Business Insider: Litecoin is the silver to Bitcoin’s gold

litecoin logoLitecoin is starting to get attention in mainstream news as a complementary cryptocurrency to the more established Bitcoin. Business Insider posted a short piece today describing Litecoin as the “silver to Bitcoin’s gold”.

The article is short and largely inaccurate on the technical details, but any press that raises public awareness of digital currency is probably a good thing.

Edit 6/16: Looks like Wired UK is getting aboard the Litecoin train, too.

Baby “bought” with bitcoins

CNN is reporting on a “bitcoin baby” born to a couple that paid for their fertility treatment services with bitcoins:

[Dr. Lee, a fertility specialist] broached the subject with a few of his clients. If he offered a big discount, he asked, would they consider paying him with bitcoins?

 

“In some cases they reacted like I said I wanted to be paid in vials of crack cocaine,” he recalled.

 

Eventually, though, a few agreed to try it out. And then he hit the jackpot: A couple whom he helped conceive three previous babies came back to try for number four.

 

“They said, ‘Dr. Lee, we don’t understand this Bitcoin thing,’ but bless their hearts, they were willing to play along out of loyalty,” he said. “I offered them a 50% discount.”

Beware of fake Mt. Gox phishing sites

BTCRecently, a host of phishing sites that spoof the look of Mt. Gox have been showing up in ads from major advertising providers. The operators of these scam sites aim to trick visitors into downloading malware which enables them to steal your Mt. Gox login credentials, so they can then pilfer your account.

Nelp Net Security has some more information, including this snippet:

The fake pages were set up on domains that resembled Mt. Gox’s legitimate one (mtgox.com), such as mtgox.org, mtgox.co.uk, mtgox.net, and others. Also, the criminals have done a good job promoting the phishing site via ads (“New Century Gold: BITCOIN Protect your money – Buy Bitcoin”) served by several major online advertising services.

As always, whenever you visit a financial site (or any website dealing in sensitive information), make certain that the URL in your browser bar matches the one that you intended to visit.

CryptoBadger’s custom mining rigs for sale!

Several of you have contacted me to ask about buying pre-assembled mining rigs over the past couple months. Some people don’t have the time and/or confidence to build their own, and would rather buy something that they can just plug in and have work so they can get into mining without the potential installation headaches.

Up until today, I’ve been telling people that I’m not in the business of selling mining rigs. After doing a bit of research on the options available for people that want to buy a pre-built mining rigs (it’s not pretty: expensive and underperforming 7970-based rigs, rigs that require external cooling, rigs that use ridiculous amounts of power, etc), I’ve decided to give it a try and see how it goes.

I expect the vast majority of you will be better served by reading my guide on how to build your own rig. But for those of you with more money than time and/or extreme technophobia, you’re welcome to take a look at what I’m offering.

What’s the long-term value of Bitcoin?

Techcrunch has an interesting article up about the potential future value of Bitcoin. Given that there will only ever be at most 21 million bitcoins in circulation, it’s a trivial exercise to calculate how much each coin will be worth, given some assumptions around which markets Bitcoin manages to capture.

The article includes an interactive calculator that lets you plug in your own values, although I would have liked to see some more options (where is the option for the internet/ecommerce market—where bitcoin has already arguably made the most progress)?

Fox News asks if Bitcoin can “go legit”

BitcoinsIn the wake of the DHS seizure of a bank account tied to Mt. Gox and the government shutdown of Liberty Reserve, Fox News takes a look at the increasing regulatory scrutiny that digital currency exchanges are facing from the U.S. government. From the article:

“I really believe in complying and keeping track of bad guys,” said Peter Vessenes, CEO of a start-up called CoinLab, which is attempting to get full regulatory approval before launch. “But with all the different state rules we put in so much more time and energy … than we should have to.”

Despite the regulations, technology experts say that they will not prevent people from anonymously using bitcoins for illicit things like buying drugs online. The real-world analogy is cash; the government can tell when it is dispensed by banks, and to whom, but it loses track once it is dispensed.

“Bad people are going to do bad things. Right now the people who do the most bad things do it with cash,” Murck of the Bitcoin Foundation said.

WeMineLTC litecoin pool possibly underpaying miners

If you use WeMineLTC as your litecoin mining pool, you should take a careful look at your earnings. There have been an increasing number of reports from miners that the pool is underpaying by ~30%, either because the operators are intentionally skimming, or because the pool is misconfigured. You can read more in this Reddit thread, or here on the Bitcointalk forums.

I have never used WeMineLTC, so I can’t comment personally. Mining pool scams certainly aren’t unheard of, so regardless of which pool you choose, make sure to keep an eye on your earnings to ensure that they’re in line with expectation (don’t forget to account for the pool’s fee, any pool or miner downtime, and internet latency).

Update 5/29: Apparently there was a vulnerability in WeMineLTC’s pool code that was exploited by some users to steal coins. It has been patched as of today.

Bitcoin network more powerful than world’s fastest supercomputers—by far

The Bitcoin network is now nearly an order of magnitude faster than the world’s 500 top supercomputers combined, and it’s getting bigger every day.

Pretty remarkable considering Bitcoin has only been around for four years.

CGWatcher: A watchdog for cgminer

CGWatcherEver wish that you could keep an eye on your miners 24/7? Maybe you’ve had cgminer inexplicably stop mining in the past, or you’re currently testing out settings that you’re not sure are stable—whatever the reason, it’d be nice if you immediately knew about issues that required a cgminer restart.

Enter CGWatcher, a tool that will keep an eye on cgminer for you. CGWatcher monitors several cgminer outputs, and will automatically restart cgminer whenever an issue is detected (e.g.: a dead/sick GPU, no submitted shares for the past x minutes, hashrate below a set threshold, etc).

It’s a great little tool, and I highly recommend it—especially if you don’t have your miners at a point where they’re completely stable yet. You can read more about CGWatcher (and download it) at the author’s website.

Guide: Cryptocurrency Wallet Security

Litecoin walletSo you’ve built your own mining rig, you’ve mastered the art of trading for profit on the cryptocurrency exchanges, but you haven’t given much thought to securing your digital fortune against theft and accidental loss? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Wallet security isn’t exactly a glamorous topic. In fact, many of you might even assume that you don’t need your own wallet at allafter all, mining pools and currency exchanges are more than happy to hold your money for you, right?

Letting somebody else control your money is a mistake that will likely end up costing you at some point. That mining pool operator that you assume is trustworthy could very well be a teenager halfway around the world that has no problem stealing your coins. The various digital currency exchanges are unregulated, not necessarily secure, and a daily target for hackersgood luck getting your money back when one is breached or goes belly up.

Since it’s still basically the Wild West when it comes to cryptocurrencies, the only way to ensure that your digital wallet can’t be stolen or lost is to secure it yourself. Thankfully, this isn’t all that difficult if you follow a few basic rules. Read on for the guide.