3 May 2014

Announcing World’s First Bitcoin Job Fair

The world’s first ever Bitcoin job fair is set to launch in Silicon Valley on May 3, 2014, featuring numerous employers and sponsors, both eager to spread the word on the increasingly popular cryptocurrency.

The event is scheduled from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PST) at 440 N. Wolfe Rd. in Sunnyvale, Calif., and will provide an opportunity for job seekers to enter one of the most progressive fields of technology in the twenty-first century.

Employers will be given the chance to choose from a pool containing some of the world’s top talent in the digital currency community, looking to employ Bitcoin developers, altcoin creators and blockchain experts.

Analysts describe Bitcoin as representing “…the voluntary and spontaneous organization of an economy. A fresh new kind of social contract based on cooperation, not force. We’re hoping to help foster this new digital economy.”

Popular for its lack of regulation by large banks and significantly lower transaction fees, the fair is expected to draw thousands of interested spectators, employers, and job seekers alike.

Some of the positions employers are looking to fill include:

The world’s first ever Bitcoin job fair will also provide opportunities to interact with serial tech-entrepreneurs like Andreas Antonopoulos, whose expertise ranges from Bitcoin, to crypto-currencies, to information security and even robotics software development.

Antonopoulos has founded three bitcoin businesses and launched several community open-source projects. He’s also a talented writer currently working on a bitcoin book designed for developers.

Plug and Play Tech Center, a global accelerator that specializes in growing tech startups, will also be in attendance, along with Coinality, the field’s leading job/resume board.

Coinality, which launched in Sept. 2013, provides opportunities for those seeking jobs that pay exclusively in digital currency. They’re currently serving more than 2,000 registered users and have received over 600 job submissions. They are also host to hundreds of resumes and have served over 1,800 job applications.

The excitement surrounding the new digital currency is expected to flourish as the numbers grow of those interested in an alternative currency that’s “decentralized, convenient and transparent.”

Forbes reports that, “Over the past year, they have transformed from black market currencies to viable alternatives for traditional investments and existing currencies.”

What makes the currency particularly unique is its ability to function both as a currency and as an investment. Today there are an estimated two to three million Bitcoin users holding the currency as an investment.

If you’re a job seeker, employer, or someone simply interested in the development of a currency not regulated by an overly inflated federal government, don’t miss the chance to be part of something truly revolutionary.

If you’re interested in being a sponsor at the event, you can sign up for one of their great packages here.

May 03, 2014 at 05:52PM

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2 May 2014

Money Spinners: New Bitcoin ATM Varieties Appearing

Saskatoon Bridge

From full exchange machines to one-way dispensers, CoinDesk brings you the latest in bitcoin automated service news from around the world.

The past week saw some new brands arriving on the scene, in another sign the bitcoin ATM space is beginning to diversify beyond just a few manufacturers.

The ATMs, also known as kiosks or vending machines depending on the jurisdiction, are not only putting more bitcoins into more wallets and eliminating some of the hassle of verifying accounts at online exchanges, but are also serving a secondary function as electronic ambassadors, educating the public about digital currencies and sparking curiosity simply by sitting there.

Seattle, WA

Seattle’s first bitcoin machine is one of the more ‘traditional’ types: A Robocoin operated by CoinMe at the Spitfire Grill restaurant. The machine’s palm scanner is operational as a customer-identifying measure and it has a limit of $3,000 in exchanges per user per day.

CoinMe’s General Manager, Nick Hughes, said his aim is also to use the Robocoin to educate and inform, telling Geekwire:

“People need to be able to talk about this and be educated about it [...] They need to hear about the risk and rewards from credible people.”

Saskatoon, SK Canada

Edmonton-based company Bitcoin Solutions also has the motto ‘buy, sell, learn’ and will install Saskatchewan’s first machine this coming week at a location on Saskatoon’s Broadway Ave. Not only is the ‘BTM’ one of the newer varieties but it’s also home-grown, produced by Ottawa manufacturer BitAccess.

According to this news report, the city was chosen due to its large population of younger people.

The sturdy-looking new machine features a simple interface and does not appear to scan ID or palm veins. Bitcoin Solutions has previously opened another machine in Edmonton and is looking to expand to other Canadian cities in the near future.


For a country that teems with gadgets, geeks and bankers, Japan has been a little slow to jump on the bitcoin ATM bandwagon. It could be the lack of regulatory clarity and Japanese language software on the current range of popular ATMs, but that is changing.

Reports from the Wall Street Journal and TV Tokyo (video has since been removed) show Japan’s first Robocoin, which is on a promotional tour. While it accepts Japanese yen, the main interface is still in English. There has been some progress on the regulatory front, however, with authorities taking a similar approach to that of Singapore: Bitcoin is not regarded as ‘money’ and thus will not be regulated, leading to a more hands-off approach.

When asked how many Robocoin machines his company intended to ship to Japan, CEO Jordan Kelley replied: “As many as the Japanese market can bear.”

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam now also has its own bitoin kiosk and once again, it’s a newer variety. The manufacturer this time is BTC-O-Matic, a company that produces a range of different one and two-way bitcoin-dispensing devices. The one that began operating on 30th April is the ‘DualFly’ model, and a sample of the company’s other products is in this video. It is located three minutes away from Amsterdam’s Centraal district.

Dubai, UAE

Dubai startup Umbrellab is reportedly going ahead with plans to introduce over 300 bitcoin machines, by adding the feature to existing payment kiosks. This strategy led to some initial confusion over whether the machines were indeed bitcoin kiosks, but Umbrellab says it is able to do so.

The first demonstration model is in an office in the Dubai Media City technology zone, with hundreds more to follow shortly.

According to this report in the United Arab Emirates’ largest newspaper, the Middle East could be fertile ground for a technology like bitcoin due to its large young population, and high number of foreign workers who often don’t have full access to traditional banking services.

Saskatoon image via Shutterstock

ATMsMoney Spinners

May 02, 2014 at 11:54PM

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1 May 2014

Canadian Exchange CaVirtex to Launch Bitcoin ATMs Across Canada

CA Virtex

Canadian digital currency exchange CaVirtex has announced plans to relaunch a balance deposit feature and establish a new network of branded ATMs.

The company revealed the plans in a 1st May message to customers, outlining a number of future services improvements, which include a new trading API and merchant user interface.

CoinDesk spoke with CaVirtex business development manager Reed Holmes, who framed the choice to relaunch the bill deposit option as a bid to make it easier for people to move their money into the marketplace.

Holmes told CoinDesk:

“We’re very excited to offer this service again. We feel like it’s something our customers really liked when we had it before, and we hope that they’re excited to see it again.”

From cash to coins

The planned cash bill payment deposit option, which does not have a set launch date, was initially offered to customers in 2013 before being discontinued last September. Under the service, customers can make deposits via Money Mart, a consumer financial services chain.

Customers need to have a verified account to use the cash bill payment option, which generates an invoice for the deposit amount.

Users can then bring this invoice to a Money Mart location, which processes the invoice and completes the deposit. There is a deposit limit of CA$9,500 per day, with a monthly maximum of CA$90,000.

Holmes couldn’t say when the service would launch, saying that the company planned to accept cash bill payments “soon”.

Plans for future ATM network

CaVirtex is also in the early stages of planning an eventual bitcoin ATM network launch.

Holmes told CoinDesk that right now, the company is focused on researching the idea and determining how exactly the network would be composed.

Said Holmes:

“There are a lot of different moving parts there – who’s going to be operation, where are they going to be operated from – there’s quite a bit, obviously as you can imagine, that goes into it. We’re still getting all that stuff together.”

Holmes added that the company is in contact with several ATM manufacturers but has not made any purchase decisions. Additionally, CaVirtex has no concrete timeline for when the ATM network would begin to be deployed.

The exchange is also in the process of vetting potential ATM operators.

Image via CaVirtex

Bitcoin ATMsCAVirtexexchanges

May 01, 2014 at 10:31PM

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Robocoin to Rebrand Bitcoin ATMs as Online Bank Branches


Las Vegas, Nevada-based bitcoin ATM manufacturer Robocoin has announced it will soon launch Robocoin Bank, a new project that will find its physical bitcoin ATMs becoming Robocoin Bank branches that integrate online banking features.

Robocoin indicates that Robocoin Bank will incorporate new features such as cryptographic provable reserves, instant bitcoin-to-cash withdrawals and the ability to send cash internationally as part of an effort to build what it calls “banking and remittance 2.0″.

Jordan Kelley, CEO of Robocoin, told CoinDesk that the new service brings the company closer to its original goal of making bitcoin more user-friendly for mass-market consumers and the underbanked.

Kelley said:

“We realized very quickly that we needed to build an online bank that way our customers don’t have to worry about private keys anymore.”

Bitcoin as a backbone

By adding functionality and terminology that is similar to an existing service, online banking, Kelley noted that he hopes to remove the complexity and pain points associated with bitcoin transactions, instead using the technology as a backbone for more traditional financial services.

He said:

“The idea that bitcoin is going to be this big game-changer for remittance is absolutely factual, however, thinking that a Mexican immigrant is going to be sending bitcoin back to his family is really far-fetched.”

Kelley indicated users will now be able to send both bitcoin and fiat currency to recipients using any Robocoin branch. Next, recipients receive a text confirming they were sent that amount and withdraw the funds at a local machine.

Operators, Kelley said, will gain increased information about their customers, as they will now know where money is being sent via their machines.


With the launch Robocoin is also rebranding a number of its existing services. For example, Robocoin Kiosks will now be referred to by the company as Robocoin Bank Branches.

The company is also updating the terminology related to how consumers interact with its devices to bring clarity to its service changes. Robocoin noted that consumers will no longer “buy” and “sell” bitcoins on the service, but rather deposit and withdraw bitcoin or fiat currency.

Further, customer public bitcoin addresses will now be referred to as Robocoin accounts, where customers store and access their wealth using a combination of their phone number, PIN number and biometric identification.

Explained Kelley:

“The phone is now acting as the username, the PIN that customers create is the first part of the password and their palm is password part two. My bitcoin is now accessible from the online banking portal or any ATM around the world.”

About Robocoin

The company is one of several in an increasingly competitive marketplace which includes Lamassau, both of which recently launched ATMs operating in London.

Robocoin has also run into its share of problems. Most notably, Taiwan’s Fianncial Supervisor Commission moved to block its efforts to launch ATMs in that country, saying that the required authorization would not be granted if requested by the company.

For more information on the new service, visit the company’s website here.

Image via Robocoin


May 01, 2014 at 06:57PM

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30 April 2014

Menufy Integrates Bitcoin


The site provides online ordering for restaurants across the US. Menufy has integrated with Coinbase. Users can now pay for delivery or takeout orders using Bitcoin.

The site boasts close to 400 locations across the US and is constantly adding new locations.

Menufy offers an online presence for websites and a platform to increase their takeout and delivery business. For users, Menufy boasts an unparalleled user experience.

The team at Menufy ranges from restaurant management to software engineering and interactive marketing.

As Menufy is always looking to increase the number of restaurants on offer and geographical reach, interested food service businesses are encouraged to make contact with the team at Menufy. They have experience in the complex nature of the restaurant business and offer visibility for restaurants on the Internet.

For the basic services, there is no cost outside of a 2.5% + $.30 credit card processing fee. With Bitcoin, obviously this is not a concern. Orders paid in cash are processed free of charge.


Customers are directly charged a $1.25 convenience fee. Merchants can absorb this fee if they wish to offer free online ordering to their customers. In this case $1.25 is subtracted from the credit card order total, before making the deposit into the merchant bank account.

With Bitcoin merchants have an exciting new option for payment to work with. This option can reduce their costs of working even further. As merchants become used to this payment system, no doubt they will be passing on savings to customers for Bitcoin payments.

Once a merchant restaurant goes live with their website, delivery and takeout orders are fully automated and simple.

April 30, 2014 at 06:35PM

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CoinMyne – Rethink the Way You Mine

When it comes to mining, most people tend to focus on the hardware: how fast it is and how long until it becomes obsolete. As mining operations get larger and difficulty increases with ever faster hash rates, the ability to manage your operation becomes a more difficult task. Small adjustments to hardware or the ability to quickly switch pools can make a huge difference in profitability. Enter CoinMyne, the creators of the popular CGRemote and CGWatcher mining monitoring software.

CoinMyne is a Los Angeles-based software company founded by CEO Mark Price and COO Scott McCarthy. In January they hired Justin Milone, the original creator of CGRemote and CGWatcher, as their VP of Software Development. Currently CoinMyne software has over 100,000 users and covers a large percentage of the mining community.

CoinMyne’s software gives miners the flexibility to monitor and manage their operations remotely. The CGWatcher application provides monitoring and scheduling features to watch for and automatically correct problems to minimize downtime. It provides tools to simplify miner configuration, making it easier for beginners and advanced users alike to manage the growing collections of pools, coins, and config files. CGRemote provides similar functionality, but allows you to remotely manage multiple miners in one place regardless of where the miners are located. It can eliminate the need for remote desktop software by offering a remote file explorer, text editor, and task manager, among other features. Currently the development team at CoinMyne is moving CGRemote to the cloud, where all of these powerful features will be available from any web browser or mobile phone.

With ever-increasing hashing power and new ASICs being introduced all the time, it is important that all miners – from the hobbyist to the large-scale enterprise – utilize such software to keep a competitive edge.

Mark states, “We are currently working with hardware manufactures, hosting facilities, contract mining providers, and pool operators to provide mining software solutions to a larger audience. Our cloud-based platform will allow for greater flexibility and offer powerful capabilities for operations both large and small.”

Mark envisions a scenario where CoinMyne’s software is both bundled with mining hardware and offered by pool operators, giving these companies a competitive advantage and offering their customers powerful features. Their software is already being used by hosted mining facilities and cloud-based mining rental providers to allow users secure remote access to their machines. This extra incentive can help encourage a customer to choose a particular hardware solution, mining pool, or hosting company, and in turn can justify higher fees or costs paid by end users.

The scale of CoinMyne’s current customer base allows them to offer valuable analytic data to partner companies and their users. This data can greatly help hardware manufacturers map out efficiencies with hardware, tracking uptime and downtime, overheating, hashing rate, and more.

“Our large user base provides a great sample size for mining in general. With the ability to look at all of these miners and collect hardware information, performance statistics, and configurations, then present this data to the community saying “This is the configuration that should work best for your particular hardware… and we know this because we’ve compared it to thousands of others and found that this produced the best hash rate or utility rate for the devices you have.” This is one of the many projects we’re working on in order to be a positive influence in the mining community”, Mark added.

CoinMyne’s software can also be set to take advantage of coin price volatility and switch to the most profitable coin automatically. This is already helping miners get the highest return on their investment, and even allows the user to define their own formula for determining profitability. CGWatcher and CGRemote give users the versatility to run CGMiner, BFGMiner, SGMiner, VertMiner, or any other CGMiner fork, allowing users to continue using the miner that works best for them. CGRemote, the newer of the two programs, works with miners on any operating system, while CGWatcher is currently only available for Windows. Providing all of their software to all platforms and operating systems is a priority and is already something they’re spending a lot of time working on. For CoinMyne it is not just about making mining more profitable, but making it easier and more accessible.

To try CoinMyne’s software visit www.coinmyne.com where CGWatcher can be downloaded for FREE. You can also purchase CGRemote there (still in beta) for $25, which also gets you the software for free once it’s released, using Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin, or PayPal.

For enterprise solutions or other questions contact Scott McCarthy.


April 30, 2014 at 01:00PM

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Bloomberg Now Listing Bitcoin Prices on Financial Terminals

Bloomberg Bitcoin Ticker

Bloomberg has started providing bitcoin pricing to more than 320,000 subscribers via its Bloomberg Professional service.

The service will allow users to monitor and chart data from Coinbase and Kraken. It will also track digital currency news and relevant social media posts from more than 100,000 sources.

All users need to do to access the new service is type VCCY<GO> on the Bloomberg Professional service.

Bloomberg was rumoured to be working on a bitcoin price ticker last August. At the time an inside source told BTCGeek that Bloomberg employees could access the new feature on their Bloomberg terminal and look up bitcoin pricing.

Mixed reactions

The Wall Street Journal described Bloomberg’s decision to start providing bitcoin pricing as a “key stamp of approval” and the move will surely be welcomed by many in the bitcoin community. However, Bloomberg has pointed out that opinions on bitcoin are mixed:

“Everyone from Warren Buffett and Marc Andreessen to the Winklevoss twins and the Internal Revenue Service has opined on the viability of the digital currency. Depending on your vantage point, bitcoin may be the biggest technology innovation since the Internet or a fad whose crash will be as precipitous as its meteoric rise.”

Although bitcoin has some notable detractors in the financial community, Bloomberg argued that it is simply impossible to ignore the digital currency due to high-levels of interest, adding:

“It’s worth noting that we are not endorsing or guaranteeing bitcoin, and investors cannot trade bitcoin or other digital currencies on Bloomberg.”

Fostering innovation

Bloomberg said its decision to start providing information about a controversial market like bitcoin was prompted by several reasons. The company believes it can offer better transparency and it can help foster innovation.

“While bitcoin and other virtual currency markets are still nascent, they represent an interesting intersection of finance and technology. Given that Bloomberg sits squarely at that intersection, providing pricing for this underdeveloped market is a natural fit for us,” Bloomberg pointed out.

Lastly, Bloomberg said it is merely responding to client demand. Bloomberg clients are increasingly interested in bitcoin and other digital currencies, so they need tools to better monitor developments in these emerging markets.

Bloomberg included a number of caveats in its announcement, saying that interest in global currencies is going up, but they still represent just a fraction of global fiat currency usage. The company also pointed out that reaction from governments has been mixed and the regulatory environment remains unclear.

“While bitcoin has thus far survived intense media scrutiny, scandal and wild price swings, there certainly is no guarantee that bitcoin will persevere,” the company concluded.


April 30, 2014 at 02:27PM

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29 April 2014

Cyprus Primary School Now Accepts Bitcoin for Student Fees

Kids at computer

The Lighthouse Progressive Primary School, located in Limassol, Cyprus, is now accepting bitcoin payments for student fees.

Lighthouse offers a holistic educational experience, aimed at children between the ages of five and 12 years old. According to its Facebook profile, the school is “a progressive, bilingual, primary school created by a multidisciplinary team of professionals”.

The news that the school would take bitcoin as a form of fee payment was originally announced on reddit by parent Marios Neocleous, who lobbied the school to begin taking bitcoin for his son’s fees.

Speaking with CoinDesk, Lighthouse headmaster and co-founder Costa Constantinides framed the decision to accept bitcoin as part of a broader focus on civil self-determination.

Constantinides said:

“Empowerment means choice and responsibility. It creates freedom and peace. The creation of money supply is a fundamental political decision with huge ramifications of which we, here in Cyprus, have become all too well aware.”

He continued:

“Thus allowing individuals to impact or co-create the currency with which they use for commerce in their daily lives is an basic step in civil-empowerment.”

Bitcoin’s role in Cyprus education community

Lighthouse is not the first educational organization to accept bitcoin.

In November 2013, the University of Nicosia announced that it would take bitcoin for tuition payments. The university told CoinDesk that the decision was based on the technological evolution sparked by bitcoin that is currently taking place.

For Lighthouse, the choice centered on allowing families in the community more financial freedoms. Headmaster Constantinides pointed to recent financial turbulence in Cyprus as a sign that new forms of exchanging value have a place in the community.

Constantinides said:

“Alternative currencies offer more freedom and implicitly more dignity for all. And until proven otherwise have, for us at least, have the same if not more value as any fiat currency.”

Other troubles for bitcoin in Cyprus

The decision by Lighthouse to accept bitcoin payments is a positive one for Cyprus.

In addition to the choice by the University of Nicosia, which supported domestic bitcoin usage, the country’s central bank decided in February that bitcoin is legal in Cyprus, despite other comments to the contrary.

However, the digital currency’s history in Cyprus has not been without its fair share of controversy.

In early April, the bitcoin services company Neo & Bee seemed to disappear amid allegations of fraud against its CEO, Danny Brewster.

Brewster’s arrest is currently being sought by law enforcement officials.

Group elementary students in computer class image via Shutterstock


April 29, 2014 at 08:30PM

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Mt. Gox Shouldn’t Stay Down…Or Should It?

Mt. Gox’s petition for bankruptcy protection during a proposed reorganization was rejected two weeks ago by a Japanese bankruptcy court. As a result, the beleaguered exchange has been ordered into liquidation. Unless or until CEO Mark Karpeles makes himself available in person to provide a deposition to courts in the United States, the same is likely to be the outcome for the bankruptcy filing by the company’s US subsidiary. In response, a group of investors calling themselves “Sunlot Holdings, Ltd.” has proposed a customer led reorganization under the title “Save Gox.” I started writing this article with the intention of heaping scorn on the notion of saving Mt. Gox. However, the more I thought about it the more I started to wonder why any investor would even consider the idea. I still don’t know what to think about this. I have to admit that I didn’t lose a penny at Mt. Gox, but I do have some thoughts that are worth discussing with anyone who might consider casting their lot with Save Gox.

Whether or not its problems began with insider theft, one of the biggest problems at Mt. Gox seems to have been that the management was less competent than would be desirable. Assuming for a moment that the narrative concerning the loss of its bitcoins pushed by Mt. Gox is truthful and correct, then “deeply flawed” would be a charitable description of the company’s system of internal controls. If management was not complicit, then they both failed to prevent and failed to detect a massive theft that likely occurred over a lengthy period of time. CEO Mark Karpeles has lost the confidence of the Bitcoin community and will unquestionably have to go. The developers and accounting staff, such as they are, will also have to go, if only to allay fears that they might have been complicit in the theft. After that, who will be left standing, the janitor? Workforce in place, what could have been Mt. Gox 2.0’s most significant asset, will basically be non-existent.

What is left that will generate revenue? Besides the debt, Mt. Gox’s balance sheet consists of the website and trademark (worth less than $0, in my opinion), proprietary trading software (useless if it somehow permitted Mt. Gox to be the victim of theft) and an inconsequential amount of furnishings, computers and other equipment. If Sunlot just wants rights to the website and the name, then why not buy them at auction during the liquidation? Alternatively, why not just start a new exchange free and clear from Mt. Gox’s bad name and other baggage?

Sunlot Holdings Limited, the group behind the rehabilitation plan, includes Bitcoin entrepreneur Brock Pierce, and venture capitalists Matthew Roszak and William Quigley. They seem like competent investors, but do they have experience with carrying out the sort of turnaround that will be necessary for Mt. Gox to earn its way back to solvency? This is no small matter, as Fortune 500 companies pay big money for turnaround experts. If anyone could do this, then former JC Penney CEO Ron Johnson, an Apple veteran who created that company’s retail store concept, wouldn’t be out of a job. Today, Mt. Gox could hardly be in worse shape. They owe lots of money to an almost inconceivable number of creditors. They basically own nothing of value and they have been out of operation for months (perhaps years by the time a reorganization could be carried out). Sunlot claims that is “prepared to invest heavily in [Mt. Gox] once [they] have conducted a full accounting of Mt. Gox’s assets and legal liabilities.” Does that mean that they haven’t already done this?

Where will the capital come from? Sunlot Holdings says that remaining assets will be distributed to creditors immediately. Presumably, that means that the company would restart with $0 in liquid capital, no bitcoins and an enormous debt load. Why would an investor agree to assume hundreds of millions of dollars in debt that isn’t his in exchange for a small amount of assets of dubious value? Perhaps the group intends to engage in a fishing expedition. Mt. Gox’s missing bitcoins didn’t just disappear. Is Sunlot hoping to somehow find and recover them?

Speaking of Mark Karpeles, will reorganization include some kind of deal that allows him to walk away? If the Sunlot team wants his help, then any competent lawyer will ask for indemnity for him from participating creditors. Save Gox says that Karpeles abandoned their plan in an effort to “avoid personal liability” as alleged in a civil fraud suit in the United States that is currently seeking class action status. If he, as CEO, was negligent in carrying out his fiduciary duty, then shouldn’t he be held liable?

Are there any objectively good reasons to rehabilitate Mt. Gox besides making creditors whole? If you are one of those creditors, you probably don’t think that you have much to lose by getting on board. You will likely be asked to give up the right to sue, now or in the future, and you will probably also have to take a haircut and/or some sort of equity in lieu of debt arrangement. However, keep in mind that the men behind Save Gox are savvy investors, not altruists. Their proposal must have started with a shrewd and fairly realistic assessment of what they stand to gain by taking over Mt. Gox. Whatever that is, it isn’t necessarily at the expense of Mt. Gox’s creditors, but it also won’t be at the expense of a profit motive. Given the level of risk involved with the plan, Sunlot’s expected rate of return must be high indeed.

Is this even legal, or feasible? At least one bankruptcy court judge has already decided that the answer is no. In order for this plan to work, Sunlot will need to convince bankruptcy court judges on at least two continents both that it is realistic and that the team is capable of carrying it out. They will also need a critical mass of creditors to get on board and to accept something less than the full and immediate recovery to which they are legally entitled. Any creditor who chooses not to participate will rightfully be able to demand full and immediate repayment from Mt. Gox’s successor management. In order to buy the company’s way out of liquidation, Sunlot will have no choice but to pay them.

What if it doesn’t work? There is no possible reorganization scenario that could be described as other than high risk. Mt. Gox’s customers could find themselves right back where they started, except this time they might be considered equity holders instead of creditors. As equity holders, that would put them dead last in line for repayment. Sunlot, on the other hand, is likely to structure this investment as a leveraged buyout, meaning they would “lend” Mt. Gox the money to make good. This also means that, as creditors, they would go to the head of the line under a repeat bankruptcy scenario.

What do you think? If you lost money at Mt. Gox and are considering signing on with Sunlot Holdings’ Save Gox plan, please share your thoughts in comments below.

April 29, 2014 at 07:01PM

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Paying with Bitcoin at the Gas Pump

Bitcoin may be coming to a gas station near you thanks to Andy Schroder’s Bitcoin Fluid Dispenser II. For commodities like oil and gas, this innovation could help streamline the end of the supply chain and in turn, increase the usability of cryptocurrencies. So far, there are a few companies at the forefront of Bitcoin technology in the oil and gas industry. Recently, Texas based oil and gas data company Oilfield Intel LLC announced in March that it would accept Bitcoin, becoming the first provider in the industry to do so. The Cosmic Market in Greeley, Colorado announced in December that it would be accepting bitcoin at its retail gas station and convenience store manually at their cashier. However, the most exciting developments in the industry concerning Bitcoin are the inventions like Andy Schroder’s that change the interaction when we as consumers obtain commodities that we use everyday, like gasoline. Bitcoin provides an alternative to the status quo in this industry, which if it could be used in the entire supply chain without the need for currency exchanges, could help reduce some of the challenges and tension involved with global fuel trade by removing the reliance on the “petro dollar.”

Andy Schroder is heavily involved in many projects that explore solar energy and power cycles, in addition to heat transfer research. He has used his engineering experience and passion for Bitcoin to create The Bitcoin Fluid Dispenser II, which allows customers to pay for gas from a self operating machine using Bitcoin. The device itself looks identical to a modern fuel pump only with slight modifications, most notably, a large screen that allows users to view the cost of the fuel, scan a Bitcoin payment address, and keep track of how much has been pumped. Much like pre-paying in cash at your neighborhood gas station, users pre-pay at the pump with their Bitcoin wallet and receive change automatically for any unused credit when they are done pumping. Simply scan the QR code on the pump and send mBTC (millibits) from your mobile device. Once the pump receives the payment you can begin fueling.

You can already buy gas with gift cards purchased with Bitcoin, but buying gift cards or prepaid debit cards with Bitcoin means retailers are still relying on a credit card system, instead of using Bitcoin to do what it is made to do: eliminate fraud, provide faster payments, eliminate the need to store cash from the point of sale, and decrease per transaction cost. Schroder’s innovation allows both retailers and consumers to take advantage of all the benefits of bitcoin, while still maintaining the conveniences of a credit card based sale.

Schroder believes in the importance of trading consumable commodities with Bitcoin, and thinks that it may help reduce volatility and increase adoption. “Some economists share the belief that a continually inflating currency is needed to encourage trade and maintain an active economy, because in an inflationary monetary system if you don’t use your store of value, you lose it, which promotes spending,” Schroder stated. “However, within the cryptocurrency Austrian economics communities, many have grown frustrated with continually inflating monetary systems because it is considered a form of theft from the people by the central bankers.” Instead, Schroder believes that if commodities that are needed to sustain our everyday lives and businesses can be purchased directly with bitcoin, that the market can thrive with a deflationary currency like Bitcoin.

Making a fuel purchase directly with Bitcoin means that you never have to leave the pump, pre-pay with cash, or share important credit card and personal information. Bitcoin could enable the global trade of consumable commodities like oil and gas without having to rely on currency exchanges or an inflationary monetary system. Hopefully the oil and gas industry will embrace bitcoin and can close this loop. If they do, maybe other industries will follow suit, further propelling bitcoin into mainstream use and making it something much more than just a speculative asset.

April 29, 2014 at 06:31PM

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MIT Project to Distribute $500,000 in Bitcoin to Undergraduates


A couple of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) students have managed to raise $500,000 in bitcoin for a curious cryptocurrency project.

The pair intend to distribute the money to every single MIT student this fall: each undergrad will receive $100 in the digital currency.

The project was launched by Dan Elitzer, the founder and president of the MIT Bitcoin Club, and Jeremy Rubin, a sophomore studying computer science. Their goal is simple – to create an ecosystem for digital currencies at MIT.

Cryptocurrency research in a tech savvy micro-ecosystem

It’s not just another bitcoin-related publicity stunt. Elitzer and Rubin have already prepared a range of activities and they plan to work with professors and researchers in an effort to study how MIT students will use the cash they receive.

While it sounds like a fun project, it is rather serious. The team hope to spur academic and entrepreneurial activity at MIT.

With thousands of tech savvy students on campus, backed by world-class teachers and researchers, MIT is probably one of the best places in the world to launch such a project.

Rubin and Elitzer say they want to help MIT continue its long tradition as the preeminent educational institution at the forefront of emerging technologies.

The funding is coming from MIT alumni and the bitcoin community. The team has already raised more than $500,000, which is enough to cover the cost of the project and the distribution of $100 in bitcoin to all 4,528 enrolled at MIT.

Will MIT become the biggest BTC playground yet?

The team hopes to distribute the bitcoins this fall, making the MIT campus the first place in the world with widespread bitcoin access.

As far as the general public goes, bitcoin adoption remains very limited. However, the college campus could soon see a few thousand students eager to spend their free bitcoins. Rubin added:

“Giving students access to cryptocurrencies is analogous to providing them with internet access at the dawn of the Internet era.”

The organizers admit they still don’t know how students will use their bitcoin, but that’s largely the point. The programme offers a unique opportunity to study behaviour, spending habits, identify potential problems and alternative uses for bitcoin.

Best of all, we are talking about MIT students, who know a thing or two about tech and innovation.

Marcio Jose Bastos Silva / Shutterstock.com


April 29, 2014 at 12:02PM

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28 April 2014

Yelp Officially Announces New Feature for Bitcoin Merchants


San Francisco-based merchant directory provider Yelp has officially announced a new functionality that allows bitcoin-accepting merchants to advertise their acceptance via its platform.

Though rumors have circulated since as far back as 10th April, this was the first time that the company confirmed the addition of the new feature.

Wrote Yelp in its official blog post:

“We’re constantly thinking about how to make our business attributes more useful for consumers and businesses. That’s why we’re excited to announce that as of today, we’re adding a new attribute: ‘Accepts Bitcoin: Yes’.”

Business owners that accept bitcoin can now update their profile on biz.yelp.com to take advantage of the new feature.

Finding the new feature

The new attribute will now be visible in Yelp profiles under the “More business info” section of all applicable entries.

Other attributes in this section denote whether the business accepts credit cards or has available parking.

yelp, bitcoin

‘Buzz about bitcoin’

Yelp’s blog post also came with some additional information for those who may be unfamiliar about bitcoin.

The company, which has a market capitalization of nearly $4bn (http://ift.tt/1rGkk6h), lauded bitcoin as a “fast, secure and low-cost digital payments” tool that enables businesses to conduct transactions without storing sensitive user data.

Added the company:

“We’re hopeful the introduction of the Bitcoin attribute will provide yet another way for consumers to connect with great local businesses.”

Image via Yelp


April 28, 2014 at 10:23PM

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27 April 2014

Ohio Bans Bitcoin for Alcohol Sales


The State of Ohio has effectively banned the use of bitcoin for alcohol sales, becoming the first government in the US to take such explicit action.

The decision reportedly came in response to a local journalist’s query to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, after that reporter wrote about the Bitcoin Boulevard US project in Cleveland’s Cedar & Lee district.

The query asked if accepting bitcoin could jeopardize local liquor licenses in any way. The Department of Public Safety is responsible for issuing liquor licenses in the state.

Apparently, the answer is ‘yes’.

Money and currency

Cleveland.com reported that Eric Wolf, agent-in-charge with the Ohio Investigative Unit of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, said that “because bitcoin’s value fluctuates so much, it is more like a commodity and ‘not recognized as legal currency.’”

Ohio’s Liquor Control Law under Chapter 4301 expressly mentions ‘payment of money’ in its rules governing the provision of alcohol. It does not use the word ‘currency’. This again raises questions about the exact definition of ‘money’ versus ‘official legal currency’. The state’s law is quite specific in the way it defines various forms of alcoholic drinks.

This means using anything other than US currency to buy alcohol in Ohio is prohibited.

Trying to reach out

Some alcohol-selling members of Bitcoin Boulevard US, which announced its project just last week, had already expressed a desire to communicate with authorities about the project and make their positions clear.

The campaign had already reached out to all relevant regulators. The Ohio Liquor Control legal board sent a ‘no stance’ reply and the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Trade Bureau (TTB) had also reportedly raised no objections.

Bitcoin Boulevard US is due to be the US’s first Bitcoin Boulevard, a promotion to gather a group of merchants in one local area to accept bitcoin.

Organizer Nikhil Chand posted his regrets on reddit yesterday, saying the agencies the campaign contacted had all been “intrigued” by bitcoin and listened to explanations.

“I personally think their conclusion is unfortunate, and is indicative of the type of senseless obstructionism small businesses face from many antiquated and complicated laws and regulations,” he wrote.

“But, it makes for an interesting new chapter to the bitcoin story and an interesting topic to present at our launch event. I fear this will set a precedent for other areas of the US as bitcoin continues adoption and so I plan to do whatever I can to keep this issue alive.”

Alcohol image via Cristi Lucaci / Shutterstock


April 28, 2014 at 04:45AM

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