News: Me at Intelligence Squared on Monday, darknet busts, Ross Ulbricht appeal rejected, Bitfinex/Tether, Expedia drops Bitcoin, GiveCrypto

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  • The Justice Department targets darknet vendors by tracking particular bitcoins — and 35 innovative entrepreneurs are suddenly enlightened as to the true meaning of “prosecution futures.” When you spend bitcoins, you are spending marked bills.
  • Oh no! The US Supreme Court just refused to hear Silk Road kingpin Ross Ulbricht’s final appeal. See chapter 4 of the book for the tale. Sorry for your Ross.
  • Bloomberg nails down how incredibly obvious it is that Tether trading is utterly manipulated. None of this will be news to anyone following the Tether saga — Bitfinex’ed posted a video of Tether wash trading on Kraken in November — but it’s nice to see this making the papers, and in an utterly undeniable manner.
  • You’ll be almost as shocked to hear that Bitfinex is having banking problems again, even for those customers large enough to deal in fiat — “In other situations, there is no bounce back or deposit, leaving users without a clear answer about what happened with their funds.”
  • Scary news: oh no, a double-spend on Tether! What actually happened is that an (unnamed) exchange misconfigured their Tether software — so some transactions were marked “valid” when they weren’t. The consequence is that the exchange thought they had more tethers than they did, and incorrectly credited their customer with tethers. Tether runs as OmniLayer tokens on top of Bitcoin — much as ERC-20 ICO tokens run on top of Ethereum — and Omni is designed so you can’t double-spend the tokens without double-spending the underlying bitcoins. See responses from the Omni developers — “if the transaction is marked as valid and omnicore shows the expected balance, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.”
  • Expedia stops taking Bitcoin as of 10 June — Bitcoiners finally notice 27 June.
  • If you want to watch Bitcoin sinks slowly in the west, GDAX is now Coinbase Pro. I favour this exchange because it’s one of the few that exchanges directly to actual dollars. You can view the BTC/USD pair here.



  • Coinbase founder Brian Armstrong has started a crypto charity, GiveCrypto — and if recipients start using cryptos for actual economic activity, all the better, they consider. Armstrong asks you, and whales especially, to please donate. It’s a tax-deductible 501(c)3, via their fiscal sponsor the Pledge Group.
  • /r/bitcoin attempts to use the ⚡Lightning Network⚡ — the future of payments! It doesn’t work so well. “Alas, I can only receive $5 via that channel once I’ve spent $5. :(“






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