Thanks for joining us for this edition of our news roundup, where we touch on some thoughts post-SEC verdict for the Winklevoss ETF, and share an insightful piece on why diverse perspectives and collaboration will help the bitcoin community thrive. Plus, headlines show exciting growth for bitcoin in Ireland, and more. Jump right in to get the details!
Bitcoin is a constantly evolving, living protocol
In the previous edition of our news roundup, we covered the rejection verdict of the Winklevoss ETF by the SEC. Opinions on the ETF were polarizing, but bitcoin didn’t seem to take it to heart. Is this surprising? Writer Daniel Roberts reminds us why the SEC and bitcoin didn’t walk down the aisle together: “[b]itcoin is meant to be an unregulated, decentralized, non-fiat currency,” and it doesn’t need regulation or mainstream approval to thrive.
At the DC Blockchain Summit, officials from the Trump administration expressed an interest in the uses of block chain technology for public policy. At the the event, VP Mike Pence’s Chief Economist, Mark Calabria, gave an unplanned presentation elaborating on that interest and said “the president’s team wants to listen and learn from the [block chain] community, as well as do what it can to lay the groundwork for further development.”
The moment you convince yourself that you understand Bitcoin is the moment that you stunt your personal growth in this ecosystem.
— Jameson Lopp (@lopp) March 17, 2017
There’s no doubt that studying bitcoin is a lengthy, and tedious process, but the technical aspects are only one piece of the puzzle. BitGo Software Engineer, Jameson Lopp, shares his arsenal of resources for understanding the technicalities of bitcoin in this CoinDesk article, but he clarifies that this will only “expose the tip of the bitcoin iceberg.” In his article, so aptly named “Nobody Understands Bitcoin (And That’s OK)”, Lopp describes bitcoin as “a living protocol” that is multifaceted, cross-disciplinary, and constantly evolving. And as such, it “defies conventional educational approaches and even defies self-professed authorities who claim to understand it.” Consequently, he recommends the avoidance of rigid dogmatic beliefs, and explains why and how bitcoin gains its strength from diverse voluntary collaboration.
Ireland is a growing hub for bitcoin & block chain tech
The scene for bitcoin and block chain technology enthusiasts has been on the up and up in Ireland, a Bitcoin Magazine article reports. Driving this includes the successful Blockchain Hackathon held at Dublin City University, the accomplishments of Irish startup Travacoin, and Deloitte’s decision to open an EMEA blockchain lab in Dublin’s fintech district. According to Reuben Godfrey, the director of the Blockchain Association of Ireland, continued growth is largely contingent upon being able to find enough block chain-savvy programmers to fill the demand. In addition to exciting news of their lab in Dublin, Deloitte’s office in Toronto, Canada, which had a Bitcoin ATM installed last fall, now accepts bitcoin at their in-house restaurant with help from payment processor BitPay.
And in China, major exchanges extended their suspension of withdrawals, until they perform upgrades necessary for regulatory compliance. The PBOC has since drafted legislation that will require Chinese bitcoin exchanges to adhere to strict KYC and AML procedures. A primary reason for the legislation is an effort to curb capital flight. On a brighter note, BTCC launched Mobi, a multi-currency app that supports over 150 currencies (including bitcoin), allows instant transfers to Twitter, and provides users with access to a visa debit card. A Brave New Coin article indicates the app is even grandma-friendly.
With an outstanding run so far for the price in 2017, it’s unfortunate but not surprising that headlines indicate a growing number bitcoin-related scams are also making the rounds. Writer Alicia Naumoff cites a Southern Methodist University empirical study on bitcoin scams to highlight the four most prominent types: “high-yield investment programs, mining investment scams, scam wallet services and scam exchanges.” As a way to help steer readers in the right direction, Naumoff introduced her readers to the bitcoin scam test, a 13 question quiz on 99Bitcoins, which helps users spot scams (hopefully) before the damage is done. Unlikely to pass that same test is an investment scam site that The Merkle issued a warning about in a heads up article to readers, which also appears on BadBitcoin.org’s Bad List.
Knowledge is certainly power when it comes to keeping your bitcoins safe, and the digital asset’s rise in popularity in India has raised concerns that such scams and other criminal activities are likely to become more common. Both India’s mainstream media and government have failed to take a proactive stance to educate the public on how to use bitcoin safely. As a result, unsuspecting novice users are at increased risk, as is bitcoin’s reputation among locals.
And even in more bitcoin-friendly countries, like Canada, immunity is never guaranteed. A community newspaper out of Ontario, Canada recently uncovered a scam where perpetrators convince victims to buy bitcoins using funds from a cheque that’s mailed to them. Once the victim sends the bitcoins to the perpetrator (and keeps a portion of the coins as payment), they soon find out that the cheque they received bounces. Regardless of the type of currency used, our best defense against scams is to learn about red flags, and reach out to see if others share your suspicion.
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