A recap of the week’s biggest Bitcoin stories from the perspectives of the best sources for e-currency news around the web
Bitcoin and Apple are together once again. As Jose Pagliery of CNN writes, Blockchain.info, which had previously been banned during the month of February, has returned to Apple’s App Store. Celebrating Apple’s decision, Blockchain.info CEO Nicholas Cary wrote that he believed “this will be a shot in the arm for the whole industry,” which may have become a bit disillusioned due to Apple’s previous hard stance against the cryptocurrency. The application ought to become available once Apple’s servers update their systems.
Interest in Bitcoin is booming in Romain. As Luiza Ilie of Reuters reports, despite its standing as the European Union’s second-poorest nation, the country has been drawn to the cryptocurrency thanks to anti-establishment tendencies left over from its bout with communism. Representatives from the tech-savvy country, which opened its first Bitcoin ATM in May, believe the currency could even grow to be used in grocery stores.
E-commerce website Overstock has planned to offer its employee bonuses in Bitcoin, Todd Wasserman of Mashable reports. Regarding the decision to offer Bitcoin bonuses, representative Judd Bagley announced that employees who opt for such a bonus will earn more than if they chose a cash option. Overstock has made over $2 million in Bitcoin sales since allowing purchases to be made using the cryptocurrency.
WikiLeaks, an organization dedicated to releasing classified government documents to the public, has managed to stay afloat in large part due to Bitcoin donations, Eric Calouro of NewsBTC reports. The donations received helped the organization, founded by Julian Assange, to cover increasing financial and legal costs. Contrastingly, major financial institutions, including PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard, have blocked funds from being donated to the controversial organization.
The first Bitcoin ATM on the Las Vegas Strip has opened for business. As J. D. Morris of Vegas Inc. writes, the opening of the ATM is just another indication of the cryptocurrency’s growing popularity, as Bitoin has already become a fixture in the Las Vegas area. Bitcoin ATM owner Chris McAlary stated that he saw Bitcoin as “something we see only to be growing” while stressing the importance of “keeping the Las Vegas tourist scene ahead of the curve.”
Although the two currencies are normally as far away as possible, Bitcoin and gold fans could find themselves aligning with one another in the near future. As Joshua Brustein of Bloomberg Businessweek notes, digital payments network Ripple has developed a way for individuals to make transactions in a digital form of gold. Similarly, Anthem Vault Inc. also announced recently that it had developed the Independence Coin, a virtual currency backed by gold.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department has begun to investigate the disappearance of Mt. Gox’s Bitcoin, Pete Rizzo of CoinDesk reports. The disappearance, which occurred five months ago, resulted in the loss of roughly $350 million in Mt. Gox customer funds. Currently, Tokyo police suspect around 27,000 Bitcoin were stolen from the website, which had previously been the foremost Bitcoin exchange in the world.
Special Section: Nonprofits and Charity
The Wikimedia Foundation will now accept donations in the form of Bitcoin, Noah Rayman of TIME reports. Wikimedia, who is responsible for the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, funds itself almost exclusively through donations. Accepting donations through bitcoin will help “the Foundation to make sure donating is as simple and inclusive as possible,” according to Lisa Seitz Gruwell, Wikimedia’s chief revenue officer. In order to facilitate the donations, Wikimedia has stated it will use Coinbase to accept and convert the cryptocurrency into US dollars.
Relatedly, Coinbase announced this week that it will no longer be charging processing fees for nonprofit organizations. According to Dan Palmer of CoinDesk, all registered 501(c) nonprofits will now be able to exchange their donations and receive a bank transfer without having to pay any fees. Palmer also explained the overall significance Coinbase’s decision to nonprofit organizations as a whole, who often lost three-quarters of their donated funds to such fees.
Remaining on the subject of nonprofits and charitable organizations, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution announced this week that it would begin to accept donations in the form of Bitcoin. As Howard Lake of UKFundraising reports, the RNLI claims to be “the first major charity in the UK or Ireland to accept Bitcoin.” Deputy Director of Fundraising and Communications Leesa Harwood not only linked the RNLI’s decision to the organization’s history of fundraising innovation, staking claim to the first street collection in 1891, but also that Bitcoin could help to link the RNLI with “new types of supporters.”