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What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a digital crypto-currency with no single point of failure due to its decentralized peer-to-peer architecture. The source code is publicly available and changes to the reference Bitcoin client are made via concensus within the community. Advantages of Bitcoin include irreversible transactions (i.e. no possibility of chargebacks as with credit cards), pseudo-anonymous, limited and fixed inflation, near instant transactions, multi-platform, no double-spend and little to no barriers to entry and more. It was created by an anonymous person known as Satoshi Nakamoto. Find out more at WeUseCoins.com.

Bitcoin Latest News

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Posted on 19 November 2017 | 10:04 am

The 7 Biggest Challenges Facing Bitcoin - Motley Fool


The 7 Biggest Challenges Facing Bitcoin
Motley Fool
Bitcoin has been incredibly volatile since its inception. I wrote in September that $10 worth of bitcoin in 2010 would be worth millions of dollars today. And the volatility isn't slowing down -- in fact, since I wrote that article less than two months ...

and more »

Posted on 19 November 2017 | 6:17 am

Manhattan's Real Estate Eyes Up Bitcoin for Property Payments - CryptoCoinsNews


Manhattan's Real Estate Eyes Up Bitcoin for Property Payments
CryptoCoinsNews
Manhattan's real estate market is embracing bitcoin for property payments as the digital currency increases in value. One property developer who is hoping to capitalise on the recent digital currency boom is Ben Shaoul, of Magnum Real Estate Group.

Posted on 19 November 2017 | 5:10 am

Even Investors with Access Want ICO Presale Reform

Many agree that the now-commonplace ICO presale to public sale process is too compressed and goes against the funding method's original intent.

Posted on 19 November 2017 | 4:40 am

The Gentrification of ICOs Is Underway

The ICO neighborhood, so to speak, is cleaning up, though University of Dublin's Paul Ennis suggests this may not exactly be a future to fear.

Posted on 19 November 2017 | 3:30 am

A True Network or Troll? A Look at the “Bitcoin Clashic” Project - Bitcoin News (press release)


Bitcoin News (press release)

A True Network or Troll? A Look at the “Bitcoin Clashic” Project
Bitcoin News (press release)
Just recently, news.Bitcoin.com reported on the successful Bitcoin Cash hard fork that took place on November 13. However, according to reports across the web, the fork split into two, and an unknown group began mining blocks on the legacy chain ...

and more »

Posted on 19 November 2017 | 12:54 am

Internet Archive Now Accepts Bitcoin Cash and Zcash as Donations - Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)


Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)

Internet Archive Now Accepts Bitcoin Cash and Zcash as Donations
Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
The nonprofit Internet Archive has included the digital currencies Bitcoin Cash and Zcash as payment options for supporters who want to donate money to help maintain its operations. Internet Archive is a digital library of Internet artifacts and web pages.
Internet Archive Enables Donations With Zcash, Bitcoin Cash And BitcoinCryptoCoinsNews

all 3 news articles »

Posted on 19 November 2017 | 12:28 am

Bitcoin Demand Surges in Zimbabwe Following Successful Coup - Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)


Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)

Bitcoin Demand Surges in Zimbabwe Following Successful Coup
Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
The price of Bitcoin surged by as much as 10% on the Zimbabwean exchange Golix in mid-November 2017 after the military successfully staged a coup d'état. The country is already known not to have a strong economy; Zimbabwe's peak month of inflation ...
Why Bitcoin Is Super Hot in ZimbabweInc.com
Bitcoin investments new attraction for Indians, say expertsEconomic Times
Bitcoin Has 'Unquantifiable Risk': UBS Investment ChiefCryptoCoinsNews
Seeking Alpha -Business Insider
all 29 news articles »

Posted on 19 November 2017 | 12:23 am

First Long-Term LedgerX Bitcoin Option Pegs Price at $10,000

The first ever LedgerX long-term bitcoin futures option pegs the cryptocurrency price at $10,000 by next December.

Posted on 18 November 2017 | 2:59 pm

ICOs on Our Terms and Conditions

How to structure token sales that comply with securities laws open participation to a diverse range of purchasers and enhance value for all involved.

Posted on 18 November 2017 | 5:40 am

Millions Gone? Broker Takes Fire for Bitcoin Cash Freeze

Bitcoin cash's big ups and downs have had market impacts far and wide, while showcasing the nascent nature of the crypto sector as a whole.

Posted on 18 November 2017 | 4:45 am

Gox ICO? CEO Karpeles Floats Token Sale to Revive Bitcoin Exchange

A Mt Gox initial coin offering (ICO)? It's not that much of a far-fetched idea, according to the defunct bitcoin exchange's controversial CEO.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 3:10 pm

Now the SegWit2x Hard Fork Has Really Failed to Activate

The SegWit2x Hard Fork Has Now Really Failed to Activate

In case there were any remaining doubts, it now seems clear that the SegWit2x hard fork will not happen.

The SegWit2x project, a product of the New York Agreement signed onto by a long list of companies and miners in May, had scheduled a hard fork to double Bitcoin’s block weight limit today. And while the controversial effort was suspended by leaders of the project last week, this would not have stopped anyone else from proceeding with it. Companies like Coinbase were indeed taking into account that the SegWit2x hard fork could still happen.

The Fork That Wasn’t

SegWit2x nodes — most notably btc1 — were programmed to fork away from the Bitcoin blockchain this afternoon (UTC) to create the SegWit2x blockchain and a new currency, often referred to as B2X. However, not a single SegWit2x block has been mined since fork point, nor is there any indication that this is likely to happen. For all intents and purposes, there is no SegWit2x — nor a B2X.

Further, software bugs in the btc1 codebase made all btc1 implementations grind to a halt even before it reached the expected fork point. While Bitcoin and SegWit2x nodes were widely expected to share a single blockchain up until block 494783 and then to go their own ways at block 494784, btc1 nodes never made it past block 494782.

This is mainly because the first block on the SegWit2x chain was required to have a “base block” larger than one megabyte. This is how the chain would diverge from the original Bitcoin protocol. But due to what is referred to as an “off-by-one error,” SegWit2x blocks started to reject smaller-than-one-megabyte blocks one block too soon — at block 494,783 instead of 494,784.

Moreover, another btc1 bug prevented miners from mining a big enough block when it was needed. So even if some miners did want to proceed with the fork, they accidentally wouldn’t have done so — at least not automatically. Miners would instead have had to manually configure their block weight settings, but it’s unlikely they knew about this step. Btc1 maintainer Jeff Garzik (while also denying there was a problem) has since released a patch to resolve this issue.

But judging by the absence of any SegWit2x blocks, the patch hasn’t made a difference, most likely because few, if any, miners were interested in mining on the SegWit2x chain in the first place.

NO2X?

Despite the seeming failure of SegWit2x to take off in any way, it should be noted that there is technically no way to declare a fork like SegWit2x officially “dead” or “failed.”

While unlikely, it’s always possible that the SegWit2x hard fork could proceed at some point in the future. In fact, there is no way to tell whether the SegWit2x chain is currently being mined with a little bit of hash power right now, and it is strictly impossible to foresee whether it will be mined later on. Perhaps a SegWit2x block will be found a day from now, a week from now or even ten years from now, at which point SegWit2x and B2X will technically come into existence.

However, since the SegWit2x chain did not include a mining difficulty reset, it will be as hard to mine a B2X block as it currently is to mine a BTC block. Meanwhile, market support for B2X appears to be extremely low, with B2X futures trading below 2 percent of BTC. So even if miners decide to mine B2X blocks, they’d almost certainly be earning far less than they would by mining BTC. Or, more accurately, they’d spend more on electricity bills than they’d be able to earn by mining B2X. The financial incentive to mine the SegWit2x chain just isn’t there.

Alternatively, SegWit2x could see a bit of a rebirth in the form of “BitcoinX” (BTX). This project, supposedly started by disappointed SegWit2x supporters, will take a snapshot of bitcoin balances at block height 494,783 and start a SegWit2x-like altcoin that offers all BTC holders the equivalent amount in BTX. Though, while this coin is arguably more viable than B2X thanks to a mining difficulty reset and more, it really is a new coin — arguably even more so than B2X would have been.

The post Now the SegWit2x Hard Fork Has Really Failed to Activate appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 2:54 pm

Blockchain Coalition Seeks to Make Bitcoin Welcome in Wyoming

wyomingbc.jpg

A group of people are on a mission to bring Bitcoin back to the state of Wyoming after unfriendly laws made it impossible to transact with cryptocurrencies there more than two years ago.

The Wyoming Blockchain Coalition announced its formation this week. Its volunteer members aim to create a legal and regulatory environment in the state that welcomes cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology companies with open arms.

Among the group’s advisors are Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock — Byrne lives in Utah but has been a Bitcoin advocate for years — a former Wyoming governor, and two deans and a computer science department head from the University of Wyoming.

Outdated Laws

Bitcoin used to be welcome in Wyoming. But a 2015 interpretation of the Wyoming Money Transmitters Act (which the state passed in 2003, years before Bitcoin even existed) by the Wyoming Division of Banking made it impractical for cryptocurrency exchanges to operate in the state.

Cryptocurrencies are not specifically included on the list of “permissible investments” within the Act, as stocks or securities would be. As a result, after learning it would have to put up huge financial backing to stay in operation in the state, Coinbase suspended its operations in Wyoming indefinitely in June 2015.   

But a lot of people think the law doesn’t make sense. They see cryptocurrency as the future, and they think Wyoming would benefit from being more progressive.

Caitlin Long is one of those people. Now living in New York, where she serves as chairman and president at smart contracts platform company Symbiont, Long grew up in Laramie, Wyoming.

Over the summer, she wanted to give back to her alma mater. But when she went to personally fund an endowment for female engineers at the University of Wyoming, she found out the school was unable to accept her bitcoin as an appreciated asset.  

Fortunately, Long was able to find a charity outside of Wyoming that could legally liquidate the bitcoin and send it to the university through a donor-advised fund.

“They still got the cash, but it prompted a lot of discussion internally in the university about ‘what just happened here?’” Long told Bitcoin Magazine.

Long would not disclose how much she donated, but typically, donations to an endowment are $50,000 and up.

“When universities have donors that are interested in donating properties, they usually try to find ways to accept the properties,” she said.  

The event prompted a lot of discussion among some of the people within the university and eventually led to the formation of a coalition aimed at educating about and advocating for the adoption of blockchain technology in the state.  

Long offered up her services as an advisor member. “I’m in the business,” she said. “So I volunteered to help with both the bitcoin and the blockchain education efforts.”

No Time to Lose

The coalition is moving quickly. Within a week, the group formed an LLC, sent out a press release stating its goals and launched a website. “This is very, very new, and it is happening in real time,” said Long.

They have good reason to make haste. The new legislative session begins in February. If the coalition wants to push through a bill that will get digital currencies recognized as a “permissible investment” under the Wyoming Money Transmitters Act, they will need to move quickly.

Currently the group is working on legislative language with local attorneys and legislators. Next, they need to educate the citizens of Wyoming and the legislators about the benefits of Bitcoin and blockchain technologies. Some of that will involve webinars and live events, as as well as organizing a dinner in Cheyenne during the legislative session.  

Last year, a similar regulatory effort, Wyoming House Bill 26, did not pass, but that was due to lack of knowledge and some “unrelated political feuds,” Robert Jennings, another one of the group’s advisor members, told Bitcoin Magazine.

This time around, he thinks “blockchain [technology] and cryptocurrency will stand on its own merits.”

Jennings added, “There is already a groundswell of support in the state due to the rise in popularity of Bitcoin.”

But, he cautioned, it will require “an extensive education campaign, which is why we formed the Wyoming Blockchain Coalition.”

The post Blockchain Coalition Seeks to Make Bitcoin Welcome in Wyoming appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 1:28 pm

Ethereum Could Soon Launch Its First Casper Testnet

An experimental consensus algorithm that's long been proposed as a pillar of the ethereum protocol could soon see its first testing.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 11:45 am

Internet Archive Adds Bitcoin Cash, Zcash to Donation Options

The Internet Archive, host of the Wayback Machine, has announced it now supports donations in bitcoin cash and zcash.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 9:45 am

Bitcoin Just Surged Past $8000. Here's What's Causing the Spike - Fortune


Fortune

Bitcoin Just Surged Past $8000. Here's What's Causing the Spike
Fortune
After dipping below $6,000 earlier this month, the price of cryptocurrency Bitcoin surged as high as $8,040 Friday on one of the world's largest exchanges, Bitfinex. The globally weighted average-high Bitcoin prices were slightly lower, sitting at $7 ...
This Week in Bitcoin: Failed Forks, Atomic Swaps, and a Little Trouble in Big ChinaBitcoin News (press release)
Bitcoin Surpasses $8000 As Hard Fork Takes PrecedenceForbes
Bitcoin breaks $8000 barrier amid speculation over spin-offThe Guardian
Investopedia (blog) -Reuters -Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News) -Medium
all 57 news articles »

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 8:34 am

ECB Council Member: Central Banks Considering Crypto Regulation

The European Central Bank's Ewald Nowotny has said that China's recent crackdown has brought new focus on cryptocurrency regulations.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 8:30 am

Ripple Makes a Splash: XRP Price Looks Up on Amex News

Positive news flow for Ripple seems to be boosting price, while the technical analysis also favors the bulls.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 7:30 am

Mike and Nathaniel's Week in Tech: Everybody Loves Bitcoin - New York Times


New York Times

Mike and Nathaniel's Week in Tech: Everybody Loves Bitcoin
New York Times
Farhad is off this week, so Nathaniel Popper, a Times tech and finance reporter, is filling in for him. Want this newsletter in your inbox? Sign up here. Mike: Why, hello there, new newsletter partner! It's everyone's favorite Bitcoin reporter ...

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 7:00 am

The World's Biggest Wealth Manager Won't Touch Bitcoin - Bloomberg - Bloomberg


Bloomberg

The World's Biggest Wealth Manager Won't Touch Bitcoin - Bloomberg
Bloomberg
UBS Group AG, the world's largest wealth manager, isn't prepared to make portfolio allocations to bitcoin because of a lack of government oversight, the bank's ...

and more »

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 6:32 am

Up and Away? Bitcoin Price Eyes $8,000 Or Higher

Bitcoin has staged a remarkable "V" shaped recovery from the last week's lows near $5,500, and may be looking at new highs ahead.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 5:30 am

Friends Don't Let Friends Do Bad Crypto

Our duty to users doesn't end when they leave our site or app. Behaviors learned from us guide interactions with other services, writes Dan Elitzer.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 4:30 am

Over 20 Banks Join Singapore-Hong Kong Blockchain Trade Network

A number of banks have joined the recently announced blockchain-based trade network pilot jointly set up by Hong Kong and Singapore.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 3:20 am

Bitcoin adds $41 billion to market cap in 6 days as it hits all-time high of $7998 - CNBC


CNBC

Bitcoin adds $41 billion to market cap in 6 days as it hits all-time high of $7998
CNBC
The cryptocurrency touched an all-time high of $7,998.40 in the early hours, U.K. time, according to industry website CoinDesk. The digital currency erased the days gains to trade slightly lower near $7,632 late Friday afternoon. It's been a wild week ...
Bitcoin Hits Record Just Days After a 29% PlungeBloomberg
Bitcoin is hitting new highs—here's why it might not be a bubbleArs Technica
Bitcoin Reaches Latest High, Inches Closer To $8000Forbes
Reuters -CoinDesk -Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News) -LendEDU
all 238 news articles »

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 2:45 am

The Beginning? Tezos Could Open Doors for ICO Litigation

Class-action litigators in the U.S. appear to be positioning for a potential pop in the hot initial coin offering market.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 2:00 am

Swiss Firms to Let Traders Short Bitcoin With New Futures Products

Swiss bank Vontobel and Leonteq Securities announced that they will start trading Switzerland’s first two mini futures to short bitcoin on Friday.

Posted on 16 November 2017 | 10:30 pm

Europe's Executive Arm Issues Report on Blockchain For Education

EU Commission has released a report titled 'Blockchain in Education' that explains on potentials of the nascent technology in the education industry.

Posted on 16 November 2017 | 9:00 pm

Bitcoin Price Analysis: BTC Pushes All-time Highs and Tests Historic Resistance

Bitcoin Price Analysis

Throughout the life of bitcoin’s two-year bull run, it has been confined within two macro trends: one parabolic and one linear — both on a logarithmic scale:

Figure_1.JPGFigure 1: BTC-USD, 1-Day Candles, Macro Trend

The parabolic envelope (black curves) has confined the entire bull run throughout the last two years. Over the weekend, we saw a test of the lower curve that proved to be proper support and propelled the market into a bounce that now has the market testing the upper linear trendline (purple lines) at the time of this article:
Figure_2.JPGFigure 2: BTC-USD, 2-Hour Candles, Test of Upper Trendline

As the bitcoin market approaches the upper trendline, the price action will coincide with a test of the previous all-time high. Expect this to be a point of resistance with possible market turbulence. However, if we manage to break that resistance level and hold support above the trendline, there is no clear resistance until we test the parabolic envelope in the upper $8,000s.

If we look at the macro indicators for this move, we see some signs that have proven to be indications of short-term rallies leading to corrections:

Figure_3.JPGFigure 3: BTC-USD, 1-Day Candles, Bollinger Band Trend

The last two corrections bitcoin has seen came on the tail of a minor pullback that rebounded to a new all-time high. The one-day candle trend is, so far, showing a repeated pattern that has led into a reversal each time it tested the upper parabolic curve. A rounding of the Bollinger bands during an upward move (shown in purple) is a forecast for decreased upward volatility that will lead to either a consolidation period or a reversal to the lower Bollinger bands.

While a reversal is not required of this move upward, one can speculate that once the price tags the upper parabolic curve, we could see a pullback to the lower Bollinger bands on the one-day charts. A pullback to the lower Bollinger bands would see support quite nicely with the lower parabolic curve.

One of two outcomes can be expected from this move upward: either we will test the upper parabolic trendline and reverse, or we will break above and consolidate before continuing on a very strong bullish move to new highs.

However, these macro moves have become increasingly more demanding on the market as we continue to get squeezed within the parabolic envelope. The forecast of the Bollinger bands indicates we are not likely to see a sustained move higher without a consolidation period or a pullback.

Summary:

  1. Over the weekend, bitcoin saw another test of the lower parabolic curve that proved to be strong support.

  2. After testing the parabolic curve, the market rebounded and has now established a new all-time high.

  3. If this trend continues, bitcoin could see prices in the mid to upper $8,000s before any noticeable resistance stands in the way of the price growth.

Trading and investing in digital assets like bitcoin 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: BTC Pushes All-time Highs and Tests Historic Resistance appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 16 November 2017 | 4:00 pm

The Lightning Network Now Supports Transactions Across Blockchains

lnbtclte.jpg

Although still in testing phase, the lightning network can now be used to send transactions across different blockchains. The Lightning Labs development team successfully swapped testnet bitcoin for testnet litecoin through a lightning channel this week: ownership of the coins changed hands, while no transaction was recorded on either blockchain.

“Previous atomic swaps that I have done were on-chain, and had the on-chain limitations of slow [transactions] and high transaction fees,” Litecoin creator Charlie Lee told Bitcoin Magazine, referring to an older trick to exchange different types of coins trustlessly. “Off-chain atomic swaps are significantly better. They are instant, [have] low fees, and better protect one’s privacy.”

The successful test paves the way for trustless cryptocurrency exchanges, near-seamless multi-coin payment processors and more.

Bitcoin and Litecoin

The lightning network is the highly anticipated second-layer payment network to be deployed on top of Bitcoin. And as an open protocol, it’s relatively easy to deploy lightning network support for other cryptocurrencies that are forked from Bitcoin’s codebase — like Litecoin.

Interestingly, if the lightning network runs on different blockchains, these chains can effectively be linked together. If one or several peers on the network are willing to take one type of coin and forward another, it’s possible to send bitcoins on one end of a channel that will end up as the equivalent in litecoin on the other end.

In a Medium post published in the first week of 2017, Lee explained that this potential to create these kinds of “bridges” between cryptocurrencies made him throw his weight behind the Segregated Witness (SegWit) soft forks on both Litecoin and Bitcoin.

When SegWit activated on Litecoin last spring, Lee’s vision came one step closer to reality. Because the soft fork had not yet activated on Bitcoin at that time, Lightning Labs decided to add Litecoin support to their LND lightning network implementation. Thus, by the time SegWit activated on Bitcoin last summer, LND was already compatible with both chains.

The testnet versions of these two blockchains are now made interoperable through the lightning network for the first time, allowing users to swap one type of coin for the other.

“The primary advantages over previous solutions are speed, cost and privacy,” Lightning Labs developer Conner Fromknecht told Bitcoin Magazine. “Transfers are more or less instant, and don’t require the cost of an on-chain transaction. Additionally, in the cooperative case, the transactions are never broadcast, and leave no trace on the blockchain, offering privacy benefits. And with any luck, these privacy benefits will only continue to improve.”

The Test (and the Potential)

This week’s specific test was done on a local machine, on which Fromknecht himself created two nodes: “Alice” and “Bob.” These two nodes were modified to be able to monitor both the Bitcoin and Litecoin testnets. Fromknecht then created a single lightning channel that sent testnet litecoin from Alice to Bob and testnet bitcoin back from Bob to Alice at a fixed exchange rate. While still all in an experimental setting, the test was successful; Lightning Labs today published a blog post and a video detailing the results.

In addition to offering a faster, cheaper and more private solution to exchanging coins, the successful test paves the way toward a whole new range of possibilities in the context of the lightning network. For example, peers on the network could eventually act as cryptocurrency exchanges, competing with one another to offer the best exchange rates.

“Arguably the most important benefit of Lightning swaps is the ability to efficiently exchange different currencies without a custodian,” Fromknecht said. “Our ecosystem heavily depends on exchanges to fulfill this role today, but Lightning swaps offer users a choice to get the best of both worlds — instant exchanges without relinquishing control of your money.”

Similarly, such exchangers could act as payment processors: it would be much easier for users to spend litecoin at merchants that only accept bitcoin (or vice versa). And it’s even conceivable that bitcoin-to-bitcoin payments over the lightning network will route via Litecoin hubs, if that’s the cheapest way to get funds from A to B.

For Lee, at least, this is not as unlikely as it sounds, and the successful tests mark another step toward his vision for the lightning network on Litecoin and Bitcoin.

“The Litecoin team is excited to work with Lightning Labs to explore the true potential of instant cross-chain atomic swaps,” he concluded.

For a more in-depth technical explanation of these kinds of atomic swaps, see our previous article “Atomic Scaps: How the Lightning Network Extends to Altcoins” or the blog post and video published by Lightning Labs today.

The post The Lightning Network Now Supports Transactions Across Blockchains appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 16 November 2017 | 3:48 pm

New “Semi-Decentralized” Cryptocurrency Exchange Navigates Murky Compliance Waters

New “Semi-Decentralized” Cryptocurrency Exchange Navigates Murky Compliance Waters

Tetra, a new entrant in the cryptocurrency exchange sector, describes itself as a semi-decentralized, peer-to-peer exchange with an emphasis on security and usability: “Tetra will help create the next wave of cryptocoin adoption which will benefit all cryptocurrency users from investors to traders to businesses.”

The term “peer-to-peer exchange” tends to suggest the idea of a strong emphasis on privacy and anonymity, as well as a certain level of disdain for Know-Your-Customer (KYC) rules, meddling regulators and authorities. According to Tetra’s blog post announcement, however, it appears that its approach is at odds with this philosophy:

Tetra understands the importance of practices like KYC and has devoted the resources necessary to implement these processes properly. Users will be able to trade safely with the comfort of knowing that due diligence has been enacted to protect them from potential repercussions.

“You may have heard the terrifying accounts of people receiving prison sentences for trading cryptocurrencies on peer-to-peer exchanges,” adds the main Tetra website. “With Tetra, that is a thing of the past. Route your payments through our fully compliant banking network for a legally sound trading process. We're relieving traders of the burden of obtaining expensive licenses and adhering to cumbersome regulations in order to allow people to focus on what matters: their trades.”

While this sounds appealing to compliance-conscious cryptocurrency users and traders, the self-description of Tetra as a “semi-decentralized P2P” raises questions. In a Reddit discussion, a Tetra representative admits that Tetra is a centralized service, but states that the exchange operates using a decentralized transaction model so that the operators never have control over users’ coins directly, and thus hackers do not have access to users’ coins.

In communication with Bitcoin Magazine, Patrick O'Brien and CTO of Tetra Exchange, confirmed this practice.

"Tetra is called a semi-decentralized exchange because Tetra customers maintain control over their own private keys. Customer funds are never stored on our centralized servers, users store their funds in their own client-side wallets which are built into the Tetra software, and transact through our system by utilizing the Bitcoin network's multi-signature transaction architecture.”

He explained that Tetra is described as a peer-to-peer exchange because users are trading with other individuals, and not with Tetra or against a Tetra orderbook as they would in a traditional exchange.

“To elaborate further, this means that when customers are interested in making escrow payments they will participate in a multi-signature transaction, with the third party and ourselves as signing authorities,” continued O'Brien.

“In the event of a dispute we can co-operate with either side to move the funds where they need to go, and in the event of a successful transaction both sides can agree to release the funds. All of this is accomplished without us ever having direct control over the flow of money as would be the case in a traditional exchange.”

International Compliance Issues

Based in British Columbia, Canada, Tetra plans to operate globally with no restrictions, unless forced to by law. When a Reddit user suggested that Tetra is advising traders to flaunt U.S. money transmission laws, the Tetra representative answered that the exchange is not “ignoring U.S. laws and pretending it's Canadian law while intending to operate in the U.S.”

He added that the exchange takes compliance very seriously and stated that Tetra is circling back to their lawyers for advice.

However, as the Reddit thread continues to point out, there still remains a number of compliance and personal privacy concerns related to the company’s KYC measures that U.S. users should be especially wary of, depending on the particular state requirements where they live.

Some states are stricter than others, too. Always [know] one's own jurisdictional rules/laws and not rely on what is "too good to be true." - coin_trader_LBC

User Experience and Security

Leaving aside the P2P interpretation and the potential compliance minefield, it’s worth noting that Tetra emphasizes easy usability and security as strong competitive advantages in the cryptocurrency exchange market.

“[The] Tetra app and web platform will create a simple experience for users,” reads the announcement, adding that users won’t need to know about public key cryptography and smart contracts. “This approach will enable a new generation of users to enter the cryptocurrency space and with that bring new investors, new clients for dapps and crypto-based businesses, and in general make a great stride towards mainstream adoption that will enable the positioning of cryptocurrencies as true world-currencies.”

The Tetra platform uses multisig escrow and intends to automate all aspects of the trading process to provide “incredibly secure and worry-free trading” with 2-of-2 and 2-of-3 P2SH multi-signature transactions, smart contracts and encryption of all communications.

Of course, Tetra is hardly the only exchange to focus on easy usability and security, and, in fact similar measures are adopted by many exchanges today. What really seems to differentiate Tetra from many other exchanges is the fact that Tetra is explicitly targeting professional traders and cryptocurrency trading businesses that need to streamline multiple trades, by offering an easy user experience to their customers and presenting themselves as fully compliant with regulations.

"The goal here is to facilitate the growth of fiat to crypto on-ramps and off-ramps, and we do this by encouraging people to operate trading businesses on our platform," O'Brien told Bitcoin Magazine.

“The features outlined so far culminate to satisfy business needs; by ensuring customers have a completely secure, legally safe, and easy to use platform Tetra will allow businesses to thrive in an otherwise hostile environment,” concludes the announcement.

The first public release of the Tetra platform and apps, currently available to alpha testers, will support Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Dash. Other cryptocurrencies that support multisig transactions are planned for the future. The platform will begin its roll out in the U.S., Canada and Australia.

To professional traders and businesses, Tetra offers a paid service dubbed Tetra Prime, with support for online and “brick-and-mortar” business storefronts, as well as trade matching and analytics to optimize trading profiles.

The post New “Semi-Decentralized” Cryptocurrency Exchange Navigates Murky Compliance Waters appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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