As initially discussed in Part 1 of this series, bitcoin’s exchange rate has garnered significant attention for its recent climb, but far less visible is the dramatic growth in the infrastructure underlying bitcoin economy itself. In continuing with the theme of Part 1, this report will look at the economic evolution behind bitcoin’s growth since the last time exchange rates climbed this dramatically. Adoption In the beginning of this year, the notion of a business accepting payments in bitcoin – particularly at a physical store – was relatively unheard of. When bar/nightclub EVR (co-owned by Charlie Shrem of BitInstant) in …

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Gliph, a secure messaging application with bitcoin integration, announced today that they recently secured $200,000 in funding, led by Tim Draper. Gliph is one of seven companies with a heavy focus on bitcoin in the latest Boost.vc Accelerator class. Boost’s Demo Day is today, offering companies from the program an opportunity to present to an audience of investors and press. Gliph began in early 2012 as an encrypted messaging app, focused on securing communications across iPhone, Android and web users, protecting all messages with SSL and/or AES-256 encryption. The service also offers the ability to reveal only as much personal …

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Applications for the third round of quarterly grants from the Bitcoin Foundation are due this Friday, September 20. Given historical precedent, grants are likely to be given to projects that aid in the development, security and testing of vital bitcoin infrastructure, but are not likely to be commercially viable. Last quarter there was one recipient out of the twenty five project proposals submitted. The grant was given to Coinpunk, an open source software project that enables users to host wallets on servers they control, while also giving them access to their bitcoin via a web portal. This enables people to …

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This morning, Armory, an open source bitcoin wallet that claims industry-leading security, closed a $600K seed funding round – some of which was in bitcoin – from highly-credentialed legal, technical and financial investors. Armory was one of the first platforms to embrace ‘cold storage’ of bitcoin, a process in which private keys used to sign transactions are stored solely on a computer not connected to the internet. Bitcoin Foundation Chief Scientist Gavin Andresen stressed the importance of increased wallet security earlier this year, citing compromised computers as a primary source of vulnerability, despite the strength of the bitcoin protocol itself. …

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Trezor is the first mass-produced bitcoin hardware wallet and is on pace to reach customers’ hands next month. Hardware wallets, as opposed to the software wallets currently in use, allow users to store their bitcoins off of personal computers but maintain the ability to transfer bitcoins conveniently. The wallet is able to sign bitcoin transactions while connected to a computer via USB, without allowing the computer access to private information. Gavin Andresen, the lead developer of bitcoin-Qt, stated in June that wallet security is the largest concern in the coming year and that hardware wallets will be hugely beneficial. Bitcoin’s …

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For a second time in as many weeks, users of mobile bitcoin wallets have become vulnerable to a random number generator that exposed their private keys in transactions. Transferring bitcoin requires signing a transaction with a private key, in combination with a random number that is generated by whatever software is sending the transaction. The private key is what allows a user sole access to spending bitcoins in their address. If a random number is not actually random but predictable or repeated, then a careful observer can reverse-engineer the user’s private key and gain access to all bitcoins in that …

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A few days ago a severe vulnerability in the Android implementation of the Java SecureRandom random number generator was discovered. The result of this vulnerability is that private keys used in transactions on Android devices can be determined. All bitcoins in addresses used on Android devices need to be immediately rotated to a new address. Bitcoin uses public/private key cryptography to sign bitcoin transactions. The security of the system relies on each address having it’s own private key that is only known by the owner of the address. If a malicious party were to gain control of the private keys …

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In the world of bitcoin wallets, users have historically had to prioritize between ease of use, accessibility, and security. That decision may be easier now, thanks to the Bitcoin Foundation’s grant to Coinpunk, an open source, self-hosted wallet. Such a solution would allow users to access their bitcoin wallet via the web, without the counterparty risk of an external service to manage the process. The grant to Coinpunk marks the Bitcoin Foundation’s third allocation since announcing the program in December 2012. This grant falls in line with the goals expressed by Executive Chairman emeritus Peter Vessenes – to support projects that …

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At a town-hall style discussion in June, Bitcoin Foundation Chief Scientist Gavin Andresen cited wallet security as the most pressing issue in the bitcoin community. Though his solution at the time was hardware wallets, such as Trezor, he recently posted an alternative on GitHub: 2-factor authentication built into the client. The challenge facing users hosting wallets on their own computer is that their PC becomes a single point of failure. Once a security vulnerability occurs, a sophisticated attacker will have little trouble locating a wallet file, transferring it to their own computers and logging keystrokes to determine the password. Hardware …

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The latest improvement to bitcoinj will enable users to make off-block chain micro transactions and has the potential to dramatically reduce the size of blocks going forward. There has been considerable concern about the minimum size of transactions that should be included in blocks. While many voice the opinion that no one should be allowed to police what transactions can be included, it is equally as clear that it is not reasonable for everyone in the world to host every bitcoin transaction on their hard drive. Gavin was particularly excited about the implementation: The block chain recently passed 8GB, a …

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