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Weekly Bitcoin Update – 16 Nov. 2014

One Year since Peak Price

It has been one year since Bitcoin reached its highest value, leading Eoghan Macguire of CNN to wonder what the future holds for the cryptocurrency. He highlights the opinions of individuals like the Managing Editor of CoinDesk, Emily Spraven, who believes Bitcoin’s price “will begin stabilize over the coming year or so.”Meanwhile, David Yermack, a Professor of Finance at the BYU Stern School of Business, would not be shocked if Bitcoin’s strongest points were “grafted into new products and services,” as “breakthrough products tend to be taken over pretty quickly by improved versions.”

Changes at Reddit

Reddit has long been one of the top hubs of Bitcoin activity and discussion. However, as Clay Michael Gillespie of CryptoCoins News writes, the link aggregating website’s CEO, Yishan Wong, had expressed anti-Bitcoin advocate statements in the past. Specifically, Wong stated that “the userbase for bitcoins is basically crazy libertarians who are increasingly poor-informed about currency systems and macroeconomics.

This past week, Wong resigned from his position as chief executive officer and was replaced by co-founder Alexis Ohanian. As Gillepsie writes, he has expressed “cautiously optimistic” statements about the future of the cryptocurrency: “If it can get to the point where my Dad is like, ‘Hey, tell me about this Bitcoin thing, I’m really intrigued by it’ – then I’ll be like, ‘Ok, all right.’ That’ll be the moment.”

Reddit has previously considered creating its own cryptocurrency.

Tired of Losing Track of Your Wallet? Put It into Your Own Skin.

In what could be the craziest Bitcoin story of the year, an Amsterdam-based digital currency entrepreneur has implanted his Bitcoin wallet into his hand. Eliene Augenbraun of CBS News discusses Martijn Wismeijer, also known as “Mr. Bitcoin,” who injected a near-field communications (NFC) chip into his hand. This is the same type of technology that is used in Apple Pay’s digital payment system. The device allows for the short-range wireless transmission of data. Augenbraun notes that Wismeijer and his friends, who also had NFC chips inserted into their skin, had their operation completed in an old toothpaste factory. A video of Wismeijer’s procedure can be found here.

The Strength of the Blockchain

Could Bitcoin be the first of many applications of the blockchain innovation? Everrett Rosenfeld of CNBC reports on the potential creative use of Satoshi Nakamoto’s technology. Specifically, he lights the fact that the “chain lives in its entirety on hundreds of machines around the world – which helps ensure protection from corruption, technological or otherwise.” In an era where concerns regarding online security continue to rise, the backbone of Bitcoin could serve as the solution to many needs. Rosenfeld also discusses how “smart contracts and “smart property” could be some of the potential applications of the blockchain technology outside of bitcoin.

Coinbase’s Next Round of Funding

One of the most popular bitcoin wallets in the United States is initiating another round of funding. Ryan Lawler of TechCrunch writes that the startup seeks to raise an additional $50 million in new capital during its upcoming round of funding. Less than a year ago, Coinbase secured a $25 million Series B funding that was led by Andreessen Horowitz. The startup may not reach its goals, however, because of questions regarding the cryptocurrency’s erratic pricing and potential regulation. That being said, Bitcoin companies BlockChain and BitPay have each raised $30 million in the past.

Meet Bitrefill

Bitcoin users in over 113 countries in the world will be able to top up their mobile phone credit with Bitrefill. Joon Ian Wong of CoinBase reports on this Bitcoin startup, which can allow cryptocurrency holders to refill their mobile phone credit by typing in their number into its website. As a result, mobile phone users will no longer have to visit a convenience store to buy credit for their device. Wong also discusses thee strength of Bitrefill’s connections with third-party service distributors, which allows the company to link up with 425 different operators around the world.

Thompson’s Stance on Bitcoin

While cryptocurrency advocates may view Bitcoin as a solution to today’s market conditions, Western Union CIO John David Thompson holds a starkly different stance on the digital currency’s potential. Forexminute writes on Thompson’s stance, which could be in contrast to earlier statements from the money transfer facilitator’s CEO, Hikmet Ersek. While Thompson does not believe the cryptocurrency can solve the issues within today’s marketplace, he does state that it represents an innovative technology for the transaction and exchange of information.

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