Bitcoin’s Next Big Software Upgrade 7455

Bitcoin may be hard to use even with consumer-friendly tools, while running its core infrastructure is even harder. However, this isn’t stopping efforts to change that. The global, volunteer developer group behind the most popular implementation of the software, Bitcoin Core, is soon to debut its 17th major software release, one which puts to code a number of highly-anticipated changes. Of particular emphasis is improving the software’s default wallet, where user’s bitcoin private keys are stored.

Perhaps the most interesting update is the debut of a new “language,” initially proposed by prominent bitcoin contributor Pieter Wuille, known for designing some of the most radical changes to bitcoin in recent years (including Segregated Witness, which helped chip away at bitcoin’s scalability problem last year).

The idea behind the new language is to add important extra information to keys. Or, as Bitcoin Core contributor Andrew Chow put it, it provides a “sane” alternative to the problematic “account” system that was recently ripped out of the software. Simply put, it allows users to name their different accounts. Like labeling one “donations” and another “savings.”

One other significant use case of the language is to make it easier to move keys from one wallet to another. As it stands, if a user tries to move a key from one wallet to another, they might lose some of the information about how the coins can be unlocked and sent to someone else.

That’s not a big problem for many transactions. After all, most transactions have pretty simple instructions: the owner must sign the transaction with a secret key, proving the coins are really theirs. But that’s not true for every transaction. For example, multi-signature transactions require more than one person to approve any spending.

Lightning transactions, a faster and more scalable type of payment that’s still in its infancy, are perhaps the most exciting example of this.

With this type of transaction becoming more common (lightning is thought to be the best way for the platform to scale to millions of users), the new language aims to ensure crucial information isn’t lost more regularly.

With this in mind, Wuille’s new language aims to tags each key in bitcoin (both public and private) with a “label” that describes what can unlock it, “changing the way we think about wallets,” Chaincode engineer John Newbery said in a talk describing the upcoming release.

To be clear, though, this release is just a small step, the first code change to put this into practice, Newbery said. But developers anticipate the language will weave its way through the codebase in future software releases.

Other changes in the latest release are iterative, first steps that developers hope will lead to something more.

Partially Signed Bitcoin Transactions (PSBT) are another highly-anticipated change that fits the bill, coded up by Chow. (PSBT is a new format for transactions that are not fully signed yet that can be passed around until finally broadcast.)

This all sounds rather technical, but the thinking here is actually rather forward-looking, and could have an impact on a wide range of users.

Already, there are all sorts of hardware wallets on the market, small mechanical devices that are considered one of the safest ways of storing bitcoin, since it moves the keys that unlock them offline so they can’t be stolen by way of an internet connection.

But each hardware wallet – including Trezor, Ledger, and so forth – is kind of off in its own little world when it comes to how it engages with the software. In short, they aren’t compatible with all software wallets at once.

One of the easiest ways to use a hardware wallet is to leave it offline, but then connect it to a software wallet on a mobile device that makes it easy to actually make transactions.

It’s cool that this is possible – to get the security of hardware wallet but the convenience of a software wallet at the same time. The problem is that usually each hardware wallet only includes support for one or two software wallets. Trezor only supports the softwaare wallet Electrum, for instance. They can’t connect the Trezor to Bitcoin Core or whatever other software they want to connect to.

And users have long been complaining about how annoying this is. BIP 174 offers away around that. It’s a standard that every wallet can use.

Though, of course, it depends on whether wallets actually indeed choose to use it. The prospects are looking optimistic so far. Even though the code isn’t officially out yet, it’s attracted much enthusiasm, with one hardware wallet, coldcardwallet implementing the transaction signing method already.

As wallets pick up this standard, it will make Bitcoin Core in particular a bit easier to use because hardware wallets will easily be able to connect to the software.

“PSBT will enable Bitcoin Core to more easily support hardware wallets and have better offline, airgapped wallet setups. I’m actually working on hardware wallet support for Bitcoin Core by using PSBT,” Chow told CoinDesk, going as far as to argue that Bitcoin Core is a much safer way to use bitcoin than other software wallets.

“[SPV wallets] carry privacy and potentially security risks as they are trusting a third party to do the blockchain verification. Once Bitcoin Core supports hardware wallets, users can use Bitcoin Core instead, and because it is a full node, the user does not need to trust a third party that the everything has been verified correctly,” he said.

But the code change opens up a lot of options, even potentially boosting bitcoin smart contracts and privacy features. “PSBT also makes things like multisigs and CoinJoins easier to do,” Chow continued.

To this end, one user tweeted: “Excited to see all the interesting ways BIP174 will be used.”

And more
These are a couple of the changes developers are most excited about, but there are dozens of other upgrades rolled into the release. One is a “dynamic wallet creation” feature.

“A few releases ago, we introduced the ability to use multiple wallets in Bitcoin Core. However that required starting Bitcoin Core configured for multiple wallets. Now, we can load, unload, and create wallets when the software is already running,” Chow said.

Meanwhile, you might have heard of Coin Selection, an improved way of plucking up the coins go into a transaction. It’s so much better than the old algorithm that it greatly improves bitcoin’s scalability as a whole, even cutting fees.

Though the main code for the new feature was already added about six months ago, the algorithm is getting a small privacy boost in the 17th release.

That still doesn’t cover everything. The rest of the changes are to be described in more detail in the final release notes, which will be released at the same time as the final, tested code.

These might seem like small changes. Especially since few people use bitcoin and even fewer use Bitcoin Core. And there’s no question why. Bitcoin’s software takes up nearly 200 GB, about the size of a laptop. Downloading it and using it is a far cry from downloading and setting up the Venmo app on a smartphone in matter of minutes.

But the goal with these major code changes is to eventually get the code to the point where it’s not such a pain to set up, so maybe one day anyone who wants to utilize the full advantages of bitcoin can do so.

Previous ArticleNext Article

Integrated Ventures Partners With Wattum To Purchase 4,800 Antminer S19JPro Miners From Bitmain Technologies Limited 14743

Integrated Ventures Inc, (OTCQB: INTV) (“Company”) is pleased to confirm that the Company has partnered with Wattum Management and entered into a 12 Month Sales and Purchase Agreement (“PO-1”) with Bitmain Technologies Limited (“Bitmain”) to acquire 4,800 Antminer model S19J (100 Th) digital currency miners. Bitmain is scheduled to manufacture and ship miners on monthly basis, in 12 equal batches of 400 units, starting on August 2021 and thru July 2022. Partners agreed to purchase 4,800 units, on 50/50 basis, and to pay Bitmain, approximately $34,047,600 (“Total Purchase Price” or “TPP”) (*).

As a part of signed agreement, Integrated Ventures has received: (1) downside price protection for 12 months and (2) right to replace S19JPro miners with new models, scheduled to be released in early 2022.

The TPP is payable as follows: (i) 25% of the TPP, upon the execution of the Sales Purchase Agreement or no later then April 19, 2021; (ii) 35% of the TPP, is due by May 30, 2021; and (iii) the remaining 40%, is due on monthly basis, starting on June 2021. In addition to Bitmain order, the Company has purchased 150 WhatMiners, (“PO-2”), valued at $1,078,000. These miners will be installed in container facility, connected to a major power plant, located in Kennerdell, PA and managed by Wattum.

Details on both purchase orders are below:

PO-1/Bitmain Order:

  • Antminer S19JPro – 100TH
  • Shipping Schedule: August, 2021 – June, 2022
  • Total Qty: 4,800
  • Total Purchase Price: $34,047,600

PO-2/WhatsMiner Order:

  • WhatsMiner M31S – 82TH
  • Shipping Schedule: May 15, 2021
  • Total Qty: 150 units
  • Total Purchase Price: $1,078,000

Steve Rubakh, CEO of Integrated Ventures, Inc., provides the following commentary: “The Company is very pleased to secure this large scale purchase agreement, especially during a period of scarce supply of mining hardware. Going forward, INTV is committed to deploy any raised capital for purchases of the mining equipment. This purchase effectively doubles INTV’s hash rate and represents a major step in INTV’s strategic growth plan, resulting in significant increase of the Company’s projected revenue growth rate.

Below is detailed shipping schedule for all in-coming mining equipment for the rest of 2021:

  • 300 Avalons/model 1166Pro/assorted 75TH-82TH – April delivery
  • 150 WhatsMiners/model M31S/82TH – May delivery
  • 200 Antminers/model S19JPro/100TH – August delivery
  • 250 Avalons/model 1166Pro/75TH-82TH – August delivery
  • 200 Antminers/model S19JPro/100TH – September delivery
  • 200 Antminers/model S19JPro/100TH – October delivery
  • 200 Antminers/model S19JPro/100TH – November delivery
  • 200 Antminers/model S19JPro/100TH – December delivery.

By the end of December 2021, at minimum, the Company will own and operate over 2,000 miners. Based on BTC pricing of $60,000, the projected and unaudited mining revenues for next 12 months, once all units are connected are expected to be in range of $19,000,000 and $21,000,000 million dollars.”

Arseniy Grusha, CEO of Wattum Management, Inc., adds the following: “We are pleased to partner with INTV and to be an integral part of 12 month Sales & Purchase Agreement with Bitmain Technologies Limited, to jointly acquire 4,800 units of S19JPro – one of the most efficient miners available on the market. Both companies are focused on expanding their mining and hosting operations, by launching multiple data centers and mobile mining farms. We are looking forward to a mutually beneficial and long term cooperation with goal of establishing Integrated Ventures and Wattum as leaders in rapidly growing North American cryptocurrency market.”

About Integrated Ventures Inc: The Company operates as Technology Holdings Company with focus on cryptocurrency sector. For more information, please visit company’s website at www.integratedventuresinc.com.

About Wattum Management, Inc: NY based and privately owned, leading technology corporation, focused on providing cost efficient and reliable hosting services, firmware design, distribution of mining equipment, complete facility management and mining pool operations.

About Bitman Technologies Limited: Founded in 2013, Bitmain transforms computing by building industry-defining technology in cryptocurrency, blockchain, and artificial intelligence (AI). Bitmain leads the industry in the production of integrated circuits for cryptocurrency mining, as well as mining hardware under the Antminer brand. The company also operates the largest cryptocurrency mining pools worldwide- Antpool.com and BTC.com. Bitmain technology supports a wide range of blockchain platforms and startups.

As Digital Currencies Gain Popularity, FPA and RIA Digital Assets Council Announce Education-Focused Partnership 16021

According to the RIA Digital Assets Council, 80% of financial advisers receive questions from clients about bitcoin, but only 8% can adequately explain digital assets. As cryptocurrency becomes more mainstream, now is the time for financial planners to build competency in this asset class. To support financial planners, the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®) and RIA Digital Assets Council (RIADAC), a digital assets educational source for financial planners, announced a strategic partnership to provide education on the application of blockchain and digital assets.

“I’m pleased FPA has this opportunity to work with RIADAC to build our members’ competency in digital assets, which will allow them to augment their knowledge and better serve clients,” says Patrick D. Mahoney, FPA chief executive officer. “As the leading membership association for CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals, we need to be on the cutting edge of supporting our members as they look to sharpen their knowledge and build their competencies. This partnership with RIADAC is consistent with that objective.”

FPA and RIADAC will provide educational programming and a wide range of content to help FPA members understand the complexities of cryptocurriencies and provide expert advice on how this transformational asset class can impact their clients’ financial plans. As an FPA partner, RIADAC’s educational content and thought leadership will be available to FPA members through a variety of channels:

  • RIA Digital Assets Council Certificate in Blockchain and Digital Assets: FPA members will receive a 50% discount when enrolling in RIADAC’s certificate program that provides financial planners practical literacy on blockchain and digital assets and introduces available options for a firm’s investment management strategy. The inaugural class debuts on Apr. 30, 2021.
  • FPA Blockchain & Digital Assets Community: FPA members will engage with dynamic guests and thought leaders from RIADAC in virtual, interactive discussions and exchange ideas with peers in the FPA Connect Blockchain & Digital Assets community.
  • Journal of Financial Planning: RIADAC will regularly contribute thought leadership content to help financial planners understand blockchain and digital assets in FPA’s flagship publication, the Journal of Financial Planning.
  • FPA Annual ConferenceRic Edelman, founder of RIADAC, will present an informative session on blockchain and digital assets at the FPA Annual Conference in Columbus, OhioSept. 22-24, 2021.

“Gaining vital knowledge about this new asset class will help financial planners attract more clients and serve them better,” said RIADAC Founder Ric Edelman. “We’re honored to be partnering with FPA to help financial planners who are committed to serving their clients’ best interests.”

Ric Edelman is known and recognized throughout financial services and his work to bring blockchain and digital assets education and awareness to the financial advisory community is commendable. I am pleased FPA members will have this opportunity to learn from Ric and his team at RIADAC,” says 2021 FPA President Skip Schweiss, CFP®, AIF®.

Over the coming months, FPA and RIADAC will explore additional educational initiatives and thought leadership programs that can benefit FPA members, their clients and the broader financial planning community.

Bitcoin Association launches Introduction to Bitcoin Development online course at Bitcoin SV Academy 14768

Bitcoin Association, the Switzerland-based global industry organisation that works to advance business with the Bitcoin SV blockchain, today announces the official launch of the Introduction to Bitcoin Development course at Bitcoin SV Academy. The course is available free of charge and can be accessed from today at http://bitcoinsv.academy.

Introduction to Bitcoin Development is part of the Bitcoin Development stream of Bitcoin SV Academy and has been designed to equip application developers with the skills, tools and techniques required to build applications on the Bitcoin SV network. The course covers Bitcoin as a data protocol – including reading, writing and advanced functionalities with the Bitcoin ledger, payment protocols, token protocols and smart contracts. At the conclusion of the course, participants will be tested on their knowledge through an online examination, with a course certificate available upon successful completion for those who have demonstrated proficiency and understanding of the subject matter.

Bitcoin SV Academy is an online education platform for Bitcoin which offers academia-quality, university-style courses and learning materials in three distinct streams, Bitcoin Theory, Bitcoin Development and Bitcoin Infrastructure. Developed and run by Bitcoin Association, Bitcoin SV Academy has been created to make learning about Bitcoin – the way creator Satoshi Nakamoto designed it – accessible, accurate and understandable.

The launch of Introduction to Bitcoin Development today follows the successful rollout of Introduction to Bitcoin Theory – the first course to be launched on Bitcoin SV Academy – in December 2020. Later this year, the first module in the Bitcoin Infrastructure stream Introduction to Bitcoin Infrastructure is due to launch, followed by intermediate and advanced level courses across the three streams.

NexChange Group and Marita Group Co-Host Africa Blockchain Week Virtual Summit to Showcase Continent’s Technological Leapfrog 15714

NexChange Group, a blockchain ecosystem and venture builder and MARITA Group, an African conglomerate will combine forces to co-host this Virtual Summit. The event will feature key industry players and decision-makers contributing to regulation, application, investment and education across many African countries.

Juwan Lee, Chairman of NexChange Group: “Africa is the next big move for blockchain. We see not just opportunities in the payment space and financial inclusion, but we see significant institutional involvement.”

The new reality has proven technology to be a bridge to a better future. Strong ties between African countries, like the cooperation South-South, encouraged by HRH Mohammed VI go beyond just politics. New economic bridges ensure that Africa is able to bypass certain steps on a technological stair, positioning itself ahead of the global curve. Described by the World Bank and called leapfrogging, it relies strongly on enhanced technologies including blockchain.

Rahhal Boulgoute, Chairman of Marita Group: “Blockchain will revolutionize Africa and provide opportunities for financial inclusion. It is important that we expose blockchain technology in Africa.”

The impact is seen on Africa’s financial map. Over the last years, digital banking and mobile payments have proven to be a real-life case study for millions of users, making people’s financial lives better, ensuring inclusion, and changing the game for the unbanked. Banks, enterprises, and entrepreneurs are changing the continent’s destiny, shaping the investment landscape.

This event backs the efforts of the African regulators to adopt the required regulations to embrace blockchain and become a main global player in the technologies shaping the future. The ambition of the Co-hosts is to make Africa Blockchain Week the key platform for dialogue and networking between all stakeholders in blockchain to transform it into a reality in Africa.

NexChange Group is a venture builder and media platform specializing in Blockchain, FinTech, HealthTech, AI, and Smart Cities.

Marita Group Holding is a global company focused on:

  • turnkey solutions in real estate development, theme parks, smart cities
  • Renewable energy and waste recovery, hydrogen production, electric mobility
  • sustainable agriculture and sustainable development
  • local mining development of natural resources
  • health, medical products, equipment and supplies

ZIM & Marius Nacht complete additional investment in WAVE BL, a leading provider of a paperless Bill of Lading solution 15037

ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. (NYSE: ZIM) and Marius Nacht, one of Israel’s leading serial entrepreneurs and investors, announced today that they have jointly invested in a Series B Financing round of WAVE BL, a developer of groundbreaking blockchain network supporting paperless trade in the shipping industry. The two investors co-lead a round of approximately $8 million that will accelerate global implementation of WAVE BL’s proven technology.

ZIM pioneered the first paperless electronic bill of lading pilot in the shipping industry in 2017 using WAVE BL’s platform and has since widely expanded its use to become the industry leader. Electronic bill of lading is currently offered to ZIM customers worldwide, requiring only a simple onboarding process which is supported by ZIM.

Digitization of bills of lading is revolutionizing shipping documentation, sharply reducing time, complexity, errors and costs for all parties involved, while maintaining a high level of security and, importantly, being far more sustainable than the traditional paper bill of lading.

Aligning with international rules, standards and insurance coverage such as IG P&I Clubs and eUCP 600, WAVE BL’s one of a kind decentralized, digital documentation solution is changing the shipping industry as it becomes the new industry benchmark enabling secure and efficient remote business continuity.

Proceeds will be used to support development of WAVE BL’s business and further implementation of its pioneering technology supporting paperless trade in the shipping industry, as well as in other sectors.

ZIM President and CEO Eli Glickman: “Our early adoption of WAVE BL’s blockchain based platform to promote paperless trade highlights our leadership in utilizing digital strategies to best serve customers and has proven extremely successful for ZIM and for changing the industry. Today, ZIM is an industry leader in paperless shipping processes, and we are seeing growing interest from others in our sector to adopt the platform reflecting the significant benefits it provides to both customers and carriers. This new investment in WAVE BL is a step forward in the path to a more digitized and sustainable future, in accordance with our vision and values.”

ZIM CIO Eyal Ben-Amram: “Since completing the integration of WAVE BL’s platform with our system, we can offer every customer the ability to enjoy the vast benefits of paperless shipping, which is especially crucial during COVID-19. We are pleased and proud to continue our support of this exciting and leading company.”

WAVE BL CEO Gadi Ruschin“Our partnership with ZIM has enabled us to introduce our pioneering technology to a vast audience as we endeavor to become the shipping industry standard in paperless trade. We are extremely pleased with the continued faith and commitment of ZIM and Marius Nacht in our company and look forward to leading the wave of the future in shipping.”

Ophir Shoham, who leads Marius Nacht’s investments in high-tech: “We are proud to continue supporting WAVE BL’s remarkable technology and believe in its disruptive potential, leading to a fundamental change in the way business is conducted across countless sectors and industries. We are very impressed with the great progress the team has made and excited to invest in WAVE BL’s trail-blazing platform.”

River Financial raises $12M Series A to continue explosive growth of its Bitcoin financial services for traditional investors 14519

San Francisco-based Bitcoin financial services provider River Financial closed a $12 million Series A equity financing round to continue growing its financial service offerings for traditional investors. The investment round was led by Goldcrest Capital with participation from Craft Ventures, Polychain Capital, M13, Castle Island, Slow Ventures, and The Kraft Group.

River Financial previously announced a $5.7 million seed round in June 2020. In the nine months since the company’s seed round announcement, River’s client base has grown by almost 600%, and order volumes have increased by 3,500%. River’s recent iOS app has accelerated the company’s growth, already accounting for over 30% of all River’s order volume within five weeks of launch. River Financial continues to experience exponential growth in new customers and order volume month-over-month as global interest in Bitcoin continues to grow rapidly. Social unrest, inflation fears, and recent elections are driving droves of traditional investors to Bitcoin and River.

River is investing heavily in team growth and product development. According to Co-Founder and CEO Alex Leishman, “Bitcoin is on a trajectory to becoming a global reserve asset, and we are building the financial services that our clients will need for that future.” River’s focus on premium client services and traditional financial tooling, including tax lot tracking and account statements, is attracting increasing numbers of high-end clients who find incumbent solutions intimidating and confusing.

The majority of volume on River is driven by clients over the age of 50, but Co-Founder and COO Andrew Benson believes there is still a large underserved segment of the population, “River’s mission is to bring Bitcoin to investors around the world. Even as global interest in Bitcoin grows rapidly, most Americans over the age of 45 who want Bitcoin still don’t own any. River is helping to fix that by creating familiar, high-end financial solutions for investors who are new to Bitcoin.”