Thursday, 14 November 2013

BitBuzz Daily: our roundup of what's new and interesting on bitcoin

Well, bitcoin's price is up again - at the time of writing, the Mt.Gox price is  US$429. The big question: where or when is it going to stop? This article by Robin Sidel and Saabira Chaudhuri in the Wall Street Journal doesn't answer that but does look at what its future might be and how it is being increasingly viewed as a credible form of payment.

The price of a bitcoin vaulted to a record Wednesday, fueled by growing views that the virtual currency can have a credible future as an alternative to traditional methods of payment.
The momentum is coming from around the world, as amateur investors, venture capitalists and technology enthusiasts pump money into businesses that are trying to figure out how to swap and use bitcoin to buy goods and services.
"Our clients have seen an uptick in interest among a wider circle than just the types of people who were early adopters in the U.S.," said Adam Shapiro, a director at Promontory Financial Group LLC, a financial-services consulting firm that is advising clients on bitcoin ventures.
Bitcoin is a four-year-old virtual currency that isn't backed by a central bank and can be traded on a number of exchanges or swapped privately. A growing number of merchants also accept bitcoin as payment because the transaction costs associated with the currency are generally lower than those with credit or debit cards.

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If you do want a slightly more technical look at the future of bitcoin and what needs to happen for it to compete with the traditional credit card companies, just check out this interview with Mike Hearn by Timothy B Lee for the Washington Post

At the heart of Bitcoin is the blockchain, a global, shared record of every Bitcoin transaction that has ever occurred. It gets its name from the fact that every 10 minutes, on average, the peer-to-peer Bitcoin network adds a new "block" containing records of recent transactions.
The blockchain is shared among the numerous computers that participate in the transaction-clearing process known as "mining." To avoid overloading those computers, Bitcoin software currently limits each block to one megabyte in size. The result: right now, the Bitcoin network is only capable of processing around 7 transactions per second. For comparison, the Visa network is designed to handle peak volumes of 10,000 transactions per second.
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One of the big talking points about bitcoin right now is, of course, how are the regulators going to deal with it? This video by James D'Angelo for the Bitcoin 101 Blackboard series is an interesting look at some of the hurdles regulators will have to face. No one said this was going to be easy...

Watch it on YouTube

From cattle to crypto-currency, we've come a long way since the days of trading cows for wealth. This cool infographic by shows the different stages in the Evolution of the Paying Customer.

Click image to see a larger versionThe Evolution of the Paying Customer

Bitcoin has been gaining popularity rapidly in Argentina as the population look to alternatives to their ever-inflating peso. Now, as if to really cement the country as a serious player in the Bitcoin economy, the first Latin American Bitcoin Conference will be taking place in Buenos Aires. Elizabeth Ploshay explains more in this piece on Bitcoin Magazine.

From December 7 through 8, Bitcoin enthusiasts and those interested in learning about this digital, decentralized phenomena will gather in Buenos Aires, Argentina for the first Latin American Bitcoin Conference hosted by the Fundación Bitcoin Argentina.

Why Argentina? The Argentinian Bitcoin community is rapidly growing in reaction to national economic strain, but most importantly due to the opportunities Bitcoin represents as a disruptive technology and economic growth potential. With an inflating Argentinian Peso and limited access to additional fiat currencies such as the US Dollar, Bitcoin provides a credible solution and represents opportunity for Argentinians and those interested in doing business in Argentina.

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