Bitcoin Weekly 2016 March 30: CoinTrader exchange closes doors, Coinkite shutting down web wallet, MIT raises …

A number of Bitcoin service closures happened this week starting with Cointrader, Canadian Bitcoin exchange, which abruptly shut down and Coinkite, Inc. which is phasing out its web wallet service to focus on other projects.

MIT is helping to relieve some of the burden on Bitcoin Core development with the announcement of a fund (now at $900,000) to help pay the salaries of developers including Gavin Andresen, Wladimir van der Laan and Cory Fields.

Finally, for enterprising developers, a Chef Cookbook that automates the installation, configuration and launch of a Bitcoin Full Node is available on GitHub.

Bitcoin market value currently sits around $415.96 (, which is a little bit of a dip from last week where it rested around $420. The market value has remained in the band over the past seven days, with a brief jump to $425 between March 27 and March 29, before finally hitting the value seen today. Early March 2016 market value was around $440, but it quickly fell to the $420 range and it has sit there relatively. One factor that may affect upcoming volatility is the approach of Bitcoin Halving Day expected in a little over three months in July, during which mining rewards will be reduced from 25 BTC to 12.5 BTC.

Blinds and sun

Image via Pixabay shuts down “effective immediately”

Bitcoin exchange (a Newnote Financial Corp subsidiary since 2015) has shut down its website and completely suspended trading “effective immediately,” according to a message now displayed on the front page of the site: has closed its doors effective immediately. Customers with balances will be contacted by email, mail or telephone to settle your account. We sincerely appreciate your business over the years. Questions can be directed to

Late evening Monday, March 28, 2016, visitors to the Bitcoin exchange suddenly found themselves staring at a page stating that the site had suddenly ceased operations. This shutdown has come without much warning and the Twitter account connected to the site @cointraderx has also been suspended.

A  customer posted to Reddit what appears to be an e-mail describing the situation prior:

A recent internal audit revealed a deficiency of Bitcoin in our wallets causing a delay in withdrawals. This issue is currently under investigation and it is our intention to have the balance of your account settled as soon as possible. We sincerely apologize for this unfortunate inconvenience and will keep you posted on the progress of this issue. In the meantime, we have halted deposits, withdrawals and trading activity until this matter has been resolved.

Customers have been told to expected to be contacted about their balances on the site via contact information left with the company.

SiliconANGLE contacted Cointrader about the shutdown but has not responded to questions by publishing time.

MIT announces a $900,000 Bitcoin Developer Fund

As reported by SiliconANGLE’s Duncan Riley, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), just announced the creation of the Bitcoin Development Fund for covering the salaries of Bitcoin Core developers. The fund has also already raised over $900,000 towards that goal.

The funds will be used to help pay salary, travel and work costs for Gavin Andresen, Wladimir van der Laan and Cory Fields, three major Bitcoin Core developers.

The $900k for the fund was raised by a number of Bitcoin industry companies including BitFury, Bitmain, Chain, Circle and Nasdaq, as well as individual contributions from Jim Breyer, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Breyer Capital; Jim Pallotta, chairman and managing director of the Raptor Group; Jeff Tarrant and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman.

Brian Forde, Director of the Digital Currency Initiative at MIT, excitedly tweeted out the announcement the moment it hit the wire:

Details about the fund, its vision and mission, as well as the opportunities presented have also been published by Forde along with a long FAQ.

Coinkite is shutting down its web wallet

Bitcoin platform and web wallet Coinkite Inc. will soon be discontinuing the wallet part of its services over the next 30 days as it winds down. The details of this shutdown have also been covered by SiliconANGLE.

The company, which has been operating over 3 years, cites the rigors of attempting to upkeep a Bitcoin web wallet and service (specifically DDoS attacks and legal issues) and the desire to provide more time for its team to work on other projects as the reason for this change.

Nothing changes immediately for most customers, however no new user signups will be accepted and no new API keys will be issued. When  April 11, 2016 rolls around Coinkite will begin shutting down services: Tor access will stop, API will be disabled, subscriptions will be refunded (prorated to time left), zero balance accounts will automatically close and users will be urged to close out and withdraw remaining funds. In about a month, on April 27, the whole process will finish up with all logins loading directly to forced withdrawals and the backend will cease functioning.

Other projects Coinkite has noted the company will be working on include a hardware wallet with QR code scanner and printer; hardware products for authentication and security; general purpose standalone Bitcoin solutions; and hardened servers for hosting Bitcoin hot wallets.

Also on Coinkite’s list is an interesting hardware item called Opendime, a hardware board containing a read-only USB drive that can function essentially as a disposable hardware wallet.


Give yourself the gift of Bitcoin with a Chef Cookbook that allows you to run a full node yourself. Image credit: Kyt Dotson, made with Vectorportal Blue Snowflake Background (CC)


Do you use Chef? Here’s a cookbook for deploying a full node

Chef is an IT automation tool, published by Chef Software Inc., used by DevOps teams and developers to deploy, configure and manage software systems for single machines and at scale with ease. As much of the Bitcoin ecosystem is all software, it can be configured, automated and managed as such.

Thanks to a GitHub library it is possible to use Chef to rapidly deploy and manage a Bitcoin full node. A Bitcoin full node is a Bitcoin service used to mirror the current state of the Bitcoin blockchain, the peer-to-peer distributed ledger that maintains the integrity of all bitcoin transactions. To be a full node the service must do the above, but it also enforces all the rules of the Bitcoin protocol.

Chef libraries are called “Cookbooks,” and are modules that contain all the information needed to deploy, configure, launch and manage a particular software system. The “Bitcoin Cookbook” contains three recipes–binary, source and package–and allows a Chef user to rapidly install, initialize and run a full node.

It is possible to configure for different Bitcoin variants:

"bitcoin": {
      "package": {
        "variant": "classic"


Valid variants that can be run by the Cookbook include “classic”, “core” and “xt”.

The Chef Bitcoin Cookbook is available with the MIT license and is downloadable from GitHub.

Photo: Dawson/Bloomberg News
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Kyt Dotson
Kyt Dotson


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