As executive director of Girls Who Code, Kristen Titus heads up one of the most high-profile efforts to address gender imbalances in the tech world. The project aims to introduce teenage girls to computer science, a field that promises to be among the most significant job-growth industries in coming decades.
Need light? Look no farther than the palm of your hand—literally. Ann Makosinski’s “hollow flashlight,” her winning design from the 2013 Google Science Fair competition, is made from Peltier tiles that produce energy when one side is heated and the other side remains cool. Using only the warmth of her hands for energy, this Canadian teen’s flashlight is able to produce a steady beam of LED light for 20 minutes.
A former Goldman Sachs trader, Fred Ehrsam left Wall Street to co-found Coinbase, an online payment system with the stated mission of making bitcoin, an unregulated and increasingly popular form of digital currency, easy to use. The company, with roots in the Y Combinator startup incubator, now processes bitcoin payments for the likes of OkCupid and Reddit.
Many thousands of articles have been written purporting to explain Bitcoin, the online, peer-to-peer currency. Most of those articles give a hand-wavy account of the underlying cryptographic protocol, omitting many details. Even those articles which delve deeper often gloss over crucial points. My aim in this post is to explain the major ideas behind the Bitcoin protocol in a clear, easily comprehensible way. We’ll start from first principles, build up to a broad theoretical understanding of how the protocol works, and then dig down into the nitty-gritty, examining the raw data in a Bitcoin transaction.
NEW PRODUCT – Bitcoin – Sticker! Is Bitcoin real? Who knows, but these stickers are! Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority or banks; managing transactions and the issuing of bitcoins is carried out collectively by the network. Bitcoin is open-source; its design is public, nobody owns or controls Bitcoin and everyone can take part. Through many of its unique properties, Bitcoin allows exciting uses that could not be covered by any previous payment system.
You can use Bitcoins to pay for these bitcoin stickers!
…in a curious twist, at least one customer who decided to pay with bitcoin used the very same coins they mined using Adafruit’s bitcoin mining tutorial. Fried said:
“The coolest thing for us is a customer told us they made a bitcoin miner using our tutorial, mined coins and then spent them on Adafruit.”
The company first entered the bitcoin world six months ago with the PiMiner, a Raspberry Pi-powered bitcoin miner. From there, the decision to implement bitcoin payments was a natural progression for Adafruit’s team.
“We all considered mining coins a fun math puzzle and hobby,” said Fried.
Bitcoin is a currency, like the dollar or the yen. And it’s a means of processing payments over internet, like PayPal. But it’s also a piece of technology controlled by the masses, like Linux, the increasingly popular open source computer operating system, or the internet itself. What history has shown is that, once they get going, things like Linux and the internet take on lives of their own.
It’s not just that people across the world use the internet. They also help run it — not because there’s an immediate monetary payoff but because the internet can help fuel so many other endeavors, many of which can generate money on their own. You could certainly argue that people will continue to run bitcoin miners even if they don’t get paid for doing so. They may run them just to keep the Bitcoin system going, knowing that the system will reward them in other ways.
But if the system needs change — if it can’t survive unless it continues to make new bitcoins — people will change it. Like the internet, Bitcoin has its limitations, but it’s something that anyone can modify. What that means is that any problem with the currency can be solved, including the limited-supply problem. We could even see a “fork” of the Bitcoin system, where someone takes the open source code and creates a new system that then exceeds the popularity of Bitcoin.
This phenomenon has value in its own right. As Peter Rodriguez points out, Bitcoin can generate consumer confidence simply because it isn’t controlled by a single, central authority. People trust things that they have control over.
The point is not that Bitcoin is a deflationary currency. The point is that it can be anything.
Greetings programs! Adafruit is pleased to offer BitCoin as a payment method for Adafruit purchases. We soft-launched over the weekend and had tons of happy customers, we’re using BitPay as our payment processor. BitPay is an electronic payment processing system for the bitcoin currency. BitPay enables online merchants to accept bitcoins, as a form of payment like payments from Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Google Wallet and Paypal.
Here’s a video from BitPay that explains their service. And below is the Bitcoin.org overview of Bitcoin and video.
Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority or banks; managing transactions and the issuing of bitcoins is carried out collectively by the network. Bitcoin is open-source; its design is public, nobody owns or controls Bitcoin and everyone can take part. Through many of its unique properties, Bitcoin allows exciting uses that could not be covered by any previous payment system.
The price of a bitcoin topped $900 last week, an enormous surge in value that arrived amidst Congressional hearings where top U.S. financial regulators took a surprisingly rosy view of digital currency. Just 10 months ago, a bitcoin sold for a measly $13.
The spike was big news across the globe, from Washington to Tokyo to China, and it left many asking themselves: “What the hell is a bitcoin?” It’s a good question — not only for those with little understanding of the modern financial system and how it intersects with modern technology, but also for those steeped in the new internet-driven economy that has so quickly remade our world over the last 20 years.
UK pool table maker Liberty Games hacked one of their units to accept the world’s most popular cryptocurrency -
After a fair bit of coding we managed to get the Pi talking to a server which itself was talking to the peer-to-peer Bitcoin network, with the Pi checking to see when an incoming payment of the correct value came in. We also designed a web-based admin panel (run by a web server on the Pi), to allow operators to set the price per play and transfer Bitcoin to another wallet.
As the value of Bitcoin is variable (to say the least), we also incorporated an LCD display which calculated the current price in Bitcoin of the selected price per pay.
Check out some video of the table in use below -
The experiment was a success and the company plans to offer the feature to customers in the near future.
Read more over at Liberty Games’ Blog
As seen @ DEF CON 2013 – the BitcoinBriefcase is a self-contained Bitcoin vending machine -
Once the user’s last coin is inserted, he pushes the LED button to let the system know to start the Bitcoin magic. A random number is generated using the hardware pseudorandom number generator on the raspberry pi and is used as the private key for this Bitcoin transaction. A transaction for the inserted value is broadcast to the public Bitcoin network, and the transaction information including the private key, the Bitcoin address, and associated QR codes are printed out on the thermal printer.
No doubt every hackerspace will soon be needing one of these. Spotted quite a bit of adafruit gearinside too!
Dave Conroy has written a beginners guide for turning your RPi into an affordable bitcoin mining rig:
First off, I know this post is a little late in the game as it is becoming less profitable for amateurs to mine Bitcoins, and that there are more efficient ways to go about this. But I am writing this anyways for posterity’s sake as I know for a fact there are people out there who have idle Raspberry Pis and are looking for a project. I’m sure there are also others like myself who are just looking to learn more about cryptocurrencies.
Moogle shares results of his exploratory hacking with the ASICMiner Block Erupter, using an external clock signal and variable voltage -
I used a 10K ohm pot to adjust the core voltage with a volt meter on the pin I soldered to the main asic core voltage line. You should be very careful if you use my method and always have a volt meter on the asic core voltage line. I mostly did changes with the Block Erupter connected to my bench power supply with the current limited to prevent any mishaps.
Sadly, one ASIC was lost during the procedure, may its sacrifice not be in vain – learn more over at WTFMoogle
Bitfury’s 400GH/s Bitcoin mining rig uses 16 individual hashing boards controlled by a single Raspberry Pi -
BItfury ASIC chips use a 55nm process and are sold running at an estimated 1.56 GH/s per chip, with demonstrated performance up to 2.7 GH/s. Although they are clocked slower than Butterfly Lab’s 4 GH/s chips, they will run 4x more efficiently at 0.8 Watts/Ghps. Power efficiency will be a deciding factor in a bitcoin miner’s longevity as profitability narrows with increasing difficulty.
Directly following last month’s Bitcoin 2013 conference event in San Jose, CA that brought good revenue into the state, California’s Department of Financial Institutions decided to issue a cease and desist warning to conference organizer Bitcoin Foundation for allegedly engaging in the business of money transmission without a license or proper authorization.
Probably OK to still mine your own coins with PiMiner