that, for example, a farmer in Nigeria can buy a tractor from a supplier in the USA, and both parties could benefit from the near instant, secure and transparent funding solutions underpinned by the bitcoin technology.”

The company is also planning to roll out merchant services so that local businesses will be able to accept the digital currency.

Grobler further commented on the potential mark that bitcoin could have on the Nigerian community:

“We have to be realistic… Bitcoin technology has yet to be packaged and applied correctly for it to be a mainstream alternative currency, but as an agnostic payment settlement mechanism within a larger framework it ticks all the boxes and could perhaps have a significant impact on shaping the Nigerian digital economy landscape.”

Oh, ye of “too much faith!”  Those who follow the “Bitcoin Jesus,” as he’s come to be called will not be able to witness their leader rise to the top on U.S. soil.

As it so happens, bitcoin evangelist Roger Ver is being denied entry into the United States to speak at the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami after renouncing his U.S. citizenship.

Ver earned citizenship with the Caribbean island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis last year and primarily splits his time between that country and Japan.

The U.S. embassy in Barbados stated to Ver the following reason for the rejection:

“One of the most common elements within the various nonimmigrant visa requirements is for the applicant to demonstrate that they have a residence in a foreign country which they have no intention of abandoning… You have not demonstrated that you have the ties that will compel you to return to your home country after your travel to the United States.

Ver had the following to say regarding the rejection:

“I checked with lawyers very carefully before I renounced, and they clearly assured me that I will qualify for a visa to visit the USA.  I would be fine with them denying my visa for a valid reason, but they are either lying, ignorant, or stupid when they claim that I plan to secretly overstay my visa and live as an illegal immigrant in the USA.”

Education and research institution Coin Center has launched its website.  Its focus will be policy issues relating to bitcoin and cryptocurrency.

The institution states on its homepage:

“Think of us as a think tank for blockchain technology.  Our mission is to build a better understanding of the technology in order to promote a regulatory climate that preserves maximum freedom of action for digital currency innovation.  We are not a trade association or an industry group.  Our job is not to represent any particular company, or industry, or currency, but instead it is to advocate for the freedom to innovate using blockchain technology.”

The words of executive director Jerry Brito seem to imply that the company’s prime period is now, as there is still much to be learned in the digital currency universe:

“The implications of digital currency regulation are complex, unprecedented and far reaching… Sound public policy in this space requires policymakers and the media to be informed by sound research.”

Thus far, the company has received most of its funding from venture capitalists, and Coin Center’s board of directors seem to hold a number of prominent and knowledgeable members of the cryptocurrency community, including Alex Morcos,the co-founder of Chain Code labs, and Susan Athey, an economics professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Coin Center further states that:

“Success for us is a world in which regulators, the media, and the public understand what cryptocurrency technologies are (and aren’t) and why they’re important.”