The price of bitcoin surpassed 0 this morning, for the first time in three months, rising over 7 percent in the past 24 hours and nearly 37 percent in the past month. It’s unclear what has caused this price boost, but the new upward trend has no doubt benefited from recent good news such as major US satellite service provider DISH Network’s plans to start accepting bitcoin later this year.
A team based in Spain is hoping to create the first open-source, decentralized bitcoin exchange algorithm called Coinffeine, which would allow the creation of a truly trustless peer-to-peer exchange platform similar to BitTorrent, complete with no transaction fees and faster transfer times. This way, according to co-founder and CTO Ximo Guanter, “Users are always in control of their money, both the bitcoins and the local currencies… Even if some government thought this was a really bad project and shut us down, the network would still work. It doesn’t depend on us existing as a company.”
Popular open-source encryption program TrueCrypt – which was favored by many including famed whistle blower Edward Snowden – has been compromised according to its anonymous developers. A notice on its SourceForge page Wednesday deemed the program “not secure” due to “unfixed security issues”. Users are instead instructed to migrate to Microsoft’s BitLocker, a similar program available only on limited versions of Windows. The Open Crypto Audit Project is underway to examine TrueCrypt’s code for any potential flaws or backdoors, but has found nothing of alarm yet.
The Montreal Economic Institute has published a research report on bitcoin regulation, concluding that bitcoin will require regulation in order to thrive. In response, the Bitcoin Foundation Canada issued their own statement with an opposing view, saying “Government intervention is not required for Bitcoin to develop and become accepted by the Canadian public… Canadian authorities must maintain their current neutral regulatory stance if these businesses are to continue investing and creating jobs in Canada.”
Banks in the Netherlands are starting to explore doing business with ventures focused on virtual currency, and say they are following the lead of their new clients and looking into the innovative new payment system. Mark Buitenhek, global head of transaction services at the country’s largest bank ING said recently that Customers want change, and that change could be bitcoin. Even the Dutch central bank is open to it, as policy officer for innovation and cybersecurity Kim Gunnink says technological innovations like digital currencies “can entail huge opportunities and large benefits for society.”
Bitcoin mining hardware is now available for purchase on Walmart.com. However, selection is still a bit limited. The only machine currently on sale is a 10 giga-hash Butterfly Labs miner for 0 – which isn’t the fastest machine on the market, and is actually listed as being sold and shipped via TigerDirect, instead of directly through Walmart. As one review on TigerDirect noted, at current prices the miner would take “541 days to break even not counting power costs.’
And Melbourne-based gaming experience company IRL Shooter is accepting bitcoin pledges to help bring back their zombie outbreak game Lazarus, wherein players work together in teams to blast their way out of a zombie-infested hospital. Pledges will receive a ticket to play the game and, depending on the donation level, could also include a whole range of power-ups and bonuses as well.
Money & Tech attended the latest San Francisco Bitcoin Meetup at RackSpace earlier this week, where Kord Campbell presented his new company StackMonkey which uses the Bitcoin technology to revolutionize compute and eliminate cloud payment fraud.