Motherboard’s Alec Liu (@sfnuop) interviews Yifu Guo, creator of the Avalon ASIC — one of two reasons Bitcoin mining capacity has been coming online at a faster pace than ever. Excerpts:
“And quietly in the background, a company called Avalon shipped the first ASIC-based bitcoin miners, custom-built rigs with specially-designed chips for efficiently printing the market’s hottest commodity, ushering in what can be considered the internet’s first gold rush. (Someone recently paid $20,000 for a $1,500 miner from batch two on eBay. At the time of this writing, another auction has a batch two Avalon miner going for over $19,000.)” - “After opening up its third batch of 600 miners for sale yesterday, customers from around the world from countries like Argentina, the UK, and even Egypt (although the majority of orders came from the big three of the U.S., Russia, and China) made sure Avalon’s units sold out in fifteen minutes. We had the chance to sit down with Avalon’s founder, Yifu Guo to talk bitcoin, mining, and the future.”
“If bitcoin is a $1 billion market, and it only takes less than $1 million to secure the network right now, that’s not a lot of money for someone to try and take over the mining scene. The faster the technology progresses, the more secure the network is, because it will be that much harder for a malevolent entity to mess with the system. We want to [improve performance …] The sooner the better so we’ll never again have this scenario where one company like Avalon essentially controls more theoretical computing power than the entire network’s hash rate. This will never happen again.”
Forbes contributor and Bitcoin Foundation board member Jon Matonis (@JonMatonis) posts on the latest developments in Cyprus and how Bitcoin has a role. Excerpts:
“‘Only put money in the banking system that you can afford to lose,’ advises financial commentator Max Keiser. This is no more true than last weekend in Cyprus when bank depositors had electronic transfers blocked and were initially told to prepare for a confiscatory levy of up the 9.9% of their deposit balances across the board.” - “Capital controls are about government keeping your money within easy reach should they ever want it. A decentralized and nonpolitical currency like Bitcoin starts to look attractive by providing a safer destination for wary depositors, allowing them to store their money securely in a digital account on their own computers, away from the big governments and politicians’ reach.” - “The emerging trend towards bitcoin as a flight to safety seems to be accelerating despite the recent regulatory guidance from FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network).” - “‘Gold is a great way to preserve wealth, but it is hard to move around,’ added [James Rickards, author of Currency Wars]. ‘You do need some kind of alternative and Bitcoin fits the bill.’”
Segment 4 of BrianLehrer.tv (@BrianLehrer) aired on March 18, 2013 and is titled Cloudy Cash. Interviewed is Marc Hochstein (@MarcHochstein), executive editor of American Banker magazine, and Erik Voorhees (@ErikVoorhees), marketing and communications director at payment processor BitInstant.com.
A post on Bitcoin Money (@BitcoinMoney) blog contains a collection of news articles and blog posts regarding FinCEN’s Application of Regulations to Persons Administering, Exchanging, or Using Virtual Currencies.
Patrick Murck (@VirtuallyLaw), General counsel and board member of Bitcoin Fondation posted on FinCEN’s recent guidance regarding using and exchanging virtual currencies. Excerpts:
“Upon an initial reading two things struck me: FinCEN firmly believes that virtual currency in general, and bitcoin in particular, does not fall under the pre-paid access rules. FinCEN seems intent on recreating and expanding the pre-paid access rules for virtual currency and bitcoin under the mantle of money transmission.” - “Under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), FinCEN can’t promulgate new rules without going through a notice and comment proceeding whereby the public may have their voices heard. If FinCEN would like to expand its statutory authority over “money transmitters” to include brand new categories such as ‘administrators’ and ‘exchangers’ of digital currency it must do so through proper rulemaking proceedings and not by fiat.” - “FinCEN’s guidance implies that every person who has ever had any virtual currency and has ever exchanged that virtual currency for real currency may now be considered a money transmitter under the Bank Secrecy Act. That is, of course, an untenable position.” - “This framework would wildly expand the reach of FinCEN and the BSA, and would be infeasable for many, if not most, members of the bitcoin community to comply with. […] The BSA was never intended to apply this broadly and reach this far into people’s everyday lives.”
Nicolas Mendoza (@NicolasMendo) follows up to his May 2012 article in Al Jazeera with the more recent developments. Excerpts:
“What we have here is radically different from the current system where money creation is based on debt, politically motivated, surrounded by secrecy, inflationary, unilateralist, colonialist, and exploitative of powerless nations, etc. The flaws in the design of modern currency are at the roots of the social and ecological disasters we face today.” - “An economy built on debt-based currency can only “grow”, the 2008 economic collapse showed us, by putting more people deeper into debt. Inevitably, this leads to a society where the many always owe more and more to the few, eventually making democracy a farce. Bankers, as Robert Fisk puts it, are the dictators of the West.” - “The P2P money creation system that Bitcoin proposes is truly something else as it deflates the dark power of debt-based money in society; it allows envisioning a world where the wheels of debt are no longer at the origin of economic activity.”
Bitcoin-Qt/bitcoind core developer Sipa (Pieter Wuille) shares the details about today’s blockhain fork with a post on the BitcoinTalk forum.
“If you are not a merchant or a miner, don’t worry.” - “If you’re a merchant: please stop processing transactions until the chains converge.” - “v0.7 or older, the client will likely tell you that you need to upgrade. [There is no need to] follow this advise - the warning should go away as soon as the old chain catches up.”
There is a developing situation in which a bug in the Bitcoin client software is causing a blockchain fork. Those using Bitcoin-Qt v0.8 should not trust the transactions as being non-reversible even if the client shows the transaction having received six or more confirmations.
This latest on the situation may be monitored on the #bitcoin-dev IRC channel.
[The tl:dr on the bug … the v0.8 client software allows a larger transaction that the previous releases did not. As a result v0.7 clients aren’t accepting those blocks.]
[Update: 2013-03-12 01:55 AM UTC. A forum thread by core developer Pieter Wuille has the latest. No further updates will appear in this post.]
[Update: 2013-03-12 01:49 AM UTC. The fork occurred after block 225439. No transactions from block 225439 or prior (corrected) will be affected. Waiting on miners on the v0.7 fork to regain “longest chain” status — expected within a matter of hours.]
[Update: 2013-03-12 01:12 AM UTC. The blockchain built by clients on v0.8 was 6 blocks (perhaps exactly 6 blocks) ahead, thus some transactions that were confirmed will revert to unconfirmed until mined through a v0.7 client.] [Update: 2013-03-12 01:00 AM UTC. Large mining pools are reverting to use the v0.7 client.]