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Bitcoin Surges to $9.3K for First Time in a Week Is it a Fakeout? – Cointelegraph

The price of Bitcoin (BTC), the top-ranked cryptocurrency by market capitalization, surged past $9,300 on July 21 for the first time in over a week. Following a low-volatility range, traders are seemingly turning cautiously bullish in the near-term.

Since late June, Bitcoin has been stuck in a relatively tight range between $9,000 and $9,250. It struggled to see a major price movement causing the volume to slump. After a quick upsurge from $9,150 to over $9,300, traders predict that a volatility spike is imminent.

The price surge coincided with a U.S. stock market rally, driven by a new round of stimulus. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said a $1 trillion stimulus deal is in the works.

The performance of top cryptocurrencies in the last 24 hours. Source: Coin360.io

Some traders say a break to the upside is likely, but declining volume is concerning

Several technical analysts say that the recent rally of Bitcoin could lead to a bigger rally in the short-term. Bitcoin faces key resistance levels at $9,550 and $9,800, and BTC saw steep rejections from both areas previously.

Crypto trader Philip Swift pinpointed that the two-month range of Bitcoin since May occurred above the 200-day moving average (MA), indicating that the uptrend of Bitcoin could be intact.

The trader said:

Promising little pump this morning. I suspect this will be the week we finally break out of the dreaded range.

The range of Bitcoin since May was above the 200-day moving average. Source: Philip Swift

Arthur Hayes, the CEO of BitMEX, also expressed his excitement towards Bitcoins minor rally. Hayes said BTC awoke from thee slumber, referring to its low volatility in the past week.

Arthur Hayes tweets about Bitcoins first breakout in over a week. Source: Arthur Hayes Twitter

Michael van de Poppe, a full-time trader at the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, hinted that Bitcoin is cautiously optimistic. He said:

We've got our breaker and bullish move here, as the market is showing strength. I don't think $BTC will accelerate, as it's just still hopping around.

Binance Futures data shows that the majority of traders on the platform are majority long on Bitcoin and Ether (ETH).

Data from Datamish suggests there are substantially more long contracts than shorts in the entire Bitcoin futures market as well. Longs amount to 22,496 BTC, worth around $209 million. In contrast, shorts stand at a mere 5,555 BTC, worth less than $52 million.

Although the 200-day MA technically suggests an uptrend, historical data shows it could easily break down below it. Previous peaks witnessed in July 2019 and February 2020 both rejected above the 200-day MA.

Data from Santiment also shows that the volume of Bitcoin has declined in recent weeks. When an uptrend coincides with declining volume, it could hint at a fakeout.

Researchers at Santiment wrote:

BTC's overall trading volume continues to slide, and with so much focus on altcoins currently, Bitcoin's trading volume hitting a daily value of $12.25B Saturday marked the lowest single-day value since October 5, 2019 (a 9.5-month low).

The trading volume of Bitcoin continues to decline. Source: Santiment

The market remains mixed as BTC grinds through the new week. Technical indicators and macro fundamental factors, like Bitcoins hash rate and low exchange inflows, suggest an uptrend. But the low volume of BTC throughout the past two months remains a variable.

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Bitcoin Surges to $9.3K for First Time in a Week Is it a Fakeout? - Cointelegraph

Bitcoin And Other Crypto-Assets Excluded From Central Bank Experiments – Forbes

A picture taken on January 15, 2020 shows the facade of the Banque de France building in Paris. The ... [+] bank is working with the European Central Bank to re-imagine how new technologies can change the way money works.

The central bank of France is on the verge of conducting a series of sweeping experiments whose lessons could be used to change the way money works. Cryptocurrency wont be included. In a statement from the Banque de France, the nations central bank, which works together with the European Central Bank to determine the monetary policy of the continent, the institution today released the names of eight participants in the experiments and the scope of the work.

Participants are consulting giant Accenture ACN , settlement giant Euroclear, the HSBC bank, French firm, Iznes, etheruem platform LiquidShare, little-known startup, ProsperUS, crypto bank Seba, and Forge, Societe Generales digital capital markets spinoff. The broad parameters of the experiments include everything from testing regulation using digital currency to improve cross-border payments, an analysis of how a central bank digital currency should be made available, and importantly, to explore new methods of exchanging financial instruments (excluding crypto-assets) for central bank money.

The statement from one of the words leading central banks shows how the vaunted institutions are scrambling to learn the best that cryptocurrency, and its underlying blockchain technology have to offer, but only within limits. Neither blockchainthe shared ledger that lets bitcoin existnor the more sanitized word to describe the larger group of technologiesdistributed ledger technology were mentioned by name in the statement. As such, the work also helps define the limits of what any actual adoption of the technology might look like.

The strong mobilization around this call for candidates testifies to the interest of the actors of finance and technology for this approach aiming to explore the potential contributions of a digital money issued by the central bank to improve the functioning of financial markets, in particular interbank regulations, according to a Google GOOGL translation of the statement. A representative of the Banque de France declined to share any additional context.

Over the coming days, the Banque de France will begin conducting experiments with each of the candidates, according to the statement, with some of the projects expected to take as long as multiple months. Candidates were asked to respond to the banks call for applications for CBDC experiments by May 15. The experiments could have far-reaching implications to the decision-making processes for the central bank, which in addition to helping define Europes monetary policy and implement it in France, regulates Frances banks and insurance companies and ensures risk management.

Beyond the confines of France though, lessons learned from the central bank digital currency experiments will be contributed to the international work being led by the Eurosystem, the monetary authority of the European Union. Earlier this month, the bank joined Germanys central bank, the Deutsche Bundesbank, and the European Central Bank in co-hosting a new innovation center in Europe within the framework of the Innovation Hub of the Bank for International Settlements.

In May, European Central Bank executive board member, Yves Mersch, confirmed in a speech at industry conference Consensus, that the European Central Bank was one of at least 66 central banks exploring how lessons learned from blockchain could change the very fabric of what we consider money.

For example, Chinas central bank, the Peoples Bank of China, has taken a giant first-mover advantage in the space, starting its CBDC experiments years ago, and currently testing a working implementation. If successful, one side-effect of CBDCs could be borderless transactions, possibly giving people the choice to store Chinese Renminbi in addition to, or instead of dollars, as a global reserve currency,

Based on what we know of the nearly pervasive experiments around the world looking into the nature of CBDCs, some of the other possible changes to the way money works could include giving citizens accounts at central banks, allowing them to occasionally bypass commercial banks and receive direct access to stimulus checks and more. Another possible, but controversial side-effect of central bank digital currencies could enable online payments while maintaining the privacy citizens have historically enjoyed with cash.

Skeptics of the CBDC concept argue that so long as central banks continue to have the authority to print or issue nearly unlimited amounts of the currency the underlying problems of inflation will continue to drive people to more distributed, deflationary alternatives such as bitcoin, which has a set amount. Other skeptics point to the unlikelihood that central banks will ever actually allow citizens the same privacy they have in the real world, online, and could use the technology as a way to track their own citizens spending habits.

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Bitcoin And Other Crypto-Assets Excluded From Central Bank Experiments - Forbes

Survey: 60% of Bitcoin Investors Will Die With Their BTC If Price Stays Below $10,000 | News – Bitcoin News

About 60% of bitcoin investors are willing to hold their coins until they die if the price fails to breach the key $10,000 level.

Now thats according to a Twitter poll by Peter Schiff. The gold-bug asked bitcoin hodlers: How much longer does the price of #Bitcoin have to stay below $10,000 before you will throw in the towel and sell?

With about 7 hours left for the poll to expire (at Press time), nearly 26,000 people have responded. At least 58% said they will hold the top crypto for as long as it matters, even if that means taking it to their graves.

Another 15%, or 3,900 people, said it will be a year before they decide to sell. Around 14% of the respondents said they will hodl for another three years and 13% for the next decade before opting to exit their positions.

It seems unfathomable that anyone would willingly die holding onto dear bitcoin because the price stagnated below the psychological $10,000 threshold. Rather, it is more plausible that Schiffs poll result illustrates the faith with which investors hold in regard to BTC, even as the price struggles.

Bitcoin bulls have struggled to gain momentum since the Bitcoin network scheduled supply cut of May 11 the event looked upon by many as a potential turning point for a bullish breakout. Previous such events have led to a major rally. Twice the price of BTC broke above $10,000 and twice it was rejected, at one point to as low as $8,600.

Today, BTC is trading at $9,248, down 0.9% over the last 24 hours, according to markets.Bitcoin.com data. The immediate target is to break above $10,000 and stay there. Analysts consider this level as important for sparking BTCs long-awaited price rally.

According to Chainlysis, a crypto data analytics company, most BTC investors do not want sell their assets because they regard it as digital gold. Of the 18.6 million BTC mined as of June 2020, around 60% is held by entities either people or businesses that have never sold more than 25% of the bitcoin theyve ever received.

The firm says only 3.5 million bitcoin or 19% of total circulating supply is actively traded throughout the world. Another 20% of the existing bitcoin supply has not moved from its current set of addresses in five years or longer what Chainalysis called lost bitcoin.

What do you think about the result of Peter Schiffs poll? Let us know in the comments section below.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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Survey: 60% of Bitcoin Investors Will Die With Their BTC If Price Stays Below $10,000 | News - Bitcoin News

Bitcoin ads must be regulated by UK government, Treasury proposes – Decrypt

The UK government wants to get rid of the misleading and inadequate promotions in the countrys cryptocurrency industry.

Today, Her Majestys Treasury put forward a plan to have the UKs financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, gatekeep the crypto companies allowed to advertise their services in the country.

The government laid out the issue in a July 2018 report: Adverts often overstate benefits and rarely warn of volatility risks, the fact consumers can both grow and lose their investment, and the lack of regulation.

Since the reports publication, the UK government recorded an increase in the number of people using cryptocurrencies. In the past year, the government found that the number grew by 2.35%, from 1.5 million people to 2.6 million people; 35% of British HODLers surveyed said they had been swayed by advertisements.

So, to make sure that crypto companies arent deceiving investors, the Treasury proposes that the FCA assume control over a regulatory gateway that crypto companies looking to advertise their products must pass through.

The governments mostly concerned by fungible assets that can be traded on spot exchangessuch as trading Bitcoin or Ethereum on Binance, for example. Crypto companies advertising investments services (think crypto investment houses and spurious auto-trading companies), exchanges, and airdrops would all have to be approved by the FCA.

Digital collectibles, like CryptoKitties, as well as cryptocurrency assets that operate in closed systems, like crypto-based supermarket loyalty points, would be exempt. If a company promotes their products nonetheless, the FCA can force it to withdraw the advertisements.

Before it puts laws into place, Her Majestys Treasury has opened up its proposal to public consultation; interested parties have until October 26 to do so.

Jumping the gun, Decrypt has reached out to some of the companies that would be affected by this regulation. Some welcome the idea, while others think it would stifle the UKs crypto industry.

I think this is good news, Stani Kulechov, CEO and founder of London-based crypto loans company Aave, told Decrypt. If the government intervention weeds out the scammers, its the right way to go, he said.

Mariana Gospodinova, general manager of Crypto.coms Europe business, likwise told Decrypt that the legislation is a good idea. This move is good for the industry, as it will eliminate dubious scammers trying to cash in on cryptocurrency, she said.

And itll be good for business, too: Gospodinova said itll help distinguish companies that are committed to compliance from the fly-by-night schemes that dupe newcomers out of their funds by selling them snake oil masquerading as cryptocurrency.

That is, so long as the FCAs legislation isnt overly onerous and that the FCA applies a light touchshe contrasted this to New Yorks difficult-to-obtain BitLicense.

But not everyones on board. Konstantin Anissimov, the executive director of crypto exchange CEX.IO, told Decrypt that the regulation could be devastating.

The proposed regulation ispointless since within the spot market, there is a very limited amount of misleading one can do as the fees are clear, and the prices of the crypotasset are also clear, he said.

All this will do, then, is make it more difficult to market crypto products, according to Anissimov. He said this could be devastating for such a fast-paced industry as crypto and will most likely hurt the retail investors who will no longer be able to utilize the best market opportunities.

On the other hand, Anissimov conceded that one benefit of the regulation could be a potential increase in the public's trust in crypto, which could then lead to a greater uptake of crypto among the masses.

But only if the whole process is not overburdened with bureaucracy and delays, he said.

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Bitcoin ads must be regulated by UK government, Treasury proposes - Decrypt

Michael Caselli impressed by innovation of Bitcoin SV platform – CalvinAyre.com

Bitcoin was always designed to be a perfect match for the gambling industry, with its ability to conduct cost efficient and fast payments, while also providing an immutable audit trail that regulators love, and data networking opportunities for enterprising developers. CG London was a great exhibition of this, and it brought out non-executive chairman ofClarion Events Michael Caselli, who reflected on gamblings history with Bitcoin.

Our very own Rebecca Liggero Fontana bumped into Caselli at the event and asked what brought him out. Its right down the road, its the ideal location for me, he said. Gaming industrys here, its a huge global hub and I thought I better come down because I know a lot of other guys from the industry wanted to come down, and are coming down. And whats interesting, anything blockchain is exciting, theres got to be an application that were looking for now. A lot of companies are innovating and trying to find their applications for anything blockchain, and Bitcoin SV is just a really great platform with good throughput, good transaction volumes, the ability to do quite a lot of stuff on the application layers that you cant do on some of the coins, and it just makes a lot of sense that the gaming industry is coming down and Im here to support.

Bitcoin SV, having finally unleashed the power of unlimited scaling on the blockchain, was impressing plenty of visitors at the conference, and Liggero Fontana asked what potential Caselli saw in it. Decentralized solutions are good for a number of different things like exchanges, he said. Trust is an issue, so where theres ever a trust issue for any application, then theres a good solution for that. Trust issues may exist in countries which are yet to regulate, which dont have a regulator thats overseeing whats going on, and then players could really self-regulate whats happening by using an immutable blockchain.

But while Bitcoin SV has only recently started unleashing the true potential of blockchain technology, the concept itself has been around a number of years, and Caselli reflected on how the gambling industry has approached it. We were at fever pitch maybe six, seven years ago whenever things started to kick off, when Bitcoin got to its, you know, $100 value and then climbed to a thousand dollars, he said. And that was exciting and everyones looking at, saying Where does this work, where does this work? And I think there was a lot of adaptation at that time to kind of move the systems over on the payment side of things. And then when smart contracts came out, there was a whole bunch of people launching tokens and launching projects so they can go and they could fund themselves, create some applications in gaming.

Caselli still feels that excitement, and with the ability to store both value and data, he sees big things coming. With the ability to create applications, who knows where were going to go in the future.

Weve interviewed Caselli recently about how the pandemic has affected the gambling industry. You can catch that chat, and all of our future videos, by subscribing to our CalvinAyre.com YouTube channel.

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Michael Caselli impressed by innovation of Bitcoin SV platform - CalvinAyre.com

Bitcoin And Modern Soft Fork Activation Bitcoin Magazine – Bitcoin Magazine

Taproot, a proposed protocol upgrade that would improve Bitcoins privacy and flexibility, is in its late stages of development. Bitcoin Core contributors agree that the upgrade would benefit Bitcoin, and so far it generally appears to be welcomed by the wider Bitcoin ecosystem as well. Its therefore likely that Taproot will make its way into a Bitcoin Core release, with other Bitcoin implementations possibly to follow.

But one question remains: how should the Bitcoin network itself upgrade? Taproot is a consensus protocol change, which means that Bitcoin nodes must somehow switch from the old rules to the new rules without splitting the network into factions enforcing different rules. For various reasons, this has in the past sometimes proven to be a challenge.

Improved strategies to activate protocol upgrades are now being contemplated.

The good news is that Taproot will be a soft fork. This type of upgrade adds or tightens rules as opposed to a hard fork which removes or loosens rules. The nice thing about adding or tightening rules is that anything that an upgraded node considers valid, a non-upgraded node considers valid, too. (If an old node accepts both transaction types A and B, but new rules only allow transaction type A, the old node would remain compatible on a network enforcing the new rules.)

Bitcoins earliest soft forks were activated though flag days. Developers (in particular, Satoshi Nakamoto) embedded a future date in the code of a new Bitcoin software client release, specifying a point in time where upgraded nodes would enforce the new rules. Miners and users were encouraged to upgrade before that date to avoid network splits. (As an aside, in those days, miners and users were more often the same people than they are today.)

Since non-upgraded nodes remain compatible with new rules, a handy benefit of soft forks is that if a majority of hash power enforces the upgrade, the entire Bitcoin network finds consensus on their version of the blockchain. This also means there is less of a pressing need for all nodes to be upgraded immediately when the new protocol rules are enforced, allowing users some flexibility. (Though users are encouraged to upgrade nonetheless; they are ultimately the ones enforcing the new rules by rejecting transactions and blocks that break them.)

Since about 2012, soft forks have increasingly utilized hash power as a coordination mechanism to coordinate a switch to new rules. By embedding a bit of data in their blocks, miners can signal to other miners and the rest of the network that they upgraded their software, and thus are ready to enforce the new rules. Once enough hash power signals support, all upgraded nodes are triggered to enforce the new rules.

Over the course of a few upgrades, this strategy evolved into Bitcoin Improvement Proposal 9 (BIP 9). BIP 9 was, for example, the mechanism used to activate Bitcoins last soft fork upgrade, Segregated Witness (SegWit). Miners were given a year to activate the upgrade, requiring 95 percent of blocks within any difficulty interval to include a readiness signal bit. If after a year this hadnt happened, the activation period would expire, and the upgrade would have failed. (It could then of course simply be tried again.)

For SegWit, however, BIP 9 did not play out smoothly. As with some of the previous upgrades, some miners probably didnt get around to upgrading for some time due to apathy: there often isnt a very big incentive for miners to upgrade fast. But a bigger problem was that some miners had come to understand the signaling process as a sort of vote on the upgrade, where instead of signaling readiness, they would (or would not) signal support for it. Worse, some miners ended up using this vote to block the upgrade in order to try and gain political leverage over the Bitcoin development process, and/or they voted against the upgrade in order to covertly benefit from a quirk in the Bitcoin protocol which the upgrade would fix.

After an extended period of intense drama, SegWit ultimately did activate, but only after alternative Bitcoin clients included new activation schemes. BIP 148, included in the BIP 148 client run by some users, was programmed to only accept blocks signaling support for the protocol upgrade starting on a flag day. Meanwhile, BIP 91, included in the btc1 client and run by miners just ahead of the BIP 148 flag day, effectively lowered the hash power requirement from 95 percent to 75 percent. Faced with a potential split network and a possible loss of income, the obstructing miners conceded. But for most Bitcoin Core developers, BIP 9 had revealed itself to be a suboptimal solution, and they started thinking of alternatives.

BIP 8 was an early alternative for BIP 9, proposed by BIP 148 author Shaolinfry and Bitcoin Knots and Bitcoin Core contributor Luke-jr. It initially resembled BIP 9, but with one crucial difference: instead of the upgrade failing after a year of insufficient hash power support, it would do the exact opposite and activate the soft fork at that point in time. Similar to a flag day, all upgraded nodes would from then on start enforcing the new rules. Miners whod still have failed to upgrade would risk mining blocks that upgraded miners and users would reject.

The main idea behind BIP 9 is that assuming of course that users upgrade miners cant block the soft fork and therefore cant use this leverage to their benefit. They can speed activation up and help coordinate a smooth protocol upgrade, but the upgrade will eventually happen even if they dont activate it themselves.

A more recent draft of BIP 8 includes some notable changes. For one, BIP 8 allows nodes to be configured for two different policies when the signaling period is about to expire: forced activation, as explained in the previous two paragraphs, or no forced activation, like with BIP 9. Furthermore, instead of activating the upgrade itself, nodes (if so configured) actually enforce signaling for the upgrade. Blocks that do not signal support for the upgrade are then rejected, hence still guaranteeing the upgrade, at least for the upgraded nodes. The combination of these two changes has the interesting property that if a majority of all Bitcoin hash power is compelled to signal support for the upgrade, even BIP 8 nodes that arent configured to enforce signaling will go along with the upgrade,

An argument against BIP 8, and its forced signaling (or automatic activation) in specific, is that it can be risky, especially on a shorter timeline. If a hash power majority and at least some users dont upgrade, this scheme could split the network between upgraded and non-upgraded nodes. Assuming most users support the upgrade, this would likely resolve in favor of the upgraded part of the network eventually. But non-upgraded users would risk losing funds in the meantime, while non-upgraded miners would waste hash power to the detriment of Bitcoins security.

This risk is probably best countered by offering enough time to upgrade. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees on how much time is enough; some think forced signaling could start within a year, others believe it should take several years.

Another complication with BIP 8 is setting defaults for forced signaling. If forced signaling is switched off by default, users could find themselves uncoordinated, increasing the risk of network splits. If on the other hand forced signaling is chosen as the default in a Bitcoin Core release, the historically widespread adoption of Bitcoin Core virtually guarantees that the upgrade will happen. Some believe this would give Bitcoin Core developers too much influence over Bitcoins protocol rules. For this reason, BIP 8 coauthor Luke-jr prefers BIP 8 with forced signaling to exclusively be deployed through special clients, similar to the BIP 148 client.

Others argue that Bitcoin Core developers always release software to their best judgement, while keeping user demand in mind and avoiding contentious upgrades; setting BIP 8 defaults should be no exception to this policy. If anyone disagrees with the choices Bitcoin Core developers make after all, they can simply choose not to upgrade to a new release or even fork the Bitcoin Core code to launch a competing client altogether.

While Bitcoin Core developers indeed seek to take user demand into consideration and try to avoid contentious upgrades, not everyone is convinced this is always perfectly possible. Perhaps concerns about a proposed upgrade only surface when the software is deployed in a new release. Perhaps whole new issues arise after this release. Or perhaps Bitcoin Core developers simply missed something.

This is one reason why Bitcoin Core contributor Matt Corallo proposed a strategy dubbed Modern Soft Fork Activation. Modern Soft Fork Activation consists of three steps, together essentially realizing a combination of BIP 9 (or: BIP 8 without forced signaling) and BIP 8 with flag day activation (though forced signaling could be an option as well).

As the first step, BIP 9 would allow miners to activate the soft fork through hash power. If miners dont activate it in (say) a year, the first activation window expires. Then, as the second step, developers take some time to analyze why activation failed, and reconsider the proposal if they do find a concern with it. If they find there was no problem with the proposal, however, the third step is redeployment of the soft fork, this time using BIP 8 with flag day activation: miners get another chance to activate the proposal with hash power, but if they fail again, the soft fork activates when this second signaling period ends. (During this second signaling period, the hash power activation threshold could also be incrementally lowered over time, Bitcoin Core contributor AJ Towns suggests.)

By explicitly committing to BIP 8 redeployment if it turns out theres nothing wrong with the proposal, Corallo believes the strategy would offer the benefits of BIP 9 without the downside. The code is put out there during the first signaling period for everyone to consider, miners can coordinate a smooth upgrade if they so choose, and with no forced activation developers can take their time to reconsider the proposal if activation does initially fail. Meanwhile, miners would have much less to gain from blocking the upgrade for no good reason, as everyone knows it will eventually activate anyways.

The main argument against Modern Soft Fork Activation is that without miner cooperation, the process would take relatively long, and some consider the BIP 9 step a waste of time altogether. Corallos original proposal includes one year of BIP 9 signaling, followed by six months to reconsider, and finally two years of BIP 8 signaling before automated activation: a total of three-and-a-half years. While this timeline is of course not set in stone yet, shortening the different steps by too much would leave less time for reconsideration and/or upgrading (increasing the risk of network splits).

Due to the long time until potential forced activation, some also argue that miners can try and gain some political leverage after all: they can delay the upgrade for years.

Another, recent suggestion circulating through Bitcoins tech channels is perhaps best described as a bit of a merger between BIP 8 and Modern Soft Fork Activation, at least in spirit. The unnamed proposal would deploy a long BIP 8 signaling period, perhaps as long as Modern Soft Fork Activations three-and-a-half years, after which forced signaling triggers. However, if after (say) one year the upgrade didnt activate yet, developers would take some time to reconsider the proposal, like they would with Modern Soft Fork Activation.

If developers would find no problem with the proposal, and instead were to conclude that it simply hadnt activated due to miner apathy or another invalid reason, they could opt to deploy a new soft fork in the style of BIP 91, used during SegWit activation. This would effectively lower the hash power threshold for activation, presumably speeding up the process.

If, on the other hand, developers would find a problem with the proposal after all, they could deploy a new soft fork that would fix the problem, or even undo the original soft fork (in this case, Taproot) altogether. Assuming Modern Soft Fork Activations three-and-a-half-year timeline until forced signaling, there ought to be enough time left to take care of this.

The main argument against this proposal is probably that its not very elegant to deploy a soft fork that undoes another soft fork, if so needed. More concretely, it requires that miners and users upgrade to new releases before deadlines are reached, or risk splitting the network.

Finally, as a bit of an outlier idea, Bitcoin Core contributor Jeremy Rubin suggested that a concept he invented called Probabilistic Bitcoin soft forks, or Sporks, might be more incentive compatible than typical hash power enforced softforks.

The heart of the problem of BIP 9, Rubin argues, is that miners can delay upgrades at no cost of their own. Simply refusing to signal readiness for an upgrade is free, while it potentially offers them political leverage.

With Sporks, the readiness signal is no longer taken from a bit of data that miners include in the blocks they mine, but derived from the block header hash: the randomly generated proof of work they produced by investing time and resources. Upgraded nodes would agree that a small subset of valid block header hashes statistically to only be found every six months or so would trigger the upgrade.

Per the randomness of hashes, a miner would not control whether he produces regular block header hashes or upgrade-activating block header hashes; hed statistically just happen to churn out one of the latter sporadically. So, if his invested resources happen to generate an upgrade-activating block header hash, hed have two choices. Either, publish it to the Bitcoin network, earn the block reward, and activate the soft fork. Or, withhold from publishing, delaying the soft fork by about six months on average in our example but in doing so also giving up the block reward. Delaying the upgrade would come at a significant cost.

The main problem with Sporks right now is probably that its a relatively new idea, that hasnt been developed yet let alone tested in the wild. While some do consider the concept interesting, its as of yet not the most likely contender for Taproot activation.

Authors note: The debate on soft fork activation (and Taproot activation in specific) is in flux; this is a non-exhaustive overview of the different upgrade proposals, especially when it comes to variants of the proposals with alternative parameters and other tweaks, and all their pros and cons.

Another idea, which has been gaining some traction since this article was written (mostly), is to first deploy BIP 8 with a relatively long signaling period (say, two years), configured without forced signaling at the end of this signaling period. This allows miners to activate the soft fork relatively normally, as they have done several times in the past. However, if after some time (say, six months) the soft fork isnt activated, and there doesnt appear to be a good reason for the delay, a new client can be released with BIP 8 configured to force signaling near the end of the existing signaling period, or sooner. Assuming most miners then activate the soft fork either before or during this forced signaling period, both sets of BIP 8 nodes (with and without the forced signaling configuration) would enforce the soft fork on activation.

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Bitcoin And Modern Soft Fork Activation Bitcoin Magazine - Bitcoin Magazine

‘Wonder Woman’ Illustrator and British Artist Terry Flaxton to Sell Ethereum-Backed Art – Bitcoin News

The non-fungible token (NFT) and blockchain-backed collectible economy continue to see demand and the digital art market Makerplace has seen enormous growth recently. A number of well known artists have started to participate, as work from the acclaimed comic book illustrator Jose Delbo and 4K video art from Terry Flaxton will be sold on the premier market for rare digital art.

Just recently news.Bitcoin.com reported on the growing blockchain-backed metaverse and the non-fungible token (NFT) evolution. In the report, it was discussed how the sales of blockchain-powered non-fungible token sales crossed the $100 million mark.

Not only is there more than 18,500 wallets on Opensea, the largest NFT marketplace, but another marketplace dubbed Makerplace is seeing a lot of attention from buyers and popular artists. Makerplace is essentially a market for blockchain-backed digital art collections. The website states:

Every digital creation available through Makersplace is an authentic and truly unique digital creation, signed and issued by the creator made possible by blockchain technology. Even if the digital creation is copied, it wont be the authentic and originally signed version.

One specific artist who will host artwork for sale on Makerplace is the British artist Terry Flaxton who is well known for his analog video content, photography, film, and sound composition work. Flaxton has held over 200 exhibitions globally and he will be selling a 4K video project called Under Every Desert a Sea.

Currently, there is a pending offer for one out of the ten Flaxton-created 4K videos being sold for 2.2 ETH ($512). Flaxtons video on Makerplace is also linked through Opensea and the listings description says:

Under every Desert a Sea began its life with images of the Mojave desert that are now so abstracted they appear to be water.

Another well known artist who will be featured on Makersplace web portal will be the comic book illustrator who worked on the DC Comic Wonder Woman series from 1976 to 1981. The comic book artist Jose Delbo also worked on the Thundercats, Transformers, and Brute Force comics in the eighties and nineties for Marvel.

On July 23, 2020, Delbo will be selling a digital Superman drawing and a digital comic book as well. Reports note that Delbo will be answering questions about his digital work during an exhibition hosted in Decentraland.

The art scene worldwide is steadily transforming into an online art industry, and digital art sales are growing every year. At the current growth rate, blockchain and NFT markets like Makerplace and Opensea may someday outshine popular digital art venues like Redbubble, Artfinder, Artplode, Ugallery, and Saatchi Art.

In contrast to the traditional digital art marketplaces that have transpired during the last few years, markets like Opensea and Makerplace sell blockchain-based and NFT art with immutability.

Sales on both markets can be seen in real-time every day and people are spending their precious cryptocurrencies on digital art. For instance, a few pieces of digital art that recently sold on Makerplace include works like Vandalism ($333), Rudbeckia ($153), and a form of pixelated art called Pxlpet Not a Virus ($617).

What do you think about digital art being sold on Opensea and Makerplace? Let us know in the comments section below.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, Art by Jose Delbo, Makerplace, Terry Flaxton, Opensea,

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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'Wonder Woman' Illustrator and British Artist Terry Flaxton to Sell Ethereum-Backed Art - Bitcoin News

Tesla Eating Bitcoins Lunch as Realized Volatility Hits 3-Year Low – Cointelegraph

Bitcoin (BTC) set another dubious record on July 15 as realized volatility sank to its lowest in three years.

According to data from on-chain analytics resource Skew, 30-day realized volatility recorded its smallest reading since 2017 this week.

Realized volatility refers to volatility as defined by various timespans. Low volatility tends to concern traders and analysts, particularly over extended periods, as a kickback is all too often triggered afterward.

Earlier this month, 10-day realized volatility hit 20%, its lowest since the period immediately before BTC/USD crashed to $3,100 in December 2018.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier this month, trading volumes were also down at the time, fuelling expectations that volatility would soon return to the market.

Since then, Bitcoins anticipated big move has yet to appear, with a trading corridor between $9,000 and $9,500 remaining in place.

BTC/USD realized volatility comparison. Source: Skew/ Twitter

For Cointelegraph Markets analyst filbfilb, however, there was plenty of potential for a major correction towards $8,000. Specifically, he told subscribers of his Telegram trading channel on Tuesday, the 20-week moving average (MA) at $8,200 provided a realistic support level. Alternatively, BTC should reclaim its 50-day moving average, currently close to $9,400.

Overall my position remains very cautious, he summarized.

Until then its just sideways chop until proven otherwise so I'm happy to sit that out and wait for confirmation.

In the meantime, Bitcoin is providing little inspiration, with even Tesla stock beating it on volatility.

#Bitcoin realized volatility on a three years low, Tesla is eating bitcoin's lunch! Skew commented.

Tesla has surprised by posting multiple new highs despite multiple calls for a massive correction continuing for several months. Since its recent bottom on March 18, $TSLA has gained over 300% to trade at $1,516 at press time.

Even at $1,200, Teslas market cap was over 30% larger than Bitcoins.

Tesla stock price eight-month chart. Source: TradingView

Tesla CEO Elon Musk continues to be known as a possible cryptocurrency supporter, with mysterious tweets on topics from Bitcoin holdings to Dogecoin (DOGE) causing considerable interest among users.

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Tesla Eating Bitcoins Lunch as Realized Volatility Hits 3-Year Low - Cointelegraph

Bitcoin SV DevCon 2020: Craig Wright wants to make the world better with Bitcoin – CoinGeek

Since he was young, Dr. Craig Wright has been fascinated with coding. In his fireside chat at the Bitcoin SV DevCon 2020 virtual event, Dr. Wright talked about his passion for coding, why he has a very strong drive to make the world better, and the future of Bitcoin.

Dr. Wrights fireside chats are among the events that everyone in the digital currency and blockchain industries awaits eagerly. The latest one didnt disappoint, with Bitcoins creator delving into the technical side of Bitcoin while also sharing more about what drives him.

Dr. Wright started coding when he was a kid, creating games to fight boredom. His love for creating has led him to grow his skills over the years, ultimately culminating in the creation of Bitcoin. Discipline has been one of his core values, he told nChain CTO Steve Shadders.

Dr. Wright is also quite passionate about educating people, saying,

If we want to get past this post-modern, deconstructionist, anti-life and nihilistic view of the world, then we have to have people who are involved and educated. I want to live in a world thats better. That means people who are engaged in society, who are active and understand the issues affecting them.

Dr. Wright also delved into the technical aspects of Bitcoin. On whether we should bring back substring opcodes, Satoshi believes that we may be past that as Bitcoin goes into application stage. Such changes would now affect third parties who are building on the Bitcoin blockchain.

Dr. Wright further revealed why he chose to use Forth language in developing Bitcoin.

Forth is very small and efficient. Its a language Ive used a lot in my past. Its very easy to write good code that you can find the errors and validate the results very quickly. [] If you screw up on Forth, it might work. If you screw up on Java, it might work, but every now and again, you get strange results.

The Bitcoin creator has gone through trying times, both from within the Bitcoin world and beyond, but he says he is still proud about many things that his invention has introduced the world to. One of these is the accelerated pace of adoption in recent years. With the number of applications building on top of Bitcoin rising by the day, its only a matter of time before the world is running on Bitcoin, he concluded.

The thing that makes me happy about Bitcoin is that people are finally starting to get it.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeeksBitcoin for Beginnerssection, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoinas originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamotoand blockchain.

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Bitcoin SV DevCon 2020: Craig Wright wants to make the world better with Bitcoin - CoinGeek

As other inflation hedges enjoy moment in the sun, bitcoin stays stuck in the doldrums – Yahoo Finance

Investors are increasingly looking to snap up safeguards for their portfolios to hedge against rising inflation a trend that could benefit assets spanning gold to bitcoin.

Indeed, reporting from the Financial Times last week noted that money has been pouring into funds that invest in TIPS (Treasury inflation-protected securities). According to the publication, more than $5 billion has moved into funds invested in the bonds, which aim to protect investors from spikes in consumer prices. Gold is also enjoying a moment, trading up more than 19% since the beginning of the year and recently crossing $1,800 for the first time since 2011.

The thinking among investors is that inflation could pick up as a result of recent monetary policy actions from various central banks. Other factors include a further decline in the price of the U.S. dollar, as noted by the FT's Michael Mackenzie. U.S. consumer prices rebounded in June after three months of declines, the highest increase in more than eight years.

Still, the Federal Reserves' flagship inflation gauge declined to 1.7%, below the Fed's 2% target.

The average expected inflation over the next five years stands at 1.57%, far below the 2.2% post-financial crisis average. The expected breakeven inflation, meanwhile, stands at 1.35%, below the post-recession average of 1.7%. Typically, a rising breakeven inflation rate is associated with a rosier economic outlook among investors. It also can be "interpreted as the inflation rate that market participants anticipate to hold in the future," specifically over five years.

In any case, bitcoin appears stuck in an extended period of doldrums the digital asset has traded within a tight range between $9,000 and $9,300 since the end of June.

2020The Block Crypto, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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As other inflation hedges enjoy moment in the sun, bitcoin stays stuck in the doldrums - Yahoo Finance

DeFi Tokens Outperformed Bitcoin in Q2 but Will the Rally Continue? – Cointelegraph

Compound, the Decentralized Finance protocol, reached the $1 billion dollar mark in funds borrowed from its protocol on June 13, with its top three markets being the DAI and USDC stablecoins followed by Ether (ETH).

Currently, MakerDAOs DAI takes the lead with 79.88% of value borrowed from its protocol. Stablecoins seem to be popular in Compound due to its COMP reward mechanism which gives users COMP tokens according to the dollar value borrowed.

Compound allows users to deposit certain cryptocurrencies to earn interest and to borrow different tokens or stablecoins (useful for short-selling for example), while providing users with COMP token rewards for engaging in both activities.

Over the past few weeks this system has made Compound protocol extremely popular and it currently has $1.6 billion in assets locked to their liquidity pools. At the moment, a number of DeFi protocols are also showing considerable increases in the amount of borrowed and locked funds. For example, Aave currently holds over $250 million in its liquidity pools, according to data from Aavewatch.

DeFi has been making huge progress in terms of visibility, especially following the disproportional buzz created by the Coinbase-backed Compound project. At least 10 DeFi-related tokens have seen more than 100% gains and this in part due to the COMP reward mechanism and yield farming which allows users to act both as lenders and borrowers in order to earn COMP tokens for this dual role.

In its first week of trading, COMP rose by 233% and has since been listed on Coinbase and Kraken. Aaves LEND token has rallied more than 1000% in the last 3 months, from around $0.02 to $0.24.

Not only are the price of DeFi-related tokens rising along with the value locked and borrowed from these protocols, the tokens that are available in these protocols have also been generally performing well.

Coupled with the high interest rates and yield farming possibilities, its safe to say that DeFi has been a gift that keeps on giving for early adopters of the platforms and of their respective tokens.

Examples of this include Chainlink (LINK) which is the biggest cryptocurrency on the Aave protocol following the LEND token itself.

The impact of the defi protocols on other tokens was most visible through Basic Attention Token (BAT) which became the most used ERC-20 token in all of DeFi, surpassing even ETH and DAI, for two weeks, before the COMP reward mechanism was updated.

While it is easy to understand that DeFi is growing, the price surge in the associated tokens like LEND and COMP is somewhat unrelated. Although tokens like NEXO give users a share in the revenue, LEND and COMP do not.

These tokens, however, give their holders voting rights over the protocol. In other words, they are governance tokens and do not pay any dividends.

While there is no immediate monetary benefit, having a stake in the future of these platforms may hold some unmeasurable value depending on how they scale over time. Moreover, hype and right-out speculation around the DeFi space has surely helped some of these governance-associated tokens.

As the DeFi sector continues to break record numbers in activity and the amount of funds locked and lent increases, it seems possible that DeF tokens will continue to outperform Bitcoin, especially as the digital assets volume and volatility continues to dwindle.

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DeFi Tokens Outperformed Bitcoin in Q2 but Will the Rally Continue? - Cointelegraph

Bitcoin Scammers Claim To Have Compromising Videos Of Victims – Rye Daily Voice

Bitcoin scammers have been threatening to expose sensitive videos of their victims if they are not paid off.

Fraudsters have been sending spam emails that allege they have recorded video of you getting yourself off, which they threaten to expose if they are not paid off.

The emails claim that the scammer is from out of the country, and cannot be targeted by local law enforcement.

Scammers allege that based on their potential victims visiting bad websites that infected computers with malware, they now have video of lewd acts that they threaten to share with friends and family.

In order to obviate the disgrace for the term of life, you should send 18 Dash coins to a certain address, and your prestige will not be damaged, the fraudsters wrote in an email to Daily Voice.

The scammers offer a 24-hour deadline to transfer the bitcoin, with the compromising video allegedly being disseminated within 48 hours.

The FBIs Internet Crime Complaint Center said it has seen an increase in reports of online extortion scams during the current "stay-at-home" orders due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Because large swaths of the population are staying at home and likely using the computer more than usual, scammers may use this opportunity to find new victims and pressure them into sending money, they wrote in a report.

The scammers are sending emails threatening to release sexually explicit photos or personally compromising videos to the individual's contacts if they do not pay. While there are many variations of these online extortion attempts, they often share certain commonalities.

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Bitcoin And Modern Soft Fork Activation – Bitcoin Magazine

Taproot, a proposed protocol upgrade that would improve Bitcoins privacy and flexibility, is in its late stages of development. Bitcoin Core contributors agree that the upgrade would benefit Bitcoin, and so far it generally appears to be welcomed by the wider Bitcoin ecosystem as well. Its therefore likely that Taproot will make its way into a Bitcoin Core release, with other Bitcoin implementations possibly to follow.

But one question remains: how should the Bitcoin network itself upgrade? Taproot is a consensus protocol change, which means that Bitcoin nodes must somehow switch from the old rules to the new rules without splitting the network into factions enforcing different rules. For various reasons, this has in the past sometimes proven to be a challenge.

Improved strategies to activate protocol upgrades are now being contemplated.

The good news is that Taproot will be a soft fork. This type of upgrade adds or tightens rules as opposed to a hard fork which removes or loosens rules. The nice thing about adding or tightening rules is that anything that an upgraded node considers valid, a non-upgraded node considers valid, too. (If an old node accepts both transaction types A and B, but new rules only allow transaction type A, the old node would remain compatible on a network enforcing the new rules.)

Bitcoins earliest soft forks were activated though flag days. Developers (in particular, Satoshi Nakamoto) embedded a future date in the code of a new Bitcoin software client release, specifying a point in time where upgraded nodes would enforce the new rules. Miners and users were encouraged to upgrade before that date to avoid network splits. (As an aside, in those days, miners and users were in these days more often than today the same people.)

Since non-upgraded nodes remain compatible with new rules, a handy benefit of soft forks is that if a majority of hash power enforces the upgrade, the entire Bitcoin network finds consensus on their version of the blockchain. This also means there is less of a pressing need for all nodes to be upgraded immediately when the new protocol rules are enforced, allowing users some flexibility. (Though users are encouraged to upgrade nonetheless; they are ultimately the ones enforcing the new rules by rejecting transactions and blocks that break them.)

Since about 2012, soft forks have increasingly utilized hash power as a coordination mechanism to coordinate a switch to new rules. By embedding a bit of data in their blocks, miners can signal to other miners and the rest of the network that they upgraded their software, and thus are ready to enforce the new rules. Once enough hash power signals support, all upgraded nodes are triggered to enforce the new rules.

Over the course of a few upgrades, this strategy evolved into Bitcoin Improvement Proposal 9 (BIP 9). BIP 9 was, for example, the mechanism used to activate Bitcoins last soft fork upgrade, Segregated Witness (SegWit). Miners were given a year to activate the upgrade, requiring 95 percent of blocks within any difficulty interval to include a readiness signal bit. If after a year this hadnt happened, the activation period would expire, and the upgrade would have failed. (It could then of course simply be tried again.)

For SegWit, however, BIP 9 did not play out smoothly. As with some of the previous upgrades, some miners probably didnt get around to upgrading for some time due to apathy: there often isnt a very big incentive for miners to upgrade fast. But a bigger problem was that some miners had come to understand the signaling process as a sort of vote on the upgrade, where instead of signaling readiness, they would (or would not) signal support for it. Worse, some miners ended up using this vote to block the upgrade in order to try and gain political leverage over the Bitcoin development process, and/or they voted against the upgrade in order to covertly benefit from a quirk in the Bitcoin protocol which the upgrade would fix.

After an extended period of intense drama, SegWit ultimately did activate, but only after alternative Bitcoin clients included new activation schemes. BIP 148, included in the BIP 148 client run by some users, was programmed to only accept blocks signaling support for the protocol upgrade starting on a flag day. Meanwhile, BIP 91, included in the btc1 client and run by miners just ahead of the BIP 148 flag day, effectively lowered the hash power requirement from 95 percent to 75 percent. Faced with a potential split network and a possible loss of income, the obstructing miners conceded. But for most Bitcoin Core developers, BIP 9 had revealed itself to be a suboptimal solution, and they started thinking of alternatives.

BIP 8 was an early alternative for BIP 9, proposed by BIP 148 author Shaolinfry and Bitcoin Knots and Bitcoin Core contributor Luke-jr. It initially resembled BIP 9, but with one crucial difference: instead of the upgrade failing after a year of insufficient hash power support, it would do the exact opposite and activate the soft fork at that point in time. Similar to a flag day, all upgraded nodes would from then on start enforcing the new rules. Miners whod still have failed to upgrade would risk mining blocks that upgraded miners and users would reject.

The main idea behind BIP 9 is that assuming of course that users upgrade miners cant block the soft fork and therefore cant use this leverage to their benefit. They can speed activation up and help coordinate a smooth protocol upgrade, but the upgrade will eventually happen even if they dont activate it themselves.

A more recent draft of BIP 8 includes some notable changes. For one, BIP 8 allows nodes to be configured for two different policies when the signaling period is about to expire: forced activation, as explained in the previous two paragraphs, or no forced activation, like with BIP 9. Furthermore, instead of activating the upgrade itself, nodes (if so configured) actually enforce signaling for the upgrade. Blocks that do not signal support for the upgrade are then rejected, hence still guaranteeing the upgrade, at least for the upgraded nodes. The combination of these two changes has the interesting property that if a majority of all Bitcoin hash power is compelled to signal support for the upgrade, even BIP 8 nodes that arent configured to enforce signaling will go along with the upgrade,

An argument against BIP 8, and its forced signaling (or automatic activation) in specific, is that it can be risky, especially on a shorter timeline. If a hash power majority and at least some users dont upgrade, this scheme could split the network between upgraded and non-upgraded nodes. Assuming most users support the upgrade, this would likely resolve in favor of the upgraded part of the network eventually. But non-upgraded users would risk losing funds in the meantime, while non-upgraded miners would waste hash power to the detriment of Bitcoins security.

This risk is probably best countered by offering enough time to upgrade. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees on how much time is enough; some think forced signaling could start within a year, others believe it should take several years.

Another complication with BIP 8 is setting defaults for forced signaling. If forced signaling is switched off by default, users could find themselves uncoordinated, increasing the risk of network splits. If on the other hand forced signaling is chosen as the default in a Bitcoin Core release, the historically widespread adoption of Bitcoin Core virtually guarantees that the upgrade will happen. Some believe this would give Bitcoin Core developers too much influence over Bitcoins protocol rules. For this reason, BIP 8 coauthor Luke-jr prefers BIP 8 with forced signaling to exclusively be deployed through special clients, similar to the BIP 148 client.

Others argue that Bitcoin Core developers always release software to their best judgement, while keeping user demand in mind and avoiding contentious upgrades; setting BIP 8 defaults should be no exception to this policy. If anyone disagrees with the choices Bitcoin Core developers make after all, they can simply choose not to upgrade to a new release or even fork the Bitcoin Core code to launch a competing client altogether.

While Bitcoin Core developers indeed seek to take user demand into consideration and try to avoid contentious upgrades, not everyone is convinced this is always perfectly possible. Perhaps concerns about a proposed upgrade only surface when the software is deployed in a new release. Perhaps whole new issues arise after this release. Or perhaps Bitcoin Core developers simply missed something.

This is one reason why Bitcoin Core contributor Matt Corallo proposed a strategy dubbed Modern Soft Fork Activation. Modern Soft Fork Activation consists of three steps, together essentially realizing a combination of BIP 9 (or: BIP 8 without forced signaling) and BIP 8 with flag day activation (though forced signaling could be an option as well).

As the first step, BIP 9 would allow miners to activate the soft fork through hash power. If miners dont activate it in (say) a year, the first activation window expires. Then, as the second step, developers take some time to analyze why activation failed, and reconsider the proposal if they do find a concern with it. If they find there was no problem with the proposal, however, the third step is redeployment of the soft fork, this time using BIP 8 with flag day activation: miners get another chance to activate the proposal with hash power, but if they fail again, the soft fork activates when this second signaling period ends. (During this second signaling period, the hash power activation threshold could also be incrementally lowered over time, Bitcoin Core contributor AJ Towns suggests.)

By explicitly committing to BIP 8 redeployment if it turns out theres nothing wrong with the proposal, Corallo believes the strategy would offer the benefits of BIP 9 without the downside. The code is put out there during the first signaling period for everyone to consider, miners can coordinate a smooth upgrade if they so choose, and with no forced activation developers can take their time to reconsider the proposal if activation does initially fail. Meanwhile, miners would have much less to gain from blocking the upgrade for no good reason, as everyone knows it will eventually activate anyways.

The main argument against Modern Soft Fork Activation is that without miner cooperation, the process would take relatively long, and some consider the BIP 9 step a waste of time altogether. Corallos original proposal includes one year of BIP 9 signaling, followed by six months to reconsider, and finally two years of BIP 8 signaling before automated activation: a total of three-and-a-half years. While this timeline is of course not set in stone yet, shortening the different steps by too much would leave less time for reconsideration and/or upgrading (increasing the risk of network splits).

Due to the long time until potential forced activation, some also argue that miners can try and gain some political leverage after all: they can delay the upgrade for years.

Another, recent suggestion circulating through Bitcoins tech channels is perhaps best described as a bit of a merger between BIP 8 and Modern Soft Fork Activation, at least in spirit. The unnamed proposal would deploy a long BIP 8 signaling period, perhaps as long as Modern Soft Fork Activations three-and-a-half years, after which forced signaling triggers. However, if after (say) one year the upgrade didnt activate yet, developers would take some time to reconsider the proposal, like they would with Modern Soft Fork Activation.

If developers would find no problem with the proposal, and instead were to conclude that it simply hadnt activated due to miner apathy or another invalid reason, they could opt to deploy a new soft fork in the style of BIP 91, used during SegWit activation. This would effectively lower the hash power threshold for activation, presumably speeding up the process.

If, on the other hand, developers would find a problem with the proposal after all, they could deploy a new soft fork that would fix the problem, or even undo the original soft fork (in this case, Taproot) altogether. Assuming Modern Soft Fork Activations three-and-a-half-year timeline until forced signaling, there ought to be enough time left to take care of this.

The main argument against this proposal is probably that its not very elegant to deploy a soft fork that undoes another soft fork, if so needed. More concretely, it requires that miners and users upgrade to new releases before deadlines are reached, or risk splitting the network.

Finally, as a bit of an outlier proposal, Bitcoin Core contributor Jeremy Rubin suggested that a concept he invented called Probabilistic Bitcoin soft forks, or Sporks, might be an interesting alternative.

The heart of the problem of BIP 9, Rubin argues, is that miners can delay upgrades at no cost of their own. Simply refusing to signal readiness for an upgrade is free, while it potentially offers them political leverage.

With Sporks, the readiness signal is no longer taken from a bit of data that miners include in the blocks they mine, but derived from the block header hash: the randomly generated proof of work they produced by investing time and resources. Upgraded nodes would agree that a small subset of valid block header hashes statistically to only be found every six months or so would trigger the upgrade.

Per the randomness of hashes, a miner would not control whether he produces regular block header hashes or upgrade-activating block header hashes; hed statistically just happen to churn out one of the latter sporadically. So, if his invested resources happen to generate an upgrade-activating block header hash, hed have two choices. Either, publish it to the Bitcoin network, earn the block reward, and activate the soft fork. Or, withhold from publishing, delaying the soft fork by about six months on average in our example but in doing so also giving up the block reward. Delaying the upgrade would come at a significant cost.

The main problem with Sporks right now is probably that its a relatively new idea, that hasnt been developed yet let alone tested in the wild. While some do consider the concept interesting, its as of yet not the most likely contender for Taproot activation.

Authors note: The debate on soft fork activation (and Taproot activation in specific) is in flux; this is a non-exhaustive overview of the different upgrade proposals, especially when it comes to variants of the proposals with alternative parameters and other tweaks, and all their pros and cons.

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Bitcoin And Modern Soft Fork Activation - Bitcoin Magazine

Bitcoin and Other Blockchain Networks May Not be Decentralized as Recent Cloudflare Outage led to Lower BTC Transaction Confirmations – Crowdfund…

San Francisco-based Cloudflare, a web-infrastructure and website-security firm, offering content-delivery-network services, DDoS mitigation, Internet security, and distributed DNS services, experienced downtime again on July 17, 2020.

Whenever Cloudflare goes down or has some other type of technical difficulties, it immediately affects millions of websites that use its software. The recent downtime also resulted in a considerable decline in the number of Bitcoin (BTC) transactions that could be confirmed.

Jameson Lopp, the CTO at CasaHODL, a Bitcoin security firm, noted via Twitter (on July 17, 2020):

The Cloudflare DNS [Domain Name System] outage can be seen reflected in the rate of Bitcoin transactions broadcast, presumably because popular web wallets became inaccessible.

Lopp shared a chart that confirmed that there was a significant decline in the number of BTC transactions being processed every second.

Cloudflares management had noted on the providers official website (at around 10 p.m. UTC on July 17, 2020):

This afternoon we saw an outage across some parts of our network, [however] it was not as a result of an attack. It appears a router on our global backbone announced bad routes and caused some portions of the network to not be available. We believe we have addressed the root cause and are monitoring systems for stability now.

At around 10:57 p.m. UTC, a final update confirmed that the issue had been resolved.

While the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain network itself did not experience an outage when Cloudflare went down, many traders or investors may not have been able to conduct transactions because crypto wallets and exchanges use Cloudflare (which is a centralized solution).

Centralized exchanges such as Binance, Coinbase, and just about all others have to regularly go offline to perform scheduled or unscheduled maintenance work. One of the main value propositions of cryptocurrencies are that theyre decentralized, meaning theres no central authority that can step in to shut down a platform or system.

However, these types of events indicate that cryptocurrencies are not truly decentralized because they still depend on centralized infrastructure (like Cloudflare). Nearly all the so-called blockchain or crypto projects also use Github to upload their projects source code.

Github has a centralized management which has, on many occasions, restricted or denied access to users in certain parts of the world, like Iran. During an interview with Crowdfund Insider, Ray Youssef, the CEO at P2P Bitcoin marketplace Paxful, clarified that the platform was peer to peer but not decentralized. Thats because Paxful needs to follow strict KYC/AML guidelines, which are required by regulatory authorities across the globe.

It is highly unlikely that cryptos main value proposition, which promises decentralization, will ever become a reality. Many so-called decentralized platforms like IOTA, bZX, and dForce (among many others) have been launched so that users can participate in permissionless markets or platforms, however, many of them were hacked and their creators had to step in to address the issue. This means theyre not truly decentralized.

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Bitcoin and Other Blockchain Networks May Not be Decentralized as Recent Cloudflare Outage led to Lower BTC Transaction Confirmations - Crowdfund...

Bank of Thailand Enters Third Phase of CBDC Development; Now "Using CBDC with Big Businesses" | News – Bitcoin News

The Bank of Thailand (BOT) announced Wednesday that is has entered third-phase development of its central bank digital currency (CBDC).

BOT is planning to expand the use of the CBDC among large businesses.

The report by The Nation of Thailand quotes Vachira Arromdee, BOT assistant governor saying the central bank is already using the CBDC for financial transactions with a number of big businesses.

Thailands cement and building material provider, Siam Cement Group (SCG), and fintech firm Digital Ventures Company Limited were selected by BOT to pilot test the payment prototype system.

In June, BOT announced plans to develop a prototype to test real-life business use cases of its CBDC. The prototype builds on the knowledge gained Project Inthanon, a collaborative project between BOT and eight financial institutions.

Next, the BOT will begin using the digital currency for transactions with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority starting in September.

Arromdee explains that BOT is also thinking about expanding use of the cryptocurrency to the general public.

She cautions, however, that any further action can only be pursued after completion of a comprehensive study currently underway. The study seeks to assess the potential impact of digital currencies on the financial system.

Arromdee suggests that the cryptocurrency may have a negative impact on commercial banks by removing the need for a middleman in financial transactions.

On the other hand, it would reduce the cost of financial transactions.

Still, Arromdee expresses optimism as she points to China where public use of digital currency in the form of tokens had not affected the financial system there.

Meanwhile, the Nation Thailand also quotes Thakorn Piyapan, head of the Krungsri Consumer Group, supporting a public rollout of the BOT digital currency.

Piyapan insists the CBDC would promote mobile banking and e-wallets while reducing the cost of printing and using banknotes.

In 2019, BOT announced the completion of the second phase of Project Inthanon. The findings showed that Distributed Ledger Technology or DLT can help enhance the efficiency of bond trading and repurchasing activities.

Do you think the Bank of Thailands CBDC project will achieve its minimum objectives? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

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Bank of Thailand Enters Third Phase of CBDC Development; Now "Using CBDC with Big Businesses" | News - Bitcoin News

Why bitcoin fraud is nearly impossible to recover – Fox Business

FOX Business' Kristina Partsinevelos reports on the 4,000 bitcoin -- about $39 million worth -- being auctioned off that were seized from people who were convicted of a crime.

Funds lost to bitcoinfraud are nearly impossible to recover because of the decentralized, untraceable nature of cryptocurrency exchange.

Cryptocurrency scams are verycommon, and users should be aware that fraudsters will pose as trustworthy investors, charities and other useful resources online totrick people into giving away their crypto funds.

HOW MUCH MONEY WAS STOLEN IN TWITTER HACKS?

The more-than $110,000 that hackers collected on Wednesday after posing as prominent politicians and tech company CEOs, for example, will be "next-to-impossible to recover,"MuneebAli, founder of decentralized computing platform Blockstack, told FOX Business.

Row of physical bitcoin / iStock

"While the movement of bitcoin funds can be traced on the public ledger, it will be next to impossible to recover the funds," Ali said. "The bitcoin blockchain is permissionless, meaning that money can be sent to anyone in a way that cannot be clawed back. It's the digital version of physically reaching into your pocket, taking out cash, and handing it to another person."

TWITTER BITCOIN HACKS: LIST OF AFFECTED ACCOUNTS INCLUDES ELON MUSK, BILL GATES

He added, however, that hackers have limited options when it comes to cashing out because exchanges that trade crypto forcurrencies like dollars or euros are monitoring the situation and will likely freeze the funds if they are moved to the top exchanges.

Additionally, victims of bitcoin fraud can hire support from companies or law firmsthat help people retrieve crypto funds lost to scams, but the sum should be worth the funds needed to hire such experts.

GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HEREAli said Wednesday's hacking incident highlights how 'centralized websites and apps are incredibly risky."

"A low-level bitcoin scam is nothing compared to the damage that could have been done by leaking private messages or even tweeting out information to manipulate the stock market or an election etc. This issue highlights a dire need to start transitioning towards a more decentralized version of the web," he said.

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Why bitcoin fraud is nearly impossible to recover - Fox Business

This Indicator Signals Bitcoin’s Boring Price Action Will Come to a Violent End – Bitcoinist

Bitcoin has been finding an unusual amount of stability around $9,100. The crypto has been trading around this level throughout the past several days and weeks, struggling to gain any decisive momentum.

The cryptocurrencys consolidation phase has been narrowing throughout the past few months, as it was previously trading between $9,000 and $10,000.

Its current range is much smaller than this, existing between roughly $9,000 and $9,300.

Each attempt to break above or below these boundaries has been fleeting.

Analysts are now noting that the crypto will likely put a violent end to this trend in the near-term.

This comes as Bitcoins True Range Percentage hits the lowest levels seen in its entire history.

At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading down marginally at its current price of $9,130. This is around the level at which it has been trading throughout the past few days.

Buyers and sellers have both attempted to invalidate the tight trading range that has been formed between $9,000 and $9,300, but each movement above or below these boundaries has been fleeting.

This has resulted in the benchmark cryptocurrency seeing one of its tightest True Ranges in its history.

Mohit Sorout, a founding partner at Bitazu Capital, spoke about this occurrence in a recent tweet, referencing a chart showing the unprecedented nature of Bitcoins current consolidation phase.

This month is turning out to be one with the lowest True Range in BTCs entire decade-long price history, he explained.

This sideways trading may be akin to a spring coiling up the longer it coils, the bigger the subsequent move will be.

One analyst is now noting that he is expecting Bitcoins current trading range to resolve with the crypto making a massive movement.

BTC: Historical lack of volatility continues. We dont get this tight w/o a big move as a result. Enjoy the inevitable ride, he said while pointing to the chart seen below.

There is a strong likelihood that Bitcoins reaction to its macro trading ranges boundaries at $9,000 and $10,000 will ultimately be what provides traders and investors with guidance into which direction it will trend next.

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This Indicator Signals Bitcoin's Boring Price Action Will Come to a Violent End - Bitcoinist

Ethereum Is Beating Bitcoin In More Ways Than One – Forbes

Interest in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, including ethereum, is boomingfueled by unprecedented central bank stimulus measures and rocketing demand for alternative finance.

The bitcoin price, up around 30% so far this year, is being left in the dust by huge gains seen by some smaller cryptocurrencies.

Ethereum, the second most valuable cryptocurrency after bitcoin, has almost doubled in value so far this yearand the number of active ethereum addresses is growing at nearly twice the rate of bitcoins.

Bitcoin remains the world's most valuable cryptocurrency by a wide margin, though a recent rally in ... [+] the price of some smaller cryptocurrencies has left bitcoin in the dust.

Ethereums active address count has increased by 118% since the beginning of the year, data from blockchain analytics firm Messari, first reported by crypto news site Decrypt, has shown.

Meanwhile, bitcoins active address count has increased by just 49%.

"The level of development on ethereum is crazy: initial coin offerings, stablecoins, non-fungible tokens, decentralized exchanges and other decentralized finance applications, Web 3 use cases," Messari chief executive Ryan Selkis said via email, though he added bitcoin remains "the industry's dominant asset and most important project."

The ethereum price has also surged this year, with ethereum's tradable token ether now trading at around $240up almost 90% from $130 at the start of January. Bitcoin, on the other hand, has seen its post-coronavirus crash rally halted in its tracks since May with bitcoin repeatedly trying and failing to break the psychological $10,000 per bitcoin level.

Despite the excitement swirling around ethereum, recent setbacks, including a warning that ethereum 2.0 may be delayed again, is leaving the door open for competitors.

"There's a lot of demand for smart contract platforms that scale, so there's a big opening in the market right now with ethereum 2.0 delayed, [processing] prices high, and well-funded competitors launching imminently," Selkis said.

The ethereum price has ticked up over the last 12 months with ethereum outpacing bitcoin's recent ... [+] rally by a considerable margin.

One such cryptocurrency, chainlink, has been boosted by a surge of interest in decentralized finance, sometimes known as DeFithe idea that blockchain entrepreneurs can use bitcoin and crypto technology to recreate traditional financial instruments such as loans and insurance.

The chainlink price is up by around 1,000% on the last year, hitting fresh all-time highs over the last few days.

However, some cryptocurrency and ethereum developers have cautioned against investors viewing blockchains and cryptocurrency tokens as in competition.

"Viewing other blockchains as competitors to ethereum isnt the right framework to view the crypto space," Kosala Hemachandra, founder and chief executive of MyEtherWallet, who's been developing on ethereum since its 2015 launch, said via email, adding delays to ethereum 2.0 "arent stopping or slowing the many projects building on ethereum."

DeFi has been found to be one of the biggest drivers of ethereum growth in recent months, with DeFi applications accounting for over 97% of all decentralized app volume on ethereum according to a July report from Dapp.com.

"Different blockchains have separate goals and purposes," Hemachandra said.

"Some are primarily focused on value transactions while others support decentralized app development, for example. You have to look beyond market cap to really evaluate blockchain development."

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Ethereum Is Beating Bitcoin In More Ways Than One - Forbes

Shrinking volume may lead to an imminent breakout in Bitcoin price – Invezz

Bitcoin (BTC/USD) price is trading sideways for most of the month of July as the volume figure keeps falling. In the meantime, the payment giant Visa is supporting the emerging Bitcoin payments startup.

Zap, a Bitcoin payments startup company that has recently announced its partnership with Visa, has discreetly secured $3.5 million in new investments, according to Forbes. The startup joined Visas Fast Track Program in June.

While Zap is not the first Bitcoin payments company in the world, its different from its rivals because it utilizes a new platform developed on top of Bitcoin, known as the Lightning Network, that takes seconds to confirm a settlement instead of the usual 10 minutes.

Apart from being very fast, the platform also has much lower Bitcoin transaction fees compared to traditional payment fees.

One of the early use cases for us is content creators. Journalists or video game streamers or adult film actors and actresses, put up profiles backed by our infrastructure, and anyone in the world can tip them, says Jack Mallers, founder of Zap.

Mallers thinks hell gain an advantage over other crypto startups, like Coinbase, by moving the transactions off-chain and cutting the fees included in smaller transactions.

Our users today, dont ever know were using bitcoin when theyre using dollars. Its just kind of like weve melted it in the background, he said. I think tens of millions of people will be using this stuff in the next few years, and that just takes a little bit of capital.

Zaps partnership with Visa was announced last month, and the startup said it will be rolling out its card within a year. Just like how the Visa Network controls traditional banks, providing them with instant payment services, the Lightning Network handles Bitcoin payments but has no gatekeeper.

Were contractually obligated to launch one in the next 12 months and we plan on launching one in the next few months, Mallers said.

The paperwork is fully inked, and its coming out.

BTC/USD has been moving sideways in the past two weeks. The price action looks very depressed as it left the symmetrical triangle, however, without a follow-up. Shrinking volume confirms a decrease in interest in trading Bitcoin in the past two weeks.

However, a low volume usually takes place before the explosive move takes place. Hence, we cant expect the depressing price action to continue for much longer as the buyers still aim to push price movements above the $10,000 mark.

Bitcoin price has continued to range in the past two weeks. The volume has also shrank, which may point to a potentially explosive move soon as the trading range gets more narrow.

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Shrinking volume may lead to an imminent breakout in Bitcoin price - Invezz

Bitcoin Scammers Claim To Have Compromising Videos Of Victims – Yonkers Daily Voice

Bitcoin scammers have been threatening to expose sensitive videos of their victims if they are not paid off.

Fraudsters have been sending spam emails that allege they have recorded video of you getting yourself off, which they threaten to expose if they are not paid off.

The emails claim that the scammer is from out of the country, and cannot be targeted by local law enforcement.

Scammers allege that based on their potential victims visiting bad websites that infected computers with malware, they now have video of lewd acts that they threaten to share with friends and family.

In order to obviate the disgrace for the term of life, you should send 18 Dash coins to a certain address, and your prestige will not be damaged, the fraudsters wrote in an email to Daily Voice.

The scammers offer a 24-hour deadline to transfer the bitcoin, with the compromising video allegedly being disseminated within 48 hours.

The FBIs Internet Crime Complaint Center said it has seen an increase in reports of online extortion scams during the current "stay-at-home" orders due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Because large swaths of the population are staying at home and likely using the computer more than usual, scammers may use this opportunity to find new victims and pressure them into sending money, they wrote in a report.

The scammers are sending emails threatening to release sexually explicit photos or personally compromising videos to the individual's contacts if they do not pay. While there are many variations of these online extortion attempts, they often share certain commonalities.

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Bitcoin Scammers Claim To Have Compromising Videos Of Victims - Yonkers Daily Voice


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