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Old 04-03-2013, 07:32 PM   #351
eNx
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WIW, what was stopping the big banks on buying all of the bitcoins and halt it's circulation?
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:50 PM   #352
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:59 PM   #353
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Bitcoin is not Anonymous

TL;DR

Bitcoin is not inherently anonymous. It may be possible to conduct transactions is such a way so as to obscure your identity, but, in many cases, users and their transactions can be identified. We have performed an analysis of anonymity in the Bitcoin system and published our results in a preprint on arXiv.

The Full Story

Anonymity is not a prominent design goal of Bitcoin. However, Bitcoin is often referred to as being anonymous. We have performed a passive analysis of anonymity in the Bitcoin system using publicly available data and tools from network analysis. The results show that the actions of many users are far from anonymous. We note that several centralized services, e.g. exchanges, mixers and wallet services, have access to even more information should they wish to piece together users' activity. We also point out that an active analysis, using say marked Bitcoins and collaborating users, could reveal even more details. The technical details are contained in a preprint on arXiv. We welcome any feedback or corrections regarding the paper.

Case Study: The Bitcoin Theft

To illustrate our findings, we have chosen a case study involving a user who has many reasons to stay anonymous. He is the alleged thief of 25,000 Bitcoins. This is a summary of the victim's postings to the Bitcoin forums and an analysis of the relevant transactions.

Summary

The victim woke up on the morning of 13/06/2011 to find a large portion of his Bitcoins sent to 1KPTdMb6p7H3YCwsyFqrEmKGmsHqe1Q3jg. The alleged theft occurred on 13/06/2011 at 16:52:23 UTC shortly after somebody broke into the victim's Slush pool account and changed the payout address to 15iUDqk6nLmav3B1xUHPQivDpfMruVsu9f. The Bitcoins rightfully belong to 1J18yk7D353z3gRVcdbS7PV5Q8h5w6oWWG.

An Egocentric Analysis



We consider the user network of the thief. Each vertex represents a user and each directed edge between a source and a target represents a flow of Bitcoins from a public-key belonging to the user corresponding to the source to a public-key belonging to the user corresponding to the target. Each directed edge is colored by its source vertex. The network is imperfect in the sense that there is, at the moment, a one-to-one mapping between users and public-keys. We restrict ourselves to the egocentric network surrounding the thief: we include every vertex that is reachable by a path of length at most two ignoring directionality and all edges induced by these vertices. We also remove all loops, multiple edges and edges that are not contained in some biconnected component to avoid clutter. In Fig. 1, the red vertex represents the thief and the green vertex represents the victim. The theft is the green edge joining the victim and the thief. There are in fact two green edges located nearby in Fig. 1 but only one directly connects the victim to the thief.



Fig. 2: An interesting sub-network induced by the thief, the victim and three other vertices.

Interestingly, the victim and the thief are joined by paths (ignoring directionality) other than the green edge representing the theft. For example, consider the sub-network shown in Fig. 2 induced by the red, green, purple, yellow and orange vertices. This sub-network is a cycle. We contract all vertices whose corresponding public-keys belong to the same user. This allows us to attach values in Bitcoins and timestamps to the directed edges. Firstly, we note that the theft of 25,000 BTC was preceded by a smaller theft of 1 BTC. This was later reported by the victim in the Bitcoin forums. Secondly, using off-network data, we have identified some of the other colored vertices: the purple vertex represents the main Slush pool account and the orange vertex represents the computer hacker group LulzSec (see, for example, their Twitter stream). We note that there has been at least one attempt to associate the thief with LulzSec. This was a fake; it was created after the theft. However, the identification of the orange vertex with LulzSec is genuine and was established before the theft. We observe that the thief sent 0.31337 BTC to LulzSec shortly after the theft but we cannot otherwise associate him with the group. The main Slush pool account sent a total of 441.83 BTC to the victim over a 70-day period. It also sent a total of 0.2 BTC to the yellow vertex over a 2-day period. One day before the theft, the yellow vertex also sent 0.120607 BTC to LulzSec. The yellow vertex represents a user who is the owner of at least five public-keys:

1MUpbAY7rjWxvLtUwLkARViqSdzypMgVW4
13tst9ukW294Q7f6zRJr3VmLq6zp1C68EK
1DcQvXMD87MaYcFZqHzDZyH3sAv8R5hMZe
1AEW9ToWWwKoLFYSsLkPqDyHeS2feDVsVZ
1EWASKF9DLUCgEFqfgrNaHzp3q4oEgjTsF

Like the victim, he is a member of the Slush pool, and like the thief, he is a one-time donator to LulzSec. This donation, the day before the theft, is his last known activity using these public-keys.

A Flow and Temporal Analysis

In addition to visualizing the egocentric network of the thief with a fixed radius, we can follow significant flows of value through the network over time. If a vertex representing a user receives a large volume of Bitcoins relative to their estimated balance, and, shortly after, transfers a significant proportion of those Bitcoins to another user, we deem this interesting. We built a special purpose tool that, starting with a chosen vertex or set of vertices, traces significant flows of Bitcoins over time. In practice we have found this tool to be quite revealing when analyzing the user network.



Fig. 3: A visualization of Bitcoin flow from the theft. The size of a vertex corresponds to its degree in the entire network. The color denotes the volume of Bitcoins — warmer colors have larger volumes flowing through them. We also provide an SVG which contains hyperlinks to the relevant Block Explorer pages.



Fig. 4: An annotated version of Fig. 3.

In the left inset, we can see that the Bitcoins are shuffled between a small number of accounts and then transferred back to the initial account. After this shuffling step, we have identified four significant outflows of Bitcoins that began at 19:49, 20:01, 20:13 and 20:55. Of particular interest are the outflows that began at 20:55 (labeled as 1 in both insets) and 20:13 (labeled as 2 in both insets). These outflows pass through several subsequent accounts over a period of several hours. Flow 1 splits at the vertex labeled A in the right inset at 04:05 the day after the theft. Some of its Bitcoins rejoin Flow 2 at the vertex labeled B. This new combined flow is labeled as 3 in the right inset. The remaining Bitcoins from Flow 1 pass through several additional vertices in the next two days. This flow is labeled as 4 in the right inset.

A surprising event occurs on 16/06/2011 at approximately 13:37. A small number of Bitcoins are transferred from Flow 3 to a heretofore unseen public-key 1FKFiCYJSFqxT3zkZntHjfU47SvAzauZXN. Approximately seven minutes later, a small number of Bitcoins are transferred from Flow 3 to another heretofore unseen public-key 1FhYawPhWDvkZCJVBrDfQoo2qC3EuKtb94. Finally, there are two simultaneous transfers from Flow 4 to two more heretofore unseen public-keys: 1MJZZmmSrQZ9NzeQt3hYP76oFC5dWAf2nD and 12dJo17jcR78Uk1Ak5wfgyXtciU62MzcEc. We have determined that these four public-keys — which receive Bitcoins from two separate flows that split from each other two days previously — are all contracted to the same user in our ancillary network. This user is represented as C.

There are several other examples of interesting flow. The flow labeled as Y involves the movement of Bitcoins through thirty unique public-keys in a very short period of time. At each step, a small number of Bitcoins (typically 30 BTC which had a market value of approximately US$500 at the time of the transactions) are siphoned off. The public-keys that receive the small number of Bitcoins are typically represented by small blue vertices due to their low volume and degree. On 20/06/2011 at 12:35, each of these public-keys makes a transfer to a public-key operated by the MyBitcoin service. Curiously, this public-key was previously involved in another separate Bitcoin theft.

WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks recently advised its Twitter followers that it now accepts anonymous donations via Bitcoin. They also state that "Bitcoin is a secure and anonymous digital currency. Bitcoins cannot be easily tracked back to you, and are a [sic] safer and faster alternative to other donation methods." They proceed to describe a more secure method of donating Bitcoins that involves the generation of a one-time public-key but the implications for those who donate using the tweeted public-key are unclear. Is it possible to associate a donation with other Bitcoin transactions performed by the same user or perhaps identify them using external information?



Fig. 5: A visualization of the egocentric user network of WikiLeaks. We can identify many of the users in this visualization.

Our tools resolve several of the users with identifying information gathered from the Bitcoin Forums, the Bitcoin Faucet, Twitter streams, etc. These users can be linked either directly or indirectly to their donations. The presence of a Bitcoin mining pool (a large red vertex) and a number of public-keys between it and WikiLeaks' public-key is interesting. Our point is that, by default, a donation to WikiLeaks' 'public' public-key may not be anonymous.

Conclusion
This is a straight-forward passive analysis of public data that allows us to de-anonymize considerable portions of the Bitcoin network. We can use tools from network analysis to visualize egocentric networks and to follow the flow of Bitcoins. This can help us identify several centralized services that may have even more details about interesting users. We can also apply techniques such as community finding, block modeling, network flow algorithms, etc. to better understand the network.

Feedback
We are excited about the Bitcoin project and consider it a remarkable milestone in the evolution of electronic currencies. Our motivation for this work has not been to de-anonymize any individual users; rather it is to illustrate the limits of anonymity in the Bitcoin system. It is important that users do not have a false expectation of anonymity. We welcome any feedback or comments regarding the preprint on arXiv or the details in this post.

Follow on:
We have wrote a follow on blog post: http://anonymity-in-bitcoin.blogspot...nd-spsn11.html where we release some of the data we extracted, in other to allow other researchers replicate our work, or perform follow on analysis.
http://anonymity-in-bitcoin.blogspot...anonymous.html
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Old 04-04-2013, 08:06 PM   #354
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What's to stop a bank or other organization from developing their own competing digital currency? If the Bitcoin system is ever accepted by the public then someone is going to want to make money by copying it.
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Old 04-04-2013, 08:26 PM   #355
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Originally Posted by WRX300 View Post
Not a lot of information there. Could you please quote some more?
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:52 PM   #356
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Originally Posted by Howl View Post
Sell! Sell! Sell!
Good call. It dropped about 28% from yesterday overnight.

Major Bitcoin exchanges hit with cyberattacks
Quote:
As interest has surged in Bitcoin, platforms that support the digital currency have been hit by damaging cyberattacks this week.

Mt. Gox, a Tokyo-based exchange that claims to handle more than 70% of all Bitcoin trades, said in a statement on Thursday that it had been hit by a massive Distributed Denial of Service attack. In a DDoS attack, hackers direct a giant traffic surge to their target, overwhelming the site's servers and making it hard for legitimate users to gain access.

The attacks appear to have shaken confidence among some Bitcoin users.

On Wednesday, Bitcoins rose to $147, before pulling backovernight to around $115 as word of the cyberattacks spread. Mt. Gox said the attacks may be an effort to prompt "panic selling", with the hackers hoping to buy up cheap Bitcoins following the panic they've created -- and then waiting for the currency to rise again. They may also be aimed more generally at destabilizing the Bitcoin system.

"[R]emember that Bitcoin, despite being designed to have its value increase over time, will always be the victim of people trying to abuse the system, or even the value of Bitcoin decreasing occasionally," the exchange said.

Mt. Gox said it was suffering its "worst trading lag ever," with some users having difficulty logging into their accounts. The company said it was working to make sure the problem didn't become any more serious.

The exchange did not say whether any individual accounts had been compromised -- a common practice among hackers who launch DDoS attacks -- and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bitcoin is a four-year-old digital currency developed outside the authority of governments and central banks and designed to allow worldwide payments between users. The value of Bitcoins has surged in recent weeks amid decreasing trust in traditional banking systems, particularly after Cyprus imposed a tax on top bank depositors and placed limits on withdrawals to help pay for a European bailout.

Increased media attention has also helped fuel Bitcoin's rise. On Thursday afternoon, the value of one Bitcoin was hovering around $130, up from $47 two weeks ago and just 5 cents back in mid-2010.

Andreas Baumhof, chief technology officer at the cybersecurity firm ThreatMetrix, noted that financial institutions of all kinds face attacks like the one that hit Mt. Gox. Because the market for Bitcoin is so much smaller than those for other currencies, he added, such disruptions are more likely to generate big swings in Bitcoin's value.

"If I were to target a big financial institution, in no way would the value of the US dollar fluctuate," Baumhof said.

Other Bitcoin utilities have also reported problems in recent days.

Bitcoin-Central, a site for the exchange and storage of the currency, and affiliated service Paytunia said they had detected a security breach on Monday and suspended operations pending an investigation. The services said Wednesday that they hoped to be up and running again by the end of the week, and that customers' account balances had not been affected.

Instawallet, an online service for Bitcoin storage, had a notice posted on its website Thursday saying it had been "fraudulently accessed," and would be suspending service indefinitely. Users have been instructed to submit claims to recover their funds.

As the Bitcoin business matures, service providers for the digital currency will continue to beef up their cybersecurity in the same way large banks and online-payment firms like eBay's (EBAY, Fortune 500) PayPal have in recent years, Baumhof said.

"I'm fairly sure this will ultimately be just a blip," Baumhof said of the disruptions this week.
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Old 04-04-2013, 10:23 PM   #357
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A bit more on the Instawallet hack (which I'm surprised wasn't really mentioned here):

Quote:
Bitcoin wallet service Instawallet hacked, shuts down ‘indefinitely’
April 3, 2013 12:11 PM
Sean Ludwig

Bitcoins are a hot commodity now, but are your Bitcoins actually safe? Bitcoin wallet company Instawallet has suspended its service “indefinitely” after being hacked.

Bitcoin is a virtual, decentralized currency that no government or central bank controls. Several companies, including Reddit and Expensify, have recently added Bitcoin support, helping the value bubble up. The value of Bitcoin surpassed $100 per coin just two days ago, and early today it reached as high as $145. Now the price reportedly sits below $117.

Instawallet provided a way to easily set up a Bitcoin wallet that can be used to store your Bitcoins and associated data. But the company had its database “fraudulently accessed,” so it has decided to close down until it can develop a new architecture that is safe from hacking attacks.

Instawallet writes on its homepage:

INSTAWALLET SERVICE NOTICE

The Instawallet service is suspended indefinitely until we are able to develop an alternative architecture.

Our database was fraudulently accessed, due to the very nature of Instawallet it is impossible to reopen the service as-is.

In the next few days we are going to open the claim process for Instawallet balance holders to claim the funds they had stored before the service interruption.

Important information on claims submission:

For the first 90 days we will accept claims for individual Instawallets. Your wallet’s URL and key will be used to pre-populate a form to file the claim.

After 90 days, if no other claim has been received for the same url, your Instawallet balance under 50 BTC will be refunded. If several claims have been filed for the same url, we will process those claims on a case by case basis, under the presumption that the claim we received first belongs to the legitimate balance holder.

Claims for wallets that hold a balance greater than 50 BTC will be processed on a case by case and best efforts basis.

The Instawallet incident highlights that Bitcoin still has serious issues with security. While transfers between Bitcoin holders are secure and instantaneous, the software used to actually store Bitcoins may not be up to snuff in many cases.

Bitcoin prices have often faltered in the past after hacking incidents, and a security breach in June 2011 is thought to have triggered a massive sell-off in Bitcoins. We’ll see if something like this happens again with today’s incident.
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Old 04-08-2013, 12:40 PM   #358
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Trojan turns your PC into Bitcoin mining slave
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Maybe it's a sign of the Bitcoin bubble. Criminals are trying to take control of PCs and turn them into Bitcoin miners.

According to antivirus seller Kaspersky Lab, there's a new Trojan -- spotted on 4 April and spreading via Skype -- that takes control of infected machines and forces them to do what is known as Bitcoin mining, a way of earning digital currency.

The Bitcoin digital currency system rewards miners (in bitcoins, natch) for their number-crunching work, which is essential to keeping the anonymous Bitcoin currency system working. With the Trojan, hackers are forcing others' machines to earn them money, and it can really put a strain on these machines. Victims might notice that their CPU usage shoots sky high.

On 4 April, the Trojan was spreading via Skype messages. In one Spanish message obtained by Kaspersky, the Trojan was supposed to be a "favourite" picture of the victim.

About two thousand people per hour were clicking on the website hosting the Trojan software, Kaspersky said. "Most of potential victims live in Italy then Russia, Poland, Costa Rica, Spain, Germany, Ukraine and others," Kaspersky Researcher Dmitry Bestuzhev wrote in a blog post.

Once computer criminals have tricked you into downloading a Trojan, they have control of your computer, and there are a lot of things they could do. And the Trojan isn't only used for Bitcoin mining, Kaspersky says.

This isn't the first time a Bitcoin mining Trojan has popped up, and malicious software that flat-out steals bitcoins has been around for years. Two years ago, Symantec spotted a Trojan -- called Badminer -- that sniffed out graphical processing units and used them to crank out bitcoins.

A regular PC wouldn't be able to do much Bitcoin mining on its own, but hackers could pretty easily register a group of compromised computers with a specific Bitcoin mining pool and point all of the systems there, according to Charlie Shrem, the founder of Bitcoin payment processor Bitinstant. "If he infiltrates a million computers, then it will pay off," he said in an email message.

Bitcoins have been on a price surge lately. On 5 April, they were trading at about $140 (£98), about ten times their value at the end of 2012.

Maybe that makes mining a little more attractive to the bad guys.
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Old 04-08-2013, 12:45 PM   #359
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Originally Posted by dmross View Post
The important thing to keep in mind about "mining":

mining = transaction processing
Sounds like a scam.
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Old 04-08-2013, 12:50 PM   #360
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Bit coins ... Lol.... What store can I use this to purchase goods at again?

Should I invest my retirement account in this? Seems like a sound investment.
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Old 04-08-2013, 12:53 PM   #361
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Old 04-08-2013, 01:07 PM   #362
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s mack View Post
Bit coins ... Lol.... What store can I use this to purchase goods at again?

Should I invest my retirement account in this? Seems like a sound investment.
you could buy a nice house in canada....

Quote:
A Canadian man is selling his house in exchange for Bitcoins – the world’s alternative decentralized digital currency that is gaining popularity with more and more people, trying to keep their deposits safe as they lose trust in real currency.

Twenty-two-year-old Taylor More is the first to list his two-bedroom bungalow in Alberta on the website For Sale By Owner in exchange for the hard-to-trace digital Bitcoins - 5,362 of them (US$395,000).

“My home is being traded for Bitcoins!” reads More's listing. “Properties like this rarely come on the market and this one's priced to sell in one of the most sought-after recreation areas of the Rockies.”

The current exchange rate of one Bitcoin is US$73.

“I have a few projects that I am working on that involve Bitcoin and they happen to be a pretty hard thing to get your hands on right now if you want to get them in large quantities,” More told CBC. “So I figure the best way to get them is to try to sell our property.”
http://rt.com/news/house-for-sale-bitcoins-781/

exchange rate is $185, not $73 any more

---

I know the value has dumped a couple times in the past couple days because of hacks, but I wonder what everyone thinks will be the trigger price for the market to actually tank.
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Old 04-08-2013, 01:26 PM   #363
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Can't wait until people start paying taxes/cash on bitcoins
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Old 04-08-2013, 01:32 PM   #364
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The only time I've ever wished I had bitcoins was when I knew a crash was coming so I could have sold them all off in advance.
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Old 04-08-2013, 01:55 PM   #365
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Originally Posted by WRX300 View Post
you could buy a nice house in canada....



http://rt.com/news/house-for-sale-bitcoins-781/

exchange rate is $185, not $73 any more

---

I know the value has dumped a couple times in the past couple days because of hacks, but I wonder what everyone thinks will be the trigger price for the market to actually tank.
With nearly all currency collapses (if not all of them), it has been caused by a collapse in confidence. Whether it's a collapse in confidence of a country's ability to repay its debt leading to a country defaulting on its debt, a collapse in the government, hyperinflation, an economic collapse, a speculative attack on a currency in a gold standard system due to loss in confidence of a country's ability to hold enough gold reserves to maintain the value of its currency at the legally specified parity, or any other type of external shock, it all boils down to a loss in confidence in the currency system. To that end, bitcoin is no different.
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Old 04-09-2013, 02:25 PM   #366
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Well, I took the plunge. I am in for some hardware with some buddies at work. Sucks that shipping is gonna take so long that another difficulty increase will happen by the time we get the hardware, but whatever. My personal strategy is going to be a mix of mining BTC and selling to pay off initial investment, and mining LTC and holding them to wait and see if they explode again or increase in value.

Anyone want *TO BUY* a game code for Bioshock Infinite + Crysis 3?

Last edited by visibiliti; 04-09-2013 at 05:21 PM.
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Old 04-09-2013, 02:33 PM   #367
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did you buy the regular gpu stuff or those custom developed mining chips?


last trade on mtgox was ฿224/$1
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:05 PM   #368
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I bought normal GPU hardware and PC hardware so that I would cut my potential losses, by having the resale value of the equipment.

I didn't want to have to wait to try to acquire an ASIC... I missed all the group buys, and honestly with all of the scams running around the ASIC companies, I didn't want to take that risk.

ASIC is also specifically for BTC. I will be using a majority of my equipment to mine LTC out of the box, with the difficulties still low and rumors of mt. gox implementing LTC trading by May.
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:10 PM   #369
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WRX300 View Post
did you buy the regular gpu stuff or those custom developed mining chips?


last trade on mtgox was ฿224/$1
I thought it crashed again

$224:฿1

-*
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:14 PM   #370
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I'm surprised we haven't seen any other virtual currencies based on the same bitcoin model, running parallel to bitcoins. I imagine it's only a matter of time before bitcoin 2 shows up, etc...
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:25 PM   #371
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Quote:
Originally Posted by visibiliti View Post
I bought normal GPU hardware and PC hardware so that I would cut my potential losses, by having the resale value of the equipment.

I didn't want to have to wait to try to acquire an ASIC... I missed all the group buys, and honestly with all of the scams running around the ASIC companies, I didn't want to take that risk.

ASIC is also specifically for BTC. I will be using a majority of my equipment to mine LTC out of the box, with the difficulties still low and rumors of mt. gox implementing LTC trading by May.
I was looking at ASICs yesterday, and if true, they make a whole lot more sense. I was playing with MHash/s value calculators yesterday and using standard hardware for mining seems not worth it. What setup did you go with? Are you doing pool mining?
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:27 PM   #372
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howl View Post
What's to stop a bank or other organization from developing their own competing digital currency? If the Bitcoin system is ever accepted by the public then someone is going to want to make money by copying it.
No worries there, the public will never accept it.
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:35 PM   #373
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Star*Child View Post
I thought it crashed again

$224:฿1

-*
dude, all hell would be breaking out across the interwebnets right now. it has to be happening soon. I have friends that spend most of their days now trying to clear out their btc into 'real' currency

Quote:
Originally Posted by RastaMon View Post
I'm surprised we haven't seen any other virtual currencies based on the same bitcoin model, running parallel to bitcoins. I imagine it's only a matter of time before bitcoin 2 shows up, etc...
my understanding is that the source has never been released for bitcoins. the mining stuff is out there but the pseudonym of the guy who 'released' btc into the wild never came back after announcing it so there couldnt really be a fork of btc to end up with btc2 it would be an entirely different currency
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:40 PM   #374
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I just want to buy .30BTC for an NZBsRus subscription. Probably a bad time to do it.
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:51 PM   #375
RastaMon
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Originally Posted by WRX300 View Post

my understanding is that the source has never been released for bitcoins. the mining stuff is out there but the pseudonym of the guy who 'released' btc into the wild never came back after announcing it so there couldnt really be a fork of btc to end up with btc2 it would be an entirely different currency
Sure but the idea is still there. I still think it's only a matter of time. I'm not saying this is a bad thing though, I for one, welcome decentralized currency.
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