Bitcoin news roundup, 9th October 2016

This week’s summary of various cryptocurrency news and developments

New developments:

Red Bull creates bitcoin-only vending machine

This weekend’s Hackers Congress Paralelni Polls was filled up with innovation, as a bitcoin-only vending machine was placed on the event, courtesy of Red Bull, the multi-billion dollar energy drink company. The congress was held near Prague, in Czech Republic, and was sponsored by the Institute of Cryptoanarchy. Each drink costs 2.3 mBTC, or 1.4 USD and to make a purchase, an NFC card was required. The purpose of the machine was to promote the use of the cryptocurrency, and to “energize visitors”. Red Bull has been known for its unorthodox marketing, which included Felix Baumgartner’s leap from outer space.

Brave, the browser that pays publishers in bitcoin, may aim to compete with Google

Brave, a browser co-created by an ex-Mozilla CEO that aims to pay publishers bitcoin according to what users are willing to pay and the amount of time they spend on different websites, has seen largely positive feedback from its users, as it claims both users and publishers will be able to earn revenue, even though there won’t be any ads on the browser at first. Expectations vary, as this is a new concept that may in the future aim to compete with Google by giving users the chance to earn revenue, and to choose between micropayments and ads, according to a Reddit poster.

The browser has recently started giving out the first micropayments, with Wall Street Journal taking the highest amount of bitcoin.

One user lost $1.3 million in the Bitfinex hack. The FBI is investigating

According to a recent report, the FBI is investigating the $1.3 million in bitcoin theft, as an unnamed Bitfinex user claimed the funds were stolen from his or her account. Bitfinex representatives said they are working with the FBI in order to figure out what really happened, and according to the report the exchange did its best to cut the losses – this user ended up losing “only” $720.000. Little is known about the investigation that took place after Bitfinex was hacked and nearly 120.000 bitcoins were stolen.

Ross Ulbricht may have his sentence reduced

In 2015, Ross Ulbricht, the founder of the infamous Silk Road marketplace on the dark web, was sentenced to life in prison with parole. Recently, a panel of appeals judges seemed to leave open the possibility of reducing his life sentence, as his trial as left open a lot of questions that still seem to remain unanswered. On one hand, there are claims an emotional burden was placed on the trial as parents of deceased customers were called to testify. On the other hand, some digital evidence may have been tampered with, as two corrupt law enforcement agents that stole bitcoin from Silk Road may have tampered evidence and, according to the defense, digital evidence is especially susceptible to manipulation.

Word affairs:

New blockchain social media platform, Voice, to be launched by cyber.Fund

Using Steemit as a template, cyber.Fund is about to launch a new social media platform based on top of a blockchain, named Voice. It is going to cater to the uniqueness of the Russian people, in an attempt to engage them as Steemit is mostly an English platform. Accordingly, this is going to be a decentralized social network for journalists, authors and bloggers. It is going to be similar to Facebook, Twitter, and other mainstream social networks, with the expectation that this one will reward users for their content.

Dubai wants all of its documents on blockchain by 2020

Hamdan bin Mohammed, the hereditary prince to the crown of Dubai, has been cited by Dubai Media Office’s social media accounts, in posts that claimed that Dubai will have all of its government documents on the blockchain by 2020, as this is a part of a new initiative called “Dubai Blockchain Strategy”. There isn’t a lot of information regarding the initiative just yet, but it shows growing blockchain adoption and interested, as other institutions such as IBM have been fondling with it too.

EU parliament think thank explores bitcoin-powered elections

The European Parliament has been, through a think tank, been exploring the use of blockchain and bitcoin to power their elections in a voting process that would take control “away from central actors”. The author of the paper exploring the option wrote:

  • “Many experts agree that e-voting would require revolutionary developments in security systems. The debate is whether blockchain will represent a transformative or merely incremental development, and what its implications could be for the future of democracy.”

The paper also speculates what a blockchain-powered voting system would look like, as it suggests the bitcoin blockchain would be preferable over something new, as it has been around for a while.

Financial:

Bitcoin at $616, as mainstream adoption keeps on growing

At the time of this writing, one bitcoin was worth roughly $616, according to CoinDesk. The cryptocurrency has seen a somewhat stable week, as news about its adoption keep on coming. Even though blockchain has everyone’s attention, there are still a few huge companies making sure bitcoin progresses – above, you can see Red Bull is an example of such.

Monero, another cryptocurrency that gained a lot of attention in early September due its adoption in dark net markets has been losing value, being worth $6.88 at the time of this writing.

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