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Meho Krljic:
Nažalost, nisam na vreme pokrenuo topik sa ovom tematikom pa je većina dosadašnje priče o Bitcoinu na temi World Today:,9198.msg500842.html#msg500842,9198.msg503677.html#msg503677,9198.msg531831.html#msg531831,9198.msg533529.html#msg533529,9198.msg534964.html#msg534964,9198.msg535048.html#msg535048,9198.msg535478.html#msg535478

Eto, nek to bude neko podsećanje na ono što smo pričali o ovoj temi (sigurno ima još al ko da sve traži...), a bitno je podsetiti se zbog ove vesti:

Exclusive: IBM looking at adopting bitcoin technology for major currencies

--- Quote --- 
(Reuters) - International Business Machines Corp is considering adopting the underlying technology behind bitcoin, known as the "blockchain," to create a digital cash and payment system for major currencies, according to a person familiar with the matter.
 The objective is to allow people to transfer cash or make payments instantaneously using this technology without a bank or clearing party involved, saving on transaction costs, the person said. The transactions would be in an open ledger of a specific country's currency such as the dollar or euro, said the source,  who declined to be identified because of a lack of authorization to discuss the project in public.The blockchain - a ledger, or list, of all of a digital currency's transactions - is viewed as bitcoin's main technological innovation, allowing users to make payments anonymously, instantly, and without government regulation. Rather than stored on a separate server and controlled by an individual, company, or bank, the ledger is open and accessible to all participants in the bitcoin network. The proposed digital currency system would work in a similar way."When somebody wants to transact in the system, instead of you trying to acquire a bitcoin, you simply say, here are some U.S. dollars," the source said. "It's sort of a bitcoin but without the bitcoin."IBM is one of a number of tech companies looking to expand the use of the blockchain technology beyond bitcoin, the digital currency launched six years ago that has spurred a following among investors and tech enthusiasts.The company has been in informal discussions about a blockchain-tied cash system with a number of central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, the source said. If central banks approve the concept, IBM will build the secure and scalable infrastructure for the project.IBM media relations office did not respond to Reuters emails about this story and the Fed declined to comment. However, there are signs that central banks are already thinking about the innovations that could arise through digital currency systems. The Bank of England, in a report in September 2014, described the blockchain's open ledger as a "significant innovation" that could transform the financial system more generally. Instead of having ledgers maintained by banks that act as a record of an individual's transactions, this kind of open ledger would be viewable by everyone using the system, and would use an agreed-upon process for entering transactions into the system.The project is still in the early stages and constantly evolving, the source said. It is also unclear how concerns about money-laundering and criminal activities that have hamstrung bitcoin. Unlike bitcoin, where the network is decentralized and there is no overseer, the proposed digital currency system would be controlled by central banks, the source said. "These coins will be part of the money supply," the source said. "It's the same money, just not a dollar bill with a serial number on it, but a token that sits on this blockchain."According to the plans, the digital currency could be linked to a person's bank account, possibly using a wallet software that would integrate that account with the proposed digital currency ledger. "We are at a tipping point right now. It's making a lot more sense for some type of digital cash in the system, that not only saves our government money, but also is a lot more convenient and secure for individuals to use," the source said.  (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by David Gaffen and Tomasz Janowski)

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Meho Krljic:
Nije ovo signal da je sam Bitcoin u problemu, ali jeste nekako smešan naslov teksta:

Bitcoin Foundation said to be out of cash

--- Quote ---
The Bitcoin Foundation, an organization that promotes development of bitcoin, is “effectively bankrupt” and has shed most of its staff, a member of the foundation’s board of directors has said.     

Two other board members, however, said the foundation was not bankrupt, though in need of some kind of restructuring.
The outburst by Olivier Janssens, who was elected to the board last month, is the latest in a series of controversies surrounding the foundation, which was founded in the U.S. in 2012 as a nonprofit entity.

“The foundation has almost no money left, and just fired 90 percent of its people. Some will stay on as volunteers,” Janssens wrote in a blog post on the foundation’s forum.
“The Bitcoin Foundation hates transparency,” he added. “If they would have been transparent then everyone would know there is no money left.”
Janssens attributed the foundation’s financial straits to two years of “ridiculous spending and poorly thought out decisions,” adding that the board has tried to remedy the situation by finding a new executive director. He called for the replacement of the entire board.
Described as a bitcoin millionaire, Janssens wrote that he will donate “several 100k” to a special trust fund aimed at supporting core development of the digital currency and supplemented by crowdfunding efforts.
The foundation did not immediately respond to a request for information about Janssens’ post. But Patrick Murck, its executive director, wrote in a response to Janssens’ post, “The foundation is not bankrupt, but a restructuring is needed. Olivier basically jumped in front of our announcements on that and our annual report on the 2014 finances to be released next week, and he spun it very very negative.”
While saying that “the money has basically run out,” board member Gavin Adresen wrote in another response that “The foundation isn’t bankrupt, but the board needs to decide whether the responsible thing to do is to continue the organization with a much smaller organization and vision or to dissolve it.”
The Bitcoin Foundation is no stranger to controversy. Among its founding members are Charlie Shrem, who pleaded guilty to transmitting money linked to the Silk Road online drugs site, and Mark Karpeles, who presided over the collapse of MtGox, once the world’s largest trading place for bitcoin.
In May 2014, a number of Bitcoin Foundation members quit in frustration over the organization’s direction and issues related to a board election.

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Meho Krljic:
Na MIT-u smatraju da Bitcoin ima probleme. Konkretno, Joi Ito je napisao opširan blog post obrazlažući šta su problemi bitcoina pre par meseci a sada ovaj šef medija laboratorije na MITu želi da ova univerzitetska institucija bude neka vrsta neutralne sile koja će pomoći oko razvijanja standarda za najpoznatiju svecku kriptovalutu.
Originalni blog post:
 Why Bitcoin is and isn't like the Internet

--- Quote ---  In the post that follows I'm trying to develop what I see to be strong analogues to another crucial period/turning point in the history of technology, but like all such comparisons, the differences are as illuminating as the similarities. I'm still not sure how far I should be stretching the metaphors, but it feels like we might be able to learn a lot about the future of Bitcoin from the history of the Internet. This is my first post about Bitcoin and I'm really looking more for reactions and new ideas than trying to prove a point. Feedback and links to things I should read would be greatly appreciated.
I'm fundamentally an Internet person -- my real business life started around the dawn of the Internet and for most of my adult life, I've been involved in building layers and pieces of the Internet, from helping start the first commercial Internet service provider in Japan to investing in Twitter and helping bring it to Japan. I've also served on the boards of the Open Source Initiative, the Internet Corporation for Names and Numbers (ICANN), The Mozilla Foundation, Public Knowledge, Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), and been the CEO of Creative Commons. Given my experiences in the early days of the net, it's possible that I'm biased and everything new looks like the Internet.
Having said that, I believe that there are many parallels between the Internet and Bitcoin and there are many lessons from the Internet that can help provide guidance in thinking about Bitcoin and its future, but there are also some important differences.
The similarity is that Bitcoin is a transportation infrastructure that is decentralized, efficient and based on an open protocol. Instead of transferring packets of data over a dynamic network in contrast to the circuits and leased lines that preceded the Internet, Bitcoin's protocol, the blockchain, allows trust to be established between mutually distrusting parties in an efficient and decentralized way. Although you could argue that the ledger is "centralized", it's created through mechanical decentralized consensus.
The Internet has a root -- in other words, just because you use the Internet Protocol doesn't mean that you're necessarily part of the Internet. To be part of THE Internet, you have to agree to the names and numbers protocol and root servers that are administered by ICANN and its consensus process. You can use the Internet Protocol and make your own network, using your own rules for names and numbers, but then you're just a network and not The Internet.
Similarly, you can use the blockchain protocol to create alternative bitcoins or alt.coins. This allows you to innovate and use many of the technological benefits of Bitcoin, but you are no longer technically interoperable with Bitcoin and do not benefit from the network effect or the trust that Bitcoin has.
Also like the beginning of the Internet, there are competing ideas at each of the levels. AOL created a dialup network and really helped to popularize email. It eventually dumped its dialup network, its core business, but survived as an Internet service. Many people still have AOL email accounts.
With crypto-currencies, there are coins that don't connect to the "genesis block" of Bitcoin -- alt.coins that use fundamentally the same technology. There are alt.coins that use slightly different protocols and some that are fundamentally different.
On top of the coin layer, there are various services such as wallets, exchanges, service providers with varying levels of vertical integration -- some agnostic to whichever cryptocurrency ends up "winning" and some tightly linked. There are technologies and services being built on top of the infrastructure that use the network for fundamentally different things than transacting units of value, just as voice over IP used the same network in a very different way.
In the early days of the Internet, most online services were a combination of dialup and x.25 a competing packet switching protocol developed by Comité Consultatif International Téléphonique et Télégraphique, (CCITT), the predecessor to the International Telecom Union (ITU), a standards body that hangs off of the United Nations. Many services like The Source or CompuServe used x.25 before they started offering their services over the Internet.
I believe the first killer app for the Internet was email. On most of the early online services, you could only send email to other people on the same service. When Internet email came to these services, suddenly you could send email to anyone. This was quite amazing and notably, email is still one of the most important applications on the Internet.
As the Internet proliferated, the TCP/IP stack, free software that anyone could download for free and install on their computer to connect it to the Internet, was further developed and deployed. This allowed applications that ran on your computer to use the Internet to talk to other programs running on other computers. This created the machine-to-machine network. It was no longer just about typing text into a terminal window. The file transfer protocol (FTP) and later Gopher, a text-based browsing and downloading service popular before the web was invented, allowed you to download music and images and create a world wide web of content. Eventually, permissionless innovation on top of this open architecture gave birth to the World Wide Web, Napster, Amazon, eBay, Google and Skype.
I remember twenty years ago, giving a talk to advertising agencies, media companies and banks explaining how important and disruptive the Internet would be. Back then, there were satellite photos of the earth and a webcam pointing at a coffee pot on the Internet. Most people didn't have the imagination to see how the Internet would fundamentally disrupt commerce and media, because Amazon, eBay and Google hadn't been invented -- just email and Usenet-news. No one in these big companies believed that they had to learn anything about the Internet or that the Internet would affect their business -- I mostly got blank stares or snores.
Similarly, I believe that Bitcoin is the first "killer app" of The Blockchain as email was the killer app for the beginning of the Internet. We are in the process of inventing eBay, Amazon and Google. My hunch is that The Blockchain will be to banking, law and accountancy as The Internet was to media, commerce and advertising. It will lower costs, disintermediate many layers of business and reduce friction. As we know, one person's friction is another person's revenue.
One of the main things we worked on when I was on the board of ICANN was trying to keep the Internet from forking. There were many organizations that didn't agree with ICANN's policies or didn't like the US's excessive influence over the Internet. Our job was to listen to everyone and create an inclusive and consensus-based process so that people felt that the benefits of the network effect outweighed the energy and cost of dealing with this process. In general we succeeded. It helped that almost all of the founders and key technical minds and technical standards organizations that designed and ran the Internet worked together with ICANN. This interface between the policy makers and the technologists -- however painful -- was viewed as something that wasn't great but worked better than any of the other alternatives.
One question is whether there is an ICANN equivalent needed for Bitcoin. Is Bitcoin email and The Blockchain TCP/IP?
One argument about why it might not be the same is that ICANN fundamentally had to deal with the centralization caused by the name space problem created by domain names. Domain names are essential for the way we think the Internet works and you need a standards body to deal with the conflicts. The solutions to Bitcoin's centralization problems will look nothing like a domain name system (DNS), because although there is currently centralization in the form of mining pools and core development, the protocol is fundamentally designed to need decentralization to function at all. You could argue that the Internet requires a degree of decentralization, but it has so far survived its relationship with ICANN.
One other important function that ICANN provides is a way to discuss changes to the core technology. It also coordinates the policy conversation between the various stakeholders: the technology people, the users, business and governments. The registrars and registries were the main stakeholders since they ran the "business" that feeds ICANN and provides a lot of the infrastructure together with the ISPs.
For Bitcoin it's the miners -- the people and companies that do the computation required to secure the network by producing the cryptographically secure blockchain at the core of Bitcoin -- all in exchange for bitcoin rewards from the network itself. Any technical changes that the developers want to make to Bitcoin will not be adopted unless the miners adopt them, and the developers and the miners have different incentives. It's possible that the miners have some similarities to the registrars and registries, but they are fundamentally different in that they are not customer-facing and don't really care what you think.
As with ICANN, the users do matter and are key for the network effect value of Bitcoin, but without the miners the engine doesn't run. The miners aren't as easy to identify as the registrars and registries and it's unclear how the dynamics of incentives for the miners will develop with the value of bitcoin fluctuating, the difficulty of mining increasing and the transaction fees being market driven. It's possible that they will develop into a community with a user interface and a governance function, but they are mostly hidden and independent for a variety of reasons that are unlikely to change for now. Having said that, one of the first publicly traded Bitcoin companies is a miner.
The core developers are different as well. The founders of the Internet may have been slightly hippy-like, but they were mostly government-funded and fairly government-friendly. Cutting a deal with the Department of Commerce seemed like a pretty good idea to them at the time.
The core Bitcoin developers are cypherpunks who do what they do because they don't trust governments or the global banking system and are trying to build a distributed and autonomous system, one that is impervious to regulation and meddling by anyone at any time. At some level, Bitcoin was designed to not care what regulators think. The miners have an economic interest in Bitcoin having value, since that's what they're paid in, and they care about scale and the network effect, but the miners probably don't care if it's Bitcoin or an alt.coin that ends up winning, as long as their investments in hardware and plant don't disappear before they make a return on their investment.
Regulators clearly have an incentive to influence the rules of the network, but it's unclear whether the core developers really need to care what the regulators think. Having said that, without some sort of buy-in by regulators, it's unlikely to scale or have the mainstream impact that the Internet did.
Very much like the early days of the Internet, when we saw the power of Internet email but hadn't yet invented the Web, we are just imagining the potential uses of concepts such as crypto-equity and smart contracts ... to name just a few.
I believe it's possible that over-regulation could cause Bitcoin or the blockchain to never achieve its full potential and remain a feature of the side-economy, much in the same way that the Tor anonymizing system is extremely valuable to people who really need privacy but not really used by "normal people"... yet.
What helped make the Internet successful was the lack of regulation and the generally inclusive and permissionless nature of innovation. This was driven in large part by free and open source software and the venture capital community. The question I have is whether the fact that we're now talking about "money" and not "content," and that we seem to be innovating at a much higher speed (venture capital investment in Bitcoin is outpacing early Internet investments), the dialog in popular media is growing, and governments are very interested in Bitcoin makes this a completely different game. I think ideas like the five-year moratorium on Bitcoin regulation proposed by US Representative Steve Stockman are a good idea. We really have no idea what this whole thing is going to turn into, so a focus on dialog versus regulation is key.
I also believe that layer unbundling and innovation at each layer, assuming that the other layers will sort themselves out, is a good idea. In other words, exchanges and wallets that are coin-agnostic or experiments with colored coins, side chains and other innovations that are "unbundled" as much as possible allow the learnings and the systems created to survive regardless of exactly how the architecture turns out.
It feels a lot to me like when we were arguing over ethernet and token ring -- for the average user, it doesn't really matter which we end up with as long as in the end it's all interoperable. What's different is that there is more at stake and it's moving really fast, so the shape of failure and the cost of failure might be much more severe than when we were trying to figure out the Internet and a lot more people are watching.

--- End quote ---

Inicijativa vezana za MIT:
 Joi Ito Wants MIT to Be Neutral Place to Help Develop Bitcoin Standards              

--- Quote ---
Bitcoins have an uncertain path forward with the seeming implosion of the Bitcoin Foundation last weekend. But PayPal merchants and even presidential candidate Rand Paul have started accepting them as payment. That means the race is on to establish technical standards for the virtual currency—and it looks like MIT could end up playing a role.
Joi Ito, famed director of the MIT Media Lab and a student of Bitcoins (see this long blog post he wrote in January comparing Bitcoins to the Internet), is close to unveiling a plan for the Institute to become what he calls an independent, neutral home to help with Bitcoin standards development. He is talking to some big MIT names to help with the plan, including cryptographer Ron Rivest of RSA Security fame and economist Simon Johnson, and says he expects to make a public announcement about the effort in the near future.
I met earlier this week with Ito, who has directed the Media Lab since the fall of 2011, for a short but wide-ranging interview. I plan to post more of our conversation next week, but one of the most interesting elements had to do with Bitcoins and alternative currencies. Ito did not reveal his plans in detail, but did share some core thoughts. He says the only other public mention of the idea came in a talk he gave at a Bitcoin Expo at MIT in March.
Jerry Brito, executive director of the non-profit Coin Center, a research and advocacy center focused on cryptocurrencies, tweeted at the time:
At #MITBTC15 @Joi proposes academic takeover of core development and governance? Semi-announces an MIT-led org.
Ito told me he got further stimulus for the idea from the fresh turmoil at the Bitcoin Foundation sparked by an April 4 forum post from board member Olivier Janssens. In the post, Janssens wrote that the non-profit foundation had been undermined by “2 years of ridiculous spending and poorly thought out decisions” and was “effectively bankrupt.”
As described by the International Business Times, the Bitcoin Foundation doesn’t oversee Bitcoins but is “the closest thing to a public face that the community has” and has been leading efforts to develop standards for the cryptocurrency and spur its adoption.
Ito thinks MIT might be a better venue to help develop those standards, or at least advance the discussion. He says the Janssens post pointed to a glaring hole in Bitcoin development—and that is that the protocols need to be developed in a neutral place, such as what happened with Internet standards.
“With Bitcoin, it was sort of on the Internet, but the financial interests got very involved before there was a lot of standards setting,” Ito says. “It’s going at hyper-speed, much faster than any other standards body. And you have the added problem that there’s a lot of money involved. Even the developers have lots of Bitcoin, right? What I’d like to do as a contribution from MIT—and this is one of my first forays into going Institute-wide from the beginning, by bringing Simon Johnson for the economics and Ron Rivest for the crypto—is to try to come up with a non-commercial, neutral place for academics to talk about Bitcoin.”
The Media Lab director says he has been moving fast since Janssens’s post. “I think within a couple of weeks we’ll be announcing something which will be a little bit more substantive. And I’m not pushing it, but I’m offering MIT as a neutral academic home for some of the conversations and the technical coordination. Which I think will give a lot more stability to Bitcoin, which right now is a little bit fragile.”
Ito stressed in our conversation and in a follow-up e-mail that he is not trying to grab control of Bitcoin efforts or be an overlord of sorts—rather, he is trying to “make ‘space’ for technical and standards conversations.”
“What I’m really trying to do is offer us as one of the neutral places to do this,” he says. “And I do think academia plays a role.”

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Meho Krljic:

Bitcoin ‘Should Be Exempted from VAT’ Says European Court of Justice Official

--- Quote ---The most popular Swedish news site,, has reported the European Court of Justice as stating, “Bitcoin is a means of payment and that the exchange should therefore be exempted VAT obligations.”
Three years ago, Swedish software developer David Hedqvist and moderator of asked the European Union if Bitcoin transactions are exempt from VAT. According to the findings of the court:
“Bitcoins also constitute a currency. Their ownership has no other point other than the ability to use them again as currency at some future point. Therefore they are to be treated just like legal currencies as far as VAT is concerned.”
--- End quote ---
However, the Swedish Tax Agency argued against the Board of EU directives, and said that they have mistakenly interpreted the matter. The Agency appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court and urged it to proceed with a preliminary ruling, the final determination in law by EU courts that can be initiated by any EU member state.
A legal expert at the Swedish Tax Agency announced, "We disagreed with the Board's reasoning. Then we thought it was also important to get a clear understanding about Bitcoin and VAT.”
Due to the Swedish Tax Agency’s actions, Hedqvist took the matter into his own hands and declared arguments against them. For this, Hedqvist is working with Stockholm’s most prestigious corporate law firms and all of his costs are covered by companies in Bitcoinbranschen, because the companies believe that the tax exemption decision would greatly benefit them.
Hedqvist explained:
“It is important for them because it applies to their commission as shifting business to be subject to VAT. It is also important for bitcoin from a broader perspective, if there is to be equated with other currencies. It is also important that the new technology is not stopped by laws and regulations that are lagging behind.”

The General Directorate of Taxes (DGT)
--- End quote ---
announced in April that Bitcoin is exempt from value-added tax (VAT) in Spain, United Kingdom and Germany. The DGT stated that Bitcoin is considered as a medium of payment or a financial instrument, and thus is classified as a financial service rather than a simple good or commodity.
Paragraph (h) of article 20.18 of the VAT Act states, “Transactions regarding transfers, money orders, check, promissory notes, bills of exchange, debit or credit cards and other payment orders."
If the preliminary ruling becomes final, many European countries will be exempted from VAT, Including Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Finland and Belgium.
--- End quote ---

--- End quote ---

Meho Krljic:
MtGox bitcoin chief Mark Karpeles arrested in Japan

--- Quote ---Japanese police have arrested the CEO of the failed company MtGox, which was once the world's biggest exchange of the virtual currency, bitcoin.
Mark Karpeles, 30, is being held in connection with the loss of bitcoins worth $387m (£247m, €351m) last February.
He is suspected of having accessed the exchange's computer system to falsify data on its outstanding balance.
MtGox claimed it was caused by a bug but it later filed for bankruptcy.

Japan's Kyodo News said a lawyer acting on Mr Karpeles' behalf denied his client had done anything illegal.
Mr Karpeles, who was born in France, is suspected of benefiting to the tune of $1m (£640,000), the agency said.
In March 2014, a month after filing for bankruptcy, MtGox said it had found 200,000 lost bitcoins.
The firm said it found the bitcoins - worth around $116m - in an old digital wallet from 2011.
That brings the total number of bitcoins the firm lost down to 650,000 from 850,000.
That total amounts to about 7% of all the bitcoins in existence.
Bitcoin is a virtual currency built around a complicated cryptographic protocol and a global network of computers that oversees and verifies which coins have been spent by whom.

--- End quote ---


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