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Сryptocurrency exchanges / Bitcoin Blockchain Is Fighting...
Last post by Bitcoin - Sep 25, 2023, 08:07 am
Bitcoin Blockchain Is Fighting Fraud In Guatemala's Presidential Elections

Bitcoin is helping secure the truthfulness of Guatemala's election results.

Thanks to OpenTimestamps, a tool created by bitcoin developer Peter Todd a few years ago, Guatemalan tech startup Simple Proof is able to safeguard key documents about the country's presidential elections from fraud and tampering. Todd's tool, which leverages hash functions and the bitcoin blockchain, is able to timestamp pieces of information and make it easier to spot attempts at fraud and manipulation.

The idea of timestamping documents is fairly old. Individuals and societies have relied on this technique for centuries to indicate when a document was signed, when a cheque was written, or when someone was born. Cryptographic timestamps, however, are much newer. They take the concept of human timestamping a step further by relying on math instead of a fallible and corruptible human being. Signatures can be forged by sophisticated actors, and authorities can be subject to different incentives, making them capable of being bribed or corrupted. Also, "to err is human," while math makes no error if the correct algorithms are used.

An example of a good algorithm is a hash function, a type of mathematical function that takes a variable sized input to output a fixed length result. This result is called the hash of that input. Hash functions are used in the bitcoin network, notably in blocks that get added to the blockchain, as well as by OpenTimestamps.

How Does OpenTimestamps Work?

OpenTimestamps leverages hash functions to cryptographically timestamp any piece of data into the bitcoin blockchain. In this case, math is being leveraged to improve upon the use of human signatures or attestation, and the bitcoin blockchain is being used as a decentralized digital ledger to anchor that information, linking it to a block. This ensures tens of thousands of nodes in the network can all independently witness the existence of the timestamp anchor and be able to verify that indeed that hash was added to a block which was mined at a certain time.

OpenTimestamps works by hashing the information submitted by a given user and adding it to a bitcoin block with a bitcoin transaction. Since the bitcoin block's hash is calculated leveraging all the information contained in that block, the timestamping data is necessary for the calculation of that block's hash. In other words, the assumption with the timestamping is that the miner must've necessarily started with that timestamp transaction -- along with the other transactions contained in the block -- to arrive at the block's hash. This means that the information that was timestamped must have existed prior to the creation of that bitcoin block. Since every bitcoin block has a timestamp of its own, users can check the date and time that block was mined and be able to be assured with mathematical certainty that the document existed in a point in time prior to that block's timestamp.

On its own, this assurance isn't that valuable. Sure, it lets someone prove that a piece of data existed prior to a given point in time, but how is this useful? Well, combined with other types of information and evidence, many things can be deduced from this simple assurance. For example, one can deduce that since that information existed before that bitcoin block, any changes to that information were done after that time if its hash is different.

The pieces of information and evidence necessary for more sophisticated conclusions need to be handled by the user because, ultimately, all that OpenTimestamps provides is the proof of inclusion of the hash of that information in that bitcoin block. Therefore, users that requested the timestamp should keep the original information in hand in case they want to prove their data matches the timestamp. Given the properties of hash functions -- the same inputs always generate the same output -- the hash will be the same if the information hasn't been altered. Thus, it becomes quite easy to tell if any alterations have been made to the original information because the hash would be different.

Under the hood, OpenTimestamps doesn't put the hash of each individual piece of data being timestamped into bitcoin. That could be expensive, as it would require one on-chain bitcoin transaction for each timestamp. Instead, OpenTimestamps leverages Merkle trees to compact that information as much as possible.

Similar to how you can hash a large piece of information and arrive at a fixed length hash, you can hash two hashes further and get to a single hash. Likewise, you can start with four pieces of information, hash them individually, then hash them in pairs until you're left with only one hash. The value proposition of Merkle trees in this context is all about scaling this setup, where you have a large number of individual pieces of information and you hash them until you're left with one hash -- the root hash. OpenTimestamps takes this root hash and adds it to bitcoin, distributing the cost of a single bitcoin transaction to each initial piece of information that was submitted for timestamping and used to construct the tree.

Users can still check that their individual hash was added, and that ultimately their data was timestamped. They can leverage the OpenTimestamps website, or go full cypherpunk and hash all the data until they reach the tree's root hash and crosscheck with the data that's on bitcoin.

What Does This Have To Do With Guatemala?

Guatemala has a long history of corruption and fraud amid its political circles. Simple Proof was implemented in that context by ITZ DATA as an immutable backup solution for the Guatemalan Supreme Elections Tribunal (TSE) -- the highest electoral authority in the country.

"The Simple Proof solution, named Immutable Backup, leverages the OpenTimestamps protocol to record proofs of documents in a tamper-evident manner on the bitcoin blockchain," Rafael Cordón, co-founder of Simple Proof, told Bitcoin Magazine. "TSE used Simple Proof to safeguard official election documents and protect critical information from artificial intelligence and disinformation, ensuring that any tampering of documents is made evident and any citizen can independently verify the information for themselves."

Guatemala's citizens can check any given tally sheet and verify its proof of timestamp through a dedicated web portal. Each sheet contains the sum of votes for each candidate at a voting poll. Therefore, transparency is provided to the population regarding the tally sheets that were scanned and used to count the votes, as well as when each tally sheet was timestamped.

It is important to note that this setup can't attest whether a given tally sheet is valid or not; there is still a trust assumption towards TSE. However, it is an improvement over just taking officials for their word, as it is, for example, easier to spot outliers among all the tally sheets. Rather than being able to tell voters specific validity information for any single tally sheet, OpenTimestamps allows an overview of the entire context of the elections.

For example, it arguably shouldn't take more than an hour after voting ends to scan a tally sheet, upload it to Simple Proof's solution, and get it timestamped into a confirmed bitcoin block. If the majority of tally sheets fall within that hour but a few were timestamped much longer after the closing of votes, it is reasonable to assume that those outlier sheets have a much greater chance of being fraudulent than the other ones. In other words, in the event that a tally sheet was entered much after it was supposed to, the timestamps are going to tell you that it is suspicious that it took that long to timestamp the sheet after the polls closed rather than less than an hour later.

This was and still is being specially important in the context of Guatemala's elections because of the tension there was leading up to the race, as well as the outlier candidate who ended up winning it. President-elect Bernardo Arévalo wasn't expected to even qualify for the main race months before it took place.

Once Arévalo won the presidential election, the outcry was massive. Officials from the office of the country's attorney general, María Consuelo Porras, raided facilities of the TSE, opening dozens of boxes of votes, per AP. The opposing party, UNE, claimed the victory was fraudulent and demanded a vote recount.

UNE posted a thread on X explaining their rationale with some alleged evidence -- including a screenshot of one tally sheet on Simple Proof's web tool that showed it was timestamped before the polls closed.

Either in an attempt to push their narrative or by mistake, the screenshot of that tally sheet was taken on a different timezone than the country's capital official time, leading to the one-hour difference. In this specific case, bitcoin helped ensure the claims made by UNE were false, and any citizen was able to verify it by checking the timestamp on their computer. Notably, one did -- publishing a screenshot on X rectifying that the tally sheet UNE claimed had been tampered with had actually not been timestamped too early.

While bitcoin was designed and developed solely to solve the double spend problem and achieve electronic peer-to-peer money, its network of nodes and decentralized ledger can power other interesting use cases.

In this case, it's evident how Simple Proof played an important role in protecting key election information. Had OpenTimestamps and bitcoin not been a part of the process of securing that information in a cryptographic, public and decentralized manner, there could've been a much bigger outcry and tumultuous procedures to try to ensure the information hadn't been tampered with. Doubts would most likely still persist, and in a country with a history of fragile democratic procedures, the shaking of confidence could deter the president-elect's ability to lead the nation as its rightful new leader.

Source: Bitcoin Blockchain Is Fighting Fraud In Guatemala's Presidential Elections
Сryptocurrency exchanges / French Restaurant Seeks to Dri...
Last post by Bitcoin - Sep 25, 2023, 08:07 am
French Restaurant Seeks to Drive Bitcoin Adoption, Accepting Only BTC for High End Menu Item

Can Bitcoin possibly rhyme with tradition?

This new currency is so young and so different from the usual dollars and euros, that for most people it seems disconnected from the economic reality and even further - from their lives. Despite the fact that paying with Bitcoin is not much more complicated than paying with a credit card, it looks like for the majority it is still a quasi-esoteric experience.

There is definitely a psychological barrier to Bitcoin adoption.

To lower this barrier, what can be better than associating Bitcoin with something that is widely acknowledged and cherished? Something with a reputation that speaks for itself, capable of pulling Bitcoin from its shadow of "internet speculation" and propelling it into the realm of legit alternative money?..

For the French people, traditional restaurants fit this role perfectly, especially when coupled with a rare digestive and a captivating story of craftsmanship and heritage.

This is a story of how the centennial traditions of the Lyonnaise eating and drinking were harnessed to promote Bitcoin adoption.

The Eating

If there's one feature common to all French people, it's their shared love for eating and drinking. They have been practicing these seemingly uncomplicated things with so much passion and devotion that they have become art.

The city of Lyon is the capital of French gastronomy and a home to a staggering number of restaurants. Among them, the traditional "bouchon" holds a special place in the hearts of the French: serving traditional food in a traditional setting, it is comforting both for the stomach and the soul.

Like many bouchons, Comptoir Brunet in the center of Lyon is a family business, dishing up Lyonnaise cuisine staples like andouillettes or chicken liver cake since 1934. It is different from others, however, in that it is now managed by a fervent Bitcoiner.

Benjamin Baldassini fell down the rabbit hole 5 years ago, after getting his IT degree. For a brief moment he even considered contributing to the Bitcoin codebase, but after the passing of his father, he was called to uphold the family tradition and decided to take over the restaurant.

After ensuring he was well-equipped for perpetuating Lyon's rich gastronomic tradition, and that the famous pike quenelles in crayfish sauce were as fluffy as those served under his father's direction, the new restaurateur decided to bring Bitcoin into the picture.

Enabling Bitcoin payments was the first thing to do.

As a true purist, instead of opting for an existing crypto payment solution for merchants, Benjamin put his IT degree to use and installed his own Bitcoin node, followed by BTCPay Server, a payment processor on Lightning Network. Developed by Nicolas Dorier, another Lyonnais and a regular contributor to Bitcoin projects, this free self-hosted solution felt like the most natural choice, even if it did present some technical challenges.

After the restaurant staff was equipped with Bitcoin and Lightning Network wallets, and the door sign proudly announced "Bitcoin accepted here"... the crushing majority of customers continued paying their parsley sauteed frog legs in euros.

To encourage payments in Bitcoin, Benjamin went further and leveraged two other very French traditions - the "apéro" and exquisite liquors.

The Drinking

Each first Wednesday of the month, French cities test their alarm system. In Lyon, this also signals the Bicoin-only apéro at Bouchon Comptoir Brunet.

Much more than a simple pre-dinner drink, as its name would suggest, the apéro (short for aperitif) is an important part of life in France. The combination of a leisurely afternoon, snacks, and wine (or beer) makes for a great opportunity to gather with friends and remake the world.

By imposing an apéro paid only in Bitcon, Café Brunet witnessed an impressive influx of... the city's bitcoiners. However, while offering the community a space to get together and spend their bitcoin was a valuable contribution, Benjamin sensed he was still falling one step short of providing a concrete incentive for Bitcoin adoption.

This is when he came up with a new way of introducing Bitcoin to newcomers, and a very French way at that: the one that involves mountains, monks, and a centuries-old recipe of herbal digestive.

Connoisseurs might have already deduced it was the Chartreuse - a fine herbal spirit distilled by the Carhusian monks in the Chartreuse mountains of southeastern France. The formula for this digestif aged with 130 herbs and flowers is a well-guarded secret, and authentic Chartreuse is a rare drink to find.

In fact, it is becoming even rarer now. Despite a great demand from the world's best bars and restaurants (particularly in the U.S.), the monks have recently decided to reduce their production to "maintain their spiritual health". After all, distilling Chartreuse was never about business; it focused on preserving the knowledge and the heritage of the monastery, generating just enough money to sustain it, allowing monks to do their main job - pray and contemplate.

The monks are selling their liquor mainly to those who have been buying it in the past, never exceeding prior quantities. This makes the list of Chartreuse resellers extremely small, and as it happens, Bouchon Comptoir Brunet is on it.

The restaurant receives a fixed number of Chartreuse bottles every year, including the very rare Reine de Liqueurs, the Queen of Liqueur. This is what Benjamin decided to leverage.

Now, those who wish to taste the unmatched Reine des Liqueurs, must procure themselves some sats first. This coveted and rare liquor is used as a means of promoting payments with equally coveted and rare money - Bitcoin. Admittedly, there's a certain elegance to this approach.

As any currency, Bitcoin needs to be used, and the work that is done by Benjamin and people like him all over the world to encourage Bitcoin payments is extremely important. Even more so, when this work is supported by the power of traditions, honoring the legacies of the generations of Lyonnaise cooks and Chartreuse monks.

In hindsight, Benjamin could not have made a better choice for promoting Bitcoin than becoming a restaurateur. 

This is a guest post by Marie Poteriaieva. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: French Restaurant Seeks to Drive Bitcoin Adoption, Accepting Only BTC for High End Menu Item
Сryptocurrency exchanges / The Subtle Art of Orange Pilli...
Last post by Bitcoin - Sep 25, 2023, 08:07 am
The Subtle Art of Orange Pilling

Throughout the years, I have presented the case for Bitcoin to a lot of people from a wide range of backgrounds. The list includes curious cab drivers, financial advisors, young software developers, skeptical policymakers, voiceless activists, and once even an IMF employee.

Needless to say, most of these attempts ended up falling on deaf ears. So I started asking myself "why would this person in front of me care about Bitcoin?" and immediately realized that getting a response was particularly challenging because--even among Bitcoiners--there is no common understanding of what Bitcoin is in the first place. Is it "peer-to-peer electronic cash" as Satoshi originally defined it? Or should we consider it as "digital property" as Michael Saylor suggests? Or maybe listen to Gary Gensler and define it as a commodity?

As tempting as it is to look for a common definition for Bitcoin, doing so during a time when even the most simple linguistic choices are under scrutiny makes such a venture uninspiring and, frankly, pointless.

What I decided to do instead was understand what each of those people really cared about and how Bitcoin could fit into their view of the world rather than expecting them to understand a subject they are barely interested in. As the saying goes, "If the mountain will not come to Mohammed, Mohammed must go to the mountain."

By doing so, I realized it was unreasonable to act like Morpheus and expect my interlocutors to take a big orange pill. After all, if that approach barely worked with Neo who was "the chosen one", why would it work with my brother-in-law or with a stranger sitting next to me on the plane?

Image source: 


Because I've known for a while that Bitcoin's nature is multifaceted, the very idea of one single entry point to a multifaceted concept did not sound right. Depending on where one lives, social status, professional background, set of beliefs, values, and environment, there will be a different (and smaller) orange pill that will be more appropriate for each person.

More categories may emerge in the future (Jason Lowery, for example, proposes a military interpretation of Bitcoin and the recent ordinals frenzy reminded us how valuable Bitcoin's block space can be as its own use-case), but here are the four main buckets that I have identified so far--which represent four different set of problems that Bitcoin is solving for.

1 - Hard Money

In this sense, it's more typical of a precious metal. Instead of the supply changing to keep the value the same, the supply is predetermined and the value changes --Satoshi Nakamoto

The first sets of problems that Bitcoin attempts to solve originate from a financial system that is broken in its most foundational aspects. For those not understanding, the problem can be described as having a similar nature (but, of course, different magnitude) to hyperinflation in Weimar Republic and Venezuela. The constant debasement of currencies (even the "mild" 2% inflation we all know about) has a tremendous societal impact, with those who are "close to the money printer" being the only winners--a phenomenon also known as the Cantillon Effect.

Unlike fiat money and commodities, such as gold, Bitcoin's total supply is capped, which makes it the most scarce store of value in the history of mankind and, therefore, an ideal store of value in the long term.

For all those living in the half of the world that is experiencing double-digit inflation, this is a particularly interesting moment to understand how money printing and currency debasement can affect so many aspects of their lives. In fact, people who have lived through the 70s and those living in countries such as Venezuela, Lebanon, Zimbabwe, Argentina, and Turkey will be more receptive to the idea of Bitcoin as a way to preserve their purchasing power in inflationary environments.

This is arguably one of the most difficult aspects of Bitcoin to understand given the number of assumptions it requires us to challenge (e.g. "controlled inflation is good for the economy" or "fiat currencies are stable"). Yet, it's arguably the most powerful orange pill that one could take.

2 - Superior Payment Network

Humans have invented the best financial tool in our history, and it's an exciting time to be alive and use it -- Jack Mallers

For the first time in human history, money and a payment network are integrated into one open and global system. Not only can Bitcoin serve as a store of value in the long term as explained above, but it also functions as a global medium of exchange that does not require any third party.

In a few seconds, money can be sent anywhere in the world by only paying a fraction of a cent. Compared to bank transfers, credit cards, and remittances, sending money through Bitcoin is significantly cheaper and faster.

People who don't like bitcoin as a store of value can just use it as a payment system by converting it to the local currency at the two ends of the transaction. Why do that instead of using legacy systems? Perhaps to quickly send money during earthquakes and wars. Or to bypass remittance companies that take weeks to transfer money and charge up to 10% in fees.

The potential of Bitcoin just as a payment network extends to the most unthinkable areas. Micropayments have the potential to boost the creator economy and or solve the problems that have been haunting social networks.

3 - Freedom Technology

It would be a dark, dark world if Bitcoin didn't exist -- Alex Gladstein

The two previous perspectives address the common criticism that "Bitcoin is useless". But another common criticism--often paired with the former even though it directly contradicts it--is the fact that (just like cars, computers, and most technologies) Bitcoin is used by criminals.

As crazy as it might sound to many, that's a feature, not a bug. Because in those instances where it's ethnicity, religion, sex, or political views that determine whether one is a criminal, having a financial system that cannot be weaponized by the government is one of the best insurance policies you can wish for. That is particularly true for two-thirds of the global population that lives in backsliding democracies or autocratic regimes.

Those who care about freedom and human rights should be paying very close attention to this technology. Bitcoin has already provided lifeline support for individuals in need for over a decade. Wikileaks would have not been able to expose serious violations of human rights and civil liberties without Bitcoin. Similarly, many in North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, e, Hong Kong, Belarus, Nigeria, and  also use Bitcoin as a tool to escape the control and government censorship.

As we move away from physical money and the potential for financial surveillance and censorship increases exponentially, the world will greatly benefit an additional set of checks and balances to limit the power of governments and corporations. Understanding this is very important for all those that are active in promoting individual freedom and human rights in the most authoritarian corners of the world.

4 - Energy Buyer Of Last Resort

It is a win-win-win for everybody. It's a win for the environment and an inarguable win for the economy -- Dennis Porter

Lastly, there is a relatively small crowd of people who might be able to appreciate Bitcoin for a very different set of reasons. Bitcoin constitutes an unprecedented opportunity to build a cleaner, more resilient, and more efficient energy infrastructure. Bitcoin can mitigate the problem of intermittency--the demand/supply mismatch that occurs with renewable energy--and help with the $13B problem of congestion of the electric grid in rural areas.

Bitcoin miners can strengthen these grids and incentivize the deployment of more renewable energy by adapting to the fluctuations of power generation schedules since their rigs can be turned off at any moment without notice. Commonly referred to as "energy buyers of last resort", Bitcoin miners are perfect for Demand Response programs. Last year, Bitcoin miners in Texas "returned up to 1,500 megawatts to the grid, enough to heat over 1.5 million small homes or keep 300 large hospitals fully operational".

Bitcoin miners are also finding very creative ways to utilize energy that was previously wasted and many are arguing that Bitcoin is "the only available, practical and scalable technology when it comes to tackling the world's most deadly greenhouse gas: methane."

There's (at least) four orange pills, and people don't need to take them all.

Source: Author


One of the things I learned during my Bitcoin journey is that this is not a mono-functional technology like a washing-machine or an elevator. Because Bitcoin solves many different problems, its perceived value and utility will change significantly depending on who you talk to.

Those living in South Carolina might not care about censorship resistance or privacy as much as the local jobs that are created by a new Bitcoin company. The Turkish population might have not cared about Bitcoin as an inflation hedge (given the country's situation, it should) during the earthquake earlier this year, but just needed a way to receive money as fast as possible. North Korean defectors like Yeonmi Park are not really interested in how Bitcoin micropayments can support artists online while they are being sold for less than $300 as sex slaves.

Listening and trying to understand who you are talking to is the most important thing you can do when presenting an idea. That is particularly true with Bitcoin, given the negative bias most people have towards it, how complex it is to understand, and how difficult it is to challenge some of the greatest assumptions that most people have.

This simple framework is an attempt to strategically identify the areas of interest of people who are new to Bitcoin and avoid overwhelming them with a big orange pill they might not be ready for.

Instead, by choosing between hard money, payment system, freedom technology, and energy buyer, I am now able to better structure conversations and elevator pitches when engaging with people and answering the usual "Uh! Tell me more about this Bitcoin thing!" question.

So go ahead, choose your orange pill and remember the most important question for Bitcoin is "why would one care about it?"

This is a guest post by Jesse Colzani. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: The Subtle Art of Orange Pilling
Сryptocurrency exchanges / British Law Firm to Sue Onecoi...
Last post by Bitcoin - Sep 25, 2023, 08:07 am
British Law Firm to Sue Onecoin Cryptoqueen to Recover Investor Funds

British Law Firm to Sue Onecoin Cryptoqueen to Recover Investor Funds

A London-headquartered law firm is preparing a lawsuit against the fugitive mastermind of the Onecoin crypto pyramid scheme, 'Cryptoqueen' Ruja Ignatova. Its lawyers intend to file a class action suit in the United Kingdom's High Court, the British press revealed.

Fugitive Cryptoqueen May Face U.K. High Court Lawsuit Over Investor Losses

Mishcon de Reya, the elite British law firm that once had Princess Diana among its high-profile clients, is now working on a lawsuit against the founder of the notorious crypto scam Onecoin, the still "missing Cryptoqueen" Ruja Ignatova.

The lawyers are planning a class action lawsuit in Britain's High Court, the Mail on Sunday reported. Mishcon seeks to recover funds lost by investors in the Ponzi scheme. Claimants can sign up on a "no-win, no-fee" basis, the newspaper detailed. Mishcon partner Rhymal Persad elaborated:

The claim aims to achieve at least partial redress for investors taken in by the deception and who suffered losses as a result.

Launched in 2014 by Bulgarian-born German national Ignatova and her business partner Karl Sebastian Greenwood, a citizen of Sweden and the United Kingdom, Onecoin operated as a multi-level marketing structure that enticed victims to put money into a fake cryptocurrency with the same name.

Between the fourth quarter of 2014 and the fourth quarter of 2016 alone, its operators managed to convince at least 3.5 million people around the world to invest over $4 billion. While Greenwood was recently sentenced to 20 years in prison, Ignatova is at large. She was last seen in public six years ago.

Onecoin, arguably the largest fraud in crypto history, advertised its non-existing crypto as the "Bitcoin killer," promising huge returns for those who bought it, although its value was set by the scammers. They claimed the coins were issued on a private blockchain and mined like regular cryptocurrencies.

Other associates of FBI-wanted Ruja Ignatova who have been caught already include her brother and also Onecoin co-founder, Konstantin, who was arrested in 2019, pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with U.S. authorities, as well as lawyer Mark Scott who was recently denied a new trial.

The Cryptoqueen herself disappeared after boarding an Athens-bound flight on Oct. 25, 2017, in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, where Onecoin had offices. Information about her suspected whereabouts has occasionally appeared in media reports, including one claiming she was killed in Greece in 2018.

Do you think Ruja Ignatova will be found and arrested to face a trial and lawsuits like the one prepared by the British law firm? Tell us in the comments section below.

Source: British Law Firm to Sue Onecoin Cryptoqueen to Recover Investor Funds
Сryptocurrency exchanges / Crypto Exchange Bybit Suspendi...
Last post by Bitcoin - Sep 25, 2023, 08:07 am
Crypto Exchange Bybit Suspending Services in UK to Comply With New Regulations

Crypto Exchange Bybit Suspending Services in UK to Comply With Regulations

Cryptocurrency exchange Bybit is suspending services in the U.K. next month in order to comply with the new rules set by Britain's top financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). “The suspension will allow the company to focus its efforts and resources to best meet the regulations outlined by the U.K. authorities in the future,” Bybit explained.

Bybit Halting UK Services

Crypto exchange Bybit announced Friday that it is suspending services in the U.K. in order to comply with the new rules on marketing and communications for crypto businesses set by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The new rules are outlined in Policy Statement PS23/6, titled “Financial promotion rules for cryptoassets," which the FCA published in June.

"It has always been Bybit’s primary objective to operate our business in compliance with all relevant rules and regulations in the U.K.," the announcement details, adding:

Bybit has made a choice to embrace the regulation proactively and pause our services in this market ... The suspension will allow the company to focus its efforts and resources to best meet the regulations outlined by the U.K. authorities in the future.

Bybit explained that from Oct. 1, it will no longer accept account opening applications by U.K. residents or nationals. From Oct. 8, existing users will no longer be able to make any new deposits, create new contracts, or increase any of their existing positions for all products and services. “They can, however, reduce and close their positions, and withdraw their funds from our platform,” the exchange noted.

Moreover, Bybit stated that U.K. customers affected by this change are “strongly encouraged” to wind down their positions by 8 a.m. UTC on Jan. 8, 2024. "After the stipulated deadline, their open positions will be liquidated, and the liquidation funds will be available for withdrawal," the exchange clarified.

What do you think about crypto exchange Bybit halting services in the U.K. to comply with new regulations? Let us know in the comments section below.

Source: Crypto Exchange Bybit Suspending Services in UK to Comply With New Regulations
Сryptocurrency exchanges / Venezuelan Authorities Find Gr...
Last post by Bitcoin - Sep 25, 2023, 08:07 am
Venezuelan Authorities Find Grenade Launchers, Bitcoin Miners, and Even a Zoo in a National Jail

Venezuelan Authorities Find Grenade Launchers, Bitcoin Miners and Even a Zoo in a National Jail

Venezuelan authorities found weapons of war, a discotheque, pools, a zoo, and even a makeshift Bitcoin mining farm in a raid completed on a national jail. The raid, executed in the Tocoron National Penitentiary Center, located in the Aragua state, mobilized 11,000 military officers to take control of the center.

Bitcoin Miners, Grenades, and Weapons Found in Venezuelan Jail Raid

Venezuelan authorities found Bitcoin miners among a series of irregular items during a raid executed on a national jail on September 21. 11,000 military and police officers participated in this action to liberate the Tocoron National Penitentiary in the Aragua state from the control of Aragua’s Train, the gang that managed the complex.

In a video detailing the aftermath of the raid, where an officer died in the line of duty, an undisclosed number of Bitcoin miners can be seen in a room that served as a mining farm. During the raid, the authorities found weapons of war, including rocket launchers, grenades, rifles, ammunition, and even C4 mines.

Other eccentricities were found inside the complex, including swimming pools, a discotheque where inmates held lavish parties, a baseball stadium, and even a makeshift zoo. Rosibel Gonzalez, a journalist in Venezuela, added that bikes, ice cream stalls, restaurants, and a children’s park were also found inside the complex.

Authorities reported that more than 1,600 inmates will be transferred to other national centers and that Tocoron will be closed.

Registered Venezuelan Bitcoin Miners Still in the Dark

While inmates had a micro mining farm in the penitentiary center, registered and legal Bitcoin miners are still being kept in the dark since Sunacrip, the Venezuelan cryptocurrency watchdog, was interrupted by a national government intervention more than six months ago.

Juan Blanco Bracamonte, a former Bitcoin miner who abandoned his activity due to the Sunacrip intervention, questioned the existence of these farms in a national jail. He stated:

Several questions arise for me as a digital miner who carried out this economic activity until this year. Who authorized the placement of that farm? Who managed the farm? What wallet did those funds go to? Who authorized the electrical availability? Did they pay for electricity consumption?

The former head of Sunacrip, Joselit Ramirez, was arrested for alleged involvement in a $20+ billion corruption scheme involving the sale of oil for cryptocurrencies to sidestep economic sanctions. Since then, registered cryptocurrency farms have been disconnected from the grid by the state power company, Corpoelec.

In an interview with Criptonoticias, Alejandro Blanco, counsel for Asonacrip, a national cryptocurrency association, explained that Sunacrip puts miners who “invested their savings, time, and knowledge in complying with the current legal system” in jeopardy with these measures.

What do you think about the raid of the Venezuelan Tocoron jail? Tell us in the comment section below.

Source: Venezuelan Authorities Find Grenade Launchers, Bitcoin Miners, and Even a Zoo in a National Jail
Сryptocurrency exchanges / Terra Classic Votes to Halt US...
Last post by Bitcoin - Sep 25, 2023, 08:07 am
Terra Classic Votes to Halt USTC Minting; Community Eyes Future Re-Peg

Terra Classic Votes to Halt USTC Minting; Community Eyes Future Re-Peg

Following a decisive vote by the Terra Classic community, an initiative to halt the creation of the previously termed stablecoin, terra usd (commonly referred to as UST or USTC), has been approved. Despite 40.56% opposition, 59.42% of the vote gave the nod for the software update.

Minting Freeze for USTC Approved

USTC, which sits at the 200th spot among 10,000+ crypto assets in the crypto economy, has seen its value jump by 4% in just the last day. As of 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time on September 24, 2023, a single USTC is fetching $0.0127. Flashback to before the Terra ecosystem’s downturn in May 2022: this stablecoin held firm at a solid $1 per unit, maintaining its peg to the USD for a long duration. On May 9, 2022, USTC drifted away from its peg to the U.S. dollar and the peg never returned.

Terra Classic Votes to Halt USTC Minting; Community Eyes Future Re-Peg

While the Terra blockchain ecosystem shuddered, a community of users and developers continued to persevere. The Terra blockchain is known for facilitating trades between the once-stable coin and LUNA, a dynamic that sent LUNA’s supply skyrocketing into the trillions. The governance motion seeks to terminate the USTC minting process through software adjustments. A noteworthy 59.42% of participants endorsed the motion, aiming to close USTC minting and certain loopholes.

"This proposal would stop all minting and reminting of USTC without the approval of the Terra Classic community," the proposal notes. "This proposal also stops loopholes such as converting xUST to mint USTC. We pay the Algo Quant team to re-peg USTC to USD, and the Terra Classic community is participating in the burning of the USTC supply, which also facilitates the re-peg."

The community remains optimistic about re-anchoring USTC to the U.S. dollar, a topic that has been at the forefront of discussions over the past year. "This proposal protects the community and outside investors who are burning USTC helping to achieve the repeg," the proposal emphasizes. While USTC stands at $0.012 per coin, LUNA‘s valuation is considerably lower. Despite a 5% boost against the dollar, LUNA is exchanged at just $0.00006206 per unit, plummeting 99.99999% from its peak of $119.18.

What do you think about the community vote to halt minting USTC? Share your thoughts and opinions about this subject in the comments section below.

Source: Terra Classic Votes to Halt USTC Minting; Community Eyes Future Re-Peg
Сryptocurrency exchanges / NFT Sales Doldrums: 30-Day Plu...
Last post by Bitcoin - Sep 25, 2023, 08:07 am
NFT Sales Doldrums: 30-Day Plunge Sees 34% Decline Amidst Chilling Digital Collectible Sector 

NFT Sales Doldrums: 30-Day Plunge Sees 34% Decline Amidst Chilling Digital Collectible Sector 

Fresh data indicates a continuing decline in non-fungible token sales, dipping 3.2% in the last week and plummeting 34% over the past month. As September nears its end with six days remaining, NFT sales have tallied up to $341.37 million since August 24.

NFT Sales Still Can't Escape Crypto Winter's Wrath

This September, over the last seven days, NFT sales touched $78.88 million, marking a 3.2% dip from the preceding week, according to stats. 2023 has seen a consistent slump in digital collectible sales, and September is no exception.

NFT Sales Doldrums: 30-Day Plunge Sees 34% Decline Amidst Chilling Digital Collectible Sector

The monthly tally stands at $341.37 million, a sharp 34.08% decline from the previous month. Ethereum continues its dominance in NFT sales, raking in $177,743,112 over the last month.

NFT Sales Doldrums: 30-Day Plunge Sees 34% Decline Amidst Chilling Digital Collectible Sector

However, it’s worth noting that ETH-centric NFT sales have dropped by 41.84% since the month prior. Trailing Ethereum is the Mythos blockchain, registering $31.89 million in sales -- a notable 24.86% surge from the month before. Following Mythos are Polygon, Solana, Immutable X, and Bitcoin in terms of 30-day sales.

Dmarket, Draftkings, Bored Ape Yacht Club, Gods Unchained, and Sorare top the charts in 30-day sales records. However, the latter three NFT collections faced setbacks this month, while Dmarket and Draftkings enjoyed upticks ranging between 15% and 24%.

Ethereum’s crowning NFT sale this month was a "Mega Zombie," fetching a price of $800,044. Immutable X’s "Cross the Ages #223963" took second place, selling for $151,012. Rounding off the top three was a Bitcoin-based NFT from the "OCM Dimensions" collection, which garnered $106,708.

2023 has proven challenging for NFT investors, with prices taking a substantial hit. It’s been a chilling crypto winter, and NFTs haven’t been spared its icy grasp. The industry awaits, with bated breath, to see if NFT markets will find their spring resurgence.

What do you think about the last 30 days of NFT sales? Share your thoughts and opinions about this subject in the comments section below.

Source: NFT Sales Doldrums: 30-Day Plunge Sees 34% Decline Amidst Chilling Digital Collectible Sector 
Сryptocurrency exchanges / Diminished Activity, L2 Migrat...
Last post by Bitcoin - Sep 25, 2023, 08:07 am
Diminished Activity, L2 Migration Push Ethereum to Turn Inflationary

Diminished Activity, L2 Migration Push Ethereum to Turn Inflationary

Recently, Ethereum has seen a shift towards inflation, sparked by a dip in network activity and onchain fees. Data reveals that, with decreased activity and lower fees, Ethereum’s inflation rate stands at 0.270%. The decline in overall activity and people transitioning to layer two (L2) networks has notably curtailed base fee burning.

From Deflation to Inflation: Ethereum’s Issuance Rate Changes Course

After The Merge and up until three months ago, Ethereum’s supply trended deflationary. Historical data highlights that on May 27, 2023, pegged Ethereum’s inflation rate at -0.654% annually. Yet, by September 23, 2023, this rate had risen to 0.270%.

Ethereum’s shift towards deflation was driven by two landmark events: the implementation of EIP-1559, known as the London hard fork, and The Merge‘s switch from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS).

After the implementation of EIP-1559, an Ethereum transaction’s base fee now gets “burned” by sending it to a null address. Post-Merge, the rate of issuance declined notably. Had it not been for the transition from PoW, the inflation would have touched a considerable 3.689% per annum.

All this in view, there’s been a pronounced lull in daily transactions, with significant lows around mid-year and another as we approached the end of August and early September. In fact, September 10 saw a dip to 866,548 transactions, a fall of 62,852 from the day prior.

Moreover, Ethereum’s network fees have been on a downward trajectory, mirroring the reduced activity. This decline has persisted since May 2023, with September 9 and 10 marking the year’s lowest daily fees.

On the flip side, layer two (L2) networks have experienced heightened activity, leading to a drop in Ethereum blockchain transactions. This dynamic has resulted in fewer base burns, tempering the deflationary pressure on issuance.

What do you think about Ethereum’s supply rate turning inflationary? Share your thoughts and opinions about this subject in the comments section below.

Source: Diminished Activity, L2 Migration Push Ethereum to Turn Inflationary
Сryptocurrency exchanges / Decoding Atomicals: Unpacking ...
Last post by Bitcoin - Sep 25, 2023, 08:07 am
Decoding Atomicals: Unpacking the Newest Addition to Bitcoin's Tech Suite

Decoding Atomicals: Unpacking the Newest Addition to Bitcoin's Tech Suite

Following the introduction of Ordinal inscriptions, BRC20 tokens, and Stamps on the Bitcoin blockchain, the community has seen the debut of a new digital object technology named Atomicals.

Meet Atomicals: The Latest Data-Embedding Technology on the Bitcoin Blockchain

Since the close of 2022, Bitcoin has seen the rollout of several technologies that use data embedding schemes to craft new coins, non-fungible tokens, and name service domains. One of the standout technologies today is the Ordinal inscriptions on Bitcoin.

To date, about 34.55 million Ordinal inscriptions are linked to the distributed ledger. Ordinals have also produced tens of thousands of new coins called BRC20s. Additionally, there are Bitcoin Stamps, a data embedding method that also taps into the Counterparty blockchain network. So far, about 74,640 Stamps have been minted on the chain.

A recent addition to this lineup is a data-embedding technology named Atomicals, which can produce coins dubbed ARC20 tokens. The Atomicals technology can also be harnessed to mint NFTs, and it introduces a name service domain structure called Realms.

Decoding Atomicals: Unpacking the Newest Addition to Bitcoin's Tech Suite

According to the creators, an Atomical, colloquially known as an “atom,” changes how users handle the creation, transfer, and evolution of digital objects on the Bitcoin blockchain. Atomical developers believe that at its core, it’s a dynamic chain of digital ownership, shaped by a set of clear rules.

Ordinals and Atomicals share key similarities; both empower individuals to innovate and create with Bitcoin. On the distinction front, Atomicals rely on Electrumx as an indexer, whereas Ordinals turn to the Ord indexer. Atomicals’ documentation highlights that the technology features a distinct class of container NFTs, simplifying the process of defining collections.

The Atomicals Guidebook underscores that Atomicals are defined as “digital objects,” Ordinals as “digital artifacts,” and Ethereum’s ERC721s as “digital collectibles.” Data from Dune Analytics reveals that since block height 808,513, approximately 69,847 Atomical digital object transactions have been confirmed on Bitcoin’s distributed ledger.

Further data points out that transactions involving Atomicals have contributed 5.772 BTC or $153,611 to miners since the technology’s introduction. The Realms name service also features a notable list of names like “timechain,” “volt,” “flex,” “collect,” “anon” and “idol,” among others.

Only time will reveal whether Atomicals endure and garner demand, and if the technology gains acceptance in the wider community. While Ordinal inscriptions and traditional financial inscription enthusiasts have butted heads, a fresh market for utilizing block space on Bitcoin has sprung up, regardless of differing opinions.

What do you think about the newly introduced Atomicals tech? Share your thoughts and opinions about this subject in the comments section below.

Source: Decoding Atomicals: Unpacking the Newest Addition to Bitcoin's Tech Suite
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