Posted by: DeepDotWeb
December 13, 2014
Recapping the week’s biggest Bitcoin stories from around the web
SecondMarket came away from the second Silk Road auction a big winner, according to Sydney Ember of The New York Times. The company was able to purchase 48,000 of the auction’s 50,000 bitcoins, meaning that it was able to purchase 96% of the available holdings. The other 2,000 bitcoins went to Timothy C. Draper, who won all of the available bitcoins in the previous Silk Road auction offered by the United States Marshal Service. Pantera Capital and Mirror also placed bids in the auction, but 19 of the 20 Bitcoin blocks made available went to SecondMarket.
Software and hardware giant is now accepting Bitcoin payments through BitPay. According to Caleb Chen of CryptoCoins News, the multinational corporation, best known for its Windows operating system and Office software products, will be accepting the cryptocurrency for its digital store products, which include Azure and Windows Phone apps. It is worth noting that the company’s founder, Bill Gates, had previously stated that he believes “Bitcoin Technology is key.” Microsoft is currently only offering its American users the chance to purchase products with Bitcoin.
Not only is Microsoft offering Bitcoin purchases for its Azure and Windows Phone applications, but it is also offering its Xbox games, media, and content. Rob Crossley of GameStop writes that the decision to accept Bitcoin has made Microsoft the first player in the game console market to accept the cryptocurrency as a legitimate form of tender.
In other gaming-related news, Jeff Grubb of VentureBeat discusses BitQuest, a Chilean Minecraft server that is intended to create a working economy. Players will have the opportunity to acquire bitcoins by trading Minecraft’s in-game emerald elements. It is worth noting that BitQuest will be funded entirely through donations and will not accept Bitcoin payments in-game.
Looking for your next Bitcoin wallet? You may want to consider the new USB Bitcoin wallet. As Daniel Palmer of CoinDesk writes, the USB Ledger Wallet will not only offer a convenient connection feature, but also “bank-grade” security. The device signs cryptocurrency transactions “inside its own protected environment,” meaning that the wallet owner’s holdings will be secure regardless of whether the device with which it is connecting has been compromised or not. The device’s EAL5+ smartcard is the same technology that is used in modern credit cards.
Could the United States follow the path established by other companies and abandon Bitcoin for its own digital currency? Robert McMillan of Wired discusses the possibility, which was floated by Georgetown University professor James Angel. He believes that providing an open payment network with the backing of the US dollar would bring cryptocurrencies into “maturity.”
Will Ghana become the next major Bitcoin marketplace? CoinTelegraph‘s Carlo Caraluzzo writes of the Dream Bitcoin Foundation, which aims to offer Ghanaians the chance to learn about the cryptocurrency and its potential. Caraluzzo discusses the current financial conditions in the area, which include heavy investment from international powers like the United States and China, rampant inflation, and stagnant wages. Bitcoin could offer Ghanaians that are working abroad with the opportunity to send money to relatives without having to pay high Western Union transaction fees.
Big Names for Bitcoin
Bitcoin’s technology has received an endorsement from Kenneth I. Chenault, the chief executive of American Express. However, Sydney Ember of The New York Times writes that he doesn’t believe that Bitcoin will supplant credit cards. Chenault believes that customers will always want to take advantage of the opportunity to defer payments until a later date. Ember also points out that one of Bitcoin’s greatest strengths is the fact that it does not charge transaction fees, which credit card merchants so often force companies who accept fiat currency payments to pay.
NewEgg, a popular online retailer of computer hardware and software, video games, and other tech-related items, believes that Bitcoin will be going mainstream in 2015. Caleb Chen of CryptoCoins News writes that the company’s web editor, Ivan B., “candidly” expressed his belief in the digital currency’s potential in a blog post. The post cited Microsoft’s decision to accept cryptocurrency payments as a reason to be optimistic in spite of the bearish opinions of economists.
Bitcoin startup Circle has hired Paul Camp, a former JP Morgan employee that operated the company’s transactions services shop, to be its new Chief Financial Officer. Jeff John Roberts of GigaOM writes that Circle’s CEO Jeffrey Allaire has suggested that Camp “would be working his deep ties among bankers and regulators to bring bitcoin inside the mainstream financial fold” while referring to “core transaction platforms” on numerous occasions.