The US Marshals Service is auctioning off $2million worth of bitcoin and the registration is currently open for interested bidders. The Chamber of Digital Commerce announced that Matthew Mellon of MellonDrexel will serve as the Executive Committee Chairman of the Chamber. And the Bitcoin Foundation is pulling completely out of policy to focus on core development.
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Summary of Government Related Initiatives
The US Marshal Service is auctioning off 50,000 bitcoins (approx. $2mil worth) seized from Ross Ulbricht’s personal hardware. This is the second bitcoin auction resulting from the Silk Road case. The sale of Ulbricht’s bitcoins was agreed to in a court order signed by Ulbricht’s lawyers. Bidder registration opened on Nov. 17 and closes on Dec. 1.
Last week at Bloomberg the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Commissioner Mark Wetjen stated the CFTC does have jurisdiction over any type of manipulative market behavior, not just those in strictly defined commodities. It is his interpretation of the state statute that bitcoin classifies as a commodity. The CFTC has already held one public briefing on bitcoin and multiple companies are seeking approval to offer hedging products.
Summary of Industry Initiatives
This past week, the Bitcoin Foundation announced they have found their true – and original – calling: Bitcoin core development. Under the leadership of their new Executive Director, Patrick Murck, plans are underway to focus on strengthening the core development and turn over the bulk of outreach, education and public policy to other organizations.
The Chamber of Digital Commerce announced Friday that Matthew Taylor Mellon II will serve as the Executive Committee Chairman. Mr. Mellon comes from a family whose knowledge in the banking industry dates back over 175 years. He is a prominent Bitcoin investor and entrepreneur, and is working to bring blockchain technology to billions of people around the world. “With the team Perianne Boring is assembling in Washington, the chamber is going to be the leading voice in advocating for digital commerce,” said Mellon.
Blockstream, the Bitcoin 2.0 company that introduced Sidechains, raised $21 million from a range of notable investors, including Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder. The implementation of Sidechains would allow developers to test out alternative uses of the blockchain (Bitcoin’s public ledger), like smart contracts, on parallel blockchains, decreasing risk to the core blockchain. Blockstream’s team includes bitcoin core developers and expert cryptographers, “Austin Hill and Adam Back have assembled a powerhouse team, with a big and thoughtful strategy on how to help scale the blockchain ― I bet Satoshi is smiling right now,” said Matthew Roszak, Founder of Tally Capital and Blockstream co-investor.
Vitalik Buterin, the famed developer of the 2.0 platform Etherum, and Bitcoin magazine co-founder, beat out Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to win the World Technology Network award for IT software. Back in June of this year, Buterin won the Thiel Fellowship award for $100,000 from Paypal co-founder and venture capitalist Peter Thiel.
CryptoLabs announced their first product, Case, a dedicated hardware, multi-sig, biometric enabled bitcoin wallet. Case aims to be the “most secure option” for storing coin and the first “Bitcoin wallet to replace your actual wallet.” Case has a fingerprint reader, QR scanner and is GSM-enabled. “We think there’s room for a superior hardware device to fight the security issues that Bitcoin faces. At the end of the day, multi-signature wallets on dedicated hardware offer the ultimate security,” said Melanie Shapiro, CEO of CryptoLabs. Case will be available for pre-sale in December.
Tether, formerly branded as Realcoin, which has a 1-to-1-conversion rate with the dollar, has announced it will be opening its private beta. Tether operates on the Mastercoin protocol that is an exchange layer on top of Bitcoin’s protocol that allows asset exchange. Tether is partnering with Bitfinex, Expresscoin, GoCoin and ZenBox. “Our speciality at Tether is currencies on the blockchain, so Tether means a digital tie to a real-world asset and the digital assets that we’re focused on are currencies,” said Tether CEO Reeve Collins.
The investment research firm, Wedbush Securities, announced its first investment in the digital asset industry with Buttercoin. Sheri Kaiserman of Wedbush says Buttercoin’s US banking partnership has allowed for seamless and reliable trades. Notable investors in Buttercoin also include Google Ventures, Y Combinator, and Alexis Ohanian the founder of Reddit. Cedric Dahl, Buttercoin CEO, contends that in the near future we could see Bitcoin in portfolios ranging from pension funds to university endowments, depending on future regulatory framework.
A group of leading Chinese Bitcoin mining companies including ZeusMiner, Gridseed, and Rockminer have banned together to bring about better transparency, particularly in the world of cloud mining. The announcement made by Chinese mining companies states they will provide proof of the actual mining operations including the source of emerging coins and how the coins are paid out to customers who pay for cloud mining contracts. Prominent Bitcoin developer Gavin Andresen argued recently that cloud mining contracts make no sense. He suspects many of them will turn out to be Ponzi schemes. There has been a broad shift from home-based mining to hosted cloud mining systems. Alex Lam of Rockminer, hopes greater transparency will encourage more people to support digital currencies.
Quote of the Week
“It has not been tested, but I do believe we have the authority because if you think of any reasonable reading of our statute, bitcoin classifies as a commodity.” CFTC Commissioner Mark Wetjen
Picture of the Week
Tweet of the Week
Pay attention to bitcoin. It’s not a fad. It’s growing, gaining transparency and understands the imperatives of investor protection
— Arthur Levitt (@ArthurLevitt) November 23, 2014