Bitcoin’s Rollercoaster On Hiatus?

The briny seas of bitcoin have been calm this week. Andreas Antonopoulos, author of “Mastering Bitcoin,” is predicting great things for bitcoin’s future. We’d like to see his crystal ball. Forex Paradise is diving into the bitcoin space and offering its first bitcoin debit cards, and Bitwala is launching a digital wallet.

Author Predicts Bitcoin Will Prevail

Although Andreas Antonopoulos sees great things afoot for bitcoin, exactly what those are might not be apparent for decades, according to Forbes.

Antonopoulos was won over by bitcoin in 2012, at which point he resigned as a computer scientist specializing in security – ironic considering that security is one of bitcoin’s biggest banes – to devote all of his time to bitcoin.

But Antonopoulos addresses the theft at Bitfinex and the hacking that lost $78 million worth of bitcoin and argues that the security problems with bitcoin are the fault of decentralization and the third parties who hold bitcoin resources. According to Antonopoulos, if bitcoins were held only in people’s handheld devices, then “If you wanted to hack a million people’s bitcoin accounts, you’d have to hack one million computers.”

Antonopoulos compares bitcoin today to the internet in the early 1990s. Antonopoulos describes the internet at that stage as having the “maturity of a one-year-old baby, because it is a one-year-old baby. By comparison bitcoin is now a toddler [but] it won’t take hundreds of years to grow up — it will take one decade, maybe two, and in one decade or maybe two, it will be able to deliver levels of maturity that are equivalent to all the institutions we see today at a fraction of the cost, at a multiple of the speed, and that is truly transformative.”

Forex Paradise Wants To Be Noticed

Bitcoin hype in China has prompted investment company Forex Paradise to introduce a new debit card for bitcoin users. This is the first venture into digital currency for the Hong Kong-based firm.

Observers say the venture might be an effort to gain attention in the market through a presence in the bitcoin space. According to Newsbtc, “This could be the only reason why the company has launched a ‘series’ of bitcoin debit cards.”

The range of debit cards starts with a Family Card, which requires a minimum deposit amount of $2,500, a one-time payment and a withdrawal limit of $2,500. Other cards include a Silver, Gold, Diamond and Royal, which allow users to hold additional cards. Each card requires incremental minimum investments ranging from $5,000 for the Silver to $250,000 for the Royal, and the one-time payment limit and cash withdrawals follow a similar pattern as the minimum deposit limit.

Withdrawals can be made in banks and other financial institutions. For now, the bitcoin debit cards are available only for the first 1,000 members who deposit funds during promotion.

New Bitcoin Wallet From Bitwala Supports for Dash and Steem

Bitwala, the Netherlands-based international money transfer service and bitcoin debit cards provider, is now supporting Altcoins.

Bitwala has added Dash and Steem to its list of accepted Altcoins. Bitwala has also released a messenger web app that allows users to send money over chat, and launched its own bitcoin wallet. The company also announced that it plans to support Ethereum in the near future.

US Marshals Auction Off Bitcoin

An anonymous bidder purchased 2,700 bitcoins worth roughly $1.6 million in an auction Monday held by the U.S. Marshals Service. The bitcoins were the takings from several cases involving criminal activity on the dark web, including those by Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht.

Only five bidders registered and only four bids were received. Turnout was lower than in a previous auction last November, when $14.6 million worth of bitcoin was auctioned to 11 bidders. Previous auction winners have been Tim Draper of itBit and the over-the-counter trading firm Cumberland Mining.

Voldemort Awakens

Just to make the week a bit more exciting, Coindesk reported that an anonymous cryptographer who has assumed the name of Harry Potter’s nemesis, Voldemort, has suggested a way to improve cybersecurity with privacy and signature techniques. A die-hard Potter fan the cryptographer must be, because he has named his proposal Mimblewimble.

The scheme, posted on chat channels in August, is attracting the attention of bitcoin experts such as Andrew Poelstra, according to Coindesk. Poelstra thinks Mimblewimble might help the scaling of bitcoin and security.

With most bitcoin privacy methods, there’s a tradeoff between scalability and privacy. A technique that developers are currently experimenting with requires larger transaction sizes. According to Coindesk, because Mimblewimble combines signature aggregation and the technique of Confidential Transactions, “It’s possible to squeeze all the signatures from a single block into one. This could potentially reduce the size of the blockchain while not compromising on the security of the transactions.”

The downside is that Mimblewimble does not work with bitcoin’s current scripting language and would require a simpler system.

The idea will at least give the developers food for thought — but can Voldemort tell the difference between the complex world of cybersecurity and the fictional world of sorcery?

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