No More Coinbase and BitPay: Process Your Own Bitcoin Payments for $6 a Month

Merchants can now use a Bitcoin full node to process their own payments via the BTCPay server for under $6 a month — with or without Lightning Network functionality. 


Removing Microsoft Azure Reliance

A guide to the solution from creator and Bitcoin developer Nicolas Dorier published August 18 explains how merchants who want to accept payments without banking formalities can now do so entirely independently. A secondary issue, obligatory use of Microsoft Azure, has also been resolved, reducing cost and reliance on third parties.

“BTCPay Server can easily be hosted with the magical one-click deploy to azure. However, simplicity come with a cost: Around 65 USD per month,” Dorier begins.

While you can bring it down to around 20 USD per month by following this guide after initial sync. The cost of Azure is too damn high.

A further complication lies in the fact that Azure cannot be paid for with Bitcoin, leading to certain merchants “having [a] headache [when paying] for their Azure account because reasons about their credit card.”

Open Source Is ‘A Way Out’

Despite being in existence around a year, BTCPay only recently rose to prominence in the cryptocurrency world when veteran merchant CheapAir publicly documented its switch to the open source gateway after growing dissatisfaction with Coinbase and rejection of competitor BitPay.

“Bitcoin itself is decentralized, but payment processors are not, and they use their comfortable position to abuse its customers,” Dorier told Bitcoinist in an interview last year.

BTCPay is a way out.

Using an alternative VPS provider to Azure, such as Dorier’s Lithuania-based timevps, brings the cost of accepting Bitcoin transactions using a pruned full node down from a minimum of $20 per month to the equivalent of around $6.

“…If tomorrow the US government bans Bitcoin, or that using Bitcoin becomes suddenly “offensive or unpatriotic” (which will happen when shit hit the fan with USD), and merchants are using Microsoft Azure, then lots of shops will end up closed. This would hurt the ecosystem,” he added. 

What do you think about BTCPay’s merchant payments option? Let us know in the comments below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

US Judge Orders Alleged Hacker to Pay Bail in Cryptocurrency

US Judge Orders Alleged Hacker to Pay Bail in Cryptocurrency

Regulation

A US federal judge has ordered an alleged hacker to pay the equivalent of $750,000 in cryptocurrency for bail. The man was charged with hacking video game company Electronic Arts (EA), obtaining in-game currency used to buy and sell in-game items, and selling access to online games though black-market websites.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Judge Orders Bail Payment in Crypto

US Judge Orders Alleged Hacker to Pay Bail in CryptocurrencyFederal Judge Jacqueline Corley has ordered a “hacker charged with illegally accessing computer network of [a] Bay Area company” to pay bail in cryptocurrency, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced last week.

Martin Marsich, a 25-year-old Serbian and Italian national whose last known residence was in Udine, Italy, was arrested at the San Francisco International Airport on August 8 while boarding a flight to Serbia. At the federal court in San Francisco where he made his first appearance the next day, the DOJ described:

Magistrate Judge Corley ordered Marsich released to a half-way house on the condition that he post the equivalent of $750,000 in cryptocurrency for bail.

Judge Corley was frequently in the news last November for ruling in favor of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) against Coinbase. She ordered the crypto exchange to turn over information about U.S. taxpayers who conducted crypto transactions during the years 2013 to 2015.

The Case and FBI Complaint

A Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent filed an affidavit in connection with the criminal complaint against Marsich on March 25. It states that “a video-game company headquartered in the Bay Area discovered that an individual had illegally accessed its internal computer network and granted access to parts of the company’s systems,” the Justice Department conveyed. “The intruder, later identified as Marsich, gained access to 25,000 accounts that allow customers to purchase items for use in video games.”

US Judge Orders Alleged Hacker to Pay Bail in CryptocurrencyFurthermore, the FBI complaint outlines that “Marsich allegedly used some of the information he obtained from the computer system to obtain in-game currency, used to buy and sell in-game items.” He was also accused of selling “access to the on-line game on black-market websites.”

According to the Daily Post, the Bay Area company is Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), a well-known American video game company headquartered in Redwood City, California. “After making the discovery of the intrusion, the company allegedly closed the stolen accounts and suffered a loss of approximately $324,000,” the DOJ further revealed, adding:

The complaint charges Marsich with intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization to obtain information for the purposes of commercial advantage and private financial gain…and accessing a protected computer to defraud and obtain anything of value.

While clarifying that “a complaint merely alleges that crimes have been committed,” the agency noted that “If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment, and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution if appropriate for each violation.”

Why Did the Judge Order Payment in Crypto?

US Judge Orders Alleged Hacker to Pay Bail in CryptocurrencySan Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe was quoted by the Daily Post saying that he “had never heard of anyone bailing out of jail with cryptocurrency in any courtroom.” While acknowledging that cryptocurrency is now acceptable in a federal court, he believes that “a cryptocurrency bail would fly in San Mateo County Superior Court.”

Although the DOJ’s announcement does not specify the reason for bail payment in crypto, U.S. Assistant District Attorney Abraham Simmons explained that “judges can order many kinds of bail, including real estate owned by another person,” the publication conveyed and quoted him describing:

The judge could order just about anything…It really is quite broad…What the objective is is to get the defendant to comply with an order to appear later.

Simmons also said he was “certain” that if the value of the cryptocurrency were to fluctuate dramatically, either party could file a motion to change the bail amount. “I would imagine that either side would alert the court of an extreme change in the value of the asset, but it doesn’t mean that the court would care one way or the other.”

What do you think of Judge Corley ordering bail payment in cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Yahoo.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

Coinbase Wins Patent to Protect a Secure Bitcoin Payments System

The largest US-based cryptocurrency exchange has made another move towards providing a secure environment for digital currency trading.


Identifying the Present Issues

In a filing issued August 14, the US Patent and Trademark Office has granted protection for a secure Bitcoin payment system to Coinbase.

The system itself paves the way for users to pay directly with bitcoin through their wallet, without having to worry about the security of their private key. The patent also identifies the issues which are currently preventing this from happening.

It may be a security concern for users that the private keys of their bitcoin addresses may be stolen from their wallets. Existing systems do not provide a solution for maintaining security over private keys while still allowing the users to check out on a merchant page and making payments using their wallets.

Increasing Security

What the patent protects is a system which is intended to set up a “key ceremony” application — which creates bundles for custodians that are individually encrypted with passphrases. Every single bundle will have a master key share. Those shares are combined in order to store an operational master key, which, on its part, is used to encrypt the private key during the checkout process described above.

The multi-layered approach is intended to enhance user protection and security over their private keys. In order to further increase the security, the system can also be “frozen.” This is intended to prevent any transactions from being carried out if an administrator has suspended the system.

In order to “unfreeze” the system, the keys from the key ceremony have to be used. While the checkout process itself can be completed regardless of the system’s state, payments can only be made if it’s unfrozen.

Furthermore, the patent explains that the new secure Bitcoin payment system will also feature an API key which hints that different websites would be able to take advantage of it.

Coinbase is taking security quite seriously. Earlier in July, the San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchanged opened its Custody service which is intended to provide secure storage solutions for institutional investors.

What do you think of the patent won by Coinbase? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.