Forbes journalist living on bitcoin for a week

A Forbes staffer is chronicling her week-long experiment to live solely on bitcoin for one week. Her journey only began yesterday, but you can read about how the first day went by clicking the link.

BBC News Report on Bitcoin

The BBC posted a short “how it works” video about Bitcoin today:

(click here if the video won’t load for you)

While short, the video is interesting, accurate, and up to usual high BBC standards. Keep your eyes open for a shot of cgminer running about 2 minutes in. =)

CNET: Bitcoin is the future of money

BitcoinCNET posted an opinion piece on Bitcoin today that delivers a positive outlook on the future of cryptocurrency. While there are a couple minor misconceptions in the article, it’s always nice to see good press on digital currency in mainstream news. A snippet:

Crypto-currency is a certifiable Pretty Big Deal. The Facebook antagonists otherwise known as the Winklevoss twins have amassed huge sums of Bitcoin; it’s minting its own millionaires (in real dollars); and an increasing number of global citizens consider Bitcoin a better investment than Wall Street these days.

Somebody should probably tell the author that the US dollars in her pocket haven’t been backed by gold in over 40 years, though.

Nearly half of Bitcoin exchanges fail

A recent Wired UK study concluded that a whopping 45% of Bitcoin exchanges have failed, usually resulting in the loss of users’ deposits. Exchanges that manage to stick around are typically under constant attack from hackers looking to commit virtual heists. From the article:

Exchanges handling 275 Bitcoins’ worth of transactions each day have a 20 percent chance of being breached, compared to a 70 percent chance for exchanges processing daily transactions worth 5570 Bitcoins. [The researchers] estimate that the median lifespan of any Bitcoin exchange is 381 days, with a 29.9 percent chance that a new exchange will close within a year of opening.

Let this be a warning to anyone holding non-trivial amounts of digital currency: don’t treat exchanges like banks! Keep the majority of your bitcoins (and other altcoins) in local encrypted wallet files, preferably stored offline in multiple locations (USB sticks are great for this).

MSI 7950 GPU back in stock at Amazon!

Just a quick note that the MSI 7950 GPU is back in stock at Amazon after more than a week of unavailability, although it looks like they only have 19 of them. This is my top choice for mining, and the one that is featured in my guides.

I know some of you have been waiting for them to come back into stock, so grab them while you can!

Edit 4/28: … and they’re gone. Amazon expects more availability on May 1.

Build your own Litecoin Mining Rig, part 5: Mining FAQ

In this fifth and final installment of our litecoin mining rig guide, I’ll answer some common questions about building your own rig, profit expectations, and mining in general. If you’ve read the rest of the guide and still have some lingering questions, you might find the answers you’re looking for here.

Hit the “read more” button for the FAQ!

Mt. Gox adding support for Litecoin “soon”

Mt. Gox logoMt. Gox, the world’s largest bitcoin exchange, released a statement today regarding their handling of the recent DDoS attack that caused their site to be unavailable for several hours.

Buried in the “Recent Frequently Asked Questions” portion of the release is this interesting tidbit: “When will you be adding Litecoin (LTC) to Mt. Gox?” :

Soon. We were planning on doing so two weeks ago, but events derailed that plan. Right
now we are focused on overall stability of the exchange, and will launch LTC when we are
ready. Otherwise we could be further complicating things.

Rumors and informal talk about litecoin support at Mt. Gox have been circulating for weeks, but this is the first time I’ve seen them put out an official statement confirming it. It’ll be interesting to watch the litecoin price over the next few days.

PayPal president “kinda thinking about” supporting Bitcoin

David Marcus, president of PayPal, says that he is considering the possibility of supporting Bitcoin as a PayPal funding instrument in the future:

(skip to 2:50 in the video for the Bitcoin comments)

A transcript of Marcus’s response:

So I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at [Bitcoin], and it’s truly fascinating actually: the way that the currency’s been designed, and the way that inflation is built in to pay for miners, and all that is truly fascinating. I think that for us at PayPal, it’s just a question whether Bitcoin will make its way to PayPal’s funding instrument or not. We’re kinda thinking about it.

WordPress bitcoin ticker plugin, anyone?

wordpress logoA few days ago, I decided that a blog about cryptocurrencies needed a bitcoin ticker. So I went looking for a WordPress bitcoin ticker plugin widget. To my great surprise, entering “bitcoin ticker” into the WordPress plugin repository search box returned zero results. Almost 25,000 plugins and nobody has released a simple bitcoin ticker yet?

So I wrote one myself. It’s been running for several days in the right sidebar without causing any issues, so I published it to the WordPress plugin repository this morning. You can download it here, if you’ve got a blog that could make use of such a thing (or simply install it via your WordPress installation’s plugin administration area by searching for “cryptocurrency ticker”).

It’s quick and dirty, but it does cache quotes for a time that you specify, and allow you to toggle each currency on or off—just in case you’re a litecoin hater =). If it looks like people are using it, I’ll go back at some point and re-write it to fetch quotes asynchronously on cache misses (and perhaps support some other altcoins, as well).

Update 2/13/2014: The ticker has been updated to version 1.1 and now supports displaying quote prices in Euros. In addition, BTC quotes are now fetched from Coinbase, due to the ongoing problems at Mt. Gox.

Build your own Litecoin Mining Rig, part 4: Optimization

cgminer with optimized settings

One of my optimized rigs, using the hardware from part 1 of this guide, getting over 1.9 Mh/sec in cgminer while using about 680 watts of power.

This fourth installment of our litecoin mining guide will focus on getting the most out of your hardware—finding the sweet spot between maximum performance and acceptable power usage (and noise/heat generation!).

The tweaks that I outline in this article are applicable whether you’re using Linux or Windows. If you’re using the hardware that was recommended in the first part of this guide (or very similar hardware), you should expect to see a performance increase of 10% or more in your litecoin mining hashrate, compared to the baseline cgminer settings that were given in our Linux and Windows setup guides.

In addition to increasing your mining speed, I’ll also show you how to set up a backup mining pool to automatically failover to in case your primary pool becomes unavailable. There is nothing worse than having your mining rig(s) sit idle because your pool went down!

Click “read more” for our mining performance optimization guide!