Blockchain businesses embark on world-changing projects

Its uses range from tracking the source of supermarket products to signing digital contracts – even the government is experimenting with the technology

Blockchain is best known as the technology that sits behind bitcoin, recording all of the transactions made with the virtual currency. It is a highly secure, cryptographic digital ledger – each transaction made has a digital signature, which cannot be forged. And this underlying technology is now being used to record all sorts of data, not just currency.

Blockchain is decentralised – created by a network of computers – so there is no single server to hack. However, any new information needs to be verified by multiple computers – the nodes within the blockchain – so it is virtually impossible to add bogus information to it. If the majority of nodes do not verify a new piece of information (through its history and its transaction signatures) then it will not be added.

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Bitcoin ‘not real money’ says Miami judge in closely watched ruling

  • Defendant acquitted of illegally transmitting $1,500 worth of cryptocurrency
  • Judge: ‘Bitcoin has a long way to go before it is the equivalent of money’

A Miami court judge has sent ripples through the cryptocurrency community in a ruling in which she said bitcoin was not real money.

Defendant Michel Espinoza was on trial for illegally transmitting and laundering $1,500 worth of bitcoins to undercover agents who intended to use them to purchase stolen credit cards.

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Bitcoin: Craig Wright promises new evidence to prove identity

Proof of identity may not be enough to win round high-profile backer Gavin Andresen, who has now questioned Wright’s claim of being Satoshi Nakamoto

Craig Wright, the Australian computer scientist who claims to have created the cryptocurrency bitcoin in 2008 under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, has promised to provide fresh evidence to back up his claim.

In a blogpost on his website, Wright says “over the coming days, I will be hosting a series of pieces that will lay the foundations for this extraordinary claim”, including transferring bitcoin from “an early block” and posting “independently verifiable documents”.

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The battle over the future of bitcoin

Billed as the future of democratized, digital money, the currency is now at the center of a conflict over how to develop technologies behind the system

The bitcoin world this week learned its absentee father might be Craig Wright, an Australian entrepreneur with nice suits and well-combed hair who claims he invented the digital currency.

Wright’s appearance complicates an already vicious custody battle. His claimed brainchild bitcoin – long billed as the future of democratized, digital money – is at the center of an ideological conflict over how to develop the technologies behind the system.

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Australian Craig Wright claims he is bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto

The 45-year-old IT and security consultant has reportedly provided evidence to the BBC supporting his claim that he is the inventor of the cryptocurrency

Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright has identified himself as Satoshi Nakamato, the pseudonymous creator of the digital currency bitcoin.

Wright, who was named as the cryptocurrency’s founder by two separate media investigations in December, made the admission in a blog post on Monday, providing what he says is technical proof of his claim.

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Could a bitcoin-style monetary system spell the end for Britain’s banks?

Deputy BoE governor warns digital-style currencies could deny commercial banks crucial deposits and hinder their ability to lend moneyThe Bank of England (BoE) could become the hub of a bitcoin-style digital currency that sidelines high-street banks an…

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Japan considers making bitcoin a legal currency

Proposed changes would bring bitcoin, dogecoin and other cryptocurrencies under definition of currency

Japan’s governing Liberal Democratic party is planning to propose legal changes that would define bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as currencies.

The changes would mean bitcoin could be more tightly regulated and taxed, and are likely to lead to more investment in developing cryptocurrency infrastructure in Japan.

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Bitcoin and darknet are making it harder to track online child abuse

Tracking payments with the help of PayPal and Visa has helped catch paedophiles but anonymous technologies make this harder. It’s time financial institutions did more

Dutch child rights organisation Terre des Hommes put a fake picture online in 2013 of a 10 year-old girl purporting to be available for sexual activity. Known as “operation Sweetie”, potential abusers were asked to make a $20 (£14) online transfer.

In just 10 weeks, more than 1,000 paedophiles in 71 countries were caught by the sting. While few arrests were made because the operation could be deemed to be entrapment, the experiment showed how online payments could track paedophiles.

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£1984: does a cashless economy make for a surveillance state?

A future without money would mean a surveillance state where every transcation is tracked by banks and the state, apart from those using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin

If you type “money” into a Google image search, you get pictures of metal coins and paper notes. People fixate upon this physical currency, but while we still use such transferable tokens for many small transactions, large ones are inevitably electronic. When Rolls-Royce acquires metal to produce jet engines, it doesn’t hand over a bundle of pound notes. It makes an electronic transfer from its bank account to the metal dealer’s account.

Increasingly, though, we use electronic transfer in small-scale transactions too. Rather than handing over physical tokens, you might tap a contactless payment terminal at the supermarket. This sends a message via an electronic communication system – the Visa or Mastercard system, for example – that instructs two banks to edit account databases that keep score of the buyer and seller’s money. The money “moves” owing to third-party payment intermediaries changing your records in their data-centre hard drives.

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