Articles by jody

On September 8, the U.S. government’s General Services Administration (GSA)’s program “Emerging Citizen Technology” hosted a workshop titled “Emerging Technology and Open Data for a More Open Government.” The participants in the workshop were directed to draft proposals that specifically use Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain technology and open data.“Open data and emerging technologies — including artificial intelligence and distributed ledgers, such as blockchain — hold vast potential to transform public services held back by bureaucracy and outdated IT systems,” said Emerging Citizen Technology program manager Justin Herman. “We are opening the doors to bold, fresh ideas for government accountability, transparency and citizen participation by working with U.S. businesses, civil society groups and others to shape national goals for emerging technologies and open data in public services.”At the workshop, several government agencies have indicated a strong government backing behind the development of blockchain technology. In particular, a representative of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) stated that the Trump administration was serious about and committed to this technology, and would not be deterred.The initiative is related to the fourth National Action Plan (NAP 4), which the U.S. government is releasing this year in the the framework of the multinational Open Government Partnership (OGP) and its Open Government Declaration. It is aimed at empowering citizens and advancing the ideals of an open and participatory government. The September 8 workshop follows the first U.S. Federal Blockchain Forum, organized by the Emerging Citizen Technology program on July 18 to discuss blockchain use cases, limitations and solutions. Financial management, procurement, IT asset and supply chain management, smart contracts, patents, trademarks, copyrights, royalties, government-issued credentials, federal personnel workforce data, appropriated funds, federal assistance, and foreign aid delivery were among the government blockchain use cases discussed at the July 18 workshop. Participation was restricted to federal agencies’ managers.The Government Blockchain Association participated in the September 8 workshop and shared details, reported by ETHNews, on the topics discussed. In particular, three priority areas were examined: a national identity system based on blockchain and biometric technologies and interoperable across different agencies; an open government innovation initiative aimed at improving the internal operations of government agencies through blockchain technology; and a blockchain open-interface framework to connect government blockchain pilots with external data systems.The Government Blockchain Association, open to all interested individual, corporate and institutional members, was formed to explore blockchain-based solutions to problems typically faced by government entities.”We are currently seeing deep and informed interest in blockchain [technology] across many levels of the public sector,” said Gerard Daché, Founder and President of the Government Blockchain Association. “This time next year, I would not be surprised to see dozens of pilots, legislative resolutions, and even funding spread across the various states and high up in the U.S. Federal Government specifically for piloting blockchain based innovation.”The Association believes that blockchain technology, Bitcoin, distributed ledgers and cryptocurrencies will fundamentally transform how the government interacts with its constituents.”We don’t believe blockchain adoption in the public sector needs to take over ten years as some suggest it might,” Daché added. “There is an excitement that is palpable so, our goal is to harness this enthusiasm and direct it into working groups that actually influence national, state and large city governmental policies.”The post Blockchain Technology Plays a Critical Role in U.S. and International Open Government Initiatives appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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Unless you’ve been in a crypto-free cave for the past week, you might have noticed the crypto-wide market drop.Last week, rumors of China’s crackdown on BTC to fiat transactions began to spread across the crypto-world. On Monday, mainstream news sources such as The Guardian, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg further supported or confirmed these rumors by releasing articles with the news of a Chinese crackdown on exchanges.According to Chinese state newspaper Securities Times, “All trading exchanges must by midnight of 15 September publish a notice to make clear when they will stop all cryptocurrency trading and announce a stop to new user registrations.” Within a day and a half, BTC-USD saw a 15% markdown as the price dropped from $4400 to $3750. After all was said and done, BTC-USD managed to squeeze out one last push before bottoming out around $3000. The bottom was immediately greeted by a strong rally that propelled the price upward by $900.The price shot down, the price shot up — where does this leave us now?Figure 1: BTC-USD, 6-Hour Candles, GDAX, Macro Bull RunSince the beginning of this bull run from $1800, we have established very clear, very strong support and resistance levels along the Fibonacci Retracement set shown above. At the time of this article, BTC-USD is testing the macro 38% retracement line where strong, historic support will prove quite tough to penetrate. With such a large growth in such a short period of time, BTC-USD managed to climb about 150% in market value within the span of about a month. One idea I’ve been considering during the climbs to toward the ATH is the the Wyckoff trading range schematic shown below: Figure 2: Wyckoff Trading Range (A great breakdown of schematic details are found here)Historically, as markets progress through time, they go through phases of accumulation (a phase where investors and traders begin to buy and accumulate assets) and distribution (a phase where traders and investors begin to sell off their accumulated assets). In order words, the market goes up and a bull rally begins, the market begins to top out, and then a bearish rally will bring the prices back down to a comfortable level. It’s a sort of give-and-take in the market as traders begin to place their bets on the future market direction. In our current case, over the last couple months bitcoin has formed a very similar pattern to Distribution Schematic #1 shown above. The above schematic represents one of the possible ways a market can rise, find its top, and distribute assets to market.Comparing the schematic above to the the current BTC-USD market pattern, we can see a lot of striking similarities:Figure 3: Wyckoff Schematic Within BTC-USD TrendThe nomenclature for this schematic is found here and is vital to understanding the upcoming discussion. While a bearish continuation has yet to be confirmed, the most recent price hike this morning seems to fit the last test of the Wyckoff schematic LPSY (Last Point of Supply). The last point of supply is essentially a false rally where those who didn’t have an opportunity to sell on the previous LPSY now have an opportunity and will begin to sell into the more bullish traders who fall victim to a false breakout. The SOW (sign of weakness) is marked by high sell volume that leads into an AR (automatic rally) where the sell pressure lets up and bullish traders assume a bottom has been hit. The automatic rally is marked by a bullish climb with great ease before finding its top near the previous lines of support shown above in green. The LPSY is most notably described as a series of peaks and valleys on a fairly narrow spread as the bulls and bears exchange positions. During this LPSY, we will expect to see diminishing volume as the market pushes to new highs and becomes more and more difficult. A closer view of the current trend reveals we have begun the process of weakening rallies with the LPSY:Figure 4: BTC-USD, 5-Minute Candles, BitfinexThroughout the length of this small trend, we can see diminishing volume on each consecutive push toward new highs. If we manage to continue downward, expect turbulence at the $3000 levels and a possible secondary bounce as the $3000 level offers very strong, historic support. It should be noted however, even though this current trend has a strong resemblance to the Wyckoff schematic, it is always important to confirm the trend before trading it. As with any market, it is entirely possible that this Wyckoff distribution pattern will fail and bitcoin will manage to continue onward and upward to new highs. A market reversal should definitely not be ruled out as the current market trend is showing a strong sign of uncertainty between the bulls and bears. Whether the market breaks upward or downward, always confirm the move with strong volume to support a strong move in the direction the trend. Volatility is to be expected, but we approach the market with a level head and objectivity, seeing the proper positional entries and exits will much easier to spot.Summary:Strong, bearish news hit the crypto community this week as China announced harsh regulations on the BTC to fiat transactions on exchanges.Currently BTC is seeing a strong rally off the $3000 levels but is showing signs of waning strength in the upward direction.A possible macro distribution pattern is unfolding and new lows could be in store for  bitcoin over the next few days and weeks. Trading and investing in digital assets like bitcoin, bitcoin cash and ether is highly speculative and comes with many risks. This analysis is for informational purposes and should not be considered investment advice. Statements and financial information on Bitcoin Magazine and BTC Media related sites do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BTC Media and should not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation to buy, sell or hold. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.The post Bitcoin Price Analysis: How Rumblings From China Play Into Wyckoff Distributions appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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Today marks the official release of Bitcoin Core 0.15.0, the fifteenth generation of Bitcoin’s original software client launched by Satoshi Nakamoto almost nine years ago. Overseen by Bitcoin Core lead maintainer Wladimir van der Laan, this latest major release was developed by nearly 100 contributors over a six-month period, with major contributions through Chaincode Labs, Blockstream and MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative.Bitcoin Core 0.15.0 offers significant performance and usability improvements over previous versions of the software implementation. It also introduces several new features to better deal with the current status of the network.These are some of the more notable changes.Chainstate Database RestructureOne of the biggest changes compared to previous versions of the software involves how the state of Bitcoin’s blockchain is stored. This “chainstate” or “UTXO-set” is saved in a dedicated database, whereas previously it had been categorized per transaction. If one transaction sent bitcoins to several outputs (“addresses”), these different outputs were stored as a single database entry, referring to that one transaction.With Bitcoin Core 0.15.0, these outputs are instead stored in a single database entry each. If a single transaction sends bitcoins to different outputs, every output is stored separately. While this method does claim more disc space, it requires less computational resources if one of these outputs is spent later on.The most concrete benefit of this new data structure is that initial sync-time for new nodes is decreased by about 40 percent. It also introduces simpler code, reduces memory usage  and more. Additionally, it fixes a bug that could theoretically crash Bitcoin Core nodes, controversially revealed at last weekend’s Breaking Bitcoin conference in Paris.Improved Fee EstimationAs Bitcoin blocks have been filling up over the last year or two, not all transactions fit in the first block that is mined. Instead, miners typically prioritize the transactions that include the most fees. If a user wants to have his transaction confirmed quickly, he should include a high enough fee. If he’s not in a rush, a lower fee should suffice.However, the Bitcoin network deals with inherent unpredictability in terms of the speed at which blocks are found or the number of transactions that is being transmitted at any time. This makes it hard to include the right transaction fee.Bitcoin Core 0.15.0 lowers this fee uncertainty: The newest version of the software includes significantly better fee estimation algorithms. This is mostly because the software takes more data into account when making the estimations, such as the fees included in older confirmed transactions, as well as fees in unconfirmed transactions — the fees that proved insufficient.Additionally, users can enjoy more flexibility. For one, Bitcoin Core 0.15.0 for the first time allows users to include fees that could take their transactions up to a week to confirm. And, also newly introduced, users can choose to accept more or less risk that their transaction could be delayed due to a sudden influx of transactions.Replace-by-fee in User InterfaceEven with improved fee estimation, it is possible that users will still need to wait longer than they want for their transactions to confirm, perhaps because there is a sudden rush of transactions on the network, or maybe because a user changed his mind and prefers to have a transaction confirm faster than originally paid for, or for other reasons.For these cases, some wallets let users add a “replace-by-fee” tag to their transactions. With such a tag, nodes and miners on the network know that the sender may want to replace that transaction with a newer transaction that includes a higher fee. This effectively allows users to bump the transaction in line to have it confirmed faster.Bitcoin Core nodes have supported replace-by-fee for well over a year now: They already replace “replace-by-fee” tagged transactions if the new transaction includes more fees. But it was never easy to utilize for Bitcoin Core wallet users themselves. Until now.The Bitcoin Core 0.15.0 wallet introduces a replace-by-fee toggle in its user interface. This lets users include the appropriate tag, allowing them to easily increase the fees on their transactions later on.Multi-wallet Support (Client and RPC Only)Bitcoin Core 0.15.0 lets users create several wallets for the first time. These wallets all have their own separate Bitcoin addresses, private keys and, therefore, funds. Users can utilize the different wallets for different purposes; for example, one wallet can be used for personal day-to-day purchases, another for business-related transactions, and a third just for trading.Using several wallets can offer a number of benefits. For instance, it makes accounting easier and more convenient. Additionally, users can more easily benefit from increased privacy as the different wallets cannot be linked to each other by blockchain analysis. It’s also possible to use different wallets for specific applications and more.For now, multi-wallet support is not yet available for regular wallet users; only advanced users who operate from the command line or through connected applications can utilize the feature.Other ImprovementsApart from the above mentioned notable changes, Bitcoin Core 0.15.0 includes a number of additional performance improvements, as most new major Bitcoin Core releases do. Concretely, these changes speed up how quickly blocks are downloaded from the network, they let nodes start up faster, and up-to-date nodes will be able to validate new blocks more quickly, in turn benefiting network-propagation time.Finally, it’s worth mentioning that Bitcoin Core 0.15.0 will disconnect from BTC1 peers on the network. This means that the Bitcoin network will experience less disruption if the SegWit2x hard fork splits the network, as both types of nodes will more easily find compatible peers. While this change has gotten some media attention, this change shouldn’t really be noticeable.Thanks to Chaincode Labs developer John Newbery for feedback and suggestions. For more details on what’s new in Bitcoin Core 0.15.0, see the release notes, or watch Bitcoin Core contributor Gregory Maxwell’s “deep dive” presentation at the San Francisco Bitcoin developers meetup.The post Bitcoin Core 0.15.0 Is Released: Here’s What’s New appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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Imagine for a minute the next<br />evolution of online retail, featuring an in-store browsing experience with<br />interactive 3D images. All of this would be tethered to a broader ecosystem that delivers fast and easy<br />augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and 3D content. <br /><br />This scenario above is not a fantasy.<br />Rather, it signifies a new world in which blockchains and virtual reality<br />intersect to provide valuable use cases for the world of commerce. Now content<br />creators can benefit from this convergence of blockchain technologies and AR/VR<br />through asset ownership verification. This allows a mechanism for receiving<br />royalties via smart contracts in order to design virtual worlds and encourage<br />collaboration.<br /><br />Leading this movement is Cappasity, a cutting-edge company founded with the goal of developing new<br />standards as well as an easy-to-use and scalable platform for the creation,<br />embedding and analysis of 3D and AR/VR content. This new system allows users to<br />create, rent and sell 3D content that can be embedded into an app or website<br />for an immersive experience.<br /><br />Click here to see the type of<br />3D model that can be generated and shared through the platform.<br /><br />The emergence of Cappasity comes at a<br />time when new and exciting developments are arising in myriad verticals,<br />including the medical, automotive, gaming, entertainment, art and education<br />sectors. Here, the company is leveraging the blockchain in order to become the<br />go-to exchange network for users, developers and businesses seeking to benefit<br />from 3D image creation, embedding and trading.<br /><br />This innovative platform will be<br />powered by a digital payment vehicle and currency called ARToken (ART), which<br />facilitates the trading of content inside the ecosystem. ARTs can be earned<br />through the creation and sharing of 3D/AR/VR content.<br /><br />Cappasity has been in a joint effort<br />with Intel since 2014, a project initiative that led to the creation of a<br />scanning software for Intel RealSense 3D cameras. After a successful campaign<br />to raise more than $1.8 million from angel investors, the company launched a<br />beta version of its platform and 3D digitizing software in January 2017. This<br />ecosystem is designed in two layers, a marketplace and infrastructure layer, making it particularly special.<br /><br />Given some of the company’s early<br />success, as well as the rapidly growing popularity of 3D content, there is<br />positive anticipation for the company’s initial ART token crowdsale which<br />begins September 27, 2017. Various cryptocurrencies, including BTC, ETH, BCH,<br />LTC as well as DASH, can be used to contribute to the campaign. <br /><br />The goal of the crowdsale is to reach<br />175,000 ETH, which will make Cappasity’s revolutionary plans a reality. Two<br />endowment entities have been established to foster this: the AR/VR Innovation<br />Fund and the Reward Fund.<br /><br />The Innovation Fund is designed to<br />get developers on board with the platform. Once content begins to be built, a<br />Reward Fund will be established over time. Upon completion of the token sale,<br />10 percent of raised funds will be dedicated to the former and 20 percent will<br />be allocated to the latter.<br /><br />Value Proposition in 3D<br /><br />The Cappasity platform provides tools<br />for 3D content creators and distributors to monetize and share their creativity<br />through a tokenized ecosystem.<br /><br />Kosta Popov, Cappasity’s founder and<br />CEO, touts the company’s embrace of the decentralized economy through<br />blockchain technology, which he said enables the company to address fundamental<br />issues currently facing content creators. <br /><br />“Top luxury retailers who have<br />implemented our 3D imaging integrations are showing conversion increases of 30<br />to 40 percent,” Popov said. “We are excited to bring innovative content<br />creators the opportunity to participate in the AR/VR content revolution with<br />the utility ARToken to power the whole ecosystem.”<br /><br />Delivering Excess “Cappasity” Through<br />Collaboration<br /><br />In a move signaling the company’s<br />forward advancement, Cappasity was recently selected to participate with Lafayette<br />Plug and Play, one of the leading innovation<br />platforms and an accelerator designed to fuel the next generation of retail and<br />fashion companies. Located in Paris, Lafayette selects top startups like<br />Cappasity twice a year to promote cooperation with its partners, including the likes of Carrefour, Galeries Lafayette, Tesco,<br />Lowe’s, Kohl’s, Lacoste, Kering and Rakuten. <br /><br />Cappasity therefore has been working<br />closely with corporate clients, including some of Europe’s top retailers, to<br />integrate its platform into their online stores in order to provide VR/AR<br />business solutions. <br /><br />To learn more about Cappasity’s<br />forward trajectory, including its upcoming ART token sale, read its white paper. Visit the website and follow the company’s social<br />media channels on Facebook and Twitter.The post Building “Cappasity” for AR, VR and 3D Content appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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“There’s no such thing as a safe hard fork,” Electrum lead developer Thomas Voegtlin corrected an audience member at the Breaking Bitcoin conference in Paris last weekend. “I would recommend to have replay protection, of course,” he added.Community support for SegWit2x, the Bitcoin scaling proposal spearheaded by Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group, was virtually absent in Paris. Whenever the “2x” part of the New York Agreement was discussed in the French capital, speakers and visitors overwhelmingly considered it a risk to defend against — not a proposal to help succeed.Electrum users, for example, will not blindly follow hash power in case of a chain-split, Voegtlin explained throughout his talk; instead, they’ll be able to choose which side of such a split they want to be on. And importantly, the lightweight wallet will implement security measures to prevent users from accidentally spending funds on both chains: “replay protection” that seems unlikely to be implemented on a protocol level if SegWit2x does fork off.“We are ready,” Voegtlin said. “If [SegWit2x] doesn’t include replay protection, the fork detection we have in Electrum will be useful.”Breaking BitcoinInspired by the successful Scaling Bitcoin conference format, the French Bitcoin community hosted the first edition of Breaking Bitcoin two blocks from the Eiffel Tower last weekend. Bitcoin developers, academics and other technical-minded Bitcoiners gathered for a diverse program, but with the common denominator being Bitcoin’s security.“For the past two years, the Bitcoin community has been obsessing with scale and scalability,” Kevin Loaec, managing director at Chainsmiths and co-organizer of the event, told Bitcoin Magazine. “But I’m not so worried about scale, I’m worried about mining centralization, a lack of privacy and fungibility … these kinds of things. As an industry we need to recognize there are more challenges than just scalability; hopefully this conference reflects that.”Whereas the first Scaling Bitcoin conference two years ago was a very specific reaction to a looming block size limit increase hard fork — then put forth by Bitcoin XT — this wasn’t necessarily the motivation behind Breaking Bitcoin. Yet, once again, a controversial hard fork is looming on the horizon. This time imbedded in the BTC1 implementation developed by Bloq co-founder Jeff Garzik, the New York Agreement’s SegWit2x is scheduled to increase Bitcoin’s “base block size limit” to two megabytes by November — an incompatible protocol change that could split the Bitcoin network in two.And it did not take much to recognize how unpopular the proposal was in Paris. Perhaps most vividly, Italian Bitcoin startup ChainSide led a protest campaign by distributing NO2X stickers; the Twitter hashtag was proudly added as a piece of flair to the by now well-known Make Bitcoin Great Again and UASF hats. And voices critical of the project — like Voegtlin and his call for replay protection — could consistently count on rounds of applause. From a technical perspective, the proposal is often considered — quite frankly — to be reckless.“Unfortunately, SegWit2x […] was designed to effectively be as disruptive to the minority chain,” MyRig engineer and BIP91 author James Hilliard said on stage during the miner panel.SegWit2x: The ArgumentsArguments against the 2x hard fork are diverse.Perhaps its biggest problem, SegWit2x currently lacks basic safety measures to prevent unsuspecting users from losing funds. This includes, most importantly, the aforementioned replay protection, but a new address format would be similarly helpful.Additionally, the three-month lead time for this specific hard fork is considered extremely short — assuming the goal is to prevent a chain-split in the first place. “If you ask any of the developers, they will typically want to see 18 months or two years lead time, for something with as wide an impact on all the software and hardware out there as a hard fork,” Blockstream co-founder and Hashcash inventor Dr. Adam Back noted during a Q&amp;A session.And if the chain does split into different networks and currencies — one following the current Bitcoin protocol and one adopting the hard fork — the question becomes which of the two gets to use the name “Bitcoin.” So far, proponents of the SegWit2x hard fork have shown no willingness to pick a new name.This branding issue, Bitcoin Core contributor and Ciphrex co-founder Eric Lombrozo pointed out, provides yet another point of controversy.“My personal opinion is that whomever is proposing the change, the onus is on them to demonstrate widespread support,” Lombrozo said during his talk on protocol changes. “The people that want to keep status quo don’t need to show anything. It’s the people who want to change the stuff that actually need to demonstrate there is widespread support.”And for now, not everyone is convinced that SegWit2x does indeed have this level of support — or anything close to it. While several large mining pools, as well as a significant number of companies, have signed on to the New York Agreement, this agreement was itself drafted without any feedback from Bitcoin’s technical community nor — even more important — a reliable gauge of user sentiment. And while some Bitcoin companies claim to represent their customers, this is — once again — not taken for granted by everyone.“One debate I want to draw attention to,” venture capitalist Alyse Killeen pointed out, “is the debate whether businesses speak for their users. I think this is probably a debate you would only see now in this space because it’s pretty well established that businesses outside of this space do not speak for users, but it’s a debate we still have in our community. Of course they don’t.”NO2XIf Breaking Bitcoin in Paris can be considered at all representative of SegWit2x’s community support — which, it should be noted, is not necessarily the case — the proposal will face an uphill battle to be widely accepted in November.Indeed, some signatories of the agreement are not so sure about the hard fork anymore: Bitwala and F2Pool have publicly backed out of the agreement. And, during a mining panel in Paris, Bitfury CIO Alex Petrov ever so slightly opened the door to potentially withdrawing support as well, if both the original and the 2x chain manage to survive.In fact, it’s not just that contentious hard forks are considered a threat to be defended against by Bitcoin’s technical community. It goes beyond that.In the words of Bitcoin developer Jimmy Song, at the conclusion of his opening talk of the event:“What doesn’t kill Bitcoin makes it stronger. And conferences like this prove that we’re getting better at this. We’re getting immunized to all these hard forks, and it’s creating a better Bitcoin as a result, and that’s a very good thing. We’re securing against a lot of these attacks, and figuring out ways to mitigate these threats.”Image courtesy of Federico TengaThe post NO2X: Breaking Bitcoin Shows No Love for the SegWit2x Hard Fork in Paris appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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