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An unknown hacker breaches Linode’s server network and immediately seeks out accounts related to bitcoin, quickly compromising the wallets of eight customers. Bitcoinica, a large online bitcoin exchange, is hardest hit, losing more than 43,000 BTC, while other prominent victims include Bitcoin’s lead developer Gavin Andresen as well as Marek Palatinus (also known as slush), the operator of a large mining pool. Both Bitcoinica and slush’s pool bear the theft’s losses on behalf of their customers.
This means bitcoin never experiences inflation. Unlike US dollars, whose buying power the Fed can dilute by printing more greenbacks, there simply won’t be more bitcoin available in the future. That has worried some skeptics, as it means a hack could be catastrophic in wiping out people’s bitcoin wallets, with less hope for reimbursement. Which could render bitcoin price irrelevant.
According to historic data, which accounts for total search volumes, “buy bitcoin” is now three times more popular than “buy gold” was even during the 2008-09 market crash – when consumers feared for the safety of their cash.
On one side are the so-called core developers. They are in favor of smaller bitcoin blocks, which they say are less vulnerable to hacking. On the other side are the miners, who want to increase the size of blocks to make the network faster and more scalable.
The number of businesses accepting bitcoin continues to increase. In January 2017, NHK reported the number of online stores accepting bitcoin in Japan had increased 4.6 times over the past year.[113] BitPay CEO Stephen Pair declared the company’s transaction rate grew 3× from January 2016 to February 2017, and explained usage of bitcoin is growing in B2B supply chain payments.[114]
Historically, the currency has been extremely volatile. But go by its recent boom — and a forecast by Snapchat’s first investor, Jeremy Liew, that it will hit a bitcoin price of $500,000 by 2030 — and nabbing even a fraction of a bitcoin starts to look a lot more enticing.
Bitcoin generates more academic interest year after year; the number of Google Scholar articles published mentioning bitcoin grew from 83 in 2009, to 424 in 2012, and 3580 in 2016. Also, the academic Ledger (journal) published its first issue. It is edited by Peter Rizun.
The IRS has said: “Taxpayers who do not properly report the income tax consequences of virtual currency transactions can be audited for those transactions and when appropriate can be liable for penalties and interest.” 
In November 2013, the University of Nicosia announced that it would be accepting bitcoin as payment for tuition fees, with the university’s chief financial officer calling it the “gold of tomorrow”.[72] During November 2013, the China-based bitcoin exchange BTC China overtook the Japan-based Mt. Gox and the Europe-based Bitstamp to become the largest bitcoin trading exchange by trade volume.[73]
Promising consistent weekly “interest” returns of 7% to its creditors, Trendon T. Shavers (known on BitcoinTalk as Pirateat40) manages the secretive operation for about eight months, accepting only large deposits of bitcoin (50+ BTC) and paying out “interest” weekly. On August 17, 2012, Pirateat40 announces a halt the operation, and absconds with deposits estimated between 86,202 and 500,000 BTC. On July 23, 2013, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission files charges against Shavers for defrauding investors in a Ponzi scheme.
The business-to-business bitcoin exchange had been reliant on the relatively new Internet Archive Federal Credit Union to hold its clients’ deposits in regulation-compliant, insured accounts. When the IAFCU determines that it can not reasonably handle the myriad regulatory issues surrounding Bitcoin, Tradehill is forced to halt operations and return customers’ funds.
“The government will take steps to make it illegal as a payment system,” he said at a post-budget event telecast by the news channel, adding the trading of “crypto assets” at the unregulated exchanges would be regulated.
Announced under the title “Beyond Silk Road: Potential Risks, Threats, and Promises of Virtual Currencies,” hope for the U.S. Government panel’s discussion is dim among the Bitcoin community leading up to the hearing. As the proceedings commence, however, many of the panelists and Senators agree that Bitcoin holds great promise. The general consensus is summed up by Jennifer Shasky Calvery, Director of the U.S. Government’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), who testified, “We want to operate in a way that does not hinder innovation.”

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