Bitcoin and Credit Cards: Scams and Money Laundering

chinabitcoinBitcoin has been facing trouble this week due to a series of crackdowns by the Chinese government. First, the People’s Bank of China stated that bitcoins did not qualify as currency and barred its banks and payment systems from being involved. Later, this ruling was extended to third party payment processors, meaning that bitcoin could only be exchanged in private transactions. The initial justification given was that people must be protected from speculation and wild changes in price – but the chilling effect has led to bitcoin losing half of its value. Presumably Chinese investors must now return to property speculation.

Negative reactions from government agencies, law enforcement, and established financial businesses are to be expected because they see digital currencies as a threat to their existing systems of checks and controls over financial transactions, their ability to regulate the market, to implement monetary policy, to protect consumers, and to oppose organized
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Bitcoin – How high can it go?

BitcoinWith all the recent interest in Bitcoin and crypto-currencies, many people have been moving money into the Bitcoin system and stories abound of people making a rapid fortune, or finding that forgotten wallets from the early days now contain life-changing amounts of money. This week has seen US Congress hearing information about opportunities and threats from digital peer-to-peer currencies. In the news, hopeful people have been quoted saying that they expect to be millionaires by next year after buying $100 worth of Bitcoin.

In this article, I examine the possible investment upside of virtual currencies, and Bitcoin in particular. I then discuss some of the threats that investors and adopters must watch out Continue reading

Keeping Up with Innovation

I wonder about this.

Watching that video makes me think that the person who made it is probably… getting old.

I don’t think that young people worry that the world is changing too fast. After all what makes the author think that the rules of business suddenly changed 15 years ago. Maybe that was when they started in the business and now they feel they don’t understand things Continue reading

The Power of Google

Nicolas Steno

On January 11th I was checking out some of the log files produced by wikipedia. I was trying to write a script to determine which articles are being read by people on an hourly basis to get results a little like this. I noticed that while Mitt Romney was way up in the page view hits on wikipedia at 8522 hits per hour, a less well known name was far more popular by more than an order of magnitude at 155257 hits Continue reading

Trillion Frames-per-Second Camera Explained

MIT has been recently in the news because Ramesh Raskar and his team have demonstrated a camera which can visualize the motion light through a scene. The New York Times has a writeup here. More details can be found on the group project page.

One thing that commentators have been confused about is what it means to show light in flight through a media. In fact the group’s video makes it more confusing to the layman when Raskar says “We have built a virtual slow-motion camera where we can see photons or light particles moving through space.” This gives that impression that we can see single Continue reading