FastCoin Crypto News
Bitcoin was so off the radar a year ago that Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz knew nothing of the virtual currency until it was woven into the plot of a popular American television show.
“I first heard about it on The Good Wife,” Mr. Poloz said during a September visit to the central bank’s Calgary office, referring to the CBS legal drama, which produced an episode inspired by the mysterious origins of Bitcoin in early 2012.
The virtual currency took another step away from the margins of the financial system Monday, as the U.S. Senate homeland security and governmental affairs committee set aside a good chunk of the afternoon for testimony on whether the private – and largely anonymous – payment system requires special regulatory scrutiny. It was the first time a congressional committee had conducted hearings on digital currencies.
There are about 12 million Bitcoins in circulation, which are used by Internet consumers to pay for everything from gourmet coffee to teeth whitening. While some investors see the currency as a store of wealth along the lines of gold, detractors flag Bitcoins’ attractiveness to criminals: Transactions on Silk Road – the online marketplace for drugs and other illicit goods and services, such as murder-for-hire, that U.S. authorities closed earlier this year – were done in Bitcoin.
The one truth of pretty much every gold rush in history is that the people who made out like bandits weren't the adventurous suckers looking for gold, but the ones selling the shovels and mining pans.
More than a century since the last great gold rush, not much has changed. These days, modern-day prospectors are looking for Bitcoins instead of gold, and trading shovels for application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) rigs and GPU-loaded motherboards.
But just as before, all kinds of companies are rushing in to sell them the latest and greatest mining gear. Even mainstream PC makers are getting into the business.
Taipei-based ASRock recently released two completely insane motherboards specifically designed for Bitcoin mining. ASRock's H61 Pro BTC and the H81 Pro BTC are supposed to be a Bitcoin miner's dream, coming loaded with six PCIe slots, and extra four-pin power connectors to support up to six graphics cards simultaneously. The H61 supports up to Ivy Bridge-era Intel Core processors, while the H81 works with the latest Haswell Core chips.
Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke gave a cautious blessing to Bitcoin ahead of a Senate hearing on the controversial virtual currency Monday.
The US Senate held its first ever hearing on the promises and dangers of virtual currencies such as Bitcoin on Monday. In a letter to the homeland security and government affairs committee Bernanke said the currencies “may hold long-term promise, particularly if the innovations promote a faster, more secure and more efficient payment system.”
But the Fed chair also warned that he had little power to regulate online currencies. “Although the Federal Reserve generally monitors developments in virtual currencies and other payments system innovations, it does not necessarily have authority to directly supervise or regulate these innovations or the entities that provide them to the market,” said Bernanke.
Bitcoin's price just keeps on zooming. The virtual currency again hit record highs Monday ahead of a U.S. Senate Committee hearing on the potential risks and benefits of virtual currencies.
Bitcoin was recently trading at $525.62 on the CoinDesk price index, which represents an average of Bitcoin prices across large global exchanges. The currency closed Sunday at $476.30 on the index, marking a new record.
Meanwhile, Bitcoin recently touched a high of roughly $619 on the Tokyo-based Mt. Gox exchange.
Bitcoin is a four-year-old virtual currency that isn't backed by a central bank and can be traded on a number of exchanges or swapped privately. A growing number of merchants also accept Bitcoin as payment because the transaction costs associated with the currency are generally lower than those with credit or debit cards.
The recent price surges come as the Treasury Department, U.S. Secret Service, Department of Justice and others have sent letters to the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs saying that, like other currencies, Bitcoin offers both risks and benefits.
The letters precede a hearing on virtual currencies that will be held later Monday by the U.S. Senate Committee titled "Beyond Silk Road: Potential Risks, Threats, and Promises of Virtual Currencies."
Bitcoin has been vaulting to new records in recent weeks fueled by growing views that the virtual currency can have a credible future as an alternative to traditional methods of payment.
If the United States does not foster a reasonable regulatory environment for Bitcoin, the country might soon lose its head start in what could be the next great technological revolution. That's the message policymakers should hear today and tomorrow when the US Senate holds hearings on the virtual currency.
While Bitcoin is an international phenomenon, the United States has been central to its growth to date. Bitcoin's lead developer, Gavin Andresen, is an American based in the United States, as is the Bitcoin Foundation that employs him. The most innovative startups building out Bitcoin's infrastructure are also US-based. These include the merchant services provider Bitpay in Atlanta, backed by PayPal founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel, and the consumer-friendly wallet service Coinbase in Silicon Valley, backed by early Twitter funders Union Square Ventures.
But Bitcoin's center of gravity is beginning to shift. Earlier this year, China became the first country to overtake the United States in downloads of the Bitcoin client software, and since China's dominant search engine, Baidu, began accepting Bitcoins for services, demand has skyrocketed. BTC China, the main exchange there, recently became the largest in the world, accounting for 35% of all Bitcoin trades.
The price of virtual currency bitcoin is continuing to surge, as countries such as Georgia and Argentina take it up as an alternative to official currencies.
Decentralised virtual currency bitcoin hit a record high overnight, breaking through the $US500 barrier. At 9.20 AEST, it had climbed to $US520.
The surge comes despite a recent FBI crackdown on online marketplace Silk Road, which many people speculated would have lessened the demand for bitcoin.
However, bitcoin has soared 35% since the start of November.
Market strategist from IG Markets Evan Lucas says it’s very hard to predict or explain why bitcoin has spiked, as the digital currency does not have the liquidity of traditional financial assets.
“It’s an online phenomenon, constantly affected by the possibility of regulation, that’s not very free-flowing.
You may tune into “Real Housewives of Miami” for drama. Me? I google “bitcoin.” The virtual currency’s a vortex of intrigue and high adventure—not to mention volatile and high-flying returns. Some think it might be the future of money.
After notching stratospheric highs in April, bitcoin crashed hard. Some seven months on, its dollar exchange rate (how many dollars a bitcoin is worth) is nearing $500. That’s almost 100 times its value on January 1 and roughly double its earlier peak.
It pays to be skeptical when pundits pin market movements on any one thing—usually, there’s too much going on to tease out all the underlying causes.
That said, bitcoin’s latest run may be partly thanks to surging demand in China—where companies are IPOing in bitcoin, and the primary exchange, BTC China, recently surpassed Japan’s Mt. Gox, traditionally the world’s bitcoin hub.
In fact, China is second only to the US for bitcoin downloads.
Beyond frenzied investment, Bitcoin’s backers still ardently believe in its value as a medium of exchange that bypasses central bank fiddling and Wall Street fees. So, how easy is it to use bitcoin as money, its stated raison d’être?
Those bitcoins that made you gasp at $300 just a couple of weeks ago? They were a bargain — the value of 1 BTC has now passed $500.
Prices hit this record and landmark figure at 11.50am GMT on 17 November, and at the time of writing were trading at $503.10 on Mt. Gox.
That means: if you bought a stash of bitcoins at their absolute highest peak price of $266* in April 2013 and then felt nauseous as the price plunged to $65 the same week, you have now almost doubled your investment. Provided you didn’t cut your losses and sell prematurely, that is.
The bitcoin value began rising again almost immediately after that, breaking through the $100 mark again before May and hovering around that region throughout the northern hemisphere summer. It broke through $200 in late October and since then the price charts have been close to vertical, hitting $300 on 6 November and $400 on all exchanges by 15 November.
An influential digital currency evangelist says Hong Kong can grab a huge slice of the controversial multibillion-dollar bitcoin industry as US hostility towards virtual money increases.
Roger Ver, 34, a bitcoin millionaire, told the South China Morning Post that efforts to disrupt the digital currency money market would be futile.
"It's not stoppable. They can delay it within their own jurisdictions [states] but that's going to be incredibly short-sighted and damaging.
"If the US government tries to restrict or clamp down, that just means there will be many more bitcoin businesses in Hong Kong and Singapore and all those Americans will miss out on all the opportunities."
Tomorrow the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will hear regulators articulate the risks and dangers of digital currencies, while fans try to convince lawmakers otherwise.
On Friday, the New York State Department of Financial Services announced it will be holding a public hearing on virtual currency regulation, specifically considering whether a certification called "BitLicense" might help manage the spread of online currencies like Bitcoin. The new license would require consumer protection services, as well as anti-money laundering requirements, designed to make the currency less useful in cases of fraud and criminal activity.
The announcement emphasized that no decision has been made on the license, but the idea has raised crucial questions among both Bitcoin fans and Bitcoin skeptics. Thus far, Bitcoin exchanges have mostly evaded the money transmission regulations that banks and other currency exchanges are required to uphold, and many worry that the introduction of those regulations might make the currency less appealing, causing its value to decline. But for regulators, it's a necessary step towards bringing Bitcoin into the mainstream and avoiding large-scale fraud within the community, like the million-dollar TradeFortress heist that occurred earlier this month. As the Department of Finance put it, "it is in the long-term interest of the virtual currency industry to put in place appropriate guardrails that protect consumers, root out illegal activity, and safeguard our national security."
Bitcoin advocates say that one reason Bitcoin is talking off is burgeoning popularity in China.
They argue that the anonymous digital currency is naturally going to be popular in a country with such a repressed and archaic financial system.
So is it true? The site Fiatleak.com (via Sophie H who correctly calls it "hypnotic") has a really cool animated map showing Bitcoin transactions in real time. It shows both the currency denominated for the trade, as well as the country of the transaction.
It's really addicting and you can watch it here, but in the time we've watched it, it becomes clear that China really is big into Bitcoin relative to the rest of the world.
Below is a brief snapshot of what we saw in which the transactions were dominated by Chinese trading (at other times it's more even, with more US action).
Demand from China has been cited as the reason behind the rise in the value of bitcoin past $400, but what exactly does China mean for the future of the digital currency?
"China has the potential of really making or breaking bitcoin and its acceptance," Zennon Kapron, managing director of financial consulting and research firm Kapron Asia said at the 2013 bitcoin Singapore conference on Friday.
Bitcoin has continued to test fresh highs even after the shutdown of Silk Road - an online black market for illegal products - on October 1, where it was often used to purchase goods. And analysts say the reason for that could be the digital currency's growing popularity in China, the world's second biggest economy.
"There are two things affecting bitcoin in China," Linke Yang, co-founder and vice president of BTC China – the world's largest bitcoin exchange by volume – told CNBC on the sidelines of the conference.
Say what you want about the long-term viability of Bitcoin, the digital currency that's been going crazy lately. Bitcoin has been incredibly lucrative for Sam Cole, Marcus Erlandsson and Andreas Kennemar.
Because of Bitcoin, they generated $3 million in revenue in just four days.
Their company, KnCMiner, doesn't own Bitcoins or trade them. They make the special computers that allow people to "mine" Bitcoins from cyberspace.
From November 7 to 10, 2013, while Bitcoin prices were climbing wildly, Stockholm-based KnCMiner sold out of its newest Bitcoin computer, selling 5,000 units. These computers cost $7,000 a piece (and yes, they take Bitcoin as payment).
The opportunities for Bitcoin in China are “boundless” as the Chinese, famous for their big saving, are now using the cryptocurrency to save and invest, according to the co-founder of country’s largest exchange.
"The main reason why Bitcoin has become big in China is because Chinese people are savers, and more people are seeing Bitcoin as a way to store and invest their money," Linke Yang, vice president of BTC China, China’s largest Bitcoin exchange founded in 2011, told AFP at a conference in Singapore.
Famous for currency manipulation, investors wonder if the Chinese government will step in and restrict Bitcoin trading. The yuan is under strict government controls to keep economic risk low and control flow in and out of the borders.
It is said that during a gold rush, the people who make the real money are the ones selling the spades.
The same appears to be true with Bitcoin, judging by the whacking great revenues announced by a firm which makes computers dedicated to mining the cryptocurrency.
KnCMiner, a Swedish manufacturer of Bitcoin mining machines, told us it made $3m worth of sales in just four days earlier this month.
During this bumper sales period, which started on November 7th and ended on the 10th, the value of Bitcoin skyrocketed from $264 to $336.
KnCMiner was founded in April this year and is one of the victors in what it described as a "digital gold rush”.
“While we have seen a significant increase in demand for our line of machines from the last quarter to this one, what happened in the last four days has been unprecedented for us, maybe unprecedented anywhere in the Bitcoin mining industry, said KnCMiner CEO Andreas Kennemar.
Alix Resources Corp. is a Canadian mining company that invests in gold mines in Arizona and tungsten mines in British Columbia. But in early 2014, it will kick off a new venture: It’s launching a bitcoin trading exchange.
“We are a mining exploration company so, yes, this is a bit different,” Alix Resources CEO Michael England told the Vancouver Sun on Wednesday. “There’s a lot of expectations that bitcoins are going higher, so why not start accumulating?”
England did not return messages from WIRED seeking comment, but it’s safe to say that he’s a symbol of yet another bitcoin boom. The value of the world’s most popular digital currency is up about 3,000 percent from its January trading values — it crossed over $400 yesterday — and everyone from gamblers to entrepreneurs want to know how they can cash in.
Several companies now offer mining services in the cloud, and many others are selling specialized bitcoin mining rigs, hardware that generates bitcoins by helping to drive the distributed software system that oversees the digital currency. One company, KnCMiner, says it took in $3 million in mining rig orders in just four days last week. The week before that, three young entrepreneurs in Vancouver fired up an ATM that trades cash for bitcoins and vice versa. They say they did $100,000 in exchanges on their first day.
If you don’t understand what a bitcoin is, these Toronto entrepreneurs are here to help.
“When the Internet started, nobody understood how to send emails,” said Rodolfo Novak.
Just as electronic mail has become a ubiquitous communication tool, Novak says the emerging digital currency will increasingly be used for everyday purchases.
To that end, Toronto’s bitcoin believers are launching services to put virtual coins in your real-life wallet, and challenge the domain of traditional banks.
Novak is one of the founders of Coinkite, a bitcoin banking website. Coinkite accounts link the virtual coins to a debit card, which works with a card reader Novak is selling to merchants.
"In bitcoin," Austin Craig repeated to the young woman behind the counter at the Lean Crust Pizza parlor in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y. "Can we pay in bitcoin?"
"In what?" came the reply.
Mr. Craig, 30 years old, was struggling to convince Nadia Alamgir of the existence of the virtual currency that has gained traction across the world, and whose value—after months of wild swings—on Wednesday reached records around $400 per bitcoin.
On the Bitcoin Trail Austin Craig and Beccy Bingham-Craig traveled across the U.S. and to Europe and Asia spending only bitcoin.
Bitcoin has received a lot of attention recently due to the big names supporting it, but many investors have yet to grasp the basics of what this online currency is. The Winklevoss twins of Facebook (FB-Q 48.71 2.11 4.52%) fame have pegged the bitcoin market at $4 billion US and expect it to eventually grow to $400 billion, according to Forbes.
You can even withdrawn bitcoins from an automatic teller. The world's first ATM is located in a Vancouver coffee shop, and the machine's owner says $100,000 Cdn changed hands in its first week running.
For those still fuzzy on how the online global currency works, Jamie Robinson, founder of QuickBT.com, a bitcoin vendor, offers the basics of trading and investing.
A bitcoin is a lot like a retail gift card. When you purchase a gift card for a certain amount, there is often a serial number on the back. Similar to that serial number, each person using bitcoin is assigned a bitcoin address from which they can send and receive bitcoins.
Is bitcoin going to hit critical mass and end up going mainstream? Is it possible that bitcoin goes up another 10-fold or more if all these bitcoin investment business get approval? $BITCOIN I see bitcoin on the front page of Marketwatch a lot lately and there’s a lot of debate about bitcoin on our Scutify BitCoin page. But most all the comments and debates are skeptical and dubious about there being any value in bitcoin.
As I noted in this week’s Revolution Investing, I’ve had bitcoin in my portfolio since earlier this year, but I don’t know anybody but me and maybe a couple of my TradingWithCody.com subscribers who own any bitcoin. I don’t know anybody else who’s even considering buying bitcoin right now or ever.
Even if you’ve been a bitcoin skeptic so far, what would it take for you to change your mind? I’ve written about bitcoin quite a bit in the past year here on Marketwatch’s The Cody Word, and you can see my evolution from skeptic to buyer. Maybe I’m nuts, but if you’d moved like I did to put 1% of your portfolio into bitcoin when I first suggested doing so, you’d already have more than a triple on your hands. I’ve been slowly but surely buying more bitcoin when it crashed and I have been accepting bitcoin as payment at TradingWithCody.com to build up even more. Obviously, I think there’s still more upside and potential for bitcoin in years to come and I’m investing time and energy in the digital currency too.
At first glance Bitcoin appears under siege. Most days another scare story emerges. Yet behind the headlines, cryptocurrency is gaining ground.
Nothing new develops without glitches. Some poor souls in Australia are lighter of (virtual) wallet due to a new era banking heist (the digital equivalent of raiding safe deposit boxes while the bank was shut). Meanwhile some academics tried to suggest there was a huge flaw making Bitcoin innately unstable. That’s just a couple of the key stories in the media this past week…
...while Bitcoin itself reached record highs.
Those sensitized to bubbles will be clearly worried that perhaps we are looking at one of those crazed moments in human history where Bitcoin is the new tulip bulb. Indeed, all new technologies tend to be surrounded by huge dollops of hype and hubris. Usually they inflate bubbles before achieving acceptance. “Dotcom” did that a decade back... but who can imagine functioning without the internet today? Thus have society and markets integrated technology and innovations for centuries.
Bitcoin's price vaulted above $400 on the Mt. Gox exchange on Wednesday, touching a record as the virtual currency continues to be buoyed by growth in China, limited supply and new investment products driving demand.
Bitcoin is a four-year-old virtual currency that isn't backed by a central bank and can be traded on a number of exchanges or swapped privately. A growing number of merchants also accept bitcoin as payment for goods and services, because the transaction costs associated with the currency are generally cheaper than those with credit cards or debit cards.
Bits and Pieces Mystery still surrounds Bitcoin. Its creator -– or creators -– has remained anonymous and specific details surrounding the history of the virtual currency remain fuzzy. Still, buzz is growing. Here's a rough timeline of the Bitcoin evolution.
Bitcoin's price has been extremely volatile. The virtual currency started the year trading at $13.55. In April, it touched a then-record high of about $265 as interest in the currency continued to build. But in early October it fell back to about $90 in the wake of the bust of an online drug-trafficking website that used the currency. On Wednesday morning, it was recently trading at a high of $419.99.
A Canadian mining company is set to pay a contractor in bitcoins for tungsten exploration work in Canada’s western province of British Columbia. The two companies chose bitcoin amid expectations that the crypto-currency’s value will continue to surge.
Alix Resources Corp. gave its approval to pay Ridge Resources Ltd. in bitcoins for work rendered. According to the agreement, Ridge Resources will provide a quote in Canadian dollars, which will then be converted into bitcoins.
“We are a mining exploration company so yes, this is a bit different,” Alix Resources Chief Executive Officer Michael England told Bloomberg. “There’s a lot of expectations that bitcoins are going higher, so why not start accumulating?”
Bitcoin has been surging to new highs as investors, especially those in China, become increasingly optimistic about the digital currency's potential growth. The price of one bitcoin hit a record of a record of $395 on Saturday on the Mt. Gox exchange. The virtual currency trades 24/7 on Mt. Gox and other exchanges around the world. Bitcoin was approaching $400 again Tuesday, reaching a high for the day of $391.53 in early morning trading.
Bitcoin was created anonymously in 2010 as an experimental form of money that exists only online. It is not managed by any central authority and is "mined" by solving complex math problems using powerful computers. There is also a finite amount for the number of bitcoins that will ever be in circulation.
It's been an extremely volatile year for Bitcoin, which traded at $20 in December.
There is a reason why you can buy BBQ Sauce with Fastcoins! Russell Peters - How to become a Canadian Citizen
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss—big investors in the digital currency—said Tuesday that bitcoin should be worth at least 100 times more than it's valued today.
"The small bull case scenario is a $400 billion market cap. So the market cap is around $4 billion right now," Tyler Winklevoss said in an interview at the DealBook conference that aired on CNBC's "Squawk Box."
The twins, who famously battled Mark Zuckerberg over the origins of Facebook, started buying bitcoin at $9. Their investment was worth $11 million in April at $120 per coin.
After a sharp drop, bitcoin has surged into record territory again, hitting $385 in early Tuesday trading on Mt. Gox—one of the many exchanges for the digital currency.
Fraud at this Chinese bitcoin exchange cost clients $4.1M. Here’s why the broader market barely noticed
Bitcoin has come a long way in the last year, but it’s still the wild west in terms of regulation and market stability. China, too, has come a long way economically in recent decades, but remains largely unregulated and could be described as the wild east. So it’s not surprising that the recent surge in popularity (and price) of bitcoin in China would be accompanied by fraud.
The latest news came earlier today when Taiwan’s Want China Times newspaper reported that Chinese bitcoin exchange GBL shut down unexpectedly on October 26 and took ¥25 million ($4.1 million) worth of client funds along with it. The surprising end to this saga may not have been so shocking had GBL’s 1,000 plus users taken note of multiple red flags that popped up in the company’s short history.
Ultimately, this incident is a black eye for the bitcoin community. While it may negatively affect other small, unproven companies looking to find a foothold within the larger bitcoin ecosystem, it shouldn’t have a significant or lasting impact on bitcoin as a whole.
Bitcoin’s sordid stories may soon be coming to the silver screen, but if one savvy media company has its way, the currency will be taking a starring role behind the scenes as well.
Film and TV production and post-production studio Kaufmann Media Group (KMG) recently announced plans to implement bitcoin acceptance as part of a wider initiative, one that will help it clip costs on upcoming projects such as the Melissa McCarthy comedy vehicle Tammy and the sequel to 2011′s medieval action flick Ironclad.
In an interview with CoinDesk, Jodi Levy, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles- and North Carolina-based coloring, mixing and editing company, discussed how bitcoin is uniquely suited to the world of TV and film, where shoots happen worldwide.
Chinese troops are set to take part in disaster relief exercises in Hawaii Tuesday, in what China's state media billed as the first time the country's soldiers have drilled on U.S. territory.
People's Liberation Army soldiers will take part in humanitarian assistance drills in Hawaii until Thursday with thier U.S. counterparts, simulating relief operations after an earthquake hits a third country, according to a report on the website of the Communist Party's People's Daily newspaper.
Col. Bill Florig, chief of civil military operations for U.S. Army Pacific, said in announcing the exercises last month that the event is the largest between the United States and China armies.
"What we are trying to emphasize in this exchange is our inherent flexibility," Florig said. "They (China) are looking to see that flexibility that we have demonstrated so often in the past in disaster response."
Business investment banker Kevin O'Leary (O'Leary Funds) provided his commentary on the recent volatility in Bitcoin pricing during a CBC interview.
His take on the matter is that since Bitcoin has hit the $1B threshold and people are accepting Bitcoin for hard assets, the currency has earned its place among the world currencies. He also commented that he personally is interested in taking an active position of 1-2% in the currency itself through O'Leary Funds.
There are a number of Bitcoin exchanges out there today, but a new startup called itBit hopes to legitimize the market by providing bank-like security and compliance.
This newest Bitcoin exchange has raised $3.25 million in a funding round co-led by Canaan Partners and RRE Ventures, with participation from Liberty City Ventures, as well angel investors such as Jay W. Jordan II and Ben Davenport. To date, it’s raised $5.5 million.
itBit seeks to differentiate from many of the more consumer-focused exchanges out there by providing a higher level of security and compliance than some other options. The hope is that by doing so, it will be able to attract interest from traditional financial organizations, in addition to a growing number of retail investors.
It’s only been a month since authorities took down Silk Road and a week since Liberty Reserve pleaded guilty to money laundering, but bitcoin’s recent rally signals one thing for certain: the digital currency has no intention of dying out anytime soon.
The very volatile bitcoin traded at fresh highs last week, closing on Friday at an all-time high of $349.99, according to Mt. Gox, the world’s largest bitcoin exchange.
“I continue to think bitcoin is the most fascinating finance story of 2013 and I think it will continue that way through 2014,” said Nick Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx.
The latest deal at Brooklyn's Greene Avenue Market is an unusual one: 10% off if you pay with Bitcoin.
We were tipped off to this by Marc Hedlund, the VP of engineering at software firm Stripe, who Tweeted the following photo this morning from one of the market's locations:
We just got off the phone with Greene Avenue Market manager Dan Lee.
He actually had to call us back, as he was checking out a customer who just paid btc 0.013995 ($4.99) for milk.
He told us the sale has been on for a week as a promotion for what he believed was Brooklyn's first Bitcoin Meetup group. But the five Greene Avenue Market stores have been accepting Bitcoin since this spring, when prices began to climb.
We've been telling you why we think Bitcoin has some fundamental flaws.
But Lee makes a good case for why it's actually pretty great for retailers.
"There are lower fees, and you don't have to worry about chargebacks, which is beneficial for merchants," he says. "It's better than Visa or Master Card."
China now accounts for nearly a third of the daily bitcoin transactions in the world. The virtual currency’s popularity in China has contributed to its shooting over $300 in value, but investors shouldn’t be rash in buying bitcoins, experts said.
At the end of September, the number of bitcoins traded every day in the Chinese market was 17,500, up 24 percent from three months before and accounting for 30 percent of the world’s total transaction, a report from Genesis Block, a New York-based digital currency research group, said recently.
The virtual currency has been gaining traction in China, but the latest surge in demand is widely seen as connected to the acceptance of bitcoins by Baidu Jiasule, a firewall service for websites co-developed by Baidu Inc (Nasdaq:BIDU), China’s predominant search engine. By the end of October, on BTC China, the largest Chinese bitcoin trading platform, the price of a bitcoin has grown to around 1,270 yuan from 800 yuan early that month, Caixin, a Chinese financial news outlet, reported on Thursday. Baidu’s prominence led many to speculate that other Chinese companies could follow suit and accept bitcoins as payment.
Bitcoin continues marching to new highs this month, despite the rather ominous news this week that one of the major wallet services, Inputs.io, was robbed of over 4,000 BTC, or one million worth of U.S. coin. ConvergEx Group market analyst Nick Colas says that one of the main reasons is the surge in interest in Bitcoin from China.
“The biggest Bitcoin exchange is now in China, displacing Japanese, American and European sources of demand,” wrote Colas in a note to clients published by Business Insider. “That enterprise is called BTC China, and its CEO Bobby Lee hails from Yahoo YHOO +3.08%! and Walmart China. Oh, and he graduated from Stanford with a degree in Computer Science. In short, an apparently pretty clever fellow.”
Three 20-year-old programmers build a working Obamacare website in just days (which is more than the government can do in years)
While the Obamacare website still remains broken, three 20-year-old programmers have shown the government how it should be done.
Ning Liang, George Kalogeropoulos and Michael Wasser developed a site in matter of days – and it does things the expensive and faltering healthcare.gov can’t do.
From a San Francisco office the men have built HealthSherpa.com, which presents the Affordable Health Care Act data in a much simpler way to the government website.
Problem solving: The three 20-year-old programmers developed a site in matter of days that does things the expensive and faltering healthcare.gov just can’t do.
As of this moment, Bitcoin‘s exchange rate is hovering a few dollars under $400, according to the Mt.Gox ticker. It’s about $45 more than it was 24 hours ago, $75 more than the day before, and $120 more than the day before that. All told, Bitcoin has netted about $180 in the past week. To give you an idea of what this looks like, the steady green line of candlesticks in the charts below signify highs and lows for the past week; the erratic blue line represents trading volume.
The main website that arranges home delivery for restaurants in the Netherlands is now accepting payment in bitcoin, a form of digital currency.
Around 5,000 Dutch restaurants use the Thuisbezorgd.nl site to handle around 600,000 online orders and deliveries per month. The company's marketing manager, Imad Qutob, said in a statement Tuesday that Thuisbezorgd wants to offer customers more choice in how they pay.
The company says around half its customers pay cash on delivery. Others pay via the site using debit cards, credit cards, PayPal or an online system run by Dutch banks.
A lot of people laughed at Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss when they announced in April that they had acquired $11 million worth of bitcoins. The announcement came on April 11, the day after the virtual currency hit a record high of $266 and then plummeted to $120. Over the next few days, it would fall as low as $50, cutting the value of the brothers' bitcoin stake in half.
But since then, their investment has paid off big-time. A source close to the Winkelvoss brothers says they haven't sold any of their Bitcoins since April. Bitcoins are now worth $350, almost three times the $120 the New York Times quoted in its April 11 story. So that $11 million worth of bitcoins is now worth around $32 million.
Almost tripling your money in seven months isn't bad. But the Winklevii may have done even better than that. The Times reported that the brothers "began dabbling in bitcoin last summer when the dollar value of a single coin was still in the single digits." If they bought bitcoins at the July 2012 price of $9, each one is now worth 40 times what they paid for it.
FastCoin is proud to announce that Farm to Family Food project is currently accepting FastCoin Donations!
Inspired by the California Association of Food Banks Farm to Family Project, we are expanding the Farm to Family Food Project to community food banks across America. Farm to Family delivers fresh locally grown produce to community food banks from local farms. Join us in our efforts to expand our food project to communities nationwide!
Traditionally food banks have gathered mostly leftover or damaged boxes and cans from supermarkets, food processors and other mass distributors and then passed along those products to the most needy and hungry in our community. Food banks have always found some fresh produce to give away; a few have managed to give away a lot. But for the most part, they have traditionally offered processed foods — widely available free and by donation, as well as simple to transport.
A new startup based on local mobile searching is utilizing its own virtual currency along with bitcoin to create a new type of social platform.
The company, Babberly, has its own virtual currency, called babberCRED that is used on its platform. And BTC is being used as a complement to that, reducing friction and transaction fees.
“Users receive babberCRED for any action taken on our portal. We are tying in our babberCRED system with bitcoin to allow our users to use their babberCRED and then pay the balance of their payments (on deals, etc) with our bitcoin layer,” says Bobby Marhamat, Babberly’s CEO.
The recent theft of US$1 million in bitcoins will only make open source P2P money exchange stronger, emphasizing that crypto-currency’s main advantage is its independence from any third parties, entrepreneur William Mook told RT.
Bitcoin has the potential to replace world‘s weaker currencies, Mook believes, saying its strength lies in self-regulation that does not require a third-party watchdog.
Tucked away in an airconditioned data centre in Silicon Valley is a hotchpotch of black boxes, circuit boards and cooling fans owned by 27-year-old Aaron Jackson-Wilde, a modern-day prospector looking for bitcoins.
Since discovering the digital currency a few months ago, Jackson-Wilde has paid about US$2,000 for his "rigs", which are powered by specialised computer chips. They are designed to help operate and maintain the bitcoin network - and, in return, generate a small reward in a process known as "bitcoin mining".
A form of electronic money independent of traditional banking, bitcoins started circulating in 2009 and have since become the most prominent of several fledgling digital currencies.
The European Central Bank has acted. Across the 17-nation eurozone, the benchmark refinancing rate was slashed on Thursday, from 0.5pc to a record low of 0.25pc. In Greece, Spain and other economically-fragile eurozone members, where inflation is worryingly low, many welcomed the ECB’s action. In Germany, with its historic inflation aversion, Teutonic eyebrows were raised.
What’s beyond debate is that this latest ECB move is the prelude to a renewed round of money-printing. While America’s quantitative easing is meant to be “tapering soon”, in Western Europe the funny-money dials have just been turned up.
Since Western QE began in late 2008, the Federal Reserve has tripled its balance sheet, creating virtual money and using it to buy Treasuries and corporate toxic debt. In Britain, we’ve been even more enthusiastic QE-ers, with the Bank of England presiding over a jaw-dropping four-fold expansion of base money, much of it channelled through the gilts market
Bitcoin is having another huge day.
It's almost at $400. Earlier this week, it was around $250.
So how high could it go?
There's a private fund called the Bitcoin Investment Trust being sold through Second Market. They have a presentation making the case for why Bitcoin could potentially go much, much higher.
Here's the nut slide, which basically makes the argument that if Bitcoin becomes as big as other money-related entities, the current price will be nothing.
How High Could Bitcoin Soar? Satoshi's Billion Dollar Pizza
The value of the electronic currency Bitcoin has hit a new high of $340. This is not surprising.
Earlier this spring, when Bitcoin was in the middle of its last price spike, I "raised my Bitcoin target" to $400.
This was an inside joke — I don't have a Bitcoin target. But I was getting at a more profound point. $400 is a perfectly reasonable target for Bitcoin. As is $1,000. As is $10,000 or $100,000 or $1 million.
The world’s first bitcoin ATM — located in a coffee shop in downtown Vancouver — traded $100,000 CAD of the cybercurrency in its first week, said the man behind the machine.
The strong start was little surprise to Mitchell Demeter, the co-founder of Bitcoiniacs, who said use of the virtual currency continues to grow unchecked.
“We’ve had lineups all day every day,” said Demeter on Friday.
Bitcoiniacs, which operates a physical bitcoin exchange store near Granville Island in addition to its ATM, is not releasing numbers on how many unique traders had used the ATM, but Demeter said the appeal of bitcoin has begun to reach far beyond the currency’s niche base of tech-savvy netizens.
Bitcoin acceptance in China has now extended into real estate with a residential developer in Zhangjiang Hi-Tech park in Shanghai finding a new way to promote sales through the acceptance of Bitcoin virtual currency.
Shanda Group, one of the large IT giants in China, through its real estate development arm, opened sales of its first real estate investment project on October 25th, 2013. 300 apartments in the soon to be built buildings ranging from 42-81sqm were available for sale and sold out in a few minutes as demand far outstripped supply.
As part of the promotion, Shanda accepted Bitcoins for payment. Although the exchange rate was ‘fixed’ at 1,000 Chinese Yuan (CNY) to one Bitcoin and the developer reserved the right to adjust the rate, the deal represents one of the first times that Bitcoin could be used for such a large scale 'public' purchase. The exchange rate was about 1,200 CNY : 1 Bitcoin on BTCChina that day, so the developer was obviously trying to hedge a bit in case Bitcoin fell through, but considering the rate is rapidly reaching nearly 2,000 CNY : 1 Bitcoin, it would have been a great deal for the developer – Bitcoin is one of the few investments in China that has been increasing faster than real estate in 2013.
Bitcoin keeps on giving: The digital currency more than doubles in value over a month - hitting an all-time high of $358
Virtual currency Bitcoin has more than doubled its value in a month reaching a high of $267 (£165.70). This beats its previous record of $266 (£165.15) set in April, which was followed within a week by a dramatic drop to $100 (£62). Analysts claim the demand for Bitcoin follows increased awareness about benefits of the currency and a drive to move it into the mainstream.
Just a month after many people were predicting its demise, bitcoin is touching new highs.
The virtual currency climbed to a record $273.50 on Mt. Gox, one of the many bitcoin exchanges, marking a 148 percent rise since Oct. 2, when it traded as low as $110.
Bitcoin plunged in October after U.S. law enforcement officials shut down Silk Road, an online purveyor of drugs and other illegal services. Bitcoin had been dogged by the perception that it was used primarily for transactions on Silk Road, and many expected demand to dry up after the website was closed. As the move to new highs suggests, those predictions were wrong.
A young, anonymous Bitcoin banker in Australia reported the theft of over a million American dollars in the virtual currency. He is not taking the problem to the police.
A peer-to-peer currency not backed by any government, Bitcoins are in many ways more similar to cash than to the more common credit card and PayPal methods of exchanging money over the Internet. Once the coins are out of your hands, you can't get them back via a third party (such as a credit card company). You can't easily trace where your Bitcoins (BTCs) have been.
The alleged victim of the theft, who goes by the moniker TradeFortress within the Bitcoin community, runs a virtual bank for the currency called Inputs.io. In a terse announcement posted Thursday, he claims to have lost more than 4,100 Bitcoins--approximately 1.1 million American dollars--in separate attacks on October 23 and 26. "The attacker compromised the hosting account through compromising email accounts (some very old, and without phone numbers attached, so it was easy to reset). The attacker was able to bypass 2FA due to a flaw on the server host side."
The cost of Bitcoin virtual currency has reached another record, surpassing the mark of $300 during the auction at Mt Gox electronic platform. This afternoon, it rose to 321 dollars per Bitcoin, and then dropped to $311. The previous record was set yesterday - one Bitcoin was worth more than $272.
Over the last week, the price of the Bitcoin grew by 44.6 percent. Experts attribute the rise of the virtual currency with the growing awareness of the brand.
For two weeks, the price of the "new gold" has tripled from 50 to 140 dollars.
Peer to peer payment system Bitcoin was launched in 2009. It uses the virtual currency of the same name. In the spring of 2013, the total volume of Bitcoins reached one billion dollars.
Bitcoins are a hot topic these days. And I must admit, I’m starting to get really excited about them and their future. Bitcoins are a completely decentralized digital currency that can be sent through the internet. The transfer of bitcoins happens on a peer to peer basis and there is no bank or country that controls them other than a rather complex system called cryptography. It all just seems so futuristic. In fact, bitcoins have been so hot that they have literally doubled in value in recent months resulting in the cost of a bitcoin hovering around the $300 CDN mark at the time of this article.
The price of Bitcoin, the digital cryptocurrency favored by hackers and privacy buffs, has experienced a steady uptick over the past few weeks, hitting an all-time high of $305 over night. That number shatters the currency’s previous high of $265, which it reached in April 2013 before the bubble burst and its price tumbled back down to $60. The conversion tool Preev currently lists Bitcoin’s price at $296. Why the sudden increase? Here are three factors:
It’s a big moment for Bitcoin. The digital currency has gotten an official nod from the overseer of U.S. currency in the form of a primer out of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Senior economist François R. Velde wrote an elegant critique of the four-year-old currency, explaining its mechanics, limitations, and prospects for success, ultimately deeming it a “remarkable conceptual and technical achievement, which may well be used by existing financial institutions.” If this were Economic Mean Girls, this is the part of the movie where Lindsay ‘Bitcoin’ Lohan gets friended by the powerful, popular crowd.
The price of bitcoin isn't the only thing about the virtual currency that is going through the roof.
The price of bitcoin isn't the only thing about the virtual currency that is going through the roof. Robin Sidel reports. Photo: AP. Mining costs, industry parlance for the investments in sophisticated technology required to create bitcoin, are soaring as companies and people race to build ever-more-powerful computers to jump into the market.
In the mining process, bitcoin enthusiasts, technology experts and fledgling firms essentially generate units of the currency by solving complicated math problems with their computers.
The value of Bitcoin virtual currency has increased 20-fold in the past year and hit an all-time high of $309.68 on Mt. Gox, the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange. Growth sustainability is at risk as new 'Silk Road' makes it a target of the US government.
Bitcoin’s extraordinary rise has garnered attention from investors from Cyprus to China wanting to get in on the soaring prices. But its success on the online 'Silk Road' has made it, along with drugs, a target for the US government.
The re-launch of the illegal online drug operator Silk Road could threaten the ‘Bitcoin boom’ as the FBI continues its crack down on Bitcoins used to barter for contraband products.
Prices of bitcoin continue to rally today, hitting an all-time high of $259.97 on BitStamp. Since spiking rapidly to $245 in April, prices of bitcoin tanked to just over $50 in a few days, but have since spent the next seven months more or less around $100. During this time, except for several spikes lower, including a dip to $80 when Silk Road was seized by US officials, prices could be categorized as stable. This is in part due to the continued adoption of the digital currency which has widened public interest and created a net of demand during sell-off periods.
The current rally which started with prices around $125, has its origins in the announcement from Baidu that it would begin to accept bitcoins as payment for its Jaisule, firewall and DDOS services. Since that time, demand from China has grown rapidly. As a result, BTC China, the country’s leading bitcoin exchange has seen its overall market share of transactions triple to just below 30%, as it holds the top spot among major exchanges for the last three and seven day periods. (On a side note, today’s volume is being led by MtGox which has seen its market share plummet from around 60% to below 30%. This probably has more to do with the record taking place which has reactivated interest in the exchange from existing account holders.)
There’s a market for buying handmade baby goods with Bitcoin, and at least one innovative mom-and-pop shop has swooped in to fill that need.
Cozee Baby's model shows off his parents' product line.
For the United Kingdom’s Cozee Baby, business is booming. Since Kasia Styczynska and her software developer husband, Maciej began accepting the popular cryptocurrency, Maciej said Bitcoin payments are second only to PayPal.
In a world where even world governments aren’t sure what to make of Bitcoin, navigating the world of digital payments was at first difficult for such a small family shop. It took a lot of time and effort not just for the couple, but for customers who were sometimes unfamiliar with Bitcoin. Still, Styczynska was quick to say “it pays off very quickly.”
Beijing’s Cafe Bar 2nd Place has become the first bar in China to accept payment in Bitcoin.
At the beginning of the year, when BitInstant’s Charlie Shrem adapted his New York City bar Evr to accept the stateless crypto currency, it seemed like at best a proof of concept, at worst a stunt.
Now, at the close of the year, you can get blasted halfway across the world without tipping your hat to fiat money and the restrictions it enforces on its users.
It’s important to put money where your mouth is. Of course, if it is BTC, then putting bitcoin where your mouth is makes all the difference.
The proclamation of former Facebook executive and investor Chamath Palihapitiya that he owns $5 million in bitcoins, around 23,000 bitcoin at current CoinDesk BPI prices, is an exercise in confidence for the electronic currency.
And the fact that he wants to own at least $10 million more shows serious investor interest in a new type of asset class that some critics have in the past considered worthless.
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- The main website that arranges home delivery for restaurants in the Netherlands is now accepting payment in bitcoin, a form of digital currency.
Around 5,000 Dutch restaurants use the Thuisbezorgd.nl site to handle around 600,000 online orders and deliveries per month. The company's marketing manager, Imad Qutob, said in a statement Tuesday that Thuisbezorgd wants to offer customers more choice in how they pay.
The company says around half its customers pay cash on delivery. Others pay via the site using debit cards, credit cards, PayPal or an online system run by Dutch banks.
Funk-e Animated Explanation: Bitcoin - the future currency?
Two computer science researchers at Cornell University say they've uncovered a fundamental flaw in Bitcoin that is so bad, it could kill Bitcoin. The problem is with how people "mine" bitcoins. Mining is how bitcoins are created. Most people don't mine bitcoins anymore. They buy them or take them as payment. But some people are in the business of mining coins with special bitcoin-mining computers. Even so, it is so difficult and time consuming for a computer to create new bitcoins that some miners have banded together in pools, using multiple computers that work together.
A quick update on the ol' Bitcoin market.
The price of a unit of the digital currency is going totally wild.
It's now up above $240, getting close to its all-time high.
Bitcoin Will Survive Anything. The Cats Out Of The Bag
Switzerland is famous for its secretive banks, lederhosen, and noisy cuckoo clocks. But during the Cold War the Swiss were also notorious for building enough fallout shelters to house the entire population, out of panic from the threat of nuclear annihilation. Since the collapse of communism many of the estimated 7,000 bunkers fell into misuse, relics of the atomic age. Recently, though, the Swiss government decided to allow private firms to buy or rent some of the shelters.
Pondering the utility of these grim concrete monoliths, one cryptocurrency trader saw the perfect Bitcoin vault. Richard Porubcan, a Swiss entrepreneur working under a pseudonym, has started turning several of the old shelters into what he describes as apocalypse-proof Bitcoin bunkers designed to allow super-secure mining, trade or storage of digital cash. He wants the facilities to serve as vital nodes in a “decentralized and neutral” shadow financial system.
Bitcoin has been opening doors to digital currency since it appeared in 2009. Today, Vanity of Southern, Fla. becomes the only medical center to accept digital currency for procedures at anyone of its three locations. Since Vanity has patients from all over the world, this option in utilizing cyberspace expands their leadership trend in cosmetic surgery.
This trend continued by Vanity to include the digital currency world emphasizes the benefits of those, especially foreigners who do not want to exchange currency for US dollars. This grows the acceptance of Bitcoin, just as retailers are getting ready for retail Black Friday.
Washington has no idea what to make of the Dread Pirate Roberts.
As Lev Grossman and I write in this week’s cover story, the Dread Pirate Roberts allegedly ran the Silk Road, the world’s most successful online drug bazaar, until the feds caught him earlier this month. His real name, according to a 39-page federal complaint against him, is Ross Ulbricht, 29. He supposedly took the pseudonym from a character in the movie and book, The Princess Bride. In the Silk Road, DPR, as his followers called him, created a business model for anyone wanting to sell illicit items online using free encryption software called Tor and the virtually anonymous crypto-currency Bitcoin. Though the feds have taken Silk Road offline, there are plenty of folks lining up to be the next Dread Pirate Roberts.
Lev and I examine the greater implications of the Deep Web, the massive and growing anonymous area of the Internet. But from the perspective of lawmakers and law enforcement in Washington, Silk Road presents a double conundrum. It’s a blueprint for criminals the world over at a time when FBI resources are stretched thin and political will to empower government snooping has cratered. And it has created a regulatory headache in figuring how to deal with whole new currencies, tax havens and virtual online markets.
As the government body responsible for the production of loonies, toonies, nickels and sundry “limited-edition” collector coins, the Royal Canadian Mint is hardly the first thing that comes to mind when you think of cutting-edge technology. But that may be about to change.
Sometime before the end of this year, software engineers at the 105-year-old Crown corp. will begin pilot testing a novel form of digital currency that so far has received little attention but which has the potential to revolutionize how we do business.
“Where we’re going is not a road that has been travelled,” said Marc Brûlé, head of the MintChip project and chief financial officer of the Mint. “It has its challenges but there are lots of people who are encouraging us.”
Manufacturers are planning to ship scrypt-based equipment that will speed up mining and reduce the power overhead for the alternative cryptocurrency algorithm. Could this fuel the next cryptocurrency arms race?
Most cryptocurrencies that are mined by computers use a ‘proof of work’ algorithm, designed to make them prove that they have invested the computing power in producing the coins. Bitcoin uses SHA–256, but many alternative coins (altcoins) use another system, called scrypt.
There’s no doubt that Bitcoin is getting plenty of attention these days — we’ve seen folks like the Winklevoss Twins and Chamath Palihapitiya throw their financial weight behind Bitcoin in a big way — but despite all that it still hasn’t been embraced by the teeming millions just yet
Arguably, all it would take is the support of one big name to get the ball rolling, and for months Bitcoin aficionados have wondered if eBay would be willing to take up that mantle. It’s not hard to see why — in a brief interview with the Financial Times, eBay president and CEO John Donahoe said that the company was keeping its eye on Bitcoin and that in the months and years to come, digital currency is going to be “a very powerful thing”.
Unity plugin developer Icoplay has come up with a new way for developers to monetize free apps on the App Store while avoiding in-app purchases, through the use of bitcoin mining.
Bitcoin is a digital currency first developed in 2008 that has soared in value in recent years. While bitcoin value fluctuates wildly, a single bitcoin today is worth approximately $200, which makes Bitcoin mining a potentially lucrative endeavor.
Because new bitcoins are generated via complex math problems, Bitcoin mining requires an incredible amount of processing power. Icoplay is aiming to use mining software hidden within apps and games to take advantage of the latent processing power of mobile devices, rewarding the developer with bitcoin. Like distributed computing projects such as SETI@home, Bitcoin mining can be done in small chunks over hundreds or thousands of devices.
There's been no end to bitcoin's volatility in 2013.
The decentralized electronic crypto-currency has risen 15 fold relative to the U.S. dollar since the beginning of the year, from $13.30 on December 31 to $205.50 on October 22, its highest price since April.
This extreme momentum is fueled by speculators betting on huge upside in the event bitcoin continues to get adopted by more businesses and over time evolves into an accepted means of exchange. The resulting bullish price behavior has then attracted traders who observe the rise and pile in, expecting the trend to continue. Finally, the upside is exacerbated by illiquidity, or the limited bitcoin supply.
So far in October alone, bitcoin has rallied 46% and had three days with swings of 15% or more. Back in the spring, there was a one-month period in which it traded from $47 up to $266, a 565% gain, and then dropped back down to $50, losing 81%.
A startup based in Uruguay is looking to make bitcoin easier to use via the widely used SMS platform on cell phones.
Steven Morell, chief programming officer of the company Moneero, told CoinDesk that the plan is to make bitcoin easy for anyone to use. The company estimates that its service can be used on the 6.8bn mobile phones already being used worldwide.
“We want to make it easy and convenient for non-tech savvy people. People who have heard about bitcoin in the news, and would buy it if it were easy for them,” he said.
Bitcoin price surges to post-crash high Price hits $197, following a jump of $30 in a day, calming fears that the closure of Silk Road would harm the currency
A physical mock-up of a bitcoin. Photograph: Alamy Bitcoin, the cryptographic peer-to-peer digital currency, has reached a new price high since the market crash in April this year.
Over the two weeks to 21 October, the value of one bitcoin rose by almost $60, and on Tuesday hit a high of $197.40 at the largest exchange, Mt Gox. An estimate of the current price taking a broader spectrum of exchanges into account shows it at $182.74.
The price of one bitcoin peaked at $266 on 10 April, before tumbling rapidly to a low of $50 shortly after. Since then, the price has not risen above $170 until this week.
In the next 20 years or so, Jeremy Allaire envisions a world where there will be no paper or plastic involved when people go out and spend money.
“If you go down the list of innovations, 20 years ago if you said every inch of the world would be searchable to you at no cost, you would have been called a lunatic,” he said.
But that’s not the case. And he is hoping the same can be said for digital currency, like Bitcoin. “[It’s] changing the consumers experience of using money,” he said. “I think we will look back in 10, maybe 20 years, and we won’t believe that [how we do things now] actually existed.”
The good news is that you can now buy a car with Bitcoin. The bad news is that the only ones available are commercial off-road vehicles built in Australia and sold online.
The vehicle manufacturer is Tomcar, and the vehicles are sort of a cross between a 1970s dune buggy and something out of Mad Max. They’re built for the ranching, farming, defense, and tourism industries, and come in various versions for different applications, including some that look like armored cars.
Tucked away in an air-conditioned data centre in Silicon Valley is a hodgepodge of black boxes, circuit boards and cooling fans owned by 27-year-old Aaron Jackson-Wilde, a modern-day prospector looking for Bitcoins.
Since discovering the digital currency a few months ago, Jackson-Wilde has paid about $2 000 for his "rigs," which are powered by specialised computer chips. They are designed to help operate and maintain the Bitcoin network - and, in return, generate a small reward in a process known as "Bitcoin mining".
A form of electronic money independent of traditional banking, Bitcoins started circulating in 2009 and have since become the most prominent of several fledgling digital currencies. While they quickly gained a reputation for facilitating drug deals and money laundering, Bitcoins have of late garnered attention from investors, such as venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
BTC China has become the world’s biggest digital currency exchange having handled a greater volume of bitcoins in the past week than Mt. Gox and Bitstamp.
More than 109,841 bitcoins have been exchanged on the site in the past seven days, compared with 93,372 on Bitstamp and 76,673 on Mt. Gox, according to data from Bitcoinity.org. In the past 24 hours alone, BTC China has processed 36,104 bitcoins, compared with Mt. Gox’s 24,913 and Bitstamp’s 23,214.
Various investors are working on projects they hope will turn the bitcoin, a digital currency, into a widely used transaction vehicle. They say the currency engenders lower payment processing costs and safer transactions, The New York Times reports.
"I'm confident you will see major worldwide retailers adopting systems built on bitcoin," Jim Breyer, a partner at venture capital firm Accel Partners, told the paper.
The Canadian Bitcoin community has come far in the past six months. Earlier this year, all that Canada had to show in the Bitcoin world was a few restaurants accepting Bitcoins in Vancouver and Edmonton, two exchanges and Meetup groups of less than 10 people a month. Now, we have a fully-fledged 1400-square-meter Bitcoin embassy (i.e. a startup incubator dedicated to all things Bitcoin) in Montreal and Toronto recently celebrated the launch of the Vault of Satoshi’s Bitcoin exchange as well as Coinkite, a full service Bitcoin bank. This week, a Bitcoin ATM launched in Vancouver. To top it off, the Bitcoin Alliance of Canada will be making its official launch this month.
“The US – and particularly individual states like New York and California – have been unclear and unsupportive of digital currency,” says Michael Terpin, co-founder of BitAngels, a new network of angel investors launched this past May. Terpin will be in Toronto and Waterloo on November 4 to help highlight Bitcoin related startup opportunities.
With one firm swoop, banks could eliminate the threat from Apple, Google, and PayPal by embracing the new bitcoin cryptocurrency. Disruption doesn’t always come from the outside but revolutions do form at the periphery, which is precisely where bitcoin sits today.
It’s easy to talk about conventional financial services disruption such as digital banking and mobile payments, because we’ve seen the information age already disrupt entrenched industries.
We know that banking in the future will be something you do – not some place you go – and aggressive fintech startups already provide the innovation that’s occurring in the financial services space.