22 February 2014

New Banking Task Force to Study Digital Currencies

The Chairman of the US Senate’s Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) which investigated digital currencies in November has responded positively to the creation of a new state bankers’ task force to perform its own study into what sort of regulation is necessary.

The new “Emerging Payments Task Force” comes from the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS), a national meeting group of regulators from all states “dedicated to advancing the state banking system” in the US at a federal level. It aims to study the impacts and potential consumer protection issues arising from new payment method technologies, including bitcoin, among several others.

HSGAC Chairman Senator Tom Carper (D-Del) issued a press statement earlier approving the move, saying he wanted to ensure governments “are adequately protecting consumers and addressing lawbreakers without hindering innovation”.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 22, 2014 at 10:40AM

Japanese Police Shut Down Protest at Mt. Gox

The small group of protestors outside Mt. Gox in Tokyo were moved on late yesterday by Japanese police, and warned not to return without a ‘demonstration license’.

Organizer Kolin Burges said the police were called not by Mt. Gox, but one of the building’s other tenants who had reportedly had enough of the protestors’ week-long presence at the building.

Mt. Gox management was also said to be irritated by the ongoing sit-in, claiming “security problems” caused by the protest and other technical issues were slowing its progress at fixing its bitcoin withdrawal problem. The company had previously posted a notice on its support page claiming to be moving location.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 22, 2014 at 09:36AM

21 February 2014

New Documents Show Goldman Sachs is Discussing Bitcoin

New York-based global investment banking giant Goldman Sachs has completed an initial assessment of digital currencies that concluded they are currently too volatile for serious investors.

The news comes from noted online news source TechCrunch, which says it obtained a copy of an internal discussion document from a contact at Goldman Sachs.

The excerpts posted by the media outlet provide evidence that Goldman Sachs is currently looking into the currency, though it is uncertain as of now as to its benefits. The bank even went so far as to suggest that it remains confused by the uproar surrounding virtual currencies.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 21, 2014 at 10:52PM

Wedbush Securities Signs on with Coinbase

Wedbush Securities Signs on with Coinbase:


Another day, another innovative use case for Bitcoin. We’re happy to announce that we’ve just partnered with Wedbush Securities, one of the nation’s leading financial services providers, to help them become the first U.S. institutional brokerage to accept bitcoin as payment for its research…

Coinbase is doing a great job.

I have added Coinbase to my page with links about Bitcoin.

February 16, 2014 at 12:07PM

BitPay Updates Wallet for Smoother QR Code Payment Experience

Georgia-based bitcoin merchant processing provider BitPay has announced the launch of the Bitcoin Payment Protocol, a wallet update designed to eliminate the “human error in making a bitcoin payment”.

In the official announcement, the company said the update would reduce friction at the point of sale by eliminating the need for consumers to copy the address and amount into their wallet. At checkout, users who scan a QR code or click to initiate payment will only be presented two options, pay or don’t pay.

Thought this may sound like a small improvement, Stephen Pair, CTO and co-founder of BitPay, explains these errors can create inefficiencies that can bog down the payments network.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 21, 2014 at 07:34PM

20 February 2014

Mt. Gox Bitcoin Price Falls Below $100, its Lowest Level Since July

The price of bitcoin on Mt. Gox dropped below $100, hitting a low of $91.50 on 20th February.

Data from Bitcoincharts indicates it was the lowest total observed on the exchange since 22nd July when the lowest price was $89.80.

The announcement comes amid increasing criticism from the bitcoin community about the exchange and its questionable behavior that has included ignoring protestors, blaming the Bitcoin protocol for its implementation issues and somehow managing to create an aura of suspicion and uncertainty around even its physical address.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 21, 2014 at 04:15AM

Gavin Andresen To Bitcoin Companies: Support Open Source

Lead developer Gavin Andresen chided the commercial bitcoin community for not getting involved enough in core bitcoin development and testing this week. In a mail to the bitcoin developers list updating the community on some bug fixes in the code, he called companies out for not giving back.

The mail started out serenely enough, as a general update on what the team has done to fix some immediate transaction malleability issues in the reference version of the bitcoin client software. But it had a sting in the tail.

“Testing and code review is, as always, the bottleneck for getting out a release with these changes. We have a chronic problem with people running bitcoin services on top

of the core code waiting until there is an ‘official’ release, and then assuming that somebody else has done the hard work of reviewing and testing the changes,” he said.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 21, 2014 at 04:11AM

Seeing Through the Smoke: A Look At the Good News for Bitcoin


There can be no doubt that the Bitcoin ecosystem has been hit hard this past month. Canadian financial regulators, long held as the paragons of a light and wait-and-see approach to the Bitcoin economy, began to move towards a more active stance, and a particularly ominous passpge from the FINTRAC report even suggests that the agency can potentially “choke bitcoins oxygen (sic)” by denying Canadians access to the foreign exchange market. BMO, the last Bitcoin-friendly bank in Canada, shut down the account of Cointrader, a Vancouver-based Bitcoin exchange, soon after that, although fortunately Cointrader’s claim that this is part of a general shift to an anti-Bitcoin stance does not seem to be corroborated by reports from other Bitcoin businesses. On the other hand, somewhat less fortunately, the Russian government simply banned Bitcoin entirely. Around the same time, Silk Road 2 was hacked, likely by its own owners, and $2.5 million worth of BTC was stolen and the marketplace shut down. An old but poorly understood property of the Bitcoin protocol, transaction malleability, led to several major Bitcoin exchanges shutting down for several days, as well as a major denial-of-service attack that caused the greatest disruption to the Bitcoin network since the blockchain fork last year in March. Finally, worst of all, MtGox, once by far the largest exchange in the Bitcoin economy, has disabled all withdrawals, and prices on the exchange have tumbled more than 85% amid fears that the exchange is insolvent. Among all this, it can be hard to see any bright future for Bitcoin whatsoever.

However, among the setbacks, we have seen a surprisingly large amount of positive news for the Bitcoin economy, much of which has been tragically unnoticed over the past few weeks. Among the important items are:

1. The January 31 CNY deadline came and went, and Bitcoin in China is stronger than ever. When the Chinese government made its first regulatory push against Bitcoin, moving to forbid banks from directly offering Bitcoin services, the government gave the banks a deadline of Jan 31 to stop working with Bitcoin. Many people interpreted this deadline as a date for when a further push against Bitcoin would be forthcoming, perhaps further banning Bitcoin trade or Bitcoin exchange. However, the deadline passed and… nothing happened. No crackdown whatsoever. Instead, when the deadline hit, BTCChina actually resumed accepting cash deposits, and soon after that China once again took first place as the country with the largest number of BitcoinQt downloads.

2. The porn industry is seizing upon Bitcoin like wildfire. Porn.com became the first major porn site to accept Bitcoin in December, and in mid-January the site announced that Bitcoin was responsible for 25% of its earnings. A week after that, porn.com was joined by Naughty America, and now very recently in February the list grew to include I Know That Girl (all links safe-for-work), a site owned by the same company that runs Pornhub. It seems like it’s actually porn, not gambling, that’s becoming the first industry to embrace Bitcoin in the mainstream.

3. Bitcoin exchange reopens in Thailand. When the Thai central bank announced that essentially any Bitcoin activity was illegal last July, many people were already skeptical, pointing out that the Thai central bank had no authority to ban Bitcoin by itself. Now, however, the main Thai Bitcoin exchange reopened its operations upon receiving another letter from the bank stating that Bitcoin exchange does not fall under foreign currency exchange regulations. The status of Bitcoin exchange is still contentious, as the Thai central bank now argues that Bitcoin exchange might be illegal because, if combined with foreign Bitcoin exchanges, it makes it too easy to bypass foreign exchange restrictions and convert Thai baht into other national currencies, but nevertheless substantial progress has been made.

4. Balanced Payments Moving to Support Bitcoin. Balanced Payments, a popular credit card payment processor, has announced a partnership with Coinbase which will allow online marketplaces using their platform to easily also receive Bitcoin payments. Currently, the integration is in a private alpha mode, with Bitcoin payments only available for CrowdTilt and Gittip, but it will soon expand to other businesses as well.

5. California Clarifies that Bitcoin Is Legal. Recently, Bitcoin users noticed a section of California law saying that “no corporation, flexible purpose corporation, association, or individual shall not issue or put in circulation, as money, anything but the lawful money of the United States”, and became concerned that this might apply to Bitcoin. So what did the Bitcoin community do? Well, they pointed the issue out to the state legislature, and soon enough a bill came along to clarify that Bitcoin was, in fact, perfectly legally okay. And, guess what: one week later the bill was unanimously passed.

Eventually, MtGox will either declare bankruptcy or reopen deposits, and the particular shadow that currently hangs over our community can begin to withdraw. When that happens, the sky will clear, and we’ll see that the number of Bitcoin transactions is still rising, the search volume on Google Trends is no longer dropping and has been stable for about a month, the number of Coinbase wallets is approaching 1 million and companies taking advantage of tools such as multisignature transactions to help alleviate the problems with consumer protection and security that Bitcoin still has are just around the corner. Welcome to an exciting 2014.

The post Seeing Through the Smoke: A Look At the Good News for Bitcoin appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

February 20, 2014 at 11:55PM

Tech Lab: Bitcoin ATM (Boston Globe) In this episode of Tech...

Tech Lab: Bitcoin ATM

(Boston Globe) In this episode of Tech Lab, Hiawatha Bray talks about ‘Liberty Teller’ the new Bitcoin ATM at South Station.

February 20, 2014 at 05:28PM

Live your investment

Several years ago some banks in my country suggested to take out a loan denominated in Swiss francs or Japanese Yen instead of our own currency – however at some point the exchange rate of those currencies didn’t perform as expected and many people were supposed to repay a real lot of money.

Just like people borrowed a foreign currency in those years – while they’re actually using a different type of currency – some people bought a lot of Bitcoins expecting to make a lot of money without contributing in terms of products or services.

Some technical issues of Bitcoin exchanges were just the trigger for a large correction, but of course there’s a lesson to be learned: Live your investment!

There are some people who are doing this for quite a while – like Gavin Andresen – who is not only getting paid in Bitcoin, but also uses them to purchase the things he wants. Another good example is Patrick M. Bryne – the CEO of Overstock – who is invested in Bitcoin and is offering the products of his company for Bitcoin.

February 14, 2014 at 06:37PM

Ben Lawsky Demonstrates ‘Evolution’ on Bitcoin Issues in Reddit AMA

Ben Lawsky: Friend or Foe? It’s a question CoinDesk recently posed regarding the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) superintendent, and one that is understandably concerning to the wider virtual currency community as New York state seeks to enact regulation in 2014.

Speculation aside, on 20th February, the bitcoin community got its chance to seek an answer when Lawsky participated in a much-anticipated Ask Me Anything session on reddit.

Here’s my “Proof” picture for @reddit_AMA on #Bitcoin at 1230pm EST today. P.S. The SNES refs cracked us up. http://ift.tt/1bPp3PN

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 20, 2014 at 07:36PM

‘Balanced’ Integrates Bitcoin Payments for 450+ Online Marketplaces

Balanced, a San Francisco-based company that provides a payment API for online marketplaces has today announced plans to integrate bitcoin into its system.

The company’s co-founder and CEO Matin Tamizi told CoinDesk that its marketplaces will benefit, as Balanced takes the payments layer off their hands:

“We create value by having one API and one platform to do that.”

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 20, 2014 at 06:08PM

TigerDirect Offers $20 Discount for Bitcoin Shoppers

Of interest to bitcoiners needing PC components, TigerDirect has launched an interesting promo that should help save a few bucks.

The company started accepting bitcoins last month, so it is perhaps no surprise that it is trying to drum up some trade.

The ‘PC Parts Week’ discount applies to orders over $100 and it works only if you checkout with a digital wallet like BitPay. Users fitting the requirements will get $20 off their order.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 20, 2014 at 03:32PM

TigerDirect Offers $20 Discount for Bitcoin Shoppers

Of interest to bitcoiners needing PC components, TigerDirect has launched an interesting promo that should help save a few bucks.

The company started accepting bitcoins last month, so it is perhaps no surprise that it is trying to drum up some trade.

The ‘PC Parts Week’ discount applies to orders over $100 and it works only if you checkout with a digital wallet like BitPay. Users fitting the requirements will get $20 off their order.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 20, 2014 at 03:32PM

Bitcoin Price Hits $135 on Mt. Gox Following Office Move and Verification Demand

Updates and rumors related to Mt. Gox this week include: a possible company relocation, a requirement for users to hold verified accounts to withdraw bitcoins and a fall in Gox’s listed price of bitcoin.

A user contacted CoinDesk to tell of the verification requirement this morning, saying it “suddenly appeared” on the site. There hasn’t been an announcement of any change on Mt. Gox’s website, however, and other sources said the condition had been there for a while now.

The “Verifying Your Account” section of the website says: “All MtGox user accounts are required to be verified in order to perform any deposits or withdrawals.”

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 20, 2014 at 12:02PM

19 February 2014

Hungarian Bitcoiners See Silver Lining in Central Bank Warning

The National Bank of Hungary issued a warning to its citizens about the potential dangers of virtual currencies on 19th February, calling the payment method “much riskier” than other electronic payment options such as credit cards.

The central bank cited bitcoin specifically in its statements, which it said were meant to ensure current and future users had the proper knowledge before investing.

Said the official release:

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 20, 2014 at 12:28AM

Bitcoin ATM Gets Surprise Launch in Biggest Boston Train Station

Though they missed becoming the first operational bitcoin ATM in the US by less than 24 hours, the entrepreneurs behind Liberty Teller caused quite a stir when they revealed that they would boot up their new Lamassu machine in Boston’s busy South Station on 19th February.

The largest train station in the Boston metropolitan area, South Station holds 13 tracks and seven platforms as part of the city’s public subway system, and is the last stop for New England commuters who take the public commuter rail. These additional lines provide extended service to nearby metros Providence and Worcester.

Speaking to CoinDesk, Liberty Teller founder Chris Yim said he couldn’t have asked for a better location:

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 19, 2014 at 11:32PM

Winklevoss Twins Launch Price Index for Bitcoin Named the ‘Winkdex’

The Winklevoss twins really do want to put their name into bitcoin – they have launched a blended bitcoin price index, the ‘Winkdex’ that they say reflects the true price of the virtual currency. The index will be used to price the assets in the brothers’ forthcoming bitcoin trust.

The Winkdex will be offered by Math-based Asset Index LLC, a company operated by the Winklevosses. It was announced today in the brothers’ latest filing with the SEC, an amended version of its July filing describing the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust.

“We believe that we are establishing an accurate spot price that reflects the true value of a bitcoin and resolves the price confusion that exists due to the various exchanges,” said Cameron Winklevoss, who acts as CEO of MBAI.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 19, 2014 at 10:45PM

Entrepreneur Interest in Bitcoin Projects Hit New High in January

February has seen the release of new information that suggests venture capital (VC) firms remain enamoured with bitcoin and its long-term potential.

But, while it makes sense for larger VC firms to stay resilient in the face of bitcoin’s more recent struggles, new data suggests interest in the virtual currency and its technology is just as high among generally more risk-averse small investors and startups.

Online graphic design specialist 99designs, which serves global entrepreneurs requiring logos and professional branding, has revealed new data that shows its marketplace has seen a marked increase in bitcoin interest among users in recent months.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 19, 2014 at 04:28PM

What is Bitcoin and How Does it Work? | Ron Louch Inciteful...

What is Bitcoin and How Does it Work? | Ron Louch

Inciteful footage from http://Poptics.TV explains what Bitcoin is and how it works in layman’s terms and Spy vs Spy metaphors. Don’t listen to the hype. Everyone has an agenda when it comes to media coverage of Bitcoin. This includes MtGox, the Feds, the banking and financial sector, competing coins and software coders with Blogs.

February 19, 2014 at 03:45PM

18 February 2014

Coinkite To Offer Secure Storage For Bitcoin Companies

Bitcoin debit card provider Coinkite has expanded its mission – it now wants to be the go-to provider for bitcoin companies needing safe private key storage.

The company, which shipped the first point of sale systems for its bitcoin debit cards early this year, is preparing to launch an API this summer, which will enable companies to store their bitcoins on its custom-built hardware storage modules (HSMs).

“With this API you’d have deposit and withdrawal and receiving address generation power,” said CEO Rodolfo Novak, explaining how third parties could use its HSMs to store funds offline for their users.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 19, 2014 at 06:14AM

Bitcoin Foundation Opens Nominations for Empty Board of Directors Seat

The Bitcoin Foundation has announced that it is now accepting nominations for a new board member to fill the open spot left vacant since the arrest of former BitInstant CEO Charlie Shrem this January.

The organization broke the news via blog post on 18th February, setting a 7th April deadline for nominations.

Voting will be held on 21st April, with multiple voting rounds set to occur if there are a large number of nominees.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 19, 2014 at 01:52AM

Canadian Bank Cuts Cointrader Accounts Amid Hostile Government Rhetoric

Bank of Montreal, the fourth-largest bank in Canada, has closed all Cointrader customer and corporate accounts, the Vancouver-based exchange revealed via blog post on 17th February.

Most notably, Cointrader suggested that the decision is part of a broader move by Bank of Montreal to sever ties with all of the virtual currency businesses it serves.

Cointrader CTO and co-founder Paul Szczesny said such a move would have a broad impact on the country’s burgeoning bitcoin ecosystem, and blamed recent warnings from the Canadian government for the bank’s decision.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 18, 2014 at 10:27PM

Ben Lawsky: Friend or Foe?

It would be generous to say that Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), is viewed by the bitcoin community with some skepticism.

The man who has championed ‘BitLicenses’ – bitcoin-specific versions of money transmitter licenses for New York State – has developed a reputation within the fledgling industry as someone who is, at best, ‘not bad’.

Yet, for a regulator navigating the waters of an industry with libertarian and anarcho-capitalist zealots at its core, that borders on near god-like status.

While there are still many who dismiss his authority and believe that conciliatory conversations with regulators go against the very vision of Satoshi Nakamoto’s bitcoin, others seem hopeful that he will be a bitcoin ally, while most seem to have at least suspended their judgments of the superintendent.

Lawsky has earned that respect through his measured words and cautious actions towards bitcoin to date, and many are rooting for him to ultimately take a light-handed approach towards regulation of the cryptocurrency. Indeed, there is reason for cautious optimism.

A brief look at Ben Lawsky’s background paints a fairly clear picture: He is no enemy.

Idealist and populist

Ben Lawsky comes across as both level-headed everyman and optimistic populist, both in person and on paper. He has tweeted pictures of beer and lasagna, references to his hometown sports teams, the Knicks and the Yankees, and even one gem, in which he said it was ok to watch Love Actually 25 times.

He promoted an informal atmosphere at the recent BitLicense hearings in New York, and at a recent event in Washington, DC, he joked about dogecoin, an alt-currency unfamiliar to most people outside of the bitcoin fraternity. I have personally had brief, but pleasant, conversations with him.

He is, by all accounts, a good guy.

Lawsky is also a career public servant. He started his career as a trial attorney for the Department of Justice and was quickly promoted to Chief Counsel to New York Senator Chuck Schumer, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Then, after a five-year stint as a New York City prosecutor, he joined forces with Andrew Cuomo, where he became Special Assistant to the then-Attorney General, and later, Chief of Staff to the new Governor of New York during his campaign and early term.

For those unfamiliar with New York politics, Schumer and Cuomo are populist Democrats, and it is safe to say that the broader banking industry doesn’t exactly love them. Still, Lawsky has said publicly that he strives to live up to the “model that Andrew Cuomo set”.

No Wall Street crony

Wall StLawsky is by no means an impotent state regulator. The NYDFS is a recent construct – a 2011 combination of the New York State Banking and Insurance Departments. As superintendent, Lawsky supervises all New York-based insurance companies, chartered banks and mortgage providers, who collectively manage over $6tn in assets.

Governor Cuomo hand-picked Lawsky as the first superintendent of the NYDFS, and charged him with modernizing the financial regulator and using his clout to protect consumers and squelch white collar criminal activities at some of New York’s biggest financial institutions.

Lawksy has embraced the role, posting a solid record that includes a $340m settlement with Standard Chartered and Deloitte, related to money laundering operations with Iran. And he has not shied away from investigations into hot-button areas, like payday loans, mortgage services and public pension solicitations.

That bold approach has won him respect, but also resentment from other federal regulators, according to an in-depth piece on Lawsky by Village Voice contributor Anna Merlan.

Michael Greenberger, a former regulator with the federal Commodity Futures Trading Commission, claimed that Lawky was “making the federal government look like they don’t know what they’re doing”. While Art Wilmarth, a law professor and regulatory expert at George Washington University, suggested that Lawsky’s best efforts could embarrass his federal colleagues to the extent that they would be forced to “fall in line”.

Indeed, Lawsky’s department levied a $250m fine on the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi for money laundering just months after the Treasury Department had extracted a paltry $8.5m settlement in its own case.

Ben Lawsky is a state regulator making national news. He has all the markings of a man with much larger political ambitions.

Political animal

US politicianFor a political figure, Lawsky’s 17-year resume reads like one out of central casting. Neither he nor his wife, Jessica Roth, have spent much time cashing in their law degrees from Columbia (where he graduated cum laude), or Harvard (where she graduated magna cum laude). Instead, both have been public prosecutors and public-sector employees since they graduated, forgoing the high-paying private sector jobs that were surely available to them.

For most career political figures like Lawsky, relatively meager salaries are a small price to pay in order to move up the executive ranks. However, the pay cut only makes sense if his political capital is rising.

Lawsky has firmly established himself as a fearless regulator willing to confront much larger institutions with or without the help and blessing of the federal government. While that sheriff mentality is usually helpful for politicians, it also serves to reinforce voters’ ‘big government’ image when it comes to regulators.

More than anything, it strikes me that Lawsky could really use a good story about job creation, innovation and systematic consumer empowerment in an era of ‘too-big-to-fail’ banking monoliths. And that’s where bitcoin comes in.

Much to gain

The virtual-currency industry presents Lawsky with a rare chance to promote rather than restrict, and to create rather than destroy. Bitcoin is Lawsky’s political trump card.

While he stands to win little by attaching his name to BitLicense regulations that push innovations offshore, a light touch could allow him to one day take credit for fostering a potential multitrillion-dollar industry.

Lawsky has recognized bitcoin’s ability to reduce remittance costs for multinational families, and its potential to attract droves of new startups building bitcoin exchanges, investment platforms and myriad other financial technologies to the US and, in particular, New York City.

He has gone out of his way to engage the bitcoin community, calling for ‘open source’ regulation and solicited feedback from Twitter, the blogosphere and in the coming days, it appears, the vocal reddit community.

Even amidst last week’s tumult with Mt. Gox and the widespread transaction malleability attack, Lawsky was characteristically reserved. He avoided criticism of both bitcoin, the Bitcoin Protocol and the compromised exchanges, and instead suggested this was evidence that it was important to bring exchanges to New York so “we could get better insight into what exactly they’re doing”.

Lawsky caught flak during the BitLicense hearings for supposedly prioritizing money laundering restrictions over promotion of new economic development with bitcoin, but the caricatures of his willingness to squelch “1,000 flowers” in order to completely eliminate narco-trafficking were simply not true.

Instead, mere blocks away from the World Trade Center, Lawsky was talking about squelching the funding of terrorism and rogue nations:

“Money laundering is too nice a word. Money laundering is the facilitation of all kinds of horrific crimes that I think everyone in this room never wants to see happening. Narco-trafficking being one, but acts of terrorism, funding rogue nations, etc. all take place through massive money laundering…The choice for the regulators is: permit money laundering on the one hand, or permit innovation on the other, and we’re always going to choose squelching the money laundering first. It’s not worth it to society to allow money laundering and all of the things it facilitates to persist in order to permit 1000 flowers to bloom on the innovation side.”

In the proper context, Lawksy sounds neither shrill nor unreasonable. He is right to be cautious when it comes to weeding out the good actors from the bad within bitcoin, as it is the only way that the currency and maybe even the technology stands a chance.

He knows that there are local ramifications to his department’s ultimate regulations, but more importantly, he knows that BitLicenses will set the standard nationally when it comes to reforming our antiquated money transmitter laws.

Look at Ben Lawsky’s background. Look at his potential as a political figure. Then, look at his opportunity with Bitcoin. Does it seem reasonable that he would burn his golden ticket?

February 18, 2014 at 07:51PM

DIY Dogecoin ATM Demos at CoinFest Vancouver

The world’s first dogecoin ATM has been launched in Vancouver, and it looks about as serious as the dogecoin logo.

The machine consists of a Nexus 7 tablet attatched to a briefcase, along with a money validator.

Needless to say, this isn’t exactly a bona fide ATM and nor is it supposed to be. It was created to spice up the two-day CoinFest digital currency festival in Vancouver.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 18, 2014 at 03:39PM

First US Bitcoin ATMs Coming to Seattle and Austin

Seattle and Austin will soon become the first US cities with bitcoin ATMs, provided everything goes according to plan.

The machines are coming from ATM manufacturer Robocoin and the company claims they will be installed by the end of the month, Reuters reports.

Robocoin ATMs are more elaborate than their Lamassu counterparts. They are cash-only machines and they have a few additional security features, such as biometric and optical scanners.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 18, 2014 at 12:40PM

The Rise of the Cryptocurrency Gift Economy

In 2013, the digital anthropologist Lui Smyth conducted a survey of the most common uses of bitcoin.

He found bitcoin was used to buy web services, software, hardware, gambling services, and (in the heyday of the Silk Road) narcotics. Topping the list though, when measured in terms of the number of transactions, was tipping and donations.

The public block chain provides much anecdotal evidence for this. All one needs to do is search the tipping addresses of people or groups who openly advertise that they take bitcoin tips.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 18, 2014 at 11:38AM

The Banking Industry’s Varied Views on Bitcoin

Decentralized, math-based currencies can provide a framework for autonomous banking. To the average person that may not mean much, but to some the concept is enthralling.

Controlling money outside of incumbent systems is particularly exciting to cyberpunks and crypto-libertarians, yet the banks will, at some point, be working closely with bitcoin. A future where cryptocurrencies are a mainstream financial technology will likely depend on it.

Here are three different banks, with very different stances on bitcoin, that reveal just how contrasting the financial industry can be.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 18, 2014 at 09:42AM

17 February 2014

Coinbase Partners with Fiverr, First Large Services Marketplace to Accept Bitcoin

Coinbase Partners with Fiverr, First Large Services Marketplace to Accept Bitcoin:


Looking for some help updating your resume? Need a video promoting your product? Or maybe you’d like someone to write and record your own personal rap song? Starting today, these types of services can be purchased with bitcoin via Coinbase on Fiverr, the world’s largest two-sided marketplace for…

February 11, 2014 at 09:02PM

The Ten People You Meet In Bitcoin

(Forgot to post my first CoinDesk piece last week. Here it is!)

Last month, over 600 people congregated in Las Vegas for the Inside Bitcoins conference, including yours truly. The critical mass of Bitcoin pioneers and thought leaders was stunning, and I wrote about the top 10 movers and shakers I had the chance to meet in person. This past weekend, nearly twice as many people attended the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami, and I was equally impressed by the enthusiasm, creativity, and yes, diversity of the crowd. As I flew back to Boston, I was struck with the realization that the palpable energy at the conference had just as much to do with the quality of the “average” ten attendees as it did with the high-octane presenters and exhibitors. Forget the celebrities. Let’s talk about ten people you’ll meet in Bitcoin.

One of the first people I meet on Friday night is Charlie. He’s 42, but he looks 30, and is about as easy-going as they come. We share a few stories before the invariable question of “how long have you been in Bitcoin?” pops up, and he nonchalantly says that he invested in “a bunch” when bitcoin traded for $4.50. Today, he calls himself retired, travels the world and doesn’t worry about a whole heck of a lot.

Incredibly, Charlie is not unique in this crowd. Dozens of paper and actual millionaires, hackers, entrepreneurs, legal experts, miners and journalists mingle at the roof deck party at the Clevelander Hotel in Miami Beach. It’s an eclectic mix of individuals with a common passion for cryptos, but vastly different backgrounds and motivations for embracing Bitcoin.

There’s David, an entrepreneur who is as passionate about “beekeeping as he is about bitcoin.” He and his seven year old son have made all-natural honey since 2011, which they only sell for bitcoin. In fact, it’s a completely cashless operation (aside from taxes), where David’s packager, web-designer and sugar suppliers are all paid in Bitcoin. There’s Gary, a man determined to sell his ‘93 Mercedes Benz 300 CE Convertible at the conference in order to demonstrate how easy, inexpensive and trustless bitcoin transactions can be. I’ll see him again the very next day grinning ear-to-ear in front of the conference hall after successfully auctioning the car for 9.25 bitcoin. Then there’s Kevin, a baby-faced hacker interning for wallet service provider, Blockchain. He’s won several hacking competitions related to cyber-security and has been thinking about applying for an NSA scholarship to help defray the costs of Penn State, but he’s here now because he knows that he too might strike digital gold if he stays in this industry.

I’m pleasantly surprised to see that the community is evolving beyond the “white males club” many complain about. Although the first person that most attendees see on Friday is a blonde bombshell model clad in little more than gold body paint (that certainly didn’t help silence the critics), the other females at the conference are definitely more than mere “plus ones.” The women on the BitPay team are sharp and counter (let’s be honest, correct) the technical criticisms I have of their product. Rena, the co-founder of New York’s Mint Combine incubator, talks about Bitcoin’s likely regulatory path and her motivation for incubating young bitcoin enterprises. And Beth, a former NASA engineer and current Virgin Galactic “astronaut trainer” (who also helped assemble the international space station), tells me about her mining rig (“just a few Jupiters”). Even during conversations with actual significant others such as Emily, it’s refreshing to hear a woman tease her “good ole boy” colleagues for not understanding bitcoin and investing in the currency as aggressively as she has.

Even the gold-painted model, Maili, proves to be a new convert to the community. When one person suggests she should try to collect tips in bitcoin, she tells him that she plans to put a QR code on her website.

My experience tells me that would be a smart move. The Bitcoin community is as generous as it is passionate. When I made the last minute decision to attend the conference, I foolishly underestimated how crowded Miami Beach would be during mid-January. Yet after one blast email and fifteen minutes, I had a host. Jeffrey, a fellow writer, conference presenter, and entrepreneur (his Liberty.me IndieGogo campaign recently eclipsed the $100k mark) split his hotel room with me for two nights. We met for the first time, when I knocked on his door. At another point in the conference, I extended my hand to Tim, the Bitcoin Seattle meetup organizer for a stick of gum. Instead of the gum, he handed me a Bitcoin-engraved silver coin. When I explained that I had only meant to ask for a stick of gum, he shrugged and said, “That’s all right. I really like your writing. Consider it a tip.”

For every Jeremy Allaire and Brian Armstrong and Barry Silbert, there are 10 equally passionate people you don’t know like Tim, Rena and David. It’s these people that make the industry so vibrant and exciting, and you will only meet them at large conferences like this one. They are having so much fun tackling some of the biggest challenges in Bitcoin, it’s hard to see them abandoning the industry anytime soon. Every single one of them understands how risky Bitcoin is, but they see today’s risks as tomorrow’s opportunities. They are certain that the community will persevere through any hiccups and produce new crops of Allaires, Armstrongs and Silberts.

They just aren’t worried about a whole heck of a lot.

February 04, 2014 at 11:56PM

Reggie Middleton Wins CNBC Stock Draft for the 2nd time in a row - with the same stock


1Google reported Thursday later afternoon and the early morning traders didn't know what to make of the numbers - with the stock gyrating up and down. The following day, CNBC's 2nd annual stock draft stock picking contest ended. Guess what happened? For the impatient, I can put the video here...


February 01, 2014 at 04:11PM

Reggie Middleton v Paul Krugman pt 2, Inflation, Bitcoin and the Alt.coins


Here is the next segment in the presentations given at the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami Beach.


January 29, 2014 at 02:43PM

New York considers creating a 'BitLicense' for Bitcoin businesses

New York is now the first state to consider adding a special license called a “BitLicense” for businesses that operate primarily in Bitcoin and other virtual currencies, after receiving a flood of requests from Bitcoin entrepreneurs asking how they should register.

Read more on The Verge (thisistheverge.tumblr.com)

By Adrianne Jeffries

January 28, 2014 at 05:44PM

About Inscrypto

Who is Ryan Galt, Idiots?

Yesterday, I wrote about my exciting partnership with CoinDesk, which was supposed to start on Monday. However, it looks like you’ll get your first taste of “Ryan Galt” even sooner. My first CoinDesk articles may hit this weekend, as I made the last minute decision to head down to Miami for the North American Bitcoin conference. The editors and I agreed that it would be better for me to write under the new name for pieces on CoinDesk’s site so readers aren’t immediately skeptical when they open one of my posts. (I’ll remain a two-bit idiot on twitter and for this newsletter.) The new pseudonym scratches my libertarian itch, helps provide cover when I inevitably sign emails “Ryan” instead of TBI, and looks like I’m not trying to hide anything.

Speaking of not hiding anything…today, I’d like to tell you why my team at Inscrypto is working on the cure for Bitcoin’s volatility. Many of you have asked about the startup, some have even signed up for our beta (thank you!), and after this week’s write up in American Banker, I wanted to provide more color. Before you skip to the Tid Bits, keep in mind that I’m only focusing on why we formed Inscrypto. This Bit is more market thesis than product pitch.

For starters, I wake up every day unreasonably excited about Inscrypto because I believe that it can be the first company that effectively separates bitcoin the currency from bitcoin the speculative investment. In short, our product could securitize the holding risks of bitcoin. We plan to work with wallet services like Blockchain, Circle, Coinbase, etc. to guarantee the underlying purchasing power of “Inscrypted” bitcoins sitting in consumer and merchant wallets. Ideally, depositors won’t even know it, but they will be using our tech to offload price volatility onto professional investors. Simple idea, complex solution, and a potentially lucrative payout. We know that someone is going to solve this tricky problem eventually, and we hope it will be us.

I’m not going to elaborate on product specifics yet (obviously), but I will outline the problem we are solving, the failure of existing financial product alternatives, and why volatility is so difficult to contain.

As most of you know, Bitcoin’s price swings stem from the fact that it is simultaneously “e-cash” (currency) and “e-gold” (investment). This is problematic because combining the two usually means that one isn’t acting as it should. An investment with a 0% return is a crappy investment, and a currency that can swing 10%+ or more in a day is a crappy currency. Yet the ratio of bitcoin held for those vastly different purposes changes constantly and unpredictably. Expectations of good news underpin investors’ rationale for treating bitcoin as a speculative investment that could skyrocket in value, and yet the good news itself depends on consumers and merchants who use bitcoin as a stable unit of account. It’s a circular reference.

Bitcoin may go to $100k or it may go to $0, but one thing is all but certain—it will not trade at a constant level. In that respect, critics are correct to say that it sucks as a currency today. But will it always?

Many believe the fix is a stronger derivatives market, but Coinbase’s Fred Ehrsam told Wired last week that the current “derivatives, futures, and options market is largely underdeveloped”, making today’s “counter-party risk unacceptable”. In other words, today’s derivatives are garbage. Furthermore, they could be for some time. Speaking from Munich at the DLD Conference, Circle’s Jeremy Allaire suggested that hedging products wouldn’t improve until central governments provided better regulatory clarity. Only then will large, well-capitalized financial institutions from financial Meccas like New York and London build their own market-making platforms.

I’m skeptical, however, that even a healthy, liquid derivatives market could help individuals and smaller companies properly hedge against volatility. It’s unlikely that small depositors would be buying their own bitcoin futures, and even if they did, it would be expensive enough to offset any value gained from using Bitcoin as a payment system in the first place. Besides, we as consumers (speaking from the U.S.) are used to low inflation, “sticky” prices and stagnant wages. We simply aren’t conditioned to anticipate a need to protect the purchasing power of our savings.

What will really drive down bitcoin volatility are better methods for connecting bitcoin “banks” with the capital at their Wall Street counterparts. I’m sure that in an environment where some bitcoin-related startups struggle to open checking accounts, Inscrypto won’t face any shortage of hurdles (or critics from within the Bitcoin community), but we intend to build the pipes that connect Wall Street assets and bitcoin wallets. I know for a fact that algorithmic trading platforms will be introduced this year that improve liquidity and mop up some of bitcoin’s excess volatility. We’re going one step further — co-opting Wall Street to securitize all bitcoin volatility. We know there is a way to effectively separate the currency and the volatile investment. We know that there is an institutional market hungry to absorb the risks and soak up the rewards of bitcoin. And we know how to build the product. If we nail it, it could truly change the way ordinary people interact with the underlying Bitcoin technology.

Still, there is an obvious caveat: Inscrypto’s success depends entirely on execution, and that requires an exceptional team capable of building a strong foundational product and navigating murky regulatory waters. (We’re recruiting for our team in Boston and SF so drop me a line!) If the stars align, we’ll build a special company that provides an extremely valuable service to individuals, merchants, investors, and the entire Bitcoin ecosystem.

Someone will devise a method for containing bitcoin volatility. We think it will be us, but if we’re wrong, we’ll still be happy.

Because at the end of the day, we’re still holding some un-Inscrypted bitcoin, too.

Now for Today’s Tid Bits:

CoinSeed Announces $5m Investment in BitFury Mining Gear


Pinterest Competitor Fancy Adds #Bitcoin Payments


Naughty America Joins Porn.com In Bitcoin Acceptance


Ethereum Launches ‘Cryptocurrency 2.0’ Network


Pirate Party Prompts Successful Campaign Finance Ruling for Bitcoin


Would JPM’s Dimon ever accept bitcoin? (via CNBC)


Bitcoin-themed banner to be waved during Super Bowl in MetLife Stadium.


Looking forward to seeing some of you in Miami! For those who can’t make it, just a reminder that I will be tweeting about it all weekend under the @twobitidiot twitter handle.



January 26, 2014 at 11:57PM

Highlight of the Week: North American Bitcoin Conference!

On Friday through Sunday of this week, many Bitcoiners will gather in Miami, Florida for the North American Bitcoin Conference. Following the successful organization of the European Bitcoin Conference in Amsterdam this Fall, conference organizer, Moe Levin, concentrated his efforts on a winter international Bitcoin conference in the heart of Miami Beach, FL. With attendees and speakers from around the world, once again, the global message of Bitcoin is clearly demonstrated in this premier conference and setting. It is NOT too late to sign up. You can even purchase your conference pass with bitcoin here.

Source: Bitcoin Magazine

January 24, 2014 at 09:59AM

Bitcoin and Modern Money Theory

Happy Presidents’ Day, Idiots!

I was going to skip the Bit today as it’s a bank holiday, but then I remembered: Bitcoin doesn’t operate on a banking schedule.

I’ve spent the long weekend reading up on Modern Money Theory (riveting, I know), and I’m trying to see where Bitcoin fits into the whole thing. I have a bunch of ideas that I’m still trying to organize.

The short summary of MMT, though, is that it stipulates all money must be issued from a sovereign nation and that it must be debt. Logically, all money must be some form of government debt.

Yet that doesn’t necessarily mean that citizens within a certain nation only use that nation’s money in commerce. In fact, it is true that dollars and euros continue to be widely held and valued reserve currencies globally. And there are instances (like the Euro), where the monetary supply is managed independently of the governments of its participating nations. So it’s an interesting question as to whether Bitcoin can ever be treated like a currency under MMT. It isn’t debt, and it isn’t issued from a sovereignty. Yet it does act like a global reserve.

This is what makes bitcoin so special to libertarians and crypto-anarchists. For those who wish to neuter the state when it comes to monetary policy, Bitcoin is a silver bullet. Take away a government’s absolute power over the money supply and suddenly you remove a large chunk of its power. You might even force its leaders to make more responsible choices. (But probably not.)

Under MMT, the ultimate reason that money exists is to allow sovereignties to collect taxes in their currency. The power to tax requires that citizens hold at least as much of the domestic currency as they need to pay their taxes. In reality, the currency units in circulation tend to eclipse that which is needed to pay taxes for the simple reason that many people, businesses and governments will want to hold reserves, whether for commerce (if the currency is widely accepted as legal tender), or centralized savings (for investment purposes, such as Chinese investments in interest-bearing US Treasuries).

In that respect, Bitcoin is a huge threat to nation’s who enjoy “reserve currency” status, such as the US. People might always have to pay their taxes in dollars, but if Bitcoin starts to emerge as an alternative international reserve currency, it starts to limit the power of reserve currency nations to print more money. (If demand drops for dollars, the US will have a serious inflation problem as the Treasury prints more money.) So the Bitcoin protocol starts to act like a global central bank with bitcoin as its currency, not unlike what the IMF proposed recently with SDRs, or what Keynes himself proposed in the 1940’s with his conceptual supranational currency, bancor.

Fascinating stuff, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around it as a relative idiot and non-academic. Would love to hear your feedback and questions if you want to learn more, or, better yet, if you are able to teach me more.

*Sloppy report coming out of MIT, in which the researchers claim that Bitcoin is increasingly being spent rather than hoarded. The authors looked at newly mined coins and reviewed how long it took them to be sent from their initial address to a new address. It was grossly inaccurate to characterize those flows as “spending” given that most of the transactions are simple transfers from mining pool wallets to personal wallets. It should have been a red flag to notice only 2-3% of bitcoins were held for longer than a week in 2012 and 2013, according to the researchers.

All of that said, the report did inadvertently uncover some other interesting data: how much bitcoin has remained “unspent”. I’m guessing that a sizable percentage of those “unspent” coins are lost forever. That’s my new lower bound for “dead wallets”.

*I’ve seen really smart people betting bitcoin skeptics such as Mark Williams that “bitcoin will never fall below [x].” They better hope he doesn’t accept such an easy bet.

I’m a bitcoin believer and I’d still take that bet all day long. That’s how bad it is. I’d simply buy the same amount of bitcoin that I was betting against to essentially get a free option on bitcoin’s upside. Many of us believe Bitcoin will either be $100k or near $0 some day. So if I win the bet (bitcoin is worthless), I’d recoup my initial bitcoin investment with my gambling wins. If I lose the bet (bitcoin goes to the moon), I essentially pay my principal to settle up, and still sit on an asset that has appreciated 50-100x or more. The flip side means you’ve got to put money at risk that would have been better off invested in more bitcoin.

Moral of the story: don’t let trolls bait you into making bets you can’t win. It’s foolish.

Now for Today’s Tid Bits:

ICYMI: My latest post this weekend was an awesome, candid interview with Roger Ver


Much problem. So serious. Wow. (Dogecoin has forked.)


Bitstamp resumes withdrawals - with less downtime than the NYSE over President’s Day weekend.


Bitcoin: it’s the platform, not the currency, stupid! Long, but good article.


BitPay Unveils Bitcore, its Open-Source Project for App Developers


The Mysterious Case of 1 Satoshi Transactions Clogging Up Bitcoin Wallets - The Mac Observer


Bitcoin Woman Magazine and its resources could be hugely beneficial to the community


Enjoy the day off (if you have it). Otherwise, happy Monday!



February 18, 2014 at 01:16AM

CoinTerra to Release GSX I Water-Cooled PCIe Bitcoin Mining Card

Austin, Texas-based CoinTerra has announced its second product.

Called the GSX I, the card form factor bitcoin miner uses water for cooling, and notably, has a radiator serving as a heat exchange for the water, piping it over the board. The GSX I is a 400 GH/s unit that has a 28nm chip.

Jim O’Connor, vice president of engineering for CoinTerra, spoke to CoinDesk about the upcoming launch, and said he believes using water is the best method of cooling for a card.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 18, 2014 at 01:21AM

First Bitcoin meetup in Ecuador a big success


About 30 people attended the first-ever Bitcoin meetup in Quito, Ecuador on Thursday, February 6th. The meetup was organized by Dutch alternative money promoter Paul Buitink (@paulbuitink), currently residing in Quito, and American IT entrepreneur Justin Leitgeb (@justinleitgeb), who made available the Quito office of his company, Stack Builders, who specialises in Ruby and Haskell software development. Argentinean Diego Gutierrez Zaldivar, who organized the Buenos Aires conference in December of last year and who coordinates Bitcoin initiatives in South America, also helped with organization.

Turnout was bigger than expected given that the meetup was only promoted in the Bitcoin Ecuador Facebook group and on meetup.com. In fact, three people flew in from Guayaquil to attend the event.

What was really exciting was the passion and the technical and theoretical knowledge the attendees demonstrated. It became clear once more that South America needs to modernize its money system.

Compared to people of countries like Venezuela and Argentina, the citizens of Ecuador may have felt blessed under the wings of the greenback. Nonetheless, the meetup made it clear that there are many Ecuadorians who feel passionately about modernizing the monetary system. Online commerce hardly takes place in Ecuador and, like in other Latin American countries, a lot of transactions are still cash based.

In the short term, the Bitcoin community plans to focus on basic infrastructure and community building. The Bitcoin meetup will continue to be hosted in Quito every month and there are plans to form groups in other large cities, including Guayaquil and Cuenca. Directly following the meeting, a forum was established at bitcoinecuador.info to efficiently exchange ideas and opinions. Monday, February 10th, the first so-called “Satoshi Square” has been organized to make in-person exchanges possible, which is still challenging in a country like Ecuador. On sites like localbitcoins.com and mercadolibre.com.ec, there is hardly liquidity.

In the medium-term, forum sessions and conferences will be organized to educate the academic world and enlighten politicians and officials. In the long-run, exchanges, merchant services and the like will have to be developed. Open source enthusiasts who were catalysts in the Ecuadorian government’s embracement of open standards have already expressed their interest in helping to foster crypto currency growth in the Andean nation.

Ecuador, a small country with slightly less than 16 million inhabitants, has been dollarized since 2000, against the will of many politicians and economists. Compared to the previous currency, the SUCRE, this move has brought relative stability – especially compared with other Latin countries. Still, cryptocurrencies could potentially cater for even more economic growth. By allowing cryptocurrencies to flourish in Ecuador and by not burdening them with too much regulation, Ecuador could well become a safe haven for the Bitcoin community to explore and build crypto solutions. As Ecuador doesn’t print its own currency, less resistance should be expected from the central bank of Ecuador. The government is said to be working on its own currency, and should they consider to throw cryptocurrencies in the mix, it could set Ecuador apart from other countries.

Furthermore, in 2009 the government implemented a regional compensation system with the members of the Allianza Bolivariana para las Américas (ALBA), that is Venezuela, Cuba, Antigua y Barbuda, Bolivia, Dominica, Nicaragua, San Vicente y las Granadinas and Uruguay. This system, called Sistema Unitario de Compensación Regional (SUCRE), intends to replace the dollar and ultimately behave like a currency. For the moment it’s used as a way to settle debts between exporting companies of the member states through the use of a central clearing bank that behaves similar to the European Central Bank (ECB) . While the reasoning behind the SUCRE system of trying to diversify away from the dollar for regional trade is clear, allowing people to use a globally accepted, politically neutral currency like the Bitcoin makes even more sense.

With the enthusiasm and skills of the current Ecuadorian Bitcoin community and the interesting economic and political conditions in the country, the crypto future for this small Andean country could be as beautiful as its old colonial center.

The post First Bitcoin meetup in Ecuador a big success appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

February 17, 2014 at 11:14PM

Ukraine to Regulate Bitcoin Businesses Under Existing Laws

In response to queries from Ukraine-based news source AIN.UA, the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) has issued its first formal legal guidance to its native bitcoin community.

Most notably, the NBU has indicated that bitcoin payment systems and payment infrastructure services must register with the agency and abide by existing laws related to the management of electronic money.

The announcement positions Ukraine closer to the European Union than Russia on matters of virtual currency regulation, even as Russia has moved to solidify its influence over the former USSR member state on the national stage.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 17, 2014 at 08:12PM

Conan O'Brien tweets

Wow. Strippers get angry if you make it rain Bitcoins.

— Conan O’Brien (@ConanOBrien)

February 17, 2014

February 17, 2014 at 05:12PM

ATM Pioneer Plans Machines for Singapore, London

The company behind the world’s first bitcoin ATM is planning to set up machines in London and Singapore by mid-March.

Vancouver-based Bitcoiniacs, said the new machines are part of a global expansion that will also include setting up physical brokerage offices for retail customers and a push to increase use of its own bitcoin exchange.

Bitcoiniacs founder Mitchell Demeter said the ATMs would likely be located inside a cafe or coffee shop, with a brokerage office attached. This would be similar to its current set-up in Vancouver, where the ATM is located in Waves Coffee House.

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 17, 2014 at 07:03PM

Bay Area’s Leading Poverty-Fighters Recently Accepted Their First Bitcoin

Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 5.04.00 PM

The Bay Area’s leading poverty-fighting organization recently accepted its first Bitcoin donation. Bart and Brad Stephens of Stephens Investment Management donated 20 bitcoins to Tipping Point Community on February 6.

“Bitcoin is a disruptive innovation in the field of financial technology,” Bart Stephens said. “Tipping Point is an innovator and a disruptive force in philanthropy. We have supported Tipping Point since its inception and we are excited by this pioneering gift. Both Tipping Point and Bitcoin share a bright future, bringing benefits to consumers and families in need alike.”

Tipping Point Community helps donors find, fund and partner with the Bay Area’s most effective organizations serving individuals and families. Because Tipping Point’s board underwrites all operating and fundraising expenses, 100% of every dollar donated goes directly toward the fight against poverty. Since 2005, Tipping Point has raised more than $60 million and has reached nearly 250,000 people in need.

“Tipping Point and our donors are always seeking new ways to improve our community,” said Daniel Lurie, CEO and Founder of Tipping Point. “Bitcoin is still in its early days, but we are excited at the prospect of it as an additional resource in the fight against poverty.”

Stephens Investment Management is a boutique investment firm managing a family of financial products including hedge funds, sector-focused venture funds, an income fund, a real estate fund, a fund-of-funds, and private company direct investments.

If you would like to donate to Tipping Point and join the fight against poverty in the Bay Area, please contact Sophie Jaggi at sjaggi@tippingpoint.org.

The post Bay Area’s Leading Poverty-Fighters Recently Accepted Their First Bitcoin appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

February 17, 2014 at 05:41PM

Can a Wearable Bitcoin Wallet Bring Cryptocurrency Into Meatspace?


Paying in Bitcoin already offers tons of advantages over credit cards. It’s by-default more secure, and on the internet at least, faster and easier. However, paying with bitcoin IRL has until now been pretty clunky, generally involving scanning multiple QR codes, signing and approving. All that may change, however, with the introduction of technology aimed at simplifying paying with Bitcoin at the point of sale. BIPS has made this possible by using the Samsung Galaxy Gear Watch.

The Samsung Galaxy Gear is an Android-based smartwatch that with a few tweaks is able to run just about any Play Store app, including Mycelium Bitcoin Wallet. With it, users can buy items in a store or share a dinner bill with a friend in Bitcoin with a tap of their watches. Perhaps most interestingly, it allows users to keep their private keys on a native hardware wallet, off and away from online wallets.

The most challenging aspects of accepting Bitcoin for brick-and-mortar retail businesses are clunkiness and differentiating each customer from the previous customers.

The watch is connected to the internet via Bluetooth phone tether. It is the first wearable Bitcoin wallet, taking what has previously been the realm of fitness and applying it to payments. Users can scan QR codes, make secure payments and even use Chirp to send payments via sound waves.

One aspect that is great for customers, but maybe not as great for merchants, is the fact that BIPS does not actually collect any customer information, only merchant information.

“The more information we collect the more prone we are to attacks and risking people’s personal data being leaked,” said Kris Henriksen, a media representative for BIPS. “Hence we have chosen not to collect merchants’ customer data as it is irrelevant to our services. And as such we do not need to replace the customer data credit cards provide.”

However, merchants find the customer data that credit card purchases provide extremely valuable. To make up for this deficit, whose value is undoubtedly overshadowed by the increased security of Bitcoin payments, merchants can take further advantage of customer loyalty programs.

Innovations in point of sale will make taking and offering Bitcoin as payment safer, easier and more efficient. Having more choices in how to pay is undoubtedly better, though it’s yet to be determined how long credit cards will remain the default mode of payment.

The post Can a Wearable Bitcoin Wallet Bring Cryptocurrency Into Meatspace? appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

February 17, 2014 at 05:38PM

Mt. Gox: Bitcoin Withdrawals Will Resume Soon

Mt. Gox has issued an official statement saying it has found a workaround for its bitcoin transaction malleability problems, which will see bitcoin withdrawals resume “soon”. This comes after the team worked over the weekend to begin implementation of a new transaction system.

It said the workaround was “thanks to our friends at Blockchain.info“. As expected, when withdrawals recommence they will do so “at a moderated pace and with new daily/monthly limits in place” to prevent a run that could put too much strain on the company’s resources.

The statement said:

Continue reading at CoinDesk

February 17, 2014 at 11:34AM

Mt. Gox Impact Diminishes as Market Price Dissociates

The last week has been a tumultuous period for digital currency markets, driving prices on the industry’s oldest exchange into a tailspin. While volatility is nothing new for bitcoin, a drastic divergence from historic norms has arisen: Mt. Gox has largely dissociated from the rest of the market, offering insight into the market’s perception of risk in dealing with the company. Since Mt. Gox suspended fiat withdrawals last summer the market has come to terms with the 10%+ premium paid for bitcoin on that exchange relative to others. Customers being unable to withdraw fiat drove a technical bid for bitcoin, since withdrawing bitcoin was the only way to get money out of the exchange for most people over the last seven months. Last week the company also suspended bitcoin withdrawals, pointing to underlying protocol issues as the driver for the issue. The result has been not only the immediate disintegration of the cross-exchange spread, but also a quantifiable dissociation with the rest of the market. Fears that transaction malleability led...

The post Mt. Gox Impact Diminishes as Market Price Dissociates appeared first on The Genesis Block.

February 17, 2014 at 11:05AM