Bitcoin Roundup April 1, 2016

Email Service Provider Fastmail Accepts Bitcoin Payments

Since its launch 17 years ago in 1999, FastMail has continued its legacy as one of the most prominent privacy and security focused email service providers in the industry. Today, FastMail is the only email service provider amongst popular platforms including Gmail, Protonmail and Tutanota to accept bitcoin payments for its services. FastMail is currently used by over 100,000 individuals and businesses internationally. 

Wall Street and tech start to move past bitcoin

Bitcoin, the revolutionary technological innovation, is becoming old hat.

Even while investors and regulators are paying much more attention (and more money) to the technological architecture underpinning the cryptocurrency, a funny thing is happening: Bitcoin, the very reason for that architecture, is often going completely unmentioned.

That’s not to say that bitcoin is becoming less popular as a means of exchange or a store of value — it’s price in U.S. dollars is hovering near a one-year high — but people are increasingly showing much more interest in other potential applications of secure distributed ledgers (also called blockchains), which have nothing to do with money. 

Bitcoin Edging toward Declines

If you have been wondering what kinds of applications there might be for Bitcoin on Wall Street, apart from settlement work, a new idea has been just highlighted.

Depository Trust & Clearing Corp., a firm at the center of Wall Street’s trading infrastructure, is about to give the technology behind bitcoin a big test: seeing whether it can be used to bolster the $2.6 trillion repo market.

DTCC said in a statement Tuesday that it will begin testing an application of blockchain, the digital ledger originally used to track ownership and payments of the cryptocurrency bitcoin, to help smooth over problems in the crucial but increasingly illiquid corner of short-term lending markets known as repurchase agreements, or “repos.” 

Teambrella Wants to Revolutionize Insurance Coverage With Peer-To-Peer Bitcoin Payments | Bitcoin Magazine

Russian software architects and entrepreneurs Alex Paperno, Eugene Porubaev and Vlad Kravchuk plan to take the insurance company out of insurance. Their Teambrella, a Bitcoin-based peer-to-peer insurance platform, allows users to provide each other coverage for whatever they want, however they want, and without requiring any trusted intermediaries. 

Buying Bitcoin Ransomware For US$100 On The Darknet

Italian newspaper La Stampa has posted an interesting article on how easy it is to obtain the Bitcoin ransomware source code on underground forums. Do not expect to find this software by conducting a Google search, as internet criminals use the darknet to conduct business. Accessing these marketplaces full of illegal information, services, and goods requires users to install the Tor browser.

Although there has been a lot of backlash against the usage of anonymity software to access part of the Internet that is not crawled by search engines, more and more people are flocking to the darknet. Part of this increase in popularity is because there is something appealing about accessing what is forbidden by law, and knowing that one’s identity is fully protected, most users are not too worried when accessing underground marketplaces. 

Bank of Canada Paper Asserts Bitcoin Monetary Standard Wouldn’t Last Long – CCN: Financial Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency News

The 37-page paper [PDF] is written by Warren E. Weber, research consultant at the Bank of Canada, visiting scholar for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina.

The paper claims that because there would be no arbitrage costs for global transactions under a bitcoin standard, nations would not be able to follow independent interest rate policies. Central banks would retain limited ability to serve as last-resort lenders. 

Mozilla co-founder’s ad-blocking Brave browser will pay you bitcoin to see safe ads | PCWorld

Brave, a new privacy- and speed-focused web browser helmed by Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich, has a plan to get you to unblock ads.

First announced in January, Brave is a web browser for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android that has ad blocking built in. But instead of eliminating ads entirely, Brave wants to replace them with speedier, non-intrusive ads from its own network. Users who agree to see these ads will then get paid in bitcoin.

Under this plan, advertisers pay for a certain number of impressions, and Brave aggregates those payments into one sum. Websites that participate in the scheme get 55 percent of the money, weighted by how many impressions are served on their sites. Brave then divvies up the remaining bitcoin between itself, its ad-matching partner, and the users, each getting a 15 percent share. 

Microsoft Adding Bitcoin Currency Format Support in Excel

A future update will bring native support for Bitcoin currency format in Excel, the company’s spreadsheet application that’s part of the Office productivity suite and that currently exists not only on desktops but also on mobile devices.

According to a reference to a future Office 365 update that has been spotted by Reddit user cartridgez, Bitcoin currency format support will be added to the majority of Excel versions, be they for PCs or smartphones.

“Now use Excel to track, calculate and analyze Bitcoin data using native Bitcoin number formatting options. Feature is being rolled out to Excel 2016 for Windows, Excel Online, Excel Mobile for Windows, and Excel Mobile for Android,” the description of the update reads.

Citi Report: Blockchain is Bigger Than Bitcoin

Whenever a disruptive concept comes along, there are winners and losers. But things aren’t so black-and-white with blockchain technology in the picture, although there will be some fundamental changes along the way. Distributed ledgers offer far more advantages than downsides, but that does not mean there will be no casualties along the way.

Assuming this technology would be fully embraced by banks and financial institutions – through consortiums such as R3 CEV, most likely – the infrastructure being used today will undergo some necessary changes. With fewer – or no – intermediaries required, and real-time transaction processingcapabilities, the entire infrastructure cost will be reduced, as there is far less overhead. 

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