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February 12 2014

Revel Systems Adds Native Bitcoin Transactions To Its POS Offering
bitcoinHey do you like Bitcoins? Yeah. I thought you might. Well you can use all those coins to buy things at stores running Revel Systems-powered point-of-sale terminals starting right now, as the company has rolled out native support for transactions made using the very much in-vogue cryptocurrency. Previously, Revel customers could accept Bitcoin transactions using third-party plugins, but now it’s integrated as an optional payment method directly into the platform alongside LevelUp, PayPal, cash and credit. The reason behind the integration is to provide its users with access to all the latest payment methods, according to Revel co-founders Lisa Falzone and Chris Ciabarra, and Bitcoin has been a request from a decent number of its clients. “If you actually search ‘Revel’ and ‘Bitcoin’ prior to this release, you’ll see a lot of our clients were already accepting it through our third-party access button,” Ciabarra explained. “But it is double-entry. That’s why we decided to create this integration so that it’s single-entry and you don’t have to worry about it. We had potential clients asking for a POS that could accept Bitcoin, so it’s convincing new clients to come on board who aren’t a Revel customer yet but who are using Bitcoin.” The integration is already being used by some active Revel clients, and they’ve already accepted Bitcoin payments at locations across the country. Ciabarra said that so far, they’ve noticed that grocery stores have seemed to be the most interested in offering Bitcoin as a payment option. It has a number of advantages for merchants and retailers, he notes, including an absence of transaction fees and the lack of exposure to the risk of payments not clearing. Regardless of whether Bitcoin sizzles or fizzles, Revel wants to offer its clients whatever payment means it can, Ciabarra says. And if it does take off, being the first POS provider to support it could pay big dividends later on.

February 04 2014

Nymi Armband Adds A Secure Bitcoin Wallet As One Of Its Killer Launch Apps
NymiToronto-based wearable startup Bionym’s Nymi band uses your ECG to securely identify you to various devices and services, and as of today there’s another trick up its sleeve – acting as a secure, easy to use Bitcoin wallet. The company revealed today that one of the launch applications that will ship with the Nymi will be a Bitcoin wallet, and that said wallet will provide a more secure method of storing your account’s private key. All Bitcoin transactions consist of a key exchange: when someone is depositing funds into your account, they use the public key (it’s public since people don’t often get that cheesed about getting free money); when they want to send or withdraw the cryptocurrency, they use the private key. Recently, some evidence has suggested that it’s actually frighteningly easy to get at that private key if it’s stored on a hard drive or shared via QR code. What Nymi brings to the table is a way to keep the private key securely stored independent of any computer, and tied to your unique ECG biometric signature. This makes it not only secure, but also more convenient than existing Bitcoin wallet solutions, Bionym President Andrew D’Souza explained in an interview. “People just don’t understand how [Bitcoin] works, and how they gain access to it without putting themselves at risk,” “We see Nymi as essentially being that enabling technology that brings it to market. Everyone who buys a Nymi will get a Bitcoin wallet and be able to securely transact, and understand that their wallet is encrypted, and tied to their biometrics so that even if you lose your Nymi or it’s stolen they won’t be able to access your bitcoins.” D’Souza says that while Bitcoin has a lot of potential, there’s a risk that it will either fade away into obscurity because of its perceived complexity, or that it’ll get legislated away and receive such a negative connotation that it doesn’t ever hit the mainstream. By making Bitcoin more accessible, and more secure, Bionym hopes to help it avoid those pitfalls. Their vision is of a world where you maintain a Bitcoin savings wallet on a computer, but then use your Nymi like a walkaround checking account for daily transactions. “With Nymi, when you walk away from your computer your Bitcoin wallet will lock automatically,” explained Bionym Chief Cryptographer Yevgeniy Vahlis. “But it won’t just lock in terms

August 07 2013

Bitcoin Clampdown Continues As Federal Judge Says It's A Currency
Wikipedia calls Bitcoin a cryptocurrency (a currency that relies on cryptography), but now it’s official. A federal judge in Texas has declared that Bitcoin is a currency and should therefore be regulated just like U.S. dollars or gold. The ruling represents yet another attempt to regulate Bitcoin transactions, threatening the original purpose of the currency. While it looks like a recognition that Bitcoins are worth something, the decision threatens once again Bitcoin’s utopian concept. As a reminder, the Department of Homeland Security recently issued a seizure warrant on Bitcoin exchange service Mt. Gox because it didn’t comply to money transfer regulations. Today’s decision goes in the same direction. BTCST, a Bitcoin-based hedge fund, claimed that “the BTCST investments are not securities because Bitcoin is not money, and is not part of anything regulated by the United States,” wrote Judge Amos Mazzant. She then stated the exact opposite of BTCST’s defense: First, the Court must determine whether the BTCST investments constitute an investment of money. It is clear that Bitcoin can be used as money. It can be used to purchase goods or services, and as Shavers stated, used to pay for individual living expenses. The only limitation of Bitcoin is that it is limited to those places that accept it as currency. However, it can also be exchanged for conventional currencies, such as the U.S. dollar, Euro, Yen, and Yuan. Therefore, Bitcoin is a currency or form of money, and investors wishing to invest in BTCST provided an investment of money. Bitcoin was born on the idea that nobody could regulate it. Instead of having a central bank, Bitcoins are just a chain of characters defined by algorithmic rules. Anybody can try to find new Bitcoins and anybody can verify if it is indeed a real Bitcoin or not. All of this is handled by opensource Bitcoin applications and a few proprietary variants. The Bitcoin network is a peer-to-peer payment network, and nobody can intefere with it. The only real value of a Bitcoin comes from its users. Because Bitcoin owners are treating it as a currency, it becomes one. That’s what makes it beautiful and scary at the same time. Yet, Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto probably didn’t think that even the U.S. government would treat it as a currency and try to regulate it.
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