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Weekly Bitcoin Update – 12-7-14

Recapping the week’s biggest Bitcoin stories from around the web

The second auction of Silk Road Bitcoin by U.S. Marshals has been completed. John Biggs of TechCrunch notes that the auction consisted of 50,000 BTC. A total of eleven bidders placed bids on the cryptocurrency. This number represents a substantial decrease from the 45 bidders who placed bids in the June auction. Despite the large number of bitcoins that were sold in the auction, the price of the cryptocurrency did not change as a result of the transactions. The USMS still holds an additional 94,000 BTC, a large number which suggests that the organization may be selling more of its holdings in the near future.

Could Bitcoin detractors finally have a voice? According to Upstart’s Michael del Castillo, MasterCard’s Matthew Driver, the president of its South East Asia division, could become that leader. In an video shared by Channel News Asia, Driver referred to the cryptocurrencies as “unstable in terms of their intrinsic value.” Driver’s comments appear to be part of a focused effort from the company to assail the cryptocurrency. Recently, MasterCard has made statements regarding the need for all payment systems to “be regulated in the same way to achieve a level playing field for all.”

Emerging Markets

Could Bitcoin’s next market be Turkey? Deepak Tiwari of Forexminute reports that Bit4coin, in conjunction with MK Payment, will be launching Bitupcard. The e-voucher scheme will help bitcoin users to purchase goods in thirty retail stores across the country as part of its initiative to increase the availability of the cryptocurrency across the country. Bit4coin’s founder and CEO, Dolf Diedrichsen, also noted that the company’s service could also be put into use at 5,000 Turkish locations.

Bitcoin is experiencing substantial growth in Australia. However, the Australian Crime Commission is having an issue adjusting to the growth of the cryptocurrency in its own country as a result of its connection with organized crime. Byron Kaye of Business Insider writes that the organization has initiated an operation called Project Longstrike, through which it “will monitor ‘misuse of virtual currencies to facilitate criminal activity’ at the national and international level.” The urge to assault bitcoin-enabled crime comes at a time when Australia has over $5 billion worth of bitcoins in circulation.

United States Regulation

The California Department of Business Oversight will be discussing the future of bitcoin regulation in its home state during its December meeting. As Pete Rizzo at CoinDesk writes, the company’s meeting will address what “actions the bitcoin industry must take to serve its customers.” The DBO’s spokesperson, Tom Dresslar, also stated that the meeting could also help to determine whether the organization will “proceed down a regulatory path.” Previously, California’s governor, Jerry Brown, approved an Assembly Bill that had granted the cryptocurrency the status of being “lawful money” under the laws of the state.

A United States Congressional Representative has proposed a five-year cryptocurrency regulation moratorium. John Weru Maina of CryptoCoins News writes that the HR 5777 bill, available here, proposes the prohibition of restrictions or regulations for a period of five years beginning on June 15th, 2015. The bill also calls for bitcoin mining income to be taxed to the point of conversion, not “at the point of creation.” This law would protect bitcoin miners who fail to receive anything through their efforts.

New Services

A bitcoin ATM operator will be bringing the cryptocurrency to 2,500 different locations in thirty-three US states. Pete Rizzo of CoinDesk writes that Liberty Teller has re-branded itself as LibertyX and has partnered with Qpay to offer cash-to-bitcoin buying services. Available on mobile phones and convenience stores, users who make an account with the company will be able to view a map with LibertyX locations in the area after purchasing bitcoin. Rizzo notes that the service “marks a dramatic expansion for the Boston-based company.” LibertyX currently manages four ATM machines.

Bitreserve, which offers cryptocurrency holders the chance to “hold their value in other currencies,” has added gold. Ian DeMartino of CoinTelegraph writes that the serve has added the non-fiat option while also distributing around a dollar’s worth of gold to some Bitreserve members. The company’s service operates by buying and selling bitcoins and other currencies when a user wishes to make a transaction. The assets are always held by Bitreserve, not the user. For example, when a user who wishes to convert Bitcoin into gold, Bitreserve sells the equivalent Bitcoin holdings and purchases the gold with those dollars.

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