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Bitcoin to be added in French dictionaries

The word “bitcoin” will be included to the 2016 edition of the two main French dictionaries, “Le Petit Robert” and “Le Larousse”. Considered as a common noun, the entry will be described in the Robert as “a monetary unit used on the Internet and independent from the banking networks.”

Among the other words to be added in these popular dictionaries are “Big data”, “Captcha” and “Selfie”.

 

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ProTip, a Peer-to-Peer Tipping solution, starts raising funds

ProTip aims to become a universal tool allowing content creators to be easily tipped by their visitors.

Developed as an Open Source project, the tool will work from the browser, retrieving Bitcoin addresses on Web pages and sending automatic weekly tips based on the time spent by the internaut on all pages he/she visited.

The team has started a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, hoping to raise $50,000 by the 15th of April.

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Alexandria, a distributed library, to launch in beta

Alexandria, created by Blocktech, intends to become a distributed library for sharing and preserving art, history and culture.

“What Bitcoin does for money, Alexandria aims to do for content publishing and distribution by removing central points of failure and creating incentives for users around the world to contribute to it,” explained the developers, adding that anyone will be able “to self-publish anything, including videos, music, books, 3D printable, recipes, and more, with a complete control over how their work is published and monetized.”

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The project will take advantage of several distributed technologies, including BitTorrent and blockchains. As of today, the developers have chosen Florincoin, an existing Altcoin characterised by fast transactions and the ability to include messages in transactions, as the main token used within the library. “In order to share content or send tips for media you’ve enjoyed, you’ll need a Florincoin-QT wallet running in the background,” said the team, “but later releases will include a simple exchange process so that you can start from other popular cryptos.”

Alexandria will launch in beta very soon, with apps for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.

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IBM may embrace blockchain-based technologies for traditional currencies

According to Reuters“IBM is considering adopting the underlying technology behind Bitcoin, known as the ‘blockchain,’ to create a digital cash and payment system for major currencies.”

“The objective is to allow people to transfer cash or make payments instantaneously using this technology without a bank or clearing party involved,” reads the article, referring to “a sort of a bitcoin but without the bitcoin.”

Although the news has not been officially confirmed yet, IBM has expressed interest in Bitcoin and blockchain-based technologies in the past months, describing a possible use of the blockchain to foster the development of the Internet of things.

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Vote for a global crypto-currency logo

Started last October, Brand Me Crypto is an international and public competition with the goal to create a new brand, representative of all crypto-currencies.

With more than 650 Altcoins available, each of them having its own name and logo, “it’s impossible today to give crypto-currency the overarching identity it requires,” explained the official website. All designers were therefore invited to submit their creations for a logo that could represent the very concept of crypto-currency.

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After a first round of selections, six logos (above) have been chosen, coming from designers in the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Canada and the Netherlands. Public votes are open and the final brand, able to convey a global and positive image of the crypto-world, will be selected on March, 31.

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Mercury, a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange, available for alpha review

Mercury intends to become a new (and revolutionary) kind of crypto-currencies exchange, where all transactions happen in a trustless environment: all trades happen entirely on blockchains, with no central server involved in the storage of funds and no risk.

The service is used through a desktop wallet (available for Linux, Mac OS and Windows) and will allow trading in Bitcoin, Litecoin and Dogecoin, with more Altcoins coming soon, including Ethereum, Nubits and coloured coins.

Launched in alpha version for testing purpose only, the decentralized exchange is in the process of being “professionally audited,” said lead developer Mappum. He added that “the transaction malleability vulnerability is an issue, but the cost of pulling off the attack is high enough that this early version of Mercury is OK as a proof-of-concept. The attack wouldn’t be profitable unless people were making some really high-volume trades.”

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The Bank of England envisions the possibility for central banks to issue digital currencies

In a research paper, part of the One Bank Research Agenda, the Bank of England admits that the present financial system is facing strong challenges, some of them created by the development of new technologies.

“Digital currencies, potentially combined with mobile technology, may reshape the mechanisms for making secure payments, allowing transactions to be made directly between participants. This has potentially profound implications for a financial system whose payments mechanism depends on bank deposits that need to be created through credit,” explains the bank.

The document mentions Bitcoin, whose blockchain-based technology is described as promising, and questions the possibility for central banks to create their own Bitcoin-like currencies:

“The emergence of private digital currencies (such as Bitcoin) has shown that it is possible to transfer value securely without a trusted third party. While existing private digital currencies have economic flaws which make them volatile, the distributed ledger technology that their payment systems rely on may have considerable promise. This raises the question of whether central banks should themselves make use of such technology to issue digital currencies.”

“Creating such a system would entail creating a protocol for value transfer over the Internet, akin to what Berners-Lee (1989) did for information,” concludes the document.

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Bitchcoin, a crypto-based artistic experiment

Bitchcoin is a crypto-currency backed by the photographies of Sarah Meyohas. Buyers can acquire the coin at a fixed rate of 1 bitchcoin for $100, allowing them to “own” 25 square inches of photographic print. “This rate of exchange will not change, even if the value of the photography increases. As her work changes in value over time, so will the relative value of BitchCoin,” explains the official website of the artist, based in New York City.

Although an oddity in the Altcoin world, Bitchoin qualifies as a “normal” crypto-currency. The coins will initially be mined, through a mining rig installed in Where, a gallery and publishing house located in a shipping container in Brooklyn. The installation is itself an artistic exhibition named “Where 6″. All initial buyers of bitchcoins will receive a physical certificate, acting as a paper wallet for the coin. A software wallet will also be released soon.

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Speculation – © Sarah Meyohas

The first Bitchcoin-backed photography, above, is entitled “Speculation” and the original is currently stored in a safety deposit box. Later on, with every new release of Bitchcoin, the artist will set aside an unframed archival chromogenic print of her work in a bank vault.

“An artist’s work might fluctuate wildly on the market, changing hands between collectors several times without any permission of, or compensation to, the artist. BitchCoin gives Sarah Meyohas a stake in the supply, demand, and price of her own work,” explained the creators of the project.

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Mycelium Entropy, hardware Bitcoin paper wallet generator, ready to ship

Mycelium has announced today the imminent shipping of its Entropy, a USB dongle whose only purpose is to securely generate Bitcoin paper wallets.

Mycelium Entropy just needs to be plugged into a USB compatible printer, and generates a large random number based on hardware entropy. That number is turned into a Bitcoin private key and a Bitcoin address, directly printed from the device before its memory is wiped out.

Despite production problems, the device should be shipped soon: “Once assembled, flashed, and packaged, they will all be shipped to Amazon distribution centers in Europe and US, and shipped out from there,” confirmed the company. A total of 911 orders have already been placed, following a crowdfunding campaign.

 

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Coinimal, European multi crypto-currencies fiat exchange, launched

Coinimal has launched and promises to offer an easy way to buy and sell bitcoins and other crypto-currencies directly from Euro.

As of today, the Austria-based exchange allows to buy and sell Bitcoin, NXT, and Litecoin, with four payments methods (SOFORT, EPS, SEPA and OBT) and immediate transfers. More Altcoins should be added later on.

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First draft of a Crypto-currency Security Standard published

The CryptoCurrency Certification Consortium (C4), a Canadian-based not-for-profit organization, and BitGo, a Bitcoin security platform, have released a “CryptoCurrency Security Standard” (CCSS).

The document, described as a draft awaiting public discussion, is designed “to complement existing information security standards by introducing guidance for security best practices with respect to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.” “By standardizing the techniques and methodologies used by systems around the globe, end-users will be able to easily make educated decisions about which products and services to use and with which companies they wish to align”, explained the authors.

The standard defines three levels of security, each of which defined by a set of requirements on different aspects, such as the way online wallets key/seed are generated or stored. Once implemented by any company providing a service based on crypto-currencies, every aspect could be validated through an external audit, establishing the security level provided by the company.

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iNation to allow the storage of any legal documents with blockchain-based service

Founded this month, iNation claims to be “one of the world’s first secure, distributed, and cryptographically verifiable store of legal documents.” 

The company has started to raise capital to build its platform, through AngelList, and has presented a few designs giving a hint on its intent. The screen captures show the possibility for any user to store official documents such as contract marriages, birth certificates or diplomas, with a blockchain-based validation and identification.

ination_02   ination_01

In addition, the company will be building a mobile application which includes “a mobile messaging application with end-to-end encryption and anonymity”“You will be able to send encrypted texts in a trustless environment over the blockchain via iNation’s mobile application.”

iNation has been co-founded by David Mondrus and Nathan Wosnack. Mondrus, whose wedding was stamped in the Bitcoin blockchain last October, is also a co-founder of the Bitcoin Association and a former advisor to BitNation. iNation is in direct competition with BitNation, a similar service announced last year, and Mondrus publicly slammed BitNation a few months ago.

(images © iNation, via @inationio)

(edited on 2/26 to add Nathan Wosnack, iNation’s CCO, as co-founder)

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Encompass released as a possible universal multi-Altcoins wallet

Mazaclub has just released a new multi-currency wallet software named Encompass (v. 0.2.2). Available for Windows and Linux, the wallet, a port of the lightweight Bitcoin client Electrum, is already compatible with Bitcoin, Litecoin and Mazacoin, but any other Altcoin could be added. Encompass is indeed fully BIP-0044 compatible and allows existing Electrum code and servers to be quickly added by any developer, making the wallet a possibly universal solution, able to handle any Altcoin.

“Encompass is a first step in our journey to interconnect blockchains that serve distinct purposes,” said the developers. Future releases will include Mac OS and native Android implementations.

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Coinbase opens a US based exchange

Coinbase, so far a major Bitcoin wallet provider, has launched its exchange. The new service, opened a few days after the closing of a record investment round in the company, should become a major actor on the market, as the first regulated US Bitcoin exchange. The exchange, which is not available outside the United States yet, will have no trading fees until March 30, 2015.

A few days ago, the Winklevoss brothers, known for being some of the largest Bitcoin holders and previously active on several Bitcoin projects, also announced the launch of an ambitious US exchange, named Gemini.

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Bitcoin and crypto-currencies popular in Davos

The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) has started in Davos, Switzerland, and crypto-currencies seem to ride an expected tide of popularity this year. The prestigious forum, which gathers political leaders, high-ranked managers and academics, is usually not considered a Bitcoin-friendly place, after public comments criticizing Bitcoin were made last year.

Times change. As noted by CNBC, “Bitcoin finds a place among the world’s elite”“Davos attendees can use digital currencies for a range of options this year such as paying for apartments, taking a toboggan trip or even splashing out on a new Nissan.”, comments the article, noting that, for the first time ever, the WEF will host tomorrow a seminar entirely devoted to Bitcoin, named “From bucks to bitcoin”.

Although only the expression of a personal view, an article titled “5 ways digital currencies will change the world” was also published today on the official website of the forum. The author, Susan Athey, The Economics of Technology Professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and an advisor to Ripple Labs, explains:

“The way banks move money today is archaic. […] By using a digital currency such as Bitcoin, bank transfers could be made instantly, cheaply and safely. In fact, such transfers could even happen without using new currencies. Ripple supports a protocol that allows clients to transfer funds from one currency to another (say, dollars to euros) using a secure digital ledger. Their technology moves money around the globe in seconds…”

At a private session hosted by Time yesterday, LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman seemed supportive of Bitcoin too. According to the magazine“Hoffman’s hope for the coming year centered on the digital currency, Bitcoin, which he said could open up the advantages of banking to regions of the world that do not yet benefit from the banking system. He envisaged Bitcoin’s potential impact on the developed world also; for example, the currency might make easier all financial transactions related to driving, including paying tolls and paying for parking.”

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