Vicco, Ky., is about as small town as it gets, with a population that hovers around 330 people. That does not appear to have kept its residents, namely Police Chief Tony Vaughn, in the dark when it comes to Internet trends and emerging crypto-currencies.
The city commission on Monday approved a measure that would allow Vaughn to receive his salary entirely in Bitcoin, an alleged first in the US and yet another story bolstering the reputation of the unregulated virtual currency as a payment method that will one day, supporters hope, stabilize and become commonplace.
Bitcoin mining is becoming a serious business.
This chart, from Bitcoin wallet service and block explorer Blockchain.info, shows the amount of computational power worldwide dedicated to Bitcoin mining — the process of maintaining the public ledger of all Bitcoin transactions, and of being rewarded new Bitcoins for participating in this process. In just the last few months, this amount has exploded.
First came the closure of criminal underground Silk Road, now an apparently vast theft of Bitcoins from one of the sites that replaced it, Sheep Marketplace. Are the users of darkweb markets now being targeted by criminals?
A weekend message on the Tor-based Sheep Marketplace claimed that 5,400 Bitcoins (worth about $5.6 million) had been stolen with the message, “we are sorry to say, but we were robbed on Saturday 11/21/2013 by vendor EBOOK101. This vendor found bug in system and stole 5400 BTC – your money, our provisions, all was stolen.”
A single bitcoin is now worth over $1,000, but the process of mining for the digital currency — in which people devote computing power to facilitate global Bitcoin transactions and secure the currency's network — is growing increasingly expensive. Serious miners have started to build dedicated facilities for the sole purpose of Bitcoin mining. Journalist Xiaogang Cao visited one such center in Hong Kong, the "secret mining facility" of ASICMINER, reportedly located in a Kwai Chung industrial building.
Although enthusiasm for ‘crypto-currency’ bitcoin is expanding, it is not going to save people’s privacy from US NSA spy agency data mining. A truly anonymous online currency is needed, Richard Stallman, president of the Free Software Foundation told RT.
Just as bitcoin soared above $1,200 mark, almost matching current gold prices, some 1500 proponents of the digital currency gathered in London to discuss the problems of the ‘crypto-money’ and how it could change the world.