A recap of the week’s biggest Bitcoin stories from the perspectives of the best sources for e-currency news around the web
For the first time since May 2014, Bitcoin’s value has fallen below the $500 mark. As of 11:07PM EST on 15 August 2014, Bitcoin was valued at a price of $488.65. Pete Rizzo of CoinDesk writes that there appears to be no direct cause behind the loss in value. However, Michael J. Casey and Paul Vigna of The Wall Street Journal‘s BitBeat section cite the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s recent bulletin as a potential cause. The bureau’s report, titled “Risks to Consumers Posed by Virtual Currencies,” discusses, among other topics, how hackers and scams can make using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies a risky endeavour. The CFPB also notes that fewer protections are offered by virtual currency holders than by official banks or credit card providers.
Ryan Whitwam of Geek.com notes that a German startup has developed a chip that could double bitcoin mining efficiency. The new company, ASICrising, has stated they have developed a design for a mining chip that would only require 0.19 joules of energy to generate a single unit of Bitcoin computing power. The most efficiency application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) on the market currently requires 0.37 joules to achieve the same goal.
Dish Network has received a Bitcoin payment as compensation from two filmmakers behind a documentary about living with the cryptocurrency as one’s sole means of payment. Variety NY Digital Editor Todd Sprangler writes that Austin and Beccy Craig, the filmmakers behind indie documentary “Life on Bitcoin,” have paid the satellite television provider in Bitcoin to for its 290 channel packages priced at $79.99 per month.
TechCrunch writer Jonathan Sieber writes that BitAccess is looking to build a network of automated teller machines that would provide Bitcoin banking services across the world. According to Sieber, how BitAccess is differentiating itself from companies such as Robocoin Technologies and GenesisCoin, which are all launching bitcoin transaction hardware, is that they are providing an easy interface. BitAccess users would only require a phone number and a single dollar to use the machine.
This weekend, a Bitcoin expo will be held in Raleigh, North Carolina. As Chris Williams of Time Warner Cable News – Charlotte reports, the Cryptolina Expo in Raleigh is featuring the digital currency. Speaking of his confidence in Bitcoin, Daniel Spuller, one of the events co-organizers, stated that he believes “we’re going to see more merchants accept it in the coming months” and that he thinks of Bitcoin as more secure than credit cards.
The Bitcoin Foundation has expanded into South Asia. According to Eric Calouro of NewsBTC, the organization now has an affiliate in Bangladesh. The president of the affiliate, S.M. Monir Uz Zaman, cited Bitcoin’s ability to improve the lives of Bangladeshi citizens. Calouro cites the fact that “people in Bangladeshi had received a whopping $14 billion in remittances from approximately 8.6 million migrant workers,” which carry fees that could have been avoided if Bitcoin had been the currency that was employed.
Thanks to its incorporation of Bitcoin as a payment method, Overstock now expects to see its earnings per share increase by four cents for fiscal year 2014. As Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss of Reuters reports, Overstock’s Bitcoin sales have exceeded that $2 million mark. CEO Patrick Byrne stated that he expects Bitcoin sales to exceed the $6 million to $8 million mark during the 2014 year, with an average of $15,000 in Bitcoin sales per day. However, by the end of the year, Byrne expects monthly Bitcoin sales to exceed $1 million.
According to Lance Whitney at CNET, eBay is also looking to incorporate Bitcoin payments into its PayPal Braintree payments unit. The division functions as a payment platform for startup companies such as Airbnb, OpenTable, and Uber, which respectively offer rental places, restaurant reservations, and car rides. eBay is currently considering Coinbase for its bitcoin transactions processing needs. However, no deals have been made as of yet and neither eBay nor PayPal would allow customers to use bitcoin as a direct payment option once the currency is adopted.
Online marketplaces are not the only place where individuals can spend their Bitcoin. Pete Rizzo of CoinDesk reports that a total of 8,000 Argentinian convenience stores now sell Bitcoin to customers. Through Ripio, a Bitcoin brokerage service launched by BitPagos, cryptocurrency holders can use provide their Ripio account information at these stores to exchange their stored Bitcoins for pesosv or vice versa. BitPagos CEO Sebastian Serrano stated the company plans to expand their operations to other Latin American markets, including Venezuela.