Bitcoin's having a wild moment. It kicked off with a strange flash crash registered by the CoinDesk tracker that momentarily caused the cryptocurrency to appear to plunge by 12 per cent. Almost simultaneously, Russian President Vladimir Putin called for regulatory restrictions on digital currencies for the first time. And then, as it does in recent times, Bitcoin's price just went up.
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The Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday charged businessman Maksim Zaslavskiy with fraudulently running two initial coin offerings (ICOs), a form of largely unregulated investment vehicle in which companies take investors' cash or cryptocurrency in exchange for "crypto-tokens".
The cryptocurrency market is having another rocky morning as South Korean authorities announced a ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs). While countries such as the US and the UK have warned investors to exercise caution before becoming involved with such projects, China has completely banned the fundraising method, and Taiwan could be next.
File-sharing websites are not exactly known for their sterling reputation, though a few such as famed torrent site the Pirate Bay have been around for long enough while generally avoiding shady behaviour they have acquired a certain cachet with the internet community.
"In battle, the commander is the first one to go over the top," Joe McKinney, shirt unbuttoned, wearing a shower cap and one of those aeroplane neck pillows, exclaims over music swelling from every direction. He's having a great time, romping around San Francisco as part of a "distributed dance party" -- a roving DJ set controlled by an FM transmitter, beamed to dozens of boomboxes, and led by men who look like Road Warrior extras drenched in neon paint. One of them advises through a megaphone not to step on or trip over a homeless man in the path of revelry.
China recently banned initial coin offerings (ICO) and briefly paused the seemingly unstoppable price increase of bitcoin. But the cryptocurrency has already bounced back. With the likes of Paris Hilton, Kim Dotcom, and John McAfee all jumping into the ICO world in one way or another, it seems worth asking what the hell this whole thing is about.
For the uninitiated, cryptocurrencies are digital types of currency that utilize encryption techniques to regulate the generation of units and verify the transfer of funds. Essentially, they're online forms of cash — and you can make a killing off investing in it if you know what you're doing. That's where the Beginner's Guide to Cryptocurrency Investing comes in handy.
With the meteoric rise in popularity of Ethereum, cryptocurrencies and blockchains are back in the news again. Graphics card prices have soared with the promise that those who have the computers and know-how to do some serious mining can take home huge sums in a Bitcoin-like gold rush to snatch up as much virtual currency as possible. But how easy is it to make your fortune in cryptocurrency? And is it worth your while getting started?
Yes, this will be old hat to some, but you can definitely do more with cryptocurrency than letting it sit in a digital wallet. And you don't even have to use a chain of different websites to do so. Online, local services exist that let you spend Bitcoin and its progeny directly, including playing bills.
When the WannaCry ransomware attack hit back in May, it was really good at causing chaos but not so great at generating ransom money. Some analysts said that the attackers were amateurish in their methods. If the people behind the malware are as clumsy as they seem, they should be worried, because they recently started moving what Bitcoin they did collect during a particularly perilous time for cyber criminals.
Bitcoin power brokers were unable to come behind a single solution that would have preserved a unified cryptocurrency by Tuesday morning's deadline.
As such, the digital currency has split in two: bitcoin and bitcoin cash.
"There seems to be some technical issues that might be slowing it down, but yes, the fork has happened," Peter Borovykh of Blockchain Global, a blockchain technology company, told Business Insider.
"Bitcoin cash is here."
Less than a week ago, headlines declared that a market-shaking fork in Bitcoin had been averted. But the people backing a new cryptocurrency called Bitcoin Cash have now announced that the expected compromise between warring factions is dead. Next week, the huge Bitcoin fork will begin, and here's what it's all about.
Bitcoin, the decentralised digital currency, seemed on the verge of disappearing after every scandal, crash or hack. But eight years later, it's not only growing but accelerating, tripling in total value since January to over $59 billion. And it isn't the only cryptocurrency; competitors include Litecoin, Dogecoin and Ethereum (a currency that supports "smart contracts").
How can blockchain technology be adopted across government and industry in Australia in a way that really benefits productivity and drives local innovation? That's the question CSIRO's Data61 has been working on an answer for, and they think they have it.
TL;DR version: we can't afford to be following the pack, we need to lead it.
Bitcoin is a form of cryptocurrency that can be used to purchase everything from online goods to multi-million dollar mansions. They are currently more valuable than gold, with a single Bitcoin equalling more than three thousand Australian dollars. Needless to say, there is a huge amount of interest in bitcoin and it's not too hard to start mining bitcoins of your own.