Bitcoin News Roundup – 4 Apr 2015
UBS Bank’s Bitcoin Blockchain innovation lab in London
Finextra reported plans by UBS to launch an innovation lab in London’s Canary Wharf fintech accelerator. The lab, to be set up at Level39, is a break away from purely in house innovation strategies. UBS admits the present environment is ripe for Fintech innovation; the Blockchain represents this shift. The Swiss lender has prior experience in fostering internal ‘innovations’ spaces. It’s team has also mentored accelerators programmes at Level39 in the last 2 years.
Group CIO at UBS spoke warmly of Bitcoin “Our innovation lab at Level39 will provide a unique platform to explore emerging technologies such as Blockchain and crypto-currencies, and to understand the potential impact for the industry”
The Obama effect earns Snowden 200 BTC in donations
On Wednesday, President Obama signed an executive order (here) on cyber threats targeting the US. It officially threatens sanctions against all who take part in cyber attacks and activities considered espionage.
“Sec. 2. I hereby determine that the making of donations of the type of articles specified in section 203(b)(2) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(2)) by, to, or for the benefit . . . .and I hereby prohibit such donations as provided by section 1 of this order.”
Seemingly, Edward Snowden, an NSA ex-analyst, falls under this category after leaking confidential data on NSA surveillance activities. CoinTelegraph reported good willed bitcoiners ostensibly defying this order by donating 200 BTC to his public address 1snowqQP5VmZgU47i5AWwz9fsgHQg94Fa
Indian investors interest in Bitcoin payment solutions
The Economic times of India (ET) says there is growing interest from Indian investors keen on its potential as a global payment system. The Bitcoin Alliance India, an association of bitcoin companies, brings together angels, lawyers, experts and VCs interested in this space. India has the highest inflow of remittances in the world, topping $69 billion in 2013. Bitcoin is often touted as remedy for remittance barriers, India is a vast opportunity.
Bitcoin foundation board member exposes malaise
The bitcoin foundation has reportedly laid off 90% of its staff and is unable to support core development. A board member, choosing to stay anonymous, posted on reddit expressing his dissatisfaction at the organization’s affairs.
Core dev can no longer be funded by it, and Patrick Murck is trying to re-create a new Foundation just for core dev, because the current name is tarnished. Do not fall for this.’
This follows burning through operational funds that has brought it to near-bankruptcy. The rant continued
First of all, the Bitcoin Foundation is effectively bankrupt. As a result of 2 years of ridiculous spending and poorly thought out decisions, they almost ran out of money in November of last year.
Presently headed by Patrick Murck as Executive director, after a controversial election process in February-March, the Bitcoin Foundation continues to tarnish its reputation. it has come under criticism for its centralized nature, a perceived antithesis of what bitcoin represents.
Silk Road DEA agents arrested for $ 800,000 bitcoin corruption charge
DEA special agent Carl Force and Secret service special agent Shaun Bridges,were both arrested on Monday, and charged with fraud and money laundering in the Silk Road investigation. While working this case, Bridges reportedly transferred $800,000 worth in bitcoins into his personal account on Mt. Gox.
Force on the other hand, is accused of receiving payments from Ross Ulbricht, 522 BTC on one instance, in return for privileged information. Under different identities, Force went on to blackmail him for $250,000 using law enforcement data. Wired magazine ran a full story and had this quotes from the Department of Justice
“Force then, without authority, developed additional online personas and engaged in a broad range of illegal activities calculated to bring him personal financial gain,”
Bitcoin price on a dull sideways movement at $250s
Much of this week, bitcoin’s markets have been consolidating sideways, after last week’s impulsive move from $267 down to $241. Price action is seemingly limited to a 10 dollar range, bound by upper $253 resistance and lower $243 support. In the past, sideways actions typically ends with a break on either side (up/down). It will be interesting to see how price unfolds in the coming week. Read more on Deep Dot Web’s weekly bitcoin price analysis.
Feds Subpoena Reddit users on dark market drug forum
A subpoena issued on March 11 by a special agent Michael McFarland, requested information from Reddit concerning 5 of its platform users. Evo Smith, NSWgreat,z-l, gwern and deepthroat were listed on the subpoena sent by Baltimore Department of Homeland Security. Request was made for subscribers information, email addresses, registration IP, current IP and other key information.
Gwern Branwen, who is on this list, is a pseudonymous researcher and freelance writer who focuses on darknet market. He released a statement on Reddit with details
Speculations suggests this is linked to Evolution market’s supposed $12 million dollars worth in stolen bitcoins last month. 4 of these users were directly involved with this illegal marketplace. This case deepens concerns on online privacy and limits of freedoms.
No more “Bitcoin Bowl”. Maria Santos of 99bitcoins reports that ESPN abruptly cancelled their three-year deal with Bitpay and, therefore, the St. Petersburg Bowl is looking for a new branding name. However, a representative of St. Petersburg field stated that “we have no reason to think that Bitcoin will not be back.”
Charlie Shrem, the former CEO of the deactivated BitInstant bitcoin exchange, goes to prison. As John Galt of Coin Buzz writes, Charlie Shrem’s two year sentence began on March 30. Shrem has pled guilty for running an illegal money-transferring business, money laundering, and for not reporting suspicious banking activity.
Vancouver-based Bit-X Financial Corps partners with Hong Kong bitcoin exchange ANX. Gola Yashu of NewsBtc reports that ANX offers Bit-X their bitcoin platform ANXPRO and trading services. According to Brad Moynes, Bit-X President, the partnership enables Bit-X “to instantly offer cryptocurrency services to our customers utilizing a proven technology platform and relying on the operations of a well-established brand and a very experienced team.”
Bitcoin security expert, Andreas Antonopoulos, and attorney Pamela Morgan, interested in digital currency co-launch Third Key Solutions to help decentralize the bitcoin security. Leon Pick of DC Magnates reports that the newly-launched company seeks to act as a bitcoin security advisor in order to provide businesses with information on how to manage the cryptocurrency technology.
A new report released by the Australian Department of Treasury considers the digital currencies, including the bitcoin, a threat to tax collection efforts. As Stan Higgins of Coin Desk writes, the Australian Treasury’s report identifies the need to change the structure of the current tax revenue system in order to adapt to the challenges of the cryptocurrency technology and to avoid tax evasion as a result of using the bitcoin.
Online shopping giant Overstock invests in Peernova, one of the leading companies in blockchain technology. As Elliot Maras of CryptoCoins News reports, Peernova has raised $19 million, which intends to use for developing data security and financial application products. Additionally, according to Peernova President and CEO, Dr. Naveed Sherwani, the company aims to “improve transparency in asset transactions.”
Japanese online retailer Rakuten accepts bitcoins. As Kyle Torpey of Inside Bitcoins writes, US consumers can make their purchases via the US Rakuten website using bitcoins as a legal form of payment. The bitcoin integration has been made feasible via a partnership with Bitnet, the payment processor. Additionally, the Japanese e-commerce giant has announced multi-signature escrow support for high-value items to offer enhanced security to consumers.
Bitcoin enters the social network space. As Nuno Menezes of Bitcoinist reports, Bitlanders is a new social network that pays users in bitcoins for their shared content and social activity. The aim of Bitlanders is to raise social awareness about the bitcoin while facilitating global access to the blockchain technology in a safe environment. The social platform follows the same concept as Facebook and Twitter where users can share photos, videos, updates and blogs, but they get rewarded in bitcoins