The week’s biggest bitcoin stories from around the web
Jon Matonis, the Executive Director of the Bitcoin Foundation, resigned on Oct. 31st.. Sydney Ember of The New York Times reports that while Matonis, one of the foundation’s founding board members, will remain with the board until Dec. 31st. Matonis was named executive director in July 2013 and spoke strongly of the potential for currency to replace gold at some point in the future. During his tenure at the head of the foundation, one of the leading voices in the Bitcoin world, the cryptocurrency entered the mainstream. Patrick Murck, the foundation’s general counsel, will succeed Matonis.
Moolah CEO Ryan Kennedy is working to return money to his customers. As Alex Hern of The Guardian writes, Kennedy has already processed almost $900,000 in refunds and believes former customers and investors are not giving him a fair chance to remedy what has occurred. “If I was going to run, I would not still be processing refunds,” says Kennedy, who ran the company under the name of Alex Green until Moolah declared bankruptcy during the middle of October. Currently, Moolah cannot process transactions for a Syscoin, a major third-party creditor.
Bitcoin has gained support from a former chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Donna Tam of CNET writes that Arthur Levitt is bullish on bitcoin and has agreed to advise both BitPay, a payment processing company, and Vaurum, a bitcoin exchange. Levitt has stated that he believes regulation will be a key to the future success of Bitcoin companies, stating that “regulations really will do more to establish their credibility as an alternative.” Levitt was the longest-tenured chairman of the SEC, serving the commission from 1993 to 2001.
The United Kingdom’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, is expected to express support for bitcoin in his autumn statement, which will be delivered to Parliament in December. Ian Jackson of Inside Bitcoins notes that support from an important figure from a major financial hub would “provide some much-needed support for bitcoin.” Ed Vaizey, the United Kingdom’s Minister for the Digital Economy, has also indicated that the the country will be supporting bitcoin, stating that the United Kingdom’s “government is still looking at the tech, but sees the potential for e-payments to bring multiple benefits to consumers and businesses.” Vaizey also expressed his belief that the United Kingdom is a suitable place for a new tech company.
Popular Bitcoin mining pool BTC Guild will likely be sold in the near future. Jordan Novet of VentureBeat reports that the pool’s founder, Michael Marsee, had originally planned to shut down the pool on Jan 31st, 2015 due to rising regulatory actions against Bitcoin businesses. However, he has since received inquiries from parties interested in purchasing and running the guild. As a result, the pool will operational until Marsee has found a buyer.
Students at Duke University, one of the most prominent universities in North America, will be able to enroll in a class that covers the Bitcoin blockchain. Caleb Chen of CryptoCoins News reports Campbell Harvey, a Fuqua School of Business Professor, will be offering a class to law, MBA, graduate, and technically-skilled undergraduate students during the Spring semester that will not only explore Bitcoin transactions, but also the impact of disruptive technologies on the business world. Cryptoventure projects are expected to be formulated in the class, which will not featured homework, midterms, and final exams. As a result, students within the course will be signing Non-Disclosure Agreements to protect the “content of projects presented within the classroom.” Schools that have also launched Bitcoin, blockchain, or digital currency-related courses include New York University, the University of Nicosia, and Stanford University.
Prominent Bitcoin exchange Kraken has launched in Japan. Jon Southurst of CoinDesk reports the exchange’s announcement highlighted its seurity and engineering team and history of compliance. These factors could be related to the Japanese local media’s tendency to focus on the history of Mt. Gox and Silk Road when discussing the cryptocurrency. Additionally, Kraken also highlighted the exchange’s ability to handle large trading volumes.
The first ever Bitcoin conference in the Gulf will be hosted in Dubai at the Dubai International Financial Center between Dec. 11th and 13th, 2014. John Weru Maina of CryptoCoins News reports that the conference will feature workshop sessions, which “will focus on the fundamentals of Bitcoin protocol,” and prominent figures like Roger Ver, Erik Voorhees, Nic Cary, and Greg Simon. Maina also notes that the United Arab Emirates is a relatively untapped Bitcoin market.