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Crypto News Updates

Taproot Activation Timeline Set, But Path Unclear

Earlier this week, Bitcoin’s development community met via Internet Relay Chat (IRC) to discuss Taproot activation paths and lay out an expected timeline for the privacy and smart contract flexibility upgrade. This was the second such activation meeting held through IRC.

Though a tentative timeline was set, the meeting ultimately left the group divided on a main issue: How exactly to coordinate the upgrade.

According to an expected timeline posted after the meeting on Bitcoin Wiki, Taproot could be activated by August 2022:

  • March 17 to 31, 2021: Full node software released with Taproot activation deployment
  • July 23, 2021: Economic majority has upgraded. Miner signalling begins to indicate preparedness to protect the economic minority who haven’t upgraded yet.
  • Two weeks after 90 percent of the Bitcoin network’s hash rate signals support: Taproot activates. Economic majority enforces, while miners protect the economic minority until they upgrade as well.
  • August 1, 2022: Entire economy has upgraded

“There were two primary topics of conversation, the timeline and what to do if Taproot does not meet activation requirements,” Ben Carman, a Bitcoin developer at Suredbits, told Bitcoin Magazine. Carman said that the room was divided on whether or not to proceed with a user-activated soft fork (UASF) if requirements are not met. “After Core devs have experienced backlash and drama in the past few years, it seems they want to do the less controversial thing and not force the upgrade with a default UASF.”

Taproot is the biggest update to Bitcoin since SegWit back in 2017, and with it comes many potential benefits. To date, there has not been much criticism to the proposal and, according to taprootactivation.com, miners contributing 88.69 percent of network hash rate have indicated support for the upgrade.

It appears that we could see Taproot activated as soon as this summer, but it’s likely that critics will come out from the shadows before that begins.

The post Taproot Activation Timeline Set, But Path Unclear appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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Sports Gambling Website 500.com Acquires Bitcoin Mining Pool BTC.com

Today, Shenzhen, China-based sports lottery site 500.com announced the acquisition of major Bitcoin mining pool BTC.com from Blockchain Alliance Technologies Holding Company via a share-swap agreement. Blockchain Alliance is operated by BitDeer, which itself is chaired by Jihan Wu, the co-founder of bitcoin mining giant Bitmain.

The terms of this purchase agreement include 500.com using 10 percent of its own outstanding shares to execute it, according to the announcement. The terms also outlined additional share issuances based on the performance of BTC.com businesses.

According to BTC.com mining pool data, it is currently the fourth-largest pool by block validation, contributing just over 10 percent of the total network hash rate over the last three days. As of the time of this writing, BTC.com maintains a hash rate of 15.36 exhahashes per second across that timeframe.

This news comes hot off the heels of 500.com’s announcement in early February that it is purchasing 15,900 bitcoin mining rigs. This is rapid advancement for the online gambling company, which only just announced its intention to enter the blockchain space in January. 

It also begs the question of what other non-Bitcoin focused companies will target mining pools for acquisition in the near future. As we see more companies adopt bitcoin as part of their corporate reserve strategies, mergers and acquisitions like this one might be the next steps in the advancement of bitcoin exposure by Wall Street and other institutions.

The post Sports Gambling Website 500.com Acquires Bitcoin Mining Pool BTC.com appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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Crypto News Updates

Latest Umbrel Update Further Improves Bitcoin Privacy, Self-Sovereignty

This week, open-source Bitcoin and Lightning Network node developer Umbrel released a significant update to its operating system, bringing a list of notable improvements to its wallet and UX, plus several additions to its celebrated Umbrel App Store

The Umbrel App Store was released December 2020 and has brought single-click installation of some of the most popular Bitcoin apps since then. This latest update brings the addition of Samourai Server, a mempool.space explorer and LNBits.

The Umbrel v0.3.3 operating system update also allows users to easily connect to an external wallet to monitor and send transactions. This update also integrates the latest versions of Bitcoin Core (v0.21.0) and LND (v0.12.0).

About The Apps

Samourai Server is an exclusive, Umbrel-only app that runs both Samourai Dojo and Whirlpool out of the box, and provides easy, step-by-step instructions to the user so they can effortlessly connect their Samourai wallet. This represents the highest-level of privacy that you can achieve as a Samourai Wallet user, because you no longer have to trust its servers with any of your data. Also, with Whirlpool, your Umbrel can now mix your bitcoin at any time. 

Mempool is the self-hosted version of the mempool.space Bitcoin blockchain explorer. It brings all of the features of mempool.space to your Umbrel app, allowing you to use your Bitcoin node as a full-fledged explorer, visualize the mempool and get on-chain fee estimates. 

With LNbits, users can onboard their friends and family members to the Lightning Network relatively easily by hosting their wallets directly through Umbrel, without them having to worry about running a Lightning node or managing channel liquidity. 

Most Bitcoin and Lightning wallets have their own unique procedures for connecting to a personal Bitcoin node, and there isn’t a standard protocol. Some require additional steps, such as installing Tor, and some don’t, but the process isn’t obvious to most non-technically inclined people. The new wallet connector in Umbrel v0.3.3 provides easy to follow, step-by-step instructions for connecting most of the popular Bitcoin and Lightning wallets, like Electrum, Wasabi, Zap and BlueWallet. 

Combined with the seven apps that launched with the Umbrel App Store a few weeks ago (BTCPay Server, Specter Desktop, Sphinx Relay, RTL, Lightning Terminal, ThunderHub and BTC RPC Explorer), this latest update further solidifies that one-click install financial self-sovereignty is no longer a far-fetched dream with Umbrel.

The post Latest Umbrel Update Further Improves Bitcoin Privacy, Self-Sovereignty appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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Jack Dorsey, Jay-Z Launch Bitcoin Development Endowment

Earlier today, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced a partnership with hip-hop mogul and billionaire Sean Carter, aka Jay-Z, to create a Bitcoin development endowment focused initially on teams in India and Africa. 

The endowment will be called the “₿trust” and the pair will be bootstrapping it with 500 bitcoin, currently valued at more than $23 million. ₿trust is currently recruiting three board members, which Dorsey is soliciting through the relatively informal platform Google Forms

The board member application has a simple message at the top: “mission: make bitcoin the internet’s currency.” It can be filled pseudonymously and it asks candidates to simply submit a freeform written description of their credentials, under a field titled “proof of work.”

While details still remain scarce, one important factor to note at this point is that the endowment is being set up as a blind, irrevocable trust. In other words, Dorsey and Carter will have no say in how the endowment operates. 

The fact that this investment is focused partially on Africa should not come as a surprise, as Dorsey has visited the continent several times, even making public plans to move to Africa in 2020, before the world was brought to a halt by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dorsey’s digital payments company, Square, has also worked to fuel Bitcoin development with grants through its cryptocurrency-focused division, Square Crypto.

The post Jack Dorsey, Jay-Z Launch Bitcoin Development Endowment appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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$41 Trillion Global Custodian BNY Mellon Announces Bitcoin Strategy

Today, global banking and custodian heavyweight BNY Mellon announced that it is entering the Bitcoin arena with the creation of a “Digital Assets Unit.” The New York-based bank is a custodian of more than $41 trillion in assets and has $2 trillion in assets under management and The Wall Street Journal has reported that this means it will issue, hold and transfer bitcoin on behalf of its asset-management clients.

According to the announcement, the Digital Assets Unit is being led by Mike Demissie, who said that it “plans to deliver a secure infrastructure for transferring, safekeeping and issuing digital assets…” 

As one of America’s oldest banks, BNY Mellon is deeply rooted in the global financial system. This makes its announcement an incredibly bullish sign as such an entrenched institution entering the market essentially derisks Bitcoin for many others and suggests that stifling regulation from the U.S. government is unlikely.

“Any remaining existential regulatory risk is now gone,” professional financial trader Jonathan Leader told Bitcoin Magazine. “BNY would not be involved if the government was planning to come down hard on BTC. I am sure there will be more regulation, but banning it is now off the table.”

This move signals that the institutional herd is definitely entering the Bitcoin space and in a way this should accelerate adoption.

For instance, the feasibility for a massive pension or hedge fund to get exposure to bitcoin has improved markedly. This fund might have all of its assets in custody with BNY Mellon and, before this move, it would have had to form an exploratory committee and sell decision-makers on starting accounts with cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase or Gemini, which may be unfamiliar to those decision-makers. That would be a difficult sell. Now, that custodianship is offered by BNY Mellon and getting exposure to bitcoin will be a much easier sell.

It is too early to tell what’s going to happen on the U.S. regulatory front, but moves like this are a reason for Bitcoin advocates to celebrate. It adds reason to hope that regulators will continue to work with the market on friendly and sensible regulations moving forward.

The post $41 Trillion Global Custodian BNY Mellon Announces Bitcoin Strategy appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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Interview: Bitcoin And Black America With Isaiah Jackson

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On this episode of the “Bitcoin Magazine Podcast,” I had the opportunity to sit down for an interview with Isaiah Jackson to discuss his upcoming book, “Bitcoin And Black America Volume 2.” 

Before the interview I read a copy of his first book which laid the groundwork explaining Bitcoin to noobs, though it was written especially for black people. The book covers monetary history and how black people have gotten little to no support from bankers here in America, and goes on to make the case that Bitcoin for black people is a no brainer. As Jackson says, “If any group of people should recognize how media can misrepresent you because they feel threatened, it should be the black community. Bitcoin and the black community are a match made in heaven.”

Aside from his writing, Jackson has been on a mission of Bitcoin outreach. He has big plans in store for 2021, which include a summer camp for Bitcoin education and even a tour around the U.S. visiting with black church leaders. He and Russ Okung are working on that project and I am very interested to see the outcomes. 

Jackson is even launching a new show on Coindesk Tv called “Community Crypto” where he and guests discuss Bitcoin in meetup groups around the world. He is truly taking Bitcoin outreach to the grassroots. Please give him a follow and let us know what you think of the pod.

The post Interview: Bitcoin And Black America With Isaiah Jackson appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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River Rolls Out Mobile App For Bitcoin Investment

Bitcoin-only exchange River Financial today announced that it is launching a mobile app on iOS. 

This has been the number-one requested feature from its growing user base, the River team explained to Bitcoin Magazine, and it comes in the midst of a bitcoin price bull run that began in March 2020.

“We have seen tremendous growth in this client demographic through word of mouth referrals from friends and their kids,” Alex Leishman, River’s CEO and CTO, said. “People especially appreciate our client services (they have a lot of questions and want to talk to a person), the financial reporting tools (performance page) and how easy it is to get set up with an account.”

And it isn’t just younger, mobile-first retail investors requesting the service, Leishman explained.

“Interestingly, older clients are very heavy mobile users,” he said. “They are investors, doctors, lawyers, etc. and are up and about all day instead of sitting in front of a laptop like a young tech worker… A significant majority of our business is generated by clients born in the 1950s and 1960s.” 

If older investors do capitalize on the mobile offering, River could gain ground with customers in an age group that has a significant amount of accumulated capital to deploy.

One of the hallmarks of River’s website is its simple user interface and its average of two minutes for onboarding. The exchange plans to bring that same approach to the mobile app, making sure it is very simple to execute buys and including support for a price widget. 

River has no immediate plans to launch the app for Android, but users can expect support in 2022. Meanwhile, Coldcard hardware wallet users can expect support later this year.

The post River Rolls Out Mobile App For Bitcoin Investment appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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Elon Musk: “I Am A Supporter Of Bitcoin”

Elon Musk, the richest person in the world, has publicly confirmed that he has taken the orange pill. 

Last week, he added “#Bitcoin” to his Twitter description and set Bitcoin Twitter off on an eruption of good vibes. Now, he has publicly voiced his support for Bitcoin on audio chat app Clubhouse. Late last night, Musk joined a Clubhouse led by the team at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz to discuss all things of interest. He discussed the probability of a manned Mars mission, how his team has monkeys playing video games via Neuralink and, most importantly, made a public endorsement of Bitcoin. 

He shared a story about how a friend of his had a Bitcoin-themed cake made and fed him a piece of it in 2013. 

“I think Bitcoin is a good thing,” he said. “I am a supporter of Bitcoin. I am late to the party but a supporter. I think Bitcoin is on the verge of getting broad acceptance by conventional finance people.”

Asie from his glowing words for Bitcoin, Musk held no punches back in welcoming Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev to the Clubhouse chat, calling him “Vlad The Stock Impaler.” Andreessen Horowitz is an investor in both Clubhouse and Robinhood and it would stand to reason that it wants to facilitate some redemption for Robinhood among its users following the company’s recent actions in the r/wallstreetbets saga

Ultimately, many Bitcoiners saw this endorsement from Musk as a coup for BTC. It also served as another great example that everything is recorded and scrutinized, even chats on Clubhouse.

The post Elon Musk: “I Am A Supporter Of Bitcoin” appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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Marathon Patent Group To Receive 4,000 New Bitcoin Mining Rigs From Bitmain

This morning, Marathon announced that a shipment of 4,000 new Antiminer S-19 Pro Bitmain miners are en route to its mining facility in Hardin, MT. This is the first of many shipments that Marathon has scheduled for 2021 which will fulfill its order for more than 103,000 additional miners from Bitmain, according to a release sent to Bitcoin Magazine

Marathon’s current mining fleet consists of 2,560 miners generating 248 PH/s and the company expects that this additional 4,000 unit order will take the company’s total mining capacity to 688 PH/s, or a 256 percent increase in its production.

“This shipment of 4,000 S-19 Pro miners is the first of many we will be receiving from Bitmain in 2021 as we build towards becoming one the largest and most efficient miners in North America,” said Merrick Okamoto, Marathon’s chairman and CEO, per the release.

Marathon hopes to have the 4,000 units online by the end of February and noted that an additional 11,000 miners should be delivered by the end of April. To date, the company has purchased 103,060 additional miners.

Several other North American bitcoin mining groups have acquired large orders of mining rigs recently, including Hut 8, Blockstream Mining and Compute North.

The post Marathon Patent Group To Receive 4,000 New Bitcoin Mining Rigs From Bitmain appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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Crypto News Updates

Grayscale Gifts $1 Million To Coin Center, Will Match Up To $1 Million More In February

Today, crypto research and advocacy group Coin Center received a $1 million donation from Grayscale Investments, as well as a commitment to match any donations made in February up to an additional $1 million.

This donation is the second of its kind, which was first pioneered by Kraken back in 2018 with a similar donation and matching campaign.

“The Coin Center team has been amazed by the outpouring of support that the cryptocurrency community has shown us over the years, and especially the last few months,” reads an announcement on the group’s website. “Thank you to everyone who has supported us over the years, and a thank you to Grayscale for making this matching campaign a tradition.”

Donations to Coin Center go toward its operations budget and reserve. For years, the group has advocated for sensible cryptocurrency and blockchain technology regulations, regularly addressing U.S. legislators on Capitol Hill. 

Grayscale, a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, is one of the world’s largest crypto asset managers. It operates the Grayscale Bitcoin Investment Trust, which bought a record 16,244 bitcoin in one day this month.

Coin Center hosts a landing page which directs users to make general donations.

The post Grayscale Gifts $1 Million To Coin Center, Will Match Up To $1 Million More In February appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin magazine