Thu, Jun. 23, 10:36 AM| Thu, Jun. 23, 10:36 AM | 9 Comments
Tue, Jun. 14, 3:05 AM
- Bitcoin (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS) prices hit a two-year high on Monday, trading above $700 for the first time since 2014, after jumping 21% over the weekend.
- The surge came days before an unusual event called the "halving," an adjustment to Bitcoin's protocol designed to control the creation of new coins.
- Other factors that could have led to the surge: Brexit fears, blockchain rising, inflow/demand and China concerns.
Mon, May 30, 6:11 AM
- Around 16M Australian dollars ($11.5M) worth of confiscated bitcoins (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS) will be auctioned in Sydney next month, marking the first such auction outside the United States.
- Auction organizer Ernst and Young said the bitcoins were "confiscated as proceeds of crime," referring to the now-defunct online dark market Silk Road.
- The price of bitcoin rose to $530 on Friday, as demand for the digital currency surged to its highest level since August 2014.
Mon, May 2, 4:25 AM
- Ending years of speculation, Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright has publicly identified himself as Bitcoin (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS) creator Satoshi Nakamoto.
- "I have not done this because it is what I wanted," he said. "There are lots of stories out there that have been made up and I don't like it hurting those people I care about."
- The crypto currency is now accepted as payment for a vast variety of goods and services. There are about 15.5M Bitcoins in circulation, each currently worth about $449.
Fri, Apr. 29, 3:43 PM
- With the help of "security experts, cryptographers, hardware experts and researchers," IBM (IBM -0.8%) says it has created a slew of cloud services meant to enable secure blockchain networks, along with cloud apps leveraging them. Financial services, healthcare, and government clients are among the firms being targeted.
- BNY Mellon is an initial user of the service - the bank plans to create "a unique application for securities lending, using a blockchain network to trade and transfer assets." IBM promises its cloud platform will "allow production blockchain networks to be deployed in minutes," while supporting Docker containers (alternatives to server virtual machines that run on Linux and feature little overhead), data dashboards, and analytics tools.
- While the hype surrounding Bitcoin (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS) has cooled some, corporate interest in the blockchain - the distributed/encrypted ledger technology that powers Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies - for enabling cheap and secure transactions remains high. JPMorgan, Goldman, and other i-banks unveiled plans last year to create standards for using blockchain in the financial industry. In March 2015, Reuters reported IBM has held informal talks with central banks about creating a system for enabling blockchain-based transactions that don't require a bank or payment processor.
- IBM exec Jerry Cuomo: "We love blockchain technology because it holds the promise of supporting a very wide variety of industries ... But if you are building a blockhchain that deals with health records or shipping logistics, financial data, or any reference data about products, there are rules regulatory rules and security you have to address." He asserts IBM's solution was designed with those security/compliance issues in mind.
- Online retailer Overstock (OSTK -2.1%) has also been making big blockchain investments; it's eight months removed from buying financial order-routing firm SpeedRoute to provide an infrastructure for its t0 blockchain software.
- Now read IBM's Next Big Thing
Wed, Apr. 6, 5:14 AM
- Britain's Financial Conduct Authority has granted an electronic money license to Circle, a firm that uses the virtual currency to enable P2P payments using a mobile app, or what the business calls "social payments."
- The authorization makes it possible for Circle to establish a banking relationship with Barclays (NYSE:BCS), marking the first time a large global bank has agreed to work directly with a Bitcoin (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS) company.
Wed, Jan. 13, 5:15 PM
- Wences Casares, the founder/CEO of Bitcoin (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS) wallet and debit card startup Xapo, has joined PayPal's (NASDAQ:PYPL) board. His addition brings the board's size to 9 members. (PayPal's board bio page)
- CEO Dan Schulman: "Wences' unique line of sight into the future of commerce is ideally aligned with PayPal's vision of transforming the management and movement of money for people around the globe." To date, PayPal has taken a cautious approach to embracing Bitcoin, which enables transactions with much lower fees than what PayPal (or credit-card processors, for that matter) typically charges. In 2014, the company announced its Payments Hub will support Bitcoin payments, but didn't extent support to its core online wallet.
- Separately, Mizuho has reinstated coverage on PayPal with a Buy rating and $40 target. Mizuho's Neil Doshi: "PayPal is a leading online payment firm with 173m active accounts that we believe will generate more than $280b in total payment volume (TPV) in 2015. We believe that PayPal is in a unique position to continue to gain share in eCommerce transactions and post solid [forex-neutral transaction volume] growth north of 25% in 2016, while having several option value businesses such as Venmo."
- PayPal's Q4 report arrives on the afternoon of Jan. 27.
Nov. 5, 2015, 2:23 AM
- Back from the dead? The price of a Bitcoin (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS) climbed as much as 50% this week to above $500, and over 100% over the past month, re-creating scenes from a manic 2013 run that took it from $13 to a high of $1,100 before it crashed.
- The burst of buying follows a spate of positive publicity and a move by the EU to define bitcoin as a currency and not a commodity (meaning it won't be subject to value-added taxes).
- The stance is at odds with a ruling by the IRS that bitcoin is property, but in line with an approach taken by the U.K.
Sep. 21, 2015, 4:07 PM
- Though Bitcoin (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS) remains well off its 4-digit late-2013 highs - Coinbase currently shows Bitcoin selling for less than $229 - major enterprises continue throwing their weight behind the blockchain - the secure public ledger technology that underpins Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
- IBM has been working on its own version of the blockchain, with plans to open-source the software when it's finished. Big Blue suggests its solution could be used to secure digital contracts, as well as drive transactions by allowing banks and others to share the same system of record.
- In March, Reuters reported IBM has held informal talks with central banks about a cash/payment system that uses the blockchain to drive transactions involving existing currencies, and doesn't require a bank or payment processor (thus lowering transaction fees).
- Meanwhile, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, UBS, RBS, and 5 other i-banks have announced plans to work with startup R3CEV to create standards for using the blockchain within the financial industry. RBS exec Kevin Hanley: "Right now, you’re seeing significant money and time being spent on exploration of these technologies in a fractured way that lacks the strategic, coordinated vision so critical to timely success. The R3 [blockchain] model is changing the game,"
Aug. 1, 2015, 12:01 PM| Aug. 1, 2015, 12:01 PM | 15 Comments
Jul. 3, 2015, 9:20 AM
- Adding to their list of woes, Greeks can no longer use their PayPal (PYPL, EBAY) accounts, Quartz reports.
- Capital controls have effectively crippled the online payment service, which relies on traditional banks and credit cards to transfer money.
- Another area seeing a revival is Bitcoin (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS). New customers depositing at least €50 with BTCGreece, the only Greece-based Bitcoin exchange, rose by 400% between May and June. The average deposit quadrupled to around €700.
Jun. 7, 2015, 6:40 PM
- Early Bitcoin (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS) backer Overstock (NASDAQ:OSTK) has circulated a proposal among hedge funds, P-E firms, and other potential investors to sell a $25M private bond using the blockchain, the distributed public ledger that underpins Bitcoin and other cryptocurencies.
- Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne asserts in the proposal he "believes that cryptotechnology can do for the capital market what the internet has done for consumers." He adds Overstock might issue a bond worth less than $25M just to make one available.
- The effort comes a month after Nasdaq OMX (NASDAQ:NDAQ) announced it plans to use the blockchain to "expand and enhance the equity management capabilities offered by its Nasdaq Private Market platform." Among other things, the Nasdaq claims using the blockchain's distributed ledger will "provide extensive integrity, audit ability, governance and transfer of ownership capabilities."
- Two months before that, Reuters reported IBM has held informal talks with central banks about launching a digital cash/payment system that relies on the blockchain to enable transactions for existing currencies, while removing the need for a bank or payment processor to clear them (and collect transaction fees along the way).
Jun. 4, 2015, 4:03 AM
- With just weeks to go before he steps down, Ben Lawsky, New York’s top financial regulator, released the final set of rules governing virtual-currency businesses in the state, concluding a nearly two-year effort to regulate the growing Bitcoin (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS) industry.
- Lawsky said that the final form of the so-called BitLicense would put in place crucial guidelines for protecting consumers and preventing money laundering.
Mar. 24, 2015, 4:02 AM
- Nasdaq OMX (NASDAQ:NDAQ) has agreed to provide New York-based startup Noble Markets with its X-stream trading system (used by more than 30 exchanges and marketplaces worldwide) to power a marketplace for trading Bitcoins (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS) and related digital-currency assets, WSJ reports.
- The agreement follows other Wall Street initiatives that could pave the way for financial institutions to own and trade digital currencies, including the NYSE's recent investment in Bitcoin exchange Coinbase.
Mar. 14, 2015, 4:11 PM
- Reuters reports IBM is working on a digital cash/payment system that would rely on the blockchain - the transaction ledger technology that underpins Bitcoin (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS) and other virtual currencies - to enable transactions for major currencies that don't require a bank or payment processor, thus lowering fees.
- Big Blue has reportedly "been in informal discussions about a blockchain-tied cash system with a number of central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve." If central banks approve, IBM will "build the secure and scalable infrastructure for the project."
- A source: "When somebody wants to transact in the system, instead of you trying to acquire a Bitcoin, you simply say, here are some U.S. dollars. It's sort of a Bitcoin but without the Bitcoin."
- Bitcoin's support for transaction fees far lower than those charged by credit card processors (Visa, MasterCard, etc.) and traditional online payment platforms (e.g. PayPal) has led many big online merchants to support the virtual currency. However, Bitcoin's tremendous volatility - after peaking above $1,100 in late 2013, Bitcoin now trades below $300 - has scared off many would-be users.
- In theory, IBM's offering would provide the transaction cost benefits of Bitcoin, while allowing consumers to rely on dollars, euros, yen, etc. The reported solution could be linked to a user's bank account via digital wallet software.
- Also: Whereas Bitcoin is completely decentralized, central banks would serve as overseers for the IBM-backed currency system. "These coins will be part of the money supply," says Reuters' source. "It's the same money, just not a dollar bill with a serial number on it, but a token that sits on this blockchain."
Jan. 26, 2015, 3:18 AM
- Coinbase, a startup backed by $106M from the NYSE (NYSE:ICE), banks and venture-capital firms, will open the first licensed Bitcoin (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS) exchange in the U.S. today.
- Assuring traders that their money won’t disappear, the company says it has insurance.
- Coinbase’s founders say they have been working for five months to win licenses from state financial regulators, and they now have approval to conduct business in half of all U.S. states.
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