NYU Prof. and Bitcoin Expert to Speak at CMU

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Source: Kathy M. Newman, English Professor, Carnegie Mellon University

Time: Monday, October 27th, 4:30 PM.

Location: 100 Porter Hall is on the East end of Frew street, the street that runs behind the CMU campus and is also near Schenley drive. Find a place to park at Phipps conservatory or anywhere near the intersection of Frew Street and Schenley drive. There is also pay parking on Frew street but it is $2.25 per hour.

Finn Brunton is a scholar of the relationships between society, culture and information technology. He focuses on the adoption, adaptation, modification and misuse of digital media and hardware; privacy, information security, and encryption; network subcultures; hardware literacy; and obsolete and experimental media platforms. He is the author of Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet (MIT 2013), the forthcomingObfuscation: A User’s Guide (co-authored with Helen Nissenbaum, MIT 2015), and with numerous articles and talks. Brunton received an MA from the European Graduate School (Saas-Fee, Switzerland) and a PhD from the University of Aberdeen’s Centre for Modern Thought. Prior to his NYU appointment, he was an Assistant Professor of Information at the University of Michigan’s School of Information.

More: http://www.cmu.edu/cas/events/making-money.html

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City to Accept Bitcoin for Taxes, Fines

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Source: LetsTalkBitcoin

Pittsburgh to accept BitcoinPittsburgh is poised to become the first municipality to accept Bitcoin, Let’s Talk Bitcoin has learned.  A Subcommittee Report on Information Systems (PDF) with a “Recommendation to Improve Digital Government” released by the Office of the then Mayor-Elect recently surfaced online.  The document does not have an origin date but does have a due date of “5:00 pm on Friday, December 27” without providing a year.  However similar documents (PDF) can be found with December 2013 metadata and obviously Mayor Peduto has since been sworn in.

Included in the report is a recommendation to:

“Build technology and business processes that allow citizens and businesses to pay taxes, fees, and fines online, perhaps becoming the first municipal government to accept digital currency.”

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BitCoin Enters Mainstream Consciousness

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Bitcoin goes MainstreamYesterday, November 18, 2013, BitCoin entered mainstream consciousness.

“Bitcoin” was the most searched for word at Google. When the world is searching for information at Google, the World is waking up to BitCoin.

At the same time, the U.S. Congress held hearings on Bitcoin. Overall, the hearings were positive for BitCoin in that concerns about “security” were overshadowed by technical innovation.

By the end of the night, Bitcoin topped at $900 USD – a number barely thinkable one year ago when the price was in the single digits.

Source: Washington Post

That’s been the tenor of the entire hearing so far. All three Obama administration officials expressed concern about Bitcoin being used for illicit uses. But they also stressed that Bitcoin has important legitimate uses and that regulators need to be careful not to stifle innovation in virtual currencies. And they seemed to believe that the situation was under control, and none asked for new regulatory powers to crack down on illicit uses of the currency.

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Chinese Double Bitcoin value in 10 days

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As of this writing, Bitcoin topped out at $233 on the Mt. Gox exchange October 23.

Source: PandoDaily

The air is getting thin in the bitcoin market as the crypto-currency has climbed nearly 52 percent in value over the last 10 days, currently trading around $204. The period has seen a tangled web of good, bad, and uncertain news, including the shuttering of its largest commerce channel, an endorsement by a global technology powerhouse, and unpredictability in the global macroeconomic environment.

So what’s behind the spike? And where might we expect the market to go from here?

Equally powerful has been the decision by Chinese Internet giant Baidu (aka, “the Google of China”) to begin accepting bitcoin payments for select products and services – a move that brings it in step with WordPress, Reddit, and OkCupid, among other established online businesses. The Chinese government has also been campaigning in recent months to see the dollar removed from global reserve status, stoking the fire of possible instability in the value of the US currency. Baidu is not likely to represent a major channel of bitcoin commerce in the near term, but the tacit endorsement of the currency appears to be a major boon for investor confidence. A few weeks earlier, BTC China – the third most active bitcoin exchange by volume – became the first major bitcoin exchange to eliminate its trading commissions, at least temporarily.

The compound effect of these recent moves is that China has seen an increase in bitcoin activity and would appear to be contributing to the latest price gain. Uncertainty around bitcoin regulation in China may eventually dampen this enthusiasm, but in the near term, it shows no signs of abating.

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Pgh Bitcoin Meetup for August

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Pittsburgh Bitcoin MeetupJoin us at the Beerhive in the historic Strip district of Pittsburgh for yet another exciting Bitcoin meetup. Last time we got up around 20 Bitcoin Users – can we do better? I think we can.

When: Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Where: BeerHive, 2117 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA (map), Second Floor (upstairs)

More info and to RSVP via Meetup

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BitPay and Gyft Makes BTC a “real” currency

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I recommend reading the entire article.

Soruce: Laiseez-Faire Club

BitPay specializes in making it possible for any online merchant to accept Bitcoin without having to become an expert. It has benefited lately from all kinds of new venture capitalist funding, but also from a global broadening of its client base.


Co-founder and CEO Tony Gallippi compared their services to expert installation of home appliances against do-it-yourself projects that take a considerable amount of time and don’t end up working properly.

A peculiar feature of Bitcoin — and a reason why so many people have a hard time wrapping their brains around it — is that it is both a payment system and an emergent money. Those two features are usually separate.

The payment aspects of Bitcoin are the main focus on this company. As Stephen Pair, a co-founder and the CTO, pointed out, Bitcoin is uniquely suited to a digital age. Real property is exchanged, not just a promise to pay, and it is done person to person, without having to go through banks and large institutions. This is crucial for ending the plague of identity theft online. In fact, before I had seen the numbers presented at this event, I had not fully understood what a profound change this really is…

…But even domestically, it is clear that this market is expanding. As of only a few weeks ago, you could pay for anything at hundreds of mainstream merchants with Bitcoin. This is thanks to a deal that BitPay struck with a smartphone application called Gyft. You buy a gift card from Gyft with Bitcoin and the merchant scans the card. The operation takes under a minute.

Personally, it’s fascinating to see this happening. It was only a few months ago that people were saying, “Oh, this stuff can’t really be money because I can’t spend it at Target.” Well, now you can. Where are these doubters now? Are they taking back their previous snark?


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Bitcoin and Gold

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Now that BitCoin has crashed, trades for about $60/BTC and the Mt. Gox exchange has closed forBitcoin and gold 12 hours, it is a good time to notice the similarity between BTC and Gold.

Nay-sayers and I-told-you-so’s said the same thing about gold when it had setbacks over the last 12 years. During that time (2001-2013), gold has been the best performing asset class in the world.

Source: The Real Asset Report

Bloomberg declared it [Bitcoins] ‘Bubble-tastic’, the FT described Bitcoins as ‘less useful than Air
Miles’ whilst the Wall Street Journal described it as ‘a mysterious money which has
become the darling of anti-government libertarians and computer wizards prospecting in
the virtual mines of cyberspace. In Europe…it has found its niche as the coinage of
anarchic youth. . .’

The rhetoric used to describe Bitcoin, particularly by journalists, is word-for-word the same
as that used for gold and silver. ‘Gold bugs’ are frequently described as ‘anarchic’ or ‘antigovernment’.

Very few mainstream commentators have recognised what this rush into Bitcoin means,
whether it is something which proves to be untrustworthy in the long-run or not, at
present it is clearly something many investors feel they’d rather put their money into than
another bank account or asset-class. They feel they can trust it more than their banks and central banks. The other participants are just trying it out, and if they don’t get burnt the Bitcoin market cap will continue to grow as it matures as an alternative currency.

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BitCoin is not a Bubble, it’s an Old Fashioned Land Grab

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While BTC just hit $266, it’s hard to not call it a bubble. But a better analogy is a land grab. Like real estate, it is finite and there will not be that much more (doubling in 100 years) being made available.

land grab

Couple this with the facts that Bitcoin is easily transferable around the world in minutes and it is easily divisible, people can see BitCoin’s value as a medium of exchange.

Source: PayGlo.be

The current growth in Bitcoin price is quite dizzying. Today it hit $240/BTC. Many commentators call it an irrational bubble. However there are a few features of Bitcoin that may make it not quite as crazy and irrational.

Here are the basic facts:

  • There is a hard circulation limit of 21 million Bitcoins.
  • There are at time of writing roughly only 11 million of bitcoins
  • This is the first major digital asset that is also fungible (unlike say domain names) and not under the control of a single entity or government
  • 1 Bitcoin is just an arbitrary unit. There is no problem owning 0.0000001 Bitcoins
  • There is no barrier to entry to hoarding, earning and spending Bitcoin
  • It’s international by default

The hard circulation limit together with the current limited amount of Bitcoin means this is pretty much a good old fashioned land rush. This is what most of the commentators are missing.

Yes as a currency I may not be able to buy groceries with it yet? There are lots of problems to solve. But none of that matters. Startups, programmers and regular users will solve all of these problems. What does matter is that if you don’t get some now, it’s going to be expensive in the future.

Get any group of Bitcoin nerds together and you’ll start hearing all sorts of ideas floating around for services and uses of Bitcoin that would have seemed completely outlandish just a couple of years ago. This is the future value.

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Pittsburgh Bitcoin Meetup

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Pittsburgh Bitcoin MeetupSome of us local BitCoiners met up last night at Bar Loiue in Station Square and talked all about this exciting new currency, it’s implications for society and how we were all very silly for gathering without a security detail!

There were miners, dealers, doubters and market makers all on hand to learn from each other and to see exactly how far BitCoin could go in the real World.

BitCoin Documentary FilmThere was also a documentary film team on hand to capture this historic (?) gathering and to help to tell the story of the BitCoin phenomenon. They have been traveling around the country doing interviews with some of the pioneers in the industry,

Good drinks and good stories were had by all. Come join us for the next Pittsburgh BitCoin Meetup!

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BitCoin Offers Trust Where Banks Can not

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“In a world of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” -George Orwell

The corollary to this famous quote from George Orwell is, “When no banks can be trusted, anonymous people then become trustworthy.” That is the point of this article and helps explain the growing popularity with BitCoins.

Source: Bloomberg

Bitcoins Rise in Value in PittsburghPhysical banks promise protections above and beyond stuffing cash in a mattress or dropping it off in paper bags. Financial institutions commodify trust—it’s not their money, after all. It’s yours. Yet you trust them more than you trust yourself.

Bitcoin shrugs all this off. It’s not pegged to anything, and there are no regulations. It’s a supercomputer-size chore to counterfeit. The key thing to understand is that there’s no bank, no Federal Reserve, in the middle. It’s not unlike an exchange-traded fund (for example, FORX, from Pimco)—a mix of non-U.S. currencies—designed as a hedge against the dollar. Bitcoin is a hedge against the entire global currency system. And no exchange is needed, unless you want to convert your Bitcoin into an actual hard currency.

Bitcoin is no more arbitrary than derivatives or credit default swaps. Given that regular folks, if they’re nerdy and interested in Bitcoins, can use the currency for all manner of things, including illegal things, it’s arguably a far less arbitrary instrument.

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