The Red Cross Is Taking Bitcoin Donations To Help Nepal
The death toll in Nepal as of Sunday evening is at 2789 from the 7.9M earthquake that hit the Kathmandu region over the weekend. The Red Cross is sending medical and other essential supplies to those in need. Thanks to ChangeTip, the Red Cross is accepting bitcoin donations via Twitter.
ChangeTip is encouraging the community to make contributions (large or small) to help further build out the micropayments and charitable giving use case for bitcoin. Click here to donate over Twitter now.
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US Government Subpoenas Private Messages from Bitcointalk
Bitcointalk.org, considered one of the most popular Bitcoin community forums, turned over confidential information to the US government. Michael Marquadt, the forum’s administrator, also known as “theymos,” said a subpoena forced him to release the private messages of 600 people who interacted with the accounts of Butterfly Labs staff on the forum. Butterfly Labs was shut down by the Federal Trade Commission in September 2014, but was allowed to re-open in January to issue customer refunds and ship hardware orders.
Former Treasury Official: Government Could Play a Role in Currency Regulation
A former senior economist at U.S. Treasury says a conversation about bitcoin and virtual currencies could be worth having. Ike Brannon expressed his opinions in a column “Can there be a role for the government in the advent of crypto-currencies?” written in the Hill last week. Brannon said that if digital currencies are ever to gain enough popularity “by anyone other than the libertarians and anarcho-capitalists,” regulation will become a necessity.
Former White House Advisor Joins MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative
The MIT Media Lab recently named Brian Forde as the director of their digital currency initiative. Forde is a former White House advisor on mobile and data innovation. The MIT digital currency initiative’s goal is to conduct and “provide evidence-based research to support existing and future policy and standards.”
itBit Seeks Banking License In New York
Itbit, a bitcoin exchange with operations in the U.S. and Singapore is seeking a banking license in New York. The move would make itBit the first bitcoin company to be licensed as a bank in the United States. Former FDIC head Sheila Bair and former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley are listed as “organizers” on itBit’s application.
Rand Paul Compares Bitcoin Regulation to Early Internet
GOP Presidential hopeful Rand Paul told a room full of supporters in New York that he is “open to new technology,” despite not being an expert on Bitcoin. Paul, who spoke at the Union League Club last week, said he became interested in the technology after reading venture capitalist Marc Andreesen’s take on the potential to eliminate transactions costs through the blockchain. He also said if the internet was heavily regulated at its onset “we’d have never gotten to where we are now.”
Tennessee Could Soon Allow Bitcoin Campaign Donations
On April 20, 2015, Tennessee House Bill 701 passed 61 to 28. The bill allows political candidates in Tennessee to accept digital currencies for campaign contributions. However, digital currency donations would have to be sold for U.S. Dollars before spending the funds, so digital currencies would not be allowed for expenditures. The comparable Senate Bill 674 already passed in March. The legislation is now on its way to Governor Bill Haslam for final adoption.
North Carolina Introduces Digital Currency Legislative Proposal
Representative Stephen Ross of North Carolina’s General Assembly, along with state Senator Rick Gunn introduced HB 289 on March 19, 2015. HB 289 offers a series of amendments to the state’s existing “Money Transmitters Act” to incorporate digital currencies. Coinbase called the legislation “sensible” because it does not “duplicate regulatory regimes” compared to New York’s “BitLicense” regulatory proposal. The bill has been referred to the committee on Finance.
‘Bitcoin Baron’ Hacker Arrested in Arizona
Randall Tucker, a hacker going by the name Bitcoin Baron, has been arrested in Arizona for his part in an online attack. Tucker, who claimed to be part of the group Anonymous, was arrested after an investigation into a DDOS attack. He recently gave an interview to the New York Observer detailing his motivations.
Bitcoin Community Celebrates VAT Tax Exemption in Spain
The bitcoin community in Spain is celebrating a recent statement from the government on the tax-exempt status of virtual currencies. The Ministerio de Hacienda, Spain’s official tax office, recently clarified that bitcoin is exempt from value added tax based on their interpretation of a European Union VAT Directive, which classifies bitcoin as a financial service.
Chilean Bitcoin Exchange Receives Government Funding
Chilean startup SurBTC has secured $40,000 in equity free funding from the government for its operations. The funding was part of an initiative to fund startups by the government in Chile. Six different banks rejected SurBTC before the exchange found a financial institution to partner with.
London Poised To Become Hub For Digital Currencies
Recent news that Swiss banking Giant UBS is planning to open a bitcoin-focused tech lab in London, could be responsible for the the world’s traditional financial capital’s change in attitude towards digital currencies. UK Finance Minister George Osborne recently commented that the country would lead the world in FinTech, including digital currencies.
Spanish University To Offer Bitcoin Course
The University of Alicante, located in San Vicente del Raspeig, will be the first university in Spain to offer a course on Bitcoin. The course, ‘Bitcoin, la moneda virtual,’ which translates as ‘Bitcoin, Virtual Currency’ is being developed with Coinzone, a European Bitcoin company.
Philippine-based Fintech Startup Acquires Bitcoin Exchange
Philippine-based bitcoin startup Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI) has acquired the country’s only bitcoin exchange, BuyBitcoin.ph. BuyBitcoin.ph operates as an “over-the-counter” exchange which gives Filipinos “direct access” to buying and selling the virtual currency. The Philippines is considered the third largest remittance market in the world.
Interim Survey Results Released on Bitcoin Use Worldwide
Ireland-base communications firm, Bitcoin Marketing Team, released the interim results of a survey conducted on bitcoin use worldwide. The questionnaire surveyed 150 people in 51 countries, 89% of respondents being male. 51% of respondents have used bitcoin for online gambling and 31% mine digital currencies. The full results will be released in June.
OKCoin Launches Superwallet
China’s largest exchange for trading virtual currencies OKCoin has launched OKLink, a desktop “Superwallet.” The company calls it a “payment, settlement and clearing system established using Bitcoin protocol” which uses back-end technology to facilitate each transaction.
Mt. Gox Customers Can File Claims to Retrieve Lost Bitcoin
Customers who lost bitcoin through the defunct Mt. Gox exchange can now retrieve lost funds. A trustee of Mt. Gox has opened a two-way process for the claims. The exchange shuttered in Feb. 2014 with $63.6 million in debt and roughly 850,000 in lost bitcoins, with many customers losing their investments.
Nonprofits Accepting Bitcoin Are Seeing Spikes In Donations
Several major nonprofits in the US, including the American Red Cross, Greenpeace and Save the Children already accept Bitcoin donations and are seeing positive results. Save the Children has raised $10,000 worth of donations in bitcoin since fall 2013. Some bitcoin payment processors process bitcoin donations for non-profits for free.
Reddit Page Created for Bitcoin Microloans
A new sub-thread page on Reddit is aiming to take the middleman out of microloans. Within the first few days of its creation, FairShareLoans has had about 100 requests for peer-to-peer (P2P) loans. The loans range from 20 bits to 900,000 bits and the borrower’s credit score is determined by their Reddit karma and account history.
Boring Bitcoin Calendar
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.
Card Not Present Expo
May 18-21, 2015, Orlando, FL
The CNP Expo will be held in May in Orlando, and was created to address the issues surrounding mobile payments. Keynote speakers include Instacart Executive Nilam Ganenthiran, Rent the Runway’s Jennifer Fleiss and BlueSnap CEO Ralph Dangelmaier. Agenda includes bootcamps, workshops and more. Register here.
Bitcoin and other Digital Currencies: Emerging Issues in Regulation and Enforcement
June 26, 2015, Washington, DC
The American Bar Association, an organization comprised mostly of lawyers and some law students, will hold an event focused on bitcoin and digital currencies, with an emphasis on regulatory compliance and law enforcement efforts. The event plans to highlight state and federal enforcement mechanisms. Representatives from government agencies are expected.
Tweet of the Week
BitBeat: Latin America Facebook Rival Taringa! to Use Bitcoin to Pay for Content… Mass adoption motivator? http://t.co/MmmNR1bCT9
— Michael Casey (@mikejcasey) April 21, 2015
Pic of the Week
Quote of the Week
Ettore Rossetti, Director, social media and digital marketing at Save the Children, to the Wall Street Journal:
“We want to remain contemporary and relevant to current and future generations. We don’t only want to be your grandmother’s charity; we want to be your grandchild’s charity. One way to do that is to accept bitcoin.”