All news on: Tools & Protocols

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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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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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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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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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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How IBM wants to build the “Internet of Things” on Blockchain technologies

A “draft copy” of a work document from IBM explains the vision of the company on a possible architecture for the forthcoming “Internet of things” (IoT). The document, named “ADEPT: An IoT Practitioner Perspective” and shared on Evernote on January 7, 2015, provides many details on how IBM envisions to build a widely used architecture based on blockchain technologies, the same technologies currently used by most crypto-currencies.

“Our ADEPT platform – Autonomous Decentralized Peer-To-Peer Telemetry is an effort to prove the foundational concepts around a decentralized approach, one that will offer greater scalability and security for the IoT,” begins the document.

For IBM, the IoT is not a mere idea of objects communicating with each others, but will create a new financial and economical paradigm. “We believe the IoT will create an Economy of Things. Every device, every system can be a point of transaction and economic value creation for owners and users. Every device should be able to engage in multiple markets, both financial and non-financial and should be able to autonomously react to changes in markets. These capabilities will be crucial to everything from the sharing economy to energy efficiency and distributed storage.”, explains the draft.

Some of the “key components” to achieve this vision are “Peer-to-peer decentralized networks, P2P messaging and distributed file transfers, and Autonomous Device Coordination.” And to integrate these components into a working architecture, the blockchain is a perfect solution. “Applying the blockchain concept to the world of Internet of Things offers fascinating possibilities.”, states IBM.

According to the draft, the blockchain could even become an inherent part of any available product: “Right from the time a product completes final assembly, it can be registered by the manufacturer into a universal blockchain representing its beginning of life. Once sold, a dealer or end customer can register it to a regional blockchain (a community, city or a state). Once registered, the product remains a unique entity within the blockchain throughout its life. So in a blockchain based IoT, the possibility of maintaining product information, its history, product revisions, warranty details and end of life in the blockchain means the blockchain itself can become the trusted product database.”

An example: “Imagine a world where a smart washer is able to detect a component failing, can check from the blockchain if the component is in warranty, place a service order with a contracted service provider, and the service provider can independently verify the warranty claim – again from the blockchain – and all this, autonomously.”

The document provides several other use cases, ranging from a washing-machine able to reorder itself some detergent, to power bartering between electronic devices (a washer “talking” to the TV in order to optimize power consumption…) or advertising with automatically placed ads on a network of digital displays. In all these examples, all transactions, payments and messaging would happen autonomously through the blockchain.

In this vision, most electronic products or home devices should be able to store blockchain data. “In the next few years, we expect the processing power and storage capabilities of most products to increase as the cost of manufacturing high performing semiconductor chips declines. […] So the washer of the future or the refrigerator would be equipped with higher storage and processing capabilities that makes it possible for these products to meet blockchain requirements.”

For IBM, if the blockchain is clearly the best choice to implement the IoT, the Bitcoin blockchain is not satisfactory and the Ethereum approach has been chosen instead. Ethereum is a much talked about alternative to Bitcoin, largely based on decentralized distributed applications.

“While BitCoin contains an escalating difficulty in the mining process to restrict the issuance of currency, no such restriction is necessary in our vision of the world. We need sufficient Proof of Stake and Proof of Work to ensure network integrity and cryptographic security but without the need to impose an arbitrarily increasing computation cost and carbon footprint on the process.”, explains the document, which later reads: “Ethereum’s improvements to the traditional blockchain approach of Bitcoin and the Turing complete scripting languages they introduced were extremely compelling. The ability to create binding contracts and potentially Decentralized Autonomous Organizations led us to pick Ethereum as our Proof of Concept’s blockchain technology.”

“The blockchain based decentralized IoT can become a truly revolutionary approach to transaction processing among devices.”, concludes IBM, adding that “it is now possible to bring transaction processing, marketplaces, and intelligence to every device everywhere.”

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Coinbase launched redesigned mobile Bitcoin wallets

The two new Coinbase mobile apps, for Android and for iOS, have been “rebuilt from the ground up”. Along with additional security features, the apps allow users to “instantly buy and sell bitcoins in 19 countries, send and request money by Bitcoin address, email, and QR code, or shop with merchants who accept Bitcoin”.

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Circle enables touchless Bitcoin payments

Circle has just announced that NFC (Near-Field Communication) has been enabled in the new version of its mobile Bitcoin wallet. The Circle Android app is probably the first Bitcoin wallet to allow users to “tap to pay” when checking out at any physical store where Bitcoin is accepted.

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ChangeTip allows people to send bitcoins via a simple link

ChangeTip, the leading online tipping platform, is not limited to social media users anymore: anybody can now send tips in Bitcoin or fiat currencies via a simple link. This “One Time Tip link” can be included in emails, chat messages or SMS texts. The user just needs to type in the amount to send, copy the link and send it to the intended recipient.

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