Bitcoin Weekly 2016 June 9: OpenBazaar expands version 1.1.6, Steam stops Russia BTC payments, Trezor Password …

As Bitcoin and blockchain technology continue to mature the news appears to have shifted heavily towards the cultural and technological influence of the Bitcoin blockchain. Partnerships and developer conferences continue to emerge on the horizon as adoption continues.

In this Bitcoin Weekly we will explore updates to OpenBazaar, new stores adding themselves to the distributed, open marketplace and version updates. The Vanbex Group, a blockchain technology innovator, have partnered with a Chinese blockchain company who run a Bitcoin exchange. Also, for some unknown reason digital gaming distribution platform Steam has stopped Bitcoin payments from Russia.

For people uncertain about master passwords stored in the cloud, SatoshiLabs has released the TREZOR Password Manager, which stores the master encryption password on a hardware device.

Finally, two days left to buy tickets to the With the Best Blockchain Developer Conference happening online this weekend (June 11) featuring expert coders, talks about the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains, smart contracts, service APIs and more.

As for the Bitcoin market, last week’s boost into the $500 range has stuck and pushed up closer to $600, it is currently at $578.68 USD (BitcoinAverage.com). Last week after the last Bitcoin Weekly the market value stayed around $540, but on June 3 it quickly catapulted up to almost $590. It has since stayed in the $570 to $580 range with some fluctuations. Speculation remains that Chinese business interests continue to fuel this current rise in price, see the last Bitcoin Weekly for that analysis.

Screenshot of OpenBazaar client.

Screenshot of OpenBazaar client.

OpenBazaar keeps getting better: Releases version 1.1.6

The open-source, peer-to-peer, decentralized and distributed marketplace OpenBazaar just got a little bit better with the release of version 1.1.6. The marketplace still operates as a sort of proof-of-concept but with each release more vendors build shops into the network.

Statistics and shop fronts can be found on the market’s search engine website BazaarBay for anyone interested in seeing what can be bought in the marketplace.

This week, the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) opened a store on the OpenBazaar marketplace. On June 6, the FEE Facebook page posted a notice that it had begun selling merchandise on OpenBazaar. According to the article on Bitcoin.com, the store had grossed approximately 0.4224 BTC (approx. $244 USD), which is not bad considering the top selling stores on OpenBazaar have only reached about 1 BTC so far.

The Vanbex Group partners with Shanghai Blockchain Network Technology

The Vanbex Group, a digital currency and blockchain professional services company, has joined a strategic partnership with Shanghai Blockchain Network Technology Co. Ltd., the parent company of Chinese cryptocurrency exchange 19800.com, as reported by Chain-Finance.

The China-based trading platform 19800.com opened officially on March 15, 2016 and already boasts over 20,000 registered users with an average daily trading volume of $1.5 million.

“With their lineup of online products, blockchain-based products and services, 19800.com is already a highly active player in the market,” Kevin Hobbs, Vanbex Group director, said about the deal, ”and we believe it’s only a short time before they are global leaders within the industry.”

With the assistance of Vanbex Group, Shanghai Blockchain will also be launching the d10e Conference in San Francisco, during July from the 19th to the 20th. The intention is to hold a conference for professionals seeking to better understand and enter into decentralized fintech developments such as blockchain technologies, sharing economies.

Image credit: SatoshiLabs s.r.o.

Image credit: SatoshiLabs s.r.o.

Trezor launched hardware-secured password keeper

Trezor (SatoshiLabs s.r.o.), best known for its highly secure Bitcoin hardware wallet and browser plug-in, has launched a password manager that uses its hardware wallet as the master password and the cloud to secure multiple passwords. The product is known as the TREZOR Password Manager, and it uses the hardware wallet as well as a cloud-based solution to provide secure access to passwords from anywhere.

The TREZOR Bitcoin Safe was previously reviewed here on SiliconANGLE as an easy-to-use hardware solution to keeping bitcoins safe by using a hardware wallet that maintains the cryptographic master key to the wallet that can only be unlocked with user interaction (with a PIN number and plugin). The same design protocol is used for unlocking passwords used for web accounts and applications in a similar manner to KeePass or LastPass (with the addition of the TREZOR wallet being an additional level of security).

The TREZOR hardware wallet uses its master key to encrypt passwords stored on the Dropbox cloud sharing service. As the passwords are heavily encrypted and only the TREZOR owner has the key (via the hardware wallet) even if a malicious third party intercepts the encrypted passwords, without that master key the attacker still needs to break the encryption.

The addition of the TREZOR hardware wallet as the source of the master cryptographic key also means that recovering a lost key is as easy as pulling out the paper backup (a secret sentence of 24 words that can reproduce the master key). Of course, this should be kept in a safe place.

The TREZOR itself is available from Amazon.com for $110 USD or from the manufacturer for the BTC equivalent of $99 USD.

Steam Inventory Service Announcment

Image courtesy of Valve Corporation

Report: Steam has disabled Bitcoin payment option in Russia

A report coming from CryptoCoinsNews the digital gaming platform Steam, run by gaming giant Valve Corporation, has stopped Bitcoin payments in coming from Russia. The removal of the option came abruptly and without warning, CCN learned of the removal from a Russian Steam user by the name of “Eliot the Cougar.”

Rumors of Bitcoin payments on Steam started in mid February this year and finally came to fruition with an announcement from Valve in April.

However, according to sources in the Steam forums, the option was removed from Russian users sometime in June. A message on the official forums published a post that appeared to confirm that Steam no longer supports Bitcoin payments in Russia:

“Unfortunately, payment in the Steam store using Bitcoin will no longer be maintained on the territory of your region. We apologize for the inconvenience,” wrote Technical Support Officer Tim on Thu, Jun 2nd, 2016 15:49.

Valve Corporation represent ivies could not be contacted for comment by time of publishing. No further news has been obtained on this subject, but Bitcoin Weekly will try to keep readers posted.

With the Best Blockchain Conference coming Saturday, June 11

An online developer-centric Blockchain conference is coming up on June 11 hosted by Blockchain With the Best. Tickets are being sold online currently with $25 for general admission. Ticket holders will be able to use live streaming, forums and videos to join expert coders who will use live coding sessions to show developers how to produce code that uses blockchain libraries and APIs for popular services.

Amid the attending experts are developers from BlockCypher, Coinbase, Tendermint, ShapeShift and The Vanbex Group (mentioned earlier in Bitcoin Weekly). Other semi-well-known companies are also represented, many of which provide services and APIs useful for blockchain-related projects and the industry as a whole.

The schedule includes an introduction to blockchains, proposals for the Ethereum blockchain, the potential of the Bitcoin blockchain, client software, Bitcoin on mobile, smart contracts and more.

It is possible to register right up until the beginning of the conference on the website.

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Kyt Dotson
Kyt Dotson

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