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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Redditmarket now accepting Bitcoin

Redditmarket, the official store for Reddit-branded items, has started accepting Bitcoin.

Ranked 25th among the most popular websites in the world (10th in the U.S.) according to Alexa.com, Reddit had planned to create its own digital currency, “Reddit Notes,” but the project suffered a blow after the lead developer was fired last month.

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Darkcoin could be rebranded to aim at mainstream adoption

Darkcoin core developer Evan Duffield believes that Darkcoin should go through a “rebranding” to increase its reach. In a post published today on DarkcoinTalk, Duffield noted that the name Darkcoin “doesn’t reflect the true essence of the project anymore,”  and “is going to need a friendly branding that’s compatible with mass adoption.”  He also announced that “Dash” could be a possible alternative.

A long discussion followed the announcement in the forum, with many members regretting the potential loss of the cultural identity of the Altcoin, and others agreeing on the fact that the “dark” name evokes underground or illegal activities that could refrain standard users from using the coin.

Duffield insisted that the original idea behind Darkcoin was “to compete against Bitcoin” and “to solve some of its issues.” According to him, a new architecture, “supporting billions of transactions per day” is possible for Dash/Darkcoin, along with “a blockchain much more anonymous than Bitcoin’s, a very low blockchain bloat, and some very, very low transactions fees allowing the micro-payment revolution to begin.”

As of today, Darkcoin (DRK) ranks 5th on CoinMarketCap, with a market capitalization of $18.7M.

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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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Dogecoin-friendly videogame VoidSpace receives $1M funding

The Canadian Media Fund confirmed their intention to provide VoidSpace with one million dollars in funding,  “putting the total funding for the second phase of development at over $1.3 million,” said lead developer Nikolas Gauvreau.

VoidSpace intends to become a one of its kind massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) happening in the Void, “an area of space where the player’s character has been unwittingly catapulted via a network of wormholes,” with players “fighting for the few available resources to find their way into this desolate place.”

One of the specificities of the game is the possibility for players to perform Dogecoin transactions between each other. “This will allow players to have in-game businesses that actually make them real money,” explained the developers, giving many examples of virtual businesses that could be created inside the game: players can rent their infrastructures to other players, sell services as a defence contractor, ferry smaller ships inside of larger carriers for a fee, start a bank that secures in-game currencies, or even provide loans and credit with interest…

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In-game Dogecoin transactions (VoidSpace prototype)

Additionally, players will be able to create and manage official player organizations, whose main goal will be “to attract new members because of the ‘strength in numbers’ concept that is prevalent throughout the game’s design.” “As player organizations stabilize and grow, we expect to see them becoming ‘big business’ because of the ties VoidSpace has with real-world economies via Dogecoin,” described the developers.

The game is only available as a working prototype for now.

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ZiftrCoin officially launched

A few weeks after being successfully crowdfunded, Ziftr’s crypto-currency has now been officially launched.

Targeting e-commerce and aiming at a fast global adoption by non tech-savvy users, Ziftrcoin comes with a “$1 Minimum Redemption Value,” meaning that, when spent in Ziftr’s merchant network, each coin will be worth $1. The company behind the coin, Ziftr, announced it will give away 300 million ziftrcoins to the first 8 million users in 2015.

On the technical side, ZiftrCoin is a Proof-Of-Work currency using a specific “Proof of Knowledge” principle, where the miner may optionally prove knowledge of transaction data while mining to get a slightly higher reward (5%). For now, through a simple, one-click procedure, the coin can be CPU-mined with a standard computer, directly from the wallet. Wallets are available for Windows, Mac OS, Linux and Android, with an iOS version coming soon.

ZiftrCoin should be listed soon on two exchanges, Cryptsy and Melotic.

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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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Paycoin relaunched

The highly controversial crypto-currency Paycoin is in the process of being relaunched.

Gaw, the company who created the coin that many saw as a scam, has announced that all Paycoin assets will be handled from now on by the PayCoin Foundation, a community driven not-for-profit. “The PayCoin Foundation will take over the management of the PayCoin brand, coin development, and the management of the PayCoin Prime Controllers, under the umbrella of its pending non-profit status,” states the press release. The paycoin.com website has been revamped to become an online wallet.

Additionally, Gaw announced an alliance with XPY Technologies, “to create an advanced online PayCoin wallet service,” that should be launched “soon” and offer “the features that holders of PayCoin have been expecting, such as gift cards, premier accounts, debit cards, and others.”

Paycoin, although still ranking 10th on CoinMarketCap, has lost most of its value in the past weeks and is now traded at 0.80$ for 1 XPY.

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Messaging app Telegram introduces Bitcoin to all its users

Telegram, a growing instant messaging solution, has introduced Telebit, an integrated Bitcoin wallet.

All users now have the possibility to easily send small amounts in bitcoins to each other. The social tipping function uses a tipbot working like similar available solutions: inside the app, users just need to type a username followed by any amount, and the corresponding amount is instantly transferred to the chosen recipient. Bitcoin addresses are created on the fly, and received bitcoins can be later transferred to any other Bitcoin wallet.

The move is important, as Telegram claims to have 50 million users, who can now use Bitcoin without even knowing what is a crypto-currency, or how to set up a Bitcoin wallet. Telegram is available on iOS and Android, as well as in a desktop version, on PC/Mac/Linux.

Still being tested, the Telebit launch comes with a promotion: every new user registering is automatically credited with 50,000 satoshis.

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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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DNotes offers a crypto-currency retirement savings plan

Part of DNotes‘ CR.I.S.P. (Cryptocurrency Investment Savings Plan), the new plan intends “to provide relief for underfunded retirement accounts.”

“With any long term DNotes deposit commitment of 5, 10, 15, or 20 year duration, individuals will receive a 100% deposit guarantee, and up to 12% yearly interest bonus on their deposit with 1 million DNotes limit on the bonus interest offered,” explained DNotes Co-Founder Alan Yong.

This savings plan can be started with any amount of DNotes, by opening an account at DNotesVault, an online coin storage service associated with the currency.

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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.

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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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