Inaugural Bitcoin Women’s Day
This Sunday was International Women’s Day, and a few of my female colleagues in bitcoin came together to launch Inaugural Bitcoin Women’s Day. It is estimated that only 8% of bitcoin users are female. Earlier this year, I was honored to be named CoinFilter’s #1 Woman in Bitcoin. However, I was appalled that not one woman made CoinDesk’s Most Influential People in Bitcoin poll this year. Women bring a different set of characteristics and talents to the boardroom. The bitcoin industry faces serious challenges and barriers to mainstream adoption. Embracing this demographic into the ecosystem will be essential for the future of bitcoin.
It’s not news that Bitcoin has a perception problem. Most people’s first impression of bitcoin is a scandal like Mt. Gox, Silk Road, or Liberty Reserve. What’s frustrating is that these scandals are not only continuing but getting worse, from funding terrorism to pedophile rings. Bitcoin has a dirty and unsafe reputation. Women are natural nurturers, protectors, and pay acute attention to image. In addition, women have tremendous control over household spending. It will take women’s work to drag bitcoin’s name out of the mud and into a trusted household brand.
Chinese-based Alibaba, one the largest e-commerce companies in the world, values women in business. Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman, was quoted saying “One of secret sauces of Alibaba is we have a lot of women”. The bitcoin community needs more women in existing bitcoin companies, starting their own bitcoin companies, integrating blockchain technology into other non-bitcoin specific companies, and using bitcoin in their households.
My hope is that Bitcoin Women’s Day can shed light on the fact that bitcoin is not just for men, computer geeks or scientists. Bitcoin offers the largest white space in our generation and this technology has the potential to penetrate any market, anywhere around the world. Everyone has something to offer the ecosystem, especially women.
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ECB Issues “Further Analysis” of Virtual Currency
The European Central Bank issued a follow-up to its 2012 study on “Virtual Currency Schemes.” The report acknowledged that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are gaining traction, but called them “inherently unstable.” The report’s authors added, “In theory, VCS could have an impact on monetary policy and price stability. However, it was concluded that VCS did not pose a risk for price stability in practice, provided that the issuance volume of virtual currency continued to be stable and their usage low.”
California Company Tries to Trademark ‘Bitcoin’
The US Patent and Trademark Office turned down a California houseware company’s application to trademark the word ‘Bitcoin.’ Owner of Atlantic City Bitcoin, Russ Smith filed an opposition against the company, Urban Trend LLC. The motion resulted in a default judgment because the owner of Urban Trend failed to reply to questions required after the opposition was filed. The Bitcoin Foundation has long opposed any trademark of the word “bitcoin”, maintaining it should remain available for “public use.”
FINRA Grants Approval to Bitcoin Investment Trust
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority granted approval to the Bitcoin Investment Trust last week. BIT, though technically a hedge fund, operates like an exchange-traded fund through a loophole in FINRA rules. BIT is poised to be the first publicly traded bitcoin fund in the US. Also in the race is the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust, an ETF that is waiting to receive approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Canadian Bitcoin Exchange To Go Public
A Bitcoin exchange in Canada could soon go public. Quadriga CX received approval from the Supreme Court of British Columbia allowing the company to conduct a reverse takeover of the Whiteside Capital Corporation. Quadriga has about 5,000 clients but the move will give them extra capital to expand their exchange and host additional services like remittance capabilities and merchant services. Already, Quadriga is said to be in talks with two online casinos to process their payments.
MGT Capital Investments Files LOI to Merge with Tera Group
MGT Capital Investments and Tera Group have filed a Letter of Intent for a reverse merger with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The companies plan to form the first publicly traded US Bitcoin derivatives exchange. MGT currently runs “social and real money gaming sites online.” Tera launched TeraExchange, the first regulated platform for Bitcoin derivatives, and a spot Bitcoin index in September 2014. The news comes after Timo Schlaefer, formerly of Goldman Sachs, recently launched Crypto Facilities, a bitcoin derivatives brokerage firm in the UK.
Japan’s New Digital Currency Exchange Aims to Fill Mt. Gox Void
Japan-based Tech Bureau Inc. is launching a new digital currency exchange. Zaif Exchange supports Bitcoin and Monacoin. Tech Bureau recently bought local digital currency exchange Etwings after receiving $835,000 in venture capital funding from Nippon Technology Venture Partners. Tech Bureau’s CEO told CoinTelegraph that the collapse of Mt. Gox “fueled a lot of negative coverage” of bitcoin but he is hoping strong business practices can spur greater adoption of digital currencies.
Peer-to-Peer Money Transfer App Wins Top Prize at Launch Festival
The former director of Netscape, Bill Barhydt, has won the top prize at Launch Festival 2015 for his new bitcoin venture Abra. The goal of Abra is to reduce fees associated with third party money transfers, billing itself as “the world’s first digital cash, peer to peer money transfer network.” The app, powered by bitcoin, will allow anyone with a debit card or cash to transfer money to anyone else with the app, through virtual “tellers.” Barhydt is known for giving the first TED Talk on bitcoin.
Boring Bitcoin Calendar
Loyola Consumer Law Review
March 27, 2015, Chicago, IL
This symposium will examine emerging payment systems that are innovating on traditional payment rails, such as mobile payments and prepaid products, in addition to blockchain technology, the payment rail behind Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Industry professionals will navigate the current landscape of emerging payments by analyzing the technology and business models responsible for the market shift and the legal, regulatory, and compliance hurdles encountered by businesses and financial institutions.
Texas Bitcoin Conference
March 28-29, 2015, Austin, TX
The Texas Bitcoin Conference is a bitcoin technology summit with speakers, presentations and a hackathon. Key speakers include Steve Stockman, Congressional representative and bitcoin advocate, IBM Business Analytics and Strategy Architect Sumabala Nair and Founder and Partner of the Gilder Technology Fund, George Gilder.
Inside Bitcoins – New York
April 27-29, 2015, New York, NY
Inside Bitcoins will be returning to New York on April 27-29 at the Javits Convention Center. The program will cover topics including bitcoin 2.0, blockchain-based startups, institutional investing, multi-sig wallets, risk mitigation, compliance, banking and fundraising, and more. Keynotes have been confirmed from Dan Morehead, CEO, Pantera Capital and Chairman, Bitstamp; Brian Kelly, Contributor, CNBC’s Fast Money and Founder & Managing Member of Brian Kelly Capital LLC; and Perianne Boring, Founder and President, Chamber of Digital Commerce. Get 10% OFF with the discount code CHAMBER. Register at insidebitcoins.com/new-york.
Virtual Currency Today Summit
April 29, 2015, Boston, MA
“Bitcoin and Beyond: The Next Disruptor in Payments.” The Virtual Currency Today Summit will be held at the Hilton Boston Back Bay and will look at the many factors that will shape the adoption and growth of Bitcoin and other similar currencies. Expert panelists will offer insights on how market stakeholders can push through barriers to embrace digital currency as the next generation of payments and transaction solutions, which will ultimately change the end-user customer experience.
Tweet of the Week
The boring people at #PrivacySummit go to FTC sessions. The cool people are learning about robots and #Bitcoin.
— Jim Harper (@Jim_Harper) March 5, 2015
Pic of the Week
Quote of the Week
PayPal creator Peter Thiel speaking at the ButtonWood Gathering in New York:
“PayPal had these goals of creating a new currency. We failed at that, and we just created a new payment system. I think Bitcoin has succeeded on the level of a new currency, but the payment system is somewhat lacking. It’s very hard to use, and that’s the big challenge on the Bitcoin side.”