Bitcoin Foundation seeks stable ground for virtual currency

The foundation aims to build confidence in the currency and drive merchant adoption

A foundation has been established to create a more solid footing for Bitcoin, the virtual currency admired for its technical genius but dogged by doubts over its long-term viability.

The Bitcoin Foundation plans over the next year to fund efforts to create a set of best practices for merchants accepting Bitcoins as well as conduct a payments-oriented conference in Silicon Valley early next year, wrote Peter Vessenes, who will be the foundation's chairman and executive director.

Its other plans include creating a opt-in certification process for businesses accepting Bitcoins and funding a development team lead by Gavin Andresen, a foundation board member and lead developer for the overall Bitcoin project.

Bitcoins are transferred using a peer-to-peer system that employs "miners" to cryptographically verify transactions to ensure people are not trying to double-spend their currency. All transactions are entered into a publicly accessible ledger. The ledger shows a person's 32-character alpha-numeric address, which is used to transfer funds, but no more identifying information of the involved parties.

Promoters of Bitcoin say the very low fees charged to send currency to other people makes it attractive to businesses using traditional banking systems. Transactions are also irreversible unless the receiver of a Bitcoin wants to transmit it back to a sender, eliminating the risks businesses face of possible chargebacks when transacting with credit cards.

Since Bitcoin launched in 2009, the exchange rate used to move it into government-issued currency by Bitcoin exchanges has fluctuated widely. A small but growing list of retailers are transacting in Bitcoins, but greater adoption by merchants is seen as a way to stabilize exchange rates. Software tools for merchants are under development.

As with any online system involving money, Bitcoin has drawn its fair share of hackers, who have targeted Bitcoin exchanges that specialize in converting the virtual currency into fiat currency. Botnet operators and Ponzi schemers have also left their marks.

"We can help solve or mitigate these problems as a community," Vessenes wrote. "My hope is that the Bitcoin Foundation will be the organization that focuses and unlocks all of your energy and talents towards promoting Bitcoins, protecting them, and increasing their legitimacy through standardization."

A platinum annual membership for enterprises to join the Bitcoin Foundation costs 10,000 BTC, which is about US$124,000 as of Monday. A gold membership for business costs 2,500 BTC, and the silver category is 500 BTC annually. Lifetime membership for individuals is 25 BTC, and a one-year individual member is 2.5 BTC.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?