Posted by: DeepDotWeb
March 22, 2015
Recapping the week’s biggest Bitcoins stories from around the web.
Will UK Bitcoin regulation get clearing banks on-board?
Probably the most notable piece of positive bitcoin news, The UK government’s commitment to injecting $ 14.6 million into research on digital currencies. The announcement was made by the UK treasury right about the same time as the annual budget speech by Chancellor of Exchequer.
The statement emphasised regulation of digital currency exchanges to bring much needed transparency and customer protection in the industry. Measures such as anti-money laundering legislation were highlighted in a 28 page report (pdf) titled ‘Digital currencies: response to the call for information ‘The document highlights risks and opportunities in payment.
“The government considers that digital currencies represent an interesting development in payments technology … the potential advantages are clearest for purposes such as micro-payments and cross-border transactions.”
This follows a report in February by the bank of England on the same. The UK Government is level headed in its approach, calling for input from stakeholders. Fintech start-ups in the UK expressed ambivalence. Elliptic, a Bitcoin vault service in London hailed government action plans as encouraging. Azteco founder, Akin Fernandez was less thrilled by what he termed as ‘artificial restrictions’.
Bitcoin price spikes down on hacker news
The price of bitcoin took a dive down to a low of $ 343.9 after a 43% stable rally since February 14. Some traders had expected a retest of lower prices at these price levels, touting the short rally as weak and not enough to break the long term bear trend. Most traders agreed the decline was catalysed by news of $12 million worth of bitcoin stolen.
Hackers steal 150 BTC from Coinapult
43,000 worth of bitcoins were lost in an unauthorized withdrawal from Coinapult’s hot wallet attack. Coinapult confirmed this is via an investigative report dated March 17. Details of the compromised address: 12LszeXACdj9bdETzv8BkXyWeabZ1151aA and transaction ID were highlighted in the report; this allowed the coins to be traced to their destination address.
Coinapult CFO Justin Blicoe while speaking to Coin Desk, emphasized customer funds were not affected. The results of their investigations can be accessed on this report here
BTC-e exchange withdrawals halted
In a strange turn of events, BTC – e exchange warned customers about suspicious withdrawal requests. According to support, an attempt to withdraw bitcoins stolen from Evolution was flagged.
“. . . it seems some of the evo coins have made it into the system. DON’T accept any coins to help withdraw.”
Bitcoin’s fungibility has been at the centre of debate; incidences of mixing stolen coins and ‘normal’ coins raises legal challenges. On the one hand, it is no different from cash but, at the same time, exchanges are under strict scrutiny and have to monitor cases of money laundering.
8th largest internet company now accepts Bitcoin
Japanese e commerce giant, Rakuten Inc., announced it will now allow customers to use bitcoin for purchases online via Bitnet. This follows a hint in February by Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani, that they would accept bitcoins at some point in future. Bitcoin payment option is limited to US customers at the moment, however, Rakuten expects to follow suit in Austria and Germany later in the 2nd quarter.
Yaz Iida, President of Rakuten USA said of Bitcoin “[Bitcoin] has the potential to benefit society by enhancing the security, privacy and convenience of financial transactions.”
Rakuten Inc. is ranked as the 8th largest internet company in the world – valued at $36 billion. It adds to the growing list of large internet companies embracing bitcoin for online payments.
ChangeTip integrates Bitcoin tips for Twitch.tv
Twitch, an online gaming streaming service that accepts bitcoin payments, now allows users to tip each other in bitcoin. Changetip – an online bitcoin tipping services, officially integrated a tip bot Twitch.tv. Changetip followed the announcement with a donation of $10,000 worth in bitcoins to prominent Twitch users; an incentive to jumpstart bitcoin tipping. Twitch.tv currently accounts for 2% of America’s online video traffic, and is accessed by millions of users each month. The company was valued at $1 billion when Google acquired it in July, 2014.
Credit Suisse recommends Bitcoin for traditional banking systems
Finally, Credit Suisse published an article titled “Bitcoins – Money Without Physical Form.” The company took a lukewarm approach towards Bitcoin while recommending its combination with traditional banking services. The paper is a sober look at bitcoins potential and shortcomings as a currency and a security network. Credit Suisse is a venerable multinational financial institution; such articles are a good indicator of how banks are warming up to Bitcoin.
More In the news:
The Ukrainian government is considering blocking the bitcoin accounts of separatists in Lugansk and Donetsk. As Allen Scott of Coin Telegraph writes, the chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, working closely with the State Financial Monitoring Service (SCFM), decided to investigate cards and bank accounts that may be used by separatists to funnel money in bitcoin.
FundedByMe, the Stockholm-based crowdfunding platform that connects investors and entrepreneurs through funding, launches a bitcoin pilot project, enabling investors to use bitcoin and trade in the Safello bitcoin trading platform. According to Finextra, this type of project is the first launched by an online crowdfunding platform and will take 45 days to complete. Safello CEO Frank Schuil believes that “the pilot project accommodates the Bitcoin community.”
Australian authorities are selling Richard Pollard’s seized bitcoins. P.H. Madore of CryptoCoins News reports that, in 2012, Australian Richard Pollard was sentenced to eleven years in prison, charged with commercial trafficking in narcotics via the Silk Road. At the time of his arrest Pollard possessed roughly $7 million worth of bitcoins. The spokesman of the Asset Confiscation Operations (ACO) stated that “it is important that the sale of the coins on the open market is done at a time and way to get the best value.“
Purse enters a partnership with Coinbase. As Nuno Menezes of Bitcoinist reports, Purse’s platform brings together people that make purchases on Amazon with people who purchase bitcoins using Amazon credit, gift card or credit card. All amazon products are offered up to 23 percent discount to people who sell bitcoins. The partnership with Coinbase will accelerate transactions as “customers can transfer funds from their Coinbase wallet and start using Purse within minutes.”
Intel, California-based leading semiconductor manufacturer, expresses an interest in the cryptocurrency space. As Philip Schawillie of Coin Buzz writes, following a bitcoin-related job posting suggests that Intel is looking for a cryptographic researcher for its Special Innovation Projects Group, part of Intel Labs, the organization’s in-house research unit. The posting is a hint for using the blockchain technology as it acknowledges the digital currency’s potential beyond peer-to-peer bitcoin payments.
Conyo, a German bitcoin startup, has launched a platform for tracking multiple transactions of multiple bitcoin wallets. As Nikhil Gupta of NewsBtc writes, Conyo platform can store the transaction history, track the value of the bitcoins and connect the wallets. The platform initially operated in beta mode and managed the transactions of six wallets (Coinbase, Electrum, Trezor, Bitcoin Wallet, Armory, and Mycelium). The company plans to add more features, including a tax reporting feature.