Wednesday, August 31, 2016

US Health Department Selects 15 Blockchain Research Contest Winners

 

 HHS, Health and Human Services

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), a division within the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has announced the winners of a blockchain research paper contest.

The "Use of Blockchain in Health IT and Health-related Research Challenge", announced last month, solicited white papers that would explore how the technology can be potentially used in healthcare settings.

The ONC said that it received over 70 submissions, and that it ultimately chose just 15 to spotlight.

National coordinator Vindell Washington said in a statement:

    "We are thrilled by the incredible amount of interest in this challenge. While many know about Blockchain technology's uses for digital currency purposes, the challenge submissions show its exciting potential for new, innovative uses in health care."

At the time it announced the contest, HHS indicated that it was weighing blockchain tech as part of a broader push for interoperability in the country's healthcare IT systems. The ONC has been pursuing this line of inquiry for the past several years, releasing a report last October on this goal.

HHS, along with the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security, are among the major US agencies looking into the technology.

The ONC is set to host a blockchain-focused workshop to be held at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) between 26th and 27th September.

UNTRACEABLE CRYPTOCURRENCY MONERO IS BOOMING

 

The value of Monero has more than tripled in the last ten days moving from around $2.47 to $8.10 as at the time of this publication.

Described as the new digital currency that online drug-dealers have started to adopt because it enables them to conduct business with more anonymity, the price of two-year-old Monero skyrocketed lately, driven by the announcement of several darknet markets to accept Monero as payment.

 

AlphaBay, one of the most popular sites for buying drugs like liquid LSD and hybrid cannabis, said last week it has partnered Oasis to begin accepting Monero on September 1. This led to increased media coverage, attracting more speculators towards the currency.

Whether the factor behind the quick rise is solely due to darknet markets’ adoption is unknown. However, with the report by RAND Europe that says illegal drug transactions on cryptomarkets have tripled since 2013, with revenues doubling, it couldn’t be far from being a major factor.

 

The research institute names vendors who indicated they were operating from the U.S. as having the highest market share of drugs (35.9 percent of total drug revenues) followed closely by the U.K. (16.1 percent), Australia (10.6 percent), Germany ( 8.4 percent) and The Netherlands (7.1 percent) revenue share. Another factor that could have contributed to the rise is the growing efforts to decriminalize Bitcoin use which may have shifted attention from the top cryptocurrency. A group of researchers two weeks ago announced the creation of an analysis tool for US law enforcement that can be used to overcome the challenges of criminals using Bitcoin for transactions. Sandia‘s work focused on law enforcement’s most immediate need to reduce the time and resources necessary to trace illicit commerce.

 

Trading in Monero has also increased with exchanges such Poloniex recording more than 1,300 Bitcoin worth of its trade in 24 hours.

The growing interest has also drawn the attention of wallets. Bitwala recently added it to the list of accepted Altcoins and Cryptocurrencies for its users to pay bills, send out international bank transfers and use it to top up their debit card.

Monero aims to be a secure, private and untraceable cryptocurrency. It was created in April 2014 as an open source project and is currently maintained by seven core developers, the most prominent fabulously calling himself “Fluffy Pony”.

The main differences between Monero and Bitcoin are its default use of stealth addresses and ring signatures, obfuscating most transaction data like sender, recipient and payment amount. By implementing these features, the currency offers its users full transaction anonymity.

 

Unlike Bitcoin forks, Monero is based on the CryptoNote protocol whose transactions cannot be traced through the blockchain to reveal its sender or receiver.

Bitcoin has its pseudonymity which enables its users not to be obliged to disclose ownership of bitcoins. However, given the transaction history and data that Bitcoin users have disclosed about themselves, it may be possible to recover information about particular bitcoins.

 

The market values of Bitcoin and Monero are also different. Despite its spike in price, the low rate of Monero is still affordable for interested users when compared to Bitcoin’s which has gone large scale and pierced into conventional financial system to be eyed by investors.

Monero may not be able to sustain the momentum when compared to bitcoin which has outgrown several phases. A  further growth in the adoption of Monero may draw greater regulatory measures that won’t augur well for the future of cryptocurrencies in general.

EU Parliament Rep Seeks €1 Million for Blockchain Research

 

A member of the European Parliament is proposing that €1m ($1.1m) be spent on a task force that would focus on studying digital currencies and blockchain technology.

The push for funding comes months after the legislative arm of the European Union (EU) first approved the task force, proposed by MEP Jakob von Weizsäcker earlier this year.

Legislative records indicate that von Weisäcker is now asking for financial support for the measure. In notes, he said that support should be approved in order to position the European Commission – the economic bloc's executive branch – at the forefront of an emerging technology.

 

The MEP wrote:

"This pilot project aims at creating a Task Force, staffed with regulatory and technical experts, in order to build up technical expertise, regulators capacity and develop use cases, especially for governmental applications, in the field of distributed ledger technology (DLT) as proposed in the Resolution of the European Parliament on virtual currencies."

 

The task force initiative is one of the more notable legislative efforts to emerge from Europe on the subject of blockchain, as it is expected to focus on the developing government use cases.

In legislative records, von Weisäcker reiterated past statements about the task force's potential role in creating a balanced regulatory environment.

"Too early hard regulatory measures would stifle innovation and hamper its potential," he wrote. "Waiting too long might lead to a materialization of (systemic) risks."

 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

 
Bitcoin has certainly been one of the most audacious financial experiments in the last century. While governments have tried everything from pegging currencies to Gold, a basket of foreign countries and repeatedly meddling with monetary policies, none of them have been able to perfect sustaining base unit value and continuous growth. Additionally, although globalization has bought the world together and helped us interact far faster in terms of trade and investments we have barely been able to brings its benefits to people from all walks of life. Bitcoin, for the first time was able to remove government set barriers and empower individuals to trade and remit money without middle men eating through the fruits of their labour. During its meteoric rise from hacker currency to the love child of innovators, inventors and investors alike the coin has undergone a turbulent period with its founder eventually disappearing from the public. A coin that was once traded by the pennies soared upto thousand+ dollars then crashed to as low as 180.

For all the benefits Bitcoin bought along with it - it bought along paranoia, hysteria, volatility, market manipulation, losses and for an elite few- massive profit. Bitcoin's rise has been meteoric but it does not solve all the monetary problems we face in the 21st century. There have been a number of similar currencies launched in the recent past in order to solve various issues through the Blockchain. Ethereum - the second most common currency on a blockchain permits smart contracts or programmable currency in simpler words. There are other currencies that permit storage of files, reward prediction markets or even possess stakes on the potential profits of a gambling house.


Xaurum a coin that has been recently launched aims to solve one of the most crucial economic problems through a smart approach. To put it in simple terms - the coin like some others in the industry (digix)  permits you to hold rights to Gold on a blockchain. The organization behind the coin - Auresco Institute aims to hold gold as a commonwealth or a conglomerate of holders at a secure location in Europe. This is a rather logical approach to financial security as the tokens one purchases on this blockchain will be physically backed at a central location in Europe and the gold that is under the organization’s holding would be verifiable and shippable as and per requested. The coin will be able to witness an increase in its price as the base value increases and thereby will witness an upward slope in price without being heavily dependent on user adoption alone  This is a revolutionary value of store in economies where conventional forms of banking do not offer security due to the national monetary policies and hoarding large amounts of gold becomes unsafe due to lack of security. This opens a whole new world of opportunities for individuals willing to take the risk of acquiring Bitcoin from local resources.

There are a number of perks to this approach.

  1. Limited Coinage

    Since the number of coins that will be released will be limited to the amount of gold that can be held, there will be anti-inflationary nature to the coin from day 1. Additionally, since the coin is anti-inflationary in nature, as more and more individuals buy into the coin, the price will slowly rise in value
  2. Utility

    While bitcoin itself is a token subject to market fluctuation and commonly agreed notions of what its price should be, the coin offering here is relatively less volatile as its offering is with Gold. This means, a traditional business seeking payments in heavy amounts could hedge its position with gold while being able to access the quick and easy remittance availability on a blockchain. While Bitcoin start-ups have struggled with adoption, this currency could rather easily pick up steam

  3. Seignorage

    The founders of the organization believe the only true way for  a monetary system to actually be beneficial to all parties is through seigniorage and this lies at the crux of what the organization does. Instead of permitting banks to be the sole players benefitting from the issuance of currencies and their base value, the organization is paving ways for this to be a more democratic process - one that is accessible to anyone with access to the internet. Additionally it is a major socio-economic experiment that is being run for a while now with a strong user group backing it.


Capital flight has been at the crux of a large number of political debates ni the recent past. Even Brexit could be attributed towards the currency outflow from Britain towards Europe. During the world war, it is believed Gold retrieved from the jaws of the jews were molted and made into bars and saved in order to insure the nation’s economy from a potential decline. Rules and empires have been built on top of gold and in order to question their authoritarian regime  an economic system scripted to question their very basics are needed. I believe Xaurum is positioned to provide exactly this. For a migrant labourer in the middle east looking to save his income from taxation, or an individual in Africa risking loss of his currency to thugs in the streets - xaurum offers a safe alternative. In a way, I see it being the Swiss bank of the 21st century.
Xaurum is a unit on the golden blockchain. It represents an increasing value in gold and is exchangeable for it. The main function of Xaurum is the storage and increase of value, it is founded on the assumption, that the most important systemic function of money is a fair distribution of the profit of money creation - seigniorage. For this reason Xaurum was the first cryptocurrency that has its commonwealth, the store of value for all its users. Commonwealth value is stored in gold reserves of 1g, so that every user of Xaurum can exchange his or her xaurum for gold at any time. While similar, in gold standard the ratio between the representation of gold and gold is fixed, this makes the currency inelastic and bad for the economy in a recession. Xaurum makes this ratio dynamic, so that it can increase, but can not decrease increasing the buying power of each Xaurum and uses the elastic difference between its gold base and market price to adjust to current supply and demand.


Xaurum's ratio to gold is not fixed, but can only increase, this enables that its price and base value are both different and known (perhaps BTC should be seen as a combination of BTC the digital commodity and BTC the currency, two distinct things, connected in a system in a way only the latter is known and determined on the market, while the costs of mining are at least partly obscured). This difference between price and base value is used for profitable inflation, that at the same time increases the gold reserves and consequently the base value of all existing xaurum and the individual creating new money supply. For example, 1 xau = 500$, and backed with 2g (100$ in value), the miner/minter pays more than 100$ in gold to the commonwealth and creates a new xaurum for less than 500$, the commonwealth profits in gold, he profits in price difference. This would soon collapse the value to the value of the base value, if there were no counter-measures. To prevent this Xaurum uses artificial scarcity and the consideration of past market demand (if for example, new xaurum were coined when price was 400$, they would not be coined for less, as we take the lower price to mean the demand was over-represented).

What I loved about Xaurum was their transparency in conversation and their long history within the community. I could sense a strong sense of belongingness by people towards the coin. Additionally the people behind the coin have been open towards rectifiying their mistakes from past learnings. A good proof of this is their willingness to make the coin divisible by 8000 and the change of their ticker. This move makes the coin more inclusive of possible new users. The team’s sound understanding of the economics behind the project and professionalism in their communication stood out throughout my interaction with them.

However, in light of the number of Scam ICO”s the community has seen in the recent past it becomes imminent to tread with caution. While the underlying technology, economic brilliance and pragmatism makes sense and does offer the average man from any corner of the gold access to Gold on a ledger, its implementation can be tricky. For instance, the total reserve of gold held by the institute is not verifiable as it is now. Additionally, the project fails to take into account the laws and legal procedures involved in shipping gold internationally. Customs, verification requirements and additional legal scrutiny in the event of someone looking to do a withdrawal could add delays to the process and make buying gold the conventional way seem more appealing.  

A possible solution for the organization is to set up hubs around the globe from where gold could be shipped easier and much faster.  While this would mean the organization has to take the added strain of finding reliable centers around the globe it offers a certain level of globalization and quicker access to the individual’s gold. Additionally, services that certify the amount of gold held in reserve and their purity in real time could be implemented into the project. With a strong advisory and increased transparency the project has the potential to question how we wee monetary systems.

Tangibility of gold and the transparency and speed of a blockchain coming together is just about every economist’s dream and Xaurum is taking us one step closer to that grand vision. While the system has its own bit of inherent flaws, all of them are the kind that can be worked out over time. The bright side is, the team behind the coin has worked on it for a fair amount of time and has the power to implement changes as and when required. As long as they hold true to their promises, things could change for the better. I have my eyes on the coin simply because of the economic understanding behind it and look forward to covering it further in the near future.


CCEDK Exchange

 

The launch of Bitcoin in 2008 was more than just an experiment in the financial realm. It was a
silent outcry against the injustices committed by the financial elite leading to the recession,
scripted in code. Satoshi’s creation laid the foundation for what would soon be the world’s
financial future. Unlike earlier, it wasn’t restricted to royalty or the elite to decide how this new
financial system would work. Rather, emperors of the new world, the innovators, entrepreneurs
and developers with the know how to build upon the blockchain were the ones that pushed this
new system to the frontier. Inspite of the massive attention given to it by the media, Bitcoin is
predicted to only have around 5 million users, by 2019. Considering a global population of 7
billion, and an unbanked population of 5.5 billion, this level of penetration will barely make a
dent in the financial realm. With an intent to solve these problems of market penetration and
creating products that are user friendly on the blockchain a new generation of entrepreneurs
have come forth with solutions that work faster, cheaper and at better levels of scale.

CCEDK in collaboration with Beyond Bitcoin have launched btstip.io with the intent of bringing
expriences on the blockchain to the average retail user. The company’s goal is to create product
offerings that are easy to use for internet consumers around the globe. Leveraging the speed of
Bitshares Blockchain which is able to process transactions at 60,000 transactions per second
and the relatively low transaction fees, which runs at 1/4th the fee of Bitcoin, the new system is
able to empower users and enterprises to experience what it feels like to remit via the
blockchain without having to go through the nuances of utilizing a bank or a bitcoin exchange. In
the first iteration of the product, the Tip Bot empowers existing users of the cryptocurrency
community to disperse digital tokens to individual contributors or groups on varying platforms
such as forums, reddit, twitter and facebook. In comparison with Bitcoin confirmation times that
take anywhere between ten to thirty minutes, the new system paves way for a large amount of
user cases by confirming transactions in a matter of seconds.

By creating active integrations with various social media platforms and empowering enterprises
to disperse digital tokens to the retail consumer, brands will now be able to reward consumers
directly for certain behaviour. The platform intends to bring the power of sharing economies and
social media into the age of digital, decentralized currency. While social media has empowered
people around the globe to share their thoughts, photos and lifestyles with anyone across the
globe, it is yet to help us come closer financially. Systems are still largely restricted, either due
to lack of an infrastructure or stringent fees imposed by banks upon international remittance.
The new platform, allows anyone with say, a facebook, reddit or twitter account, finding a post to
be valid to tip the author without having to go through a bank at a fraction of the cost. Similarly,
instead of paying advertisers hefty amounts, the new system allows enterprises to issue tokens
or financial rewards directly to the end user for following certain behaviour.

The core system at btstip.io will be drastically different from existing tipping systems as a result
of its close integration with CCEDK and it Nanocard. As a result of the nanocard, users will now
be able to “withdraw” the amounts they have received in terms of tips at any local ATM across
USA and Europe. This further enables the company to create a dent (albeit minor initially) in the
remittance market as freelancers, artists and individuals will now be able to charge money for
their work and withdraw it from their banks without having to go through multiple loops and third
parties. The system itself is built upon one of the most transparent exchanges in the world,
touted to be a “truly” decentralized system, open and auditable to anyone in the world openledger.
info

Although, the short term implications of the product are largely focused on empowering the
average user to experience the blockchain, the long term goals of the company are to create a
dent in the way money in itself is remitted around the globe. With a key focus on
microtransactions
and remittance, CCEDK, the banking partner for the project is working
towards creating a global banking infrastructure to enable individuals to convert their digital
takens to fiat and vice versa. The company intends to go beyond just tipping and evolve into pay
gateways, mobile remittance, ingame
economies and music.

In an age that believes money is power, digital currencies have lead the frontier when it comes
to giving it back to the people. While democracy and free speech have empowered individuals
to practice their rights and choices, restrictions in the financial realm have largely stopped
capital inflow to places that could truly use it. The founders of the system, believe, they can
change the situation by slowly building upon the product. While looking at any of the innovations
that truly changed the globe, it becomes evident that they were able to make a dent, solely
because they were created to be of use to the retail consumer. Projects like these, are an
attempt to truly take the power of decentralized currency to the average joe.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Anti-Money Laundering Software to Help Banks Prevent Illicit Transfers

 

A pair of entrepreneurs has developed a solution to help banks reduce the risks involved in remittances. Route Trading Ltd., launched by Musa Jammeh and Taimoor Iqbal, will introduce Money Router, a software solution, to London, U.K. banks to prevent illicit money transfers.

Money Router, to be introduced in September, is designed to improve the safety of global payments, enabling financial institutions to set parameters in accordance with anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing regulations.

Developed in London by a team led by a compliance officer employed at a major U.K. bank, and a tech entrepreneur with a background in money transfer, Money Router is designed for both banks and money service businesses (MSBs).

The banks need to monitor the money coming into their accounts from the MSBs customers. By integrating the bank accounts with the money transfer system, banks can manage the end-to-end anti-money laundering (AML) compliance of the money transfer transactions in one place. They can achieve this by using regularly updated and compressive AML databases and regulatory registers such as the FCA Payment Services and HMRC Money Services Business registers.

Overseas workers often transfer part of their earnings to families abroad. As migration has increased worldwide, the total value of these "home remittances" to emerging economies has doubled that of direct foreign aid. But since much of the sector is unregulated, it has been linked to money laundering and terrorism.

Banks Are Constrained
Banks, fearful of fines, have been missing out on significant revenues and contributing to financial exclusion by exiting the remittance sector for the following reasons:
1) Inadequate visibility over MSB activities of transferring money on behalf of their customers;
2) Lack of anti-money laundering (AML) monitoring systems to deal with MSB on-boarding and real-time transaction monitoring;
3) Increased regulatory emphasis on the risk-based approach to AML monitoring;
4) Lack of awareness among MSBs about money laundering regulations and techniques used by criminals to launder money in the remittance industry;
5) Terrorist attacks by returning Islamic State fighters.

R3, 15 Consortium Members Complete Prototypes on Using Smart Contracts for Trade Finance

 

The R3 consortium has disclosed that it has worked with over 15 of its member banks to complete two distributed ledger technology prototypes. They demonstrate how the technology can address the key challenges facing the $45 billion global trade finance industry.

R3 is a financial innovation firm that leads a consortium partnership with over 50 of the world's leading financial institutions. These prototypes validate distributed and shared ledger technology as a faster, more reliable, and cost-effective digital alternative for trade financing.

Participating banks designed and utilized smart contracts on R3's Corda distributed ledger platform to process accounts receivable (AR) purchase transactions (or invoice financing or factoring) and letter of credit (LOC) transactions.

The banks involved in the trials include Barclays, BBVA, BNP Paribas, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Danske Bank and ING Bank. Others are Intesa Sanpaolo, Natixis, Nordea, Scotiabank, UBS, UniCredit, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.

According to R3, the Corda platform does not allow unnecessary global sharing of data. Rather, only parties with a legitimate need to know can see the data within an agreement. It choreographs workflow between firms without a central controller and achieves consensus at the level of individual deals between businesses.

Other features of Corda are that it directly enables supervisory and regulatory observer nodes. It records an explicit link between smart contract code and human language legal documents. Its transactions are validated by the parties to the transaction rather than a broader pool of independent validators. Yet, it has no native cryptocurrency.

The CEO of R3, David Rutter, points to the transformational approach that the initiative will bring to the trade financing sector.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Bitfinex Offers $3.6 Million Bounty in Bid to Recover Stolen Bitcoin

 

Bitfinex is reportedly offering a reward worth up to $3.6m for the recovery of bitcoins stolen from its exchange last week.

The Hong Kong-based startup lost nearly 120,000 BTC in the incident (an amount worth roughly $71m at press time), and now suggests it's willing to offer 5% of these funds (or about 6,000 BTC) as a reward should they be found and returned.

The news came social media today in a post by Bitfinex community director Zane Tackett. In response to a question about the existence of such a program, he stated that a bounty would be awarded to anyone who had information that helped the exchange recover the funds.

Tackett said:
"[Five percent] of recovery and for information leading to recovery (but no bounty if no recovery); if multiple persons lead to recovery, share pro rata."

Bitfinex resumed trading earlier today, just over a week after it shut down in the wake of the theft

Friday, August 5, 2016

Kim Dotcom Explains How Megaupload 2.0 Will Take Bitcoin To The Moon

 


Bitcoin is coming off a rough week in the community and in the press, but you know what they say: "Thank God it's Friday!"
Count me among the many who are looking for a much better story to stew over besides another Bitcoin theft, and Kim Dotcom comes to the rescue, just in time for the weekend.
This morning, on Twitter, Kim revealed much more about his upcoming Bitcoin-based Megaupload 2.0 release, so let's see what's coming for the New Year.

The launch date has been set
Today, Kim set a launch date for Megaupload 2.0 of January 20, 2017. It will come with many interesting little features like offering a white-label option, so you can tie into their hosting service while adding your own domain name for free.
Capture obscure files that aren't on your server, but that you are linking to and want to add to your Megaupload account. For those who favor increased privacy, or even anonymity, Dotcom tweets that he has you covered.

That is great for the proletariat, but what is there for the Bitcoin lover in you? Dotcom says Megaupload additions can be linked to Bitcoin microtransactions. Think YouTube with Bitcoin as the payment modality.
If you upload files that are popular downloads, it sounds like you can earn some 'digital gold.' This should help Bitcoin prices more than triple after the first year, according to Kim Dotcom.

Bitcache, a potential Bitcoin wallet
Dotcom is coining a term within Megaupload 2.0 called Bitcache, a potential Bitcoin wallet for your Megaupload account.
He believes this Bitcache design is a new solution to Bitcoin's current blockchain limitations. His tweet states that he is targeting 100,000,000 Bitcache wallets for the program.

Something to look forward to in 2017
So, to recap, a late January release of an anonymous cloud sharing, anti-surveillance video hosting, Bitcoin-caching online service that will serve the population of the Philippines (approximately 103M.)
Kim Dotcom is not afraid to dream big, and most didn't have him getting this far. The Bitcoin community does have something innovative and positive to look forward to in 2017, so for that he deserves a note of gratitude.
Now, all he has to do is pull it off. Kim seems as confident as ever.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Brazilian Bitcoin Market Consolidates With Exchange Acquisition

 

Brazilian bitcoin exchange Foxbit has acquired payment processor BitInvest in an acquisition worth less than $1m.

With the sale, the exchange said it is seeking to acquire new users and reinforce its position in Brazil's nascent bitcoin market.

Foxbit said BitInvest founder Flavio Pripas, the former founder of the social network Fashion.me, will serve on its board. All BitInvest accounts will be converted to Foxbit accounts as part of the deal.

The acquisition is notable given the early traction seen by BitInvest, which inked a deal in 2014 with Tecnisa, a domestic real estate firm that was Latin America's largest merchant to accept bitcoin at the time.

Still, Foxbit chief blockchain officer João Paulo Oliveira said he expects additional acquisitions as the Brazilian market matures.

According to data from Bitvalor, Foxbit sees about 310 BTC (or $189,000) in bitcoins trade daily on its exchange, a figure that accounts for roughly 55% of the market.

Oliveira said Foxbit aims to continue its momentum from the acquisition by launching a debit card for users and a consumer wallet later this year.

Foxbit said no additional employees will join the startup as part of the deal.

Is Bitcoin a Currency?

 

The question of whether or not bitcoin is really money has gained attention in light of recnt events in the bitcoin world. Even the Torah, the traditional Jewish law, has weighed in on what defines currency, according to a recent post in Chabad.org, a website dedicated to empowering Jews worldwide with knowledge of their 3,300-year-old tradition.

Does Judaism consider bitcoins to be money? The question was addressed in an article under that very heading by Rabbi Yehuda Shurpin, who responds to questions posed to the website.

Monetary Value Is What Counts
As long as something has monetary value, it does not make a difference in Jewish law whether it is actual "currency" or not in most instances, Shurpin noted.

The question of how to define currency is addressed in the context of a law governing lending money and merchandise.

According to Jewish law, a Jew cannot lend money with interest to another Jew, Shurpin noted. The law applies not only to money, but to merchandise. One is allowed to borrow, but in some cases, even borrowing was forbidden because the value of the merchandise can increase by the time it is repaid.

Rule On Loaning Merchandise
Loans of merchandise have to be based on the value of the merchandise at the time it is borrowed. When returning the merchandise, it must be returned in an amount equivalent to its value when it was borrowed.

There are three exceptions to the rule on borrowing and returning merchandise in equivalent amounts.

1) When borrowing a small amount, it can be returned in an equivalent amount since any change in the price will be insignificant.
2) When the borrower has a small amount of what he is borrowing, he can borrow more of that merchandise.
3) If the merchandise carries a fixed market price and is easily available, one can borrow and return an equivalent item.


What Is Currency?
Currency in Jewish law is defined as something having been decreed as legal tender by the sovereign government and accepted as the currency in the given locale.

Based on this definition, bitcoin is not currency, Shurpin noted. Instead, it is considered a commodity, like most foreign currency. Hence, if you borrow bitcoins, you have to return them in the same value you borrowed them at.

Because usury laws are complex, the sages warn the prohibition against usury is more serious than that of other monetary prohibitions. The law notes that in the merit of being meticulous, Jews will merit entrance to the Promised Land.

The question has gained a lot of interest in the bitcoin community recently since a Florida judge dismissed charges against a man accused of violating an anti-money laundering law when he tried to launder bitcoin to an undercover detective. The judge ruled that the cryptocurrency was not "tangible wealth" and not considered money since it wasn't backed by any bank or a government.