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Bitcoin Millionaire Announces the Winner of His $100k Bounty

Bitcoin Magazine -

This is a guest post by Richard Boarse.

A Bitcoin millionaire from Monaco who recently posted a bounty on Reddit for $100,000 for a proposal that could replace the Bitcoin Foundation has announced Mike Hearn’s Lighthouse initiative as the winner of $40,000, with a further $50,000 pledged to any developers who put significant work into the development of the protocol itself on the Lighthouse platform. Janssen has also offered the remaining $10,000 as a runner’s-up prize to Casey Kuhlman and Dennis McKinnon for their Project Douglas/ERIS platform, the first legally structured DAO which runs on the Ethereum test-net.

Janssen said: “First of all I want to thank everyone for their submissions, ideas and positive feedback.  There were a lot of great candidates, and it was initially very difficult to make a choice.  I am now confident though that I have selected the best possible winner.  I have also selected a runner up because these guys deserve to get a prize for what they accomplished.“

Janssen’s bounty was originally conceived as a way of funding a platform that could effectively replace the foundation’s role of paying Bitcoin core developers, an issue which has been hotly debated since the formation of the foundation in 2012. Janssen posted a reddit post in June asking: ‘why do we need a Bitcoin Foundation in the first place? …the main thing they are doing right now is funding some of the core Bitcoin developers…[but] there is no real initiative to fund the developers directly.  As a result, the developers are underfunded, because the Bitcoin Foundation does not have that much money […] We also don’t know how much they are paying the developers and how much money they have left, since their transparency is pretty much non-existent. The funding could stop at any time and endanger Bitcoin even more. As such, and to guarantee the (political) independence of the developers, the community should start funding the developers directly.” Which is precisely what Hearn’s lighthouse initiative aims to do.

Hearn has been extremely vocal about this fact in recent weeks, arguing on the Bitcoin Foundation blog that ‘underfunding is leaving Bitcoin development in a state of crisis,’ going into detail in his interview with Brian Crain on Epicenter Bitcoin last week where he explained how Lighthouse would effectively act as a platform where anyone would be free to suggest an update or improvement to the protocol, and offer a bounty for a successful implementation. His talk on the subject at Bitcoin 2014 was covered in Coindesk here and his Epicentre interview was covered again here.

Hearn says of the protocol itself:  ‘there’s absolutely lots to do: things that could be done but which aren’t really making much progress [are] proper resource scheduling for DoS resistance (our current anti-DoS strategy is not excellent) – […] chain pruning, vending high quality IP address lists in getaddr so SPV nodes don’t have to rely on DNS seeds so much, link-level encryption (maybe), a new transaction version that fixes malleability and allows low trust calculation of floating tx fees, improvements to Script such as new signature types, better unit testing infrastructure, better monitoring and metrics infrastructure …. and that’s just Bitcoin Core consensus related code, it doesn’t include any wallet features.”

Janssen’s motivation for posting the bounty was politically motivated, reasoning that he felt the Bitcoin Foundation was “re-creating the same archaic political system that fails to work for society”, and criticising the foundation as ‘a non-transparent, political and secretive elite… [who are] creating even more political structures inside, such as committees, which can only be accessed by knowing the right people”. He goes on to say that, by their own admission, they cannot continue to keep funding the core developers forever with the membership model they have; and he’s also adamant that the Bitcoin community doesn’t need celebrities to decide what’s good for the community,  believing instead that the developer community must stop getting distracted by internal politics and start focusing on funding the core development as a matter of urgency.

At the Amsterdam Bitcoin 2014 conference this year, Gavin Andresen in his keynote speech alluded to the fact that proposals to changes in the Bitcoin core protocol had become overly contentious,  saying: “I hope someone will come up with a way of solving ‘the troll problem’, a problem Hearn seems to have addressed admirably.

For those unfamiliar with ‘the troll problem’ it’s perhaps best exemplified by this post on Reddit.com  seven months ago in which jdillonbtc accused Hearn of ‘secretly pushing black lists’; an idea that would conceivably destroy the fungibility of bitcoins and creating a two-tier system of miners. One which accepted transactions with stolen bitcoins and one which wouldn’t, a measure that could ultimately undermine the value of the entire Bitcoin economy, and though the term ‘black-listing’ was later dropped and replaced with the term ‘red listing’ Hearn himself admits that in retrospect it was a bad idea, and he caught a lot of heat for it.

However, at the time the general consensus from most right-thinking bitcoiners was that Hearn was simply tabling a point of discussion, rather than actively pursuing an agenda that would ‘destroy Bitcoin’, and Andresen’s point in his keynote address was simply that Bitcoin core development needs a forum in which both radical and original ideas and solutions can be suggested without fear of reprisal or recrimination from the knee-jerk revolutionaries of the Bitcoin fringe.

But Janssen’s decision to fund Hearn’s lighthouse initiative possibly only fulfils half of the criteria. As he says himself: “We need a project to have lobbyists in Washington, to fight the anti-bitcoin lobbyists from Mastercard, and to prevent the government from destroying the currency. Basically, we don’t need another intermediary. We can do this ourselves.“

But does Hearn’s lighthouse initiative also address the issuing of lobbying?

Janssen thinks it can: “I am thinking of a system where prominent people can voice their opinion, where people can propose projects, and where the core devs can actively show their roadmap with detailed features + costs, and where we can vote on the features being implemented by sending bitcoins towards the feature of our choice. This will allow the core dev team to expand by being able to add/pay more devs for feature requests which are fully funded. Maybe we can even evolve to a system later where anyone can work on a feature, which, when programmed properly (approved by the core team), will receive the bounty. The same applies to lobbyists, we just send bitcoins towards the one that we consider the most competent for the job. This will allow Bitcoin to grow and expand at a rate it deserves, a rate that a political organisation such as the foundation can never accomplish.

When contacted and asked for his response on the matter, Hearn said openly: “”I’m extremely happy that Olivier Janssens has chosen Lighthouse as the winner of his bounty. We are both passionate about decentralisation and have both been thinking about new Bitcoin-native funding models for some time, so it’s great that we were able to team up. Not only is this an impressive example of someone putting their money where their mouth is, but by doing so he has considerably simplified and sped up Lighthouse development. My original plan was to release a proprietary and crippled version of the app so it could be used to raise the funds for its own open source release. Olivier’s commitment makes this intermediate step no longer necessary and so the app can be open source from day one.

The post Bitcoin Millionaire Announces the Winner of His $100k Bounty appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

FiDELYS smartwatch features iris recognition (crowdfunding)

Liliputing -

Thinking about getting a smartwatch, but waiting for one with biometric security features? Probably not… but if you are, the wait could soon be over. The makers of the FiDELYS smartwatch plan to launch a wristwatch that you can pair with your phone to interact with incoming calls, text messages or other details. But what […]

FiDELYS smartwatch features iris recognition (crowdfunding) is a post from: Liliputing

Social Media that Pays in Bitcoin

Bitcoin Magazine -

Social Media that Pays Users in Bitcoin

On February 1st of this year, Film Annex announced that it would be the first website in the world to pay its users in Bitcoin. The social media platform has over 300,000 registered users in 245 different countries worldwide. Users are rewarded Bitcoin for creating content such as films, blogs and images. Content creators are measured by the Buzz Score, an algorithm that measures the impact and quality of the content provided. Users are then financially rewarded in bitcoin based on their personal Buzz Score.

Francesco Rulli, an Italian businessman and philanthropist, founded Film Annex in 2006. It was very difficult and costly to pay users from 245 different countries. Bitcoin simplifies the payout process and eliminates the need for currency conversion. Francesco states in a recent press release, “The ideal users at Film Annex are those who believe and think in Bitcoin as their primary currency.”

Michael Sweeney is the Managing Partner of Film Annex Capital Networks. I was able to communicate with him to learn more about Film Annex and the decision to pay users in Bitcoin. The following is a written interview between Michael Sweeney and Steven Carpenter:

Mike Sweeney (Left) Steven Carpenter (Right)

Steven Carpenter: Were you involved with Film Annex Networks when you first discovered Bitcoin?

Michael Sweeney: I had heard about Bitcoin in 2012, but we really only took notice when the US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke made his comments last November 2013 that we decided to focus on it. In December we purchased our first Bitcoin and then on January 15, 2014, we made a formal announcement:

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/01/prweb11489527.htm

As of February 1, 2014, Film Annex will be paying its community of Content Partners (Filmmakers and Bloggers) in Bitcoin (BTC). Film Annex registered users had the option to request Bitcoin payments since December 2013, and now Bitcoin will be Film Annex’s official currency. Film Annex is known as the “#SocialMediaThatPays” due to its unique “BuzzScore” payment system, where Film Annex Content Partners get paid for their content contributions.

With a community of 300,000+ registered users from 245 countries, Islands and Territories, Bitcoin is a more efficient payment system and digital currency for Film Annex. Francesco Rulli Film Annex Founder and President stated, “The ideal users at Film Annex are those who believe and think in Bitcoin as their primary currency. We work with and continue to seek out the person who wants to earn Bitcoin, hold it in her/his wallet, invest it and/or spend it as Bitcoin. For this type of user, the eventual conversion of Bitcoin to other currencies is a possibility, but not the primary goal.

SC: Why does Film Annex Networks choose to pay users revenue in bitcoin?

MS: The main reasons were:

  •      Cost – It is very expensive to move money internationally and PayPal is not available in many countries where we work.
  •      Safety – Our partner in Central Asia is Roya Mahboob who was named as one of the TIME100 Most Influential People in the World in 2013. It is much safer to send her Bloggers and Filmmakers direct payments rather than send her a big wire that she has to then manually pay people in cash. As Roya states on Blog at www.WomensAnnex.com:

http://www.womensannex.com/blogs/bitcoin-as-a-digital-currency-to-overtake-banking-limitations-of-developing-countries/87148

The use of Bitcoin in Afghanistan and other countries in Central Asia is a great step to involve people online with international currency without limitation of borders around the world. All the users can spend their Bitcoin all over the world or they can change it with their own currency.

Well, with the new payment system of FilmAnnex and WomensAnnex, we can open a door of opportunities for female students in Afghanistan to start a new online business on money transaction with no limitation of the boarder. We can send direct money to the users who don’t have bank accounts and so they can simply save their Bitcoins and leave them in exchange online, they can simply transfer their Bitcoins in their wallet or their own computer. They can sell their Bitcoins and get cash in their own exchange currency or hey can spend their Bitcoins to buy online shopping, clothes, food and etc.

SC: Do you believe Bitcoin will help empower women and other individuals in developing countries?

MS: Yes, but it is better to hear it from our partners. Fereshteh Forough sits on the Board of the Women’s Annex Foundation and she states about the women in her native Afghanistan:

http://www.womensannex.com/blogs/bitcoin-film-annexs-digitalcurrency-to-support-sustainablephilanthropy-and-digitalliteracy-in-afghanistan/88528

Fereshteh Forough: As an Afghan girl who was born and raised in Iran from an Afghan parent, moved to Afghanistan after the fall of Taliban, studied in Germany and right now is living in New York City. I have learned the value of being under Digital Citizenship in a Digital World using a Digital Currency – which all together conclude in Communication without Borders.

For the first time, It looks complicated to every body starting from myself, when I was asked if I know BTC or not, but eventually I started to investigate about it and create my own BTC account and digital wallet. Everyday many educational institutes have started to accept BTC as the valid payment from student’s side.

SC: Which countries do you believe will benefit the most from Film Annex and Bitcoin?

MS: Clearly countries with small banking infrastructure and unstable governments will benefit the most. It will take years and years to change the banking system in the USA, and obviously the USA banks don’t necessarily want change. However, developing countries are a natural target for Bitcoin and other digital currencies.

SC: Why do you believe in Bitcoin and how can Film Annex help educate and empower developing countries with Bitcoin?

MS: The Women’s Annex Foundation is a pioneer in using Bitcoin as a payment system in developing countries. For reasons of safety, convenience, and cost, we believe the Digital Currency movement will help elevate the lives of women around the globe. We believe that Bitcoin is the reason why we can create Digital Literacy with Digital Currency. Digital Literacy is the ability to effectively and critically navigate, evaluate and create information using a range of digital technologies. “Digital” information is a representation of data, and “Literacy” refers to the ability to read for knowledge, write coherently, and think critically about the written word.

SC: Do you view Bitcoin and Film Annex as an opportunity to change the world?

MS: Changing the world is hard. I have an Autistic son who is now sixteen years old and he is doing better everyday. It is a step-by-step process to change his world, and the same is true in developing countries. The goal is to empower women by paying them directly for their work.

SC: Where do you see Bitcoin and Film Annex Networks in one year from now?

MS: Our goal at Film Annex Networks has never been towards being big or being a public company. The Founder of Film Annex Networks is Francesco Rulli and he has a very European style of business. Our focus is being a Thought Leader in:

  •      Digital Literacy
  •      Digital Currencies as payment systems for developing countries
  •      Sharing advertising revenues with Content Partners
  •      BuzzScore – Establishing our proprietary BuzzScore algorithm as a digital algorithm that measures reach, influence, engagement, and the quality of content created. The BuzzScore model is pioneering a shift from measuring people’s eyeballs to measuring user engagement and connection for Advertising Networks and Brands.

I think the Wall Street Journal stated it better than I can:

“Film Annex (Networks) will go to an all-bitcoin payment model. The site has made waves with a radical new business model by which it shares part of its ad revenue with the independent film makers and bloggers that provide its content.”

The post Social Media that Pays in Bitcoin appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Our Nightmarish Experience Using Bitcoin on Expedia

Bitcoin Magazine -

Our family is now on Day Nine of our cross country Bitcoin-only tour and we have used various Bitcoin friendly services to book our hotel rooms. The first service we used was Gyft to purchase globalhotelcard.com gift cards. We booked our hotels in Baton Rouge and Atlanta this way without a hitch. The payment confirmed instantly and our hotel room was ready for us upon arrival.

The third night we decided to use Expedia because we heard they recently started accepting Bitcoin on their site. We found an affordable room and paid with bitcoin through Coinbase. We waited for a confirmation but nothing happened. We called the hotel to see if they received confirmation of our itinerary and they said nothing had come through. Not only did they not receive the confirmation, but we were informed they were overbooked.

At this point we got worried. When you pay with bitcoin, transactions are final. Had we sent the money to the wrong address?

We called Expedia and waited on the phone while their call representative contacted the hotel. After 20 minutes the payment finally confirmed with Coinbase and Expedia gained access to our itinerary. This began an hour long process of repeating our story to various customer service supervisors and account specialists.

An hour later, with sleeping kids in the car, we found a woman who switched us to a new hotel. She offered a 100 dollar voucher and a 25 dollar refund from our original purchase. We felt whole again as we slept in our swanky hotel, despite waiting 1.5 hours to resolve the situation.

Five nights later we took off from NYC toward our destination of Lancaster, NH. We left way later than planned for various reasons. The first delay was a last minute invite to screen our sovereignliving.tv show at the NYC Bitcoin Center. The second delay was a mugging that we witnessed in Manhattan on our way home. We stayed to comfort her and walk her to safety.

We decided to try and drive to Springfield, MA, the halfway point to Porcfest in Lancaster, NH. This would give us enough time for a slow morning with the kids, grocery shopping, and still arrive to the event in time for my Women in BTC Panel at 3pm the next day.

After we hit bumper-to-bumper construction traffic in southern Massachusetts we decided to stop as soon as possible and sleep. We went online to book a hotel with our Expedia voucher, but found that it had not been applied to our account.

When I called to talk to customer service I was directed to a supervisor who offered a 200 dollar voucher and no BTC refund as initially offered. We excitedly accepted and waited on hold. I was using John’s phone new phone and didn’t realize it was dying. We got disconnected and tried to call back.

This began yet another string of conversations with customer service and supervisors. They refused to route my call to the same guy, Paul, who was thoughtfully helping us before. At one point I spoke to Supervisor Jessica in Central America. She raised her voice to me, told me I could have either a 25 FRN refund or a 100 FRN voucher. Those were my only options and she told me I could call the next day to talk to someone above her.

Out of the ten customer service representatives we spoke to that night, only one even knew what Bitcoin was. It happened to be Jessica, the angry supervisor. The lack of knowledge of Expedia’s acceptance of BTC was extremely discouraging.

In exhausted tears I asked for the voucher and to be transferred to someone who could book our room. She then put me on hold for over 20 minutes until I hung up and called back. The next representative tried to book our room, but could not figure out how to apply a voucher and let us pay the difference in bitcoin. I then tried to book the hotel on Expedia’s website, but it was after midnight and I could no longer pick the right date.

I then tried our trusted Gyft site to purchase a globalhotelcard.com gift card, but ran into the same problem. It was after midnight and I could not select the right dates.

Again we called Expedia back and asked if they could give us another 25 FRN voucher instead of the 25 BTC refund so we could book our room. They said yes, gave us a $50 voucher, then informed us they could not apply two vouchers to one transaction.

I told the woman we were trying to travel on BTC only and that the situation was really jamming us up. At this point she said the only thing we could do was to pay the 21 FRN tab with a card, or not get a room that night. We literally had no way to pay with BTC and John was exhausted to the point of near tears himself.

I sobbed like a baby as he read the card number to her. I was devastated that we could not pay with BTC. We finally checked in to our hotel after 3 AM. Thank goodness our babies slept through the entire ordeal.

While we were initially excited that Expedia is accepting Bitcoin, they still have a way to go in terms of customer service. Third party merchant services are a necessity until more hotels are accepting Bitcoin directly, like the Holiday Inn Express where we stayed in Brooklyn, NY. For now, when booking hotels our family will stick with Gyft to buy globalhotelcard.com gift cards.

You can follow the rest of our journey via www.uncoinventional.com.

The post Our Nightmarish Experience Using Bitcoin on Expedia appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

“Uncoinventional” Family on Bitcoin Only Cross Country Tour to Visit Ohio’s Bitcoin Boulevard

Bitcoin Magazine -

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 2, 2014 Contact:

John Bush, Uncoinventional Tour
Johnbush512@gmail.com
(512) 773-6102
Www.uncoinventional.com
Www.sovereignbtc.com

Nikhil Chand, Founder, CoinNEO
nc@coinneo.com
(216) 202-0423
www.coinneo.com
www.bitcoinboulevard.us

“Uncoinventional” Family on Bitcoin Only Cross Country Tour to Visit Ohio’s Bitcoin Boulevard

A family of four has finished their first two weeks of Bitcoin-only travel. Tonight they will arrive in Cleveland Heights, OH to shop and eat at Bitcoin friendly establishments on Bitcoin Boulevard (www.bitcoinboulevard.us).

The founder of Bitcoin Boulevard US, Nikhil Chand, says “Attracting Bitcoin tourism is one of our primary goals for Bitcoin Boulevard US, especially for travelers driving through Cleveland via I-90. We are delighted to host Catherine and John’s family during their journey across the US, and are sure they will have a warm and welcoming reception here in Cleveland Heights.”

The group plans to dine at the Tavern Company (www.thetaverncompany.com) followed by dessert at Sweet Fry (www.sweetfry.com). The Blush Family will be available for interviews with the media Wednesday July 2nd from 8 to 9pm on the Bitcoin Boulevard.  Media is welcome to join the meal with RSVP. Questions can be answered via telephone as they drive from New York.

John Bush and Catherine Bleish, the stars of the Sovereign Living (www.sovereignliving.tv) reality show, began their journey of 4,400 miles in San Marcos, Texas where Bush broadcasts his widely followed Bitcoin Podcast SovereignBTC (www.sovereignbtc.com).

Bleish says she is “excited to test the practicality of Bitcoin-only travel”.

During the journey they have purchased gasoline, food and hotels with BTC. The so called “Blush Family” used the service CoinFueled (www.coinfueled.com) to purchase gasoline gift cards with bitcoin. Most of their food purchases were through a gift card service called Gyft (www.gyft.com) that has allowed them to eat at places like Whole Foods and Applebee’s on BTC. For hotels they have used Gyft, Expedia and CheapAir with varying results.

Their only unexpected obstacle to date has been the toll roads in New York.

Despite their use of the Federal Reserve Note on tolls, the family feels the trip has been a smash success. “This has been an experiment in Bitcoin-only travel and we have learned many lessons along the way,” says Bleish. “Next time we know to find a proxy for an EZPass.”

One of the goals of their trip is to encourage greater use and adoption of Bitcoin. According to Bush, “the trip has been a great success so far. We are excited to visit Bitcoin Boulevard, a location that is really leading the way when it comes to Bitcoin adoption. We hope that by visiting this area and sharing our experience with the world, we can inspire more business districts to follow suit.”

Bleish has kept a live blog on Bitcoin Magazine to document the experimental adventure. You can follow their successes and failures at uncoinventional.com.

Significant stops along their journey include:

- BitPay (www.bitpay.com) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia
- Blue Ridge Liberty Project (www.blueridgelibertyproject.org) located in Asheville, North Carolina
- Bitcoin in the Beltway conference (www.bitcoinbeltway.com) in Washington DC
- NYC Bitcoin Club, Brooklyn Holiday Inn BTC Pilot Program
- Porcupine Freedom Festival in New Hampshire (www.porcfest.com)

Future stops include:
- Bitcoin Boulevard in Cleveland Heights,  OH
- Kansas City Bitcoin Club

More information on Bitcoin Boulevard can be found via: http://bitcoinboulevard.us/lee-road-businesses-embrace-digital-currency-bitcoin-boulevard-us/

Sovereign Living is a project of the Center for Natural Living, a Texas based 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to “Demonstrate the value of voluntary cooperation and natural living in the areas of sustainability, family, and health by creating educational media and helping families to fulfill their basic needs”. www.centerfornaturalliving.org

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The post “Uncoinventional” Family on Bitcoin Only Cross Country Tour to Visit Ohio’s Bitcoin Boulevard appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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