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Bitcoin News Roundup – 14Feb. 2015

Recapping the week’s biggest Bitcoins stories from around the web.

The bitcoin may be banned in Hong Kong after the filing of more than 25 complaints over a Ponzi scheme involving bitcoins. Michelle Price and Lizzie Ko of Reuters report that lawmakers Leung Yiu-chung and James To, favor bitcoin ban as MyCoin, the Hong-Kong based online platform for bitcoin trading reportedly tricked investors and went away with almost $387m. The lawmakers told Reuters that “The government should clamp down on bitcoin. It’s simply not enough to just ask people to exercise caution when investing. It has to ban the circulation of such virtual currency in the market.”

The California candidate Gavin Newsom features bitcoin in his election campaign to become California governor in 2018. According to the Bitcoins Channel, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) approved an advisory opinion regarding contributions in bitcoin and decided that Make Your Laws PAC, the organization for all political contributions, is allowed to accept bitcoin donations.

Newsom is one of the first politicians to accept cryptocurrency donations and features a relevant link in his website.

Africa is Bitcoin’s next stop. Bitpesa, the Nairobi-based bitcoin startup seeks for expansion in the African region. As JP Buntinx of CryptoArticles writes, Bitpesa raised $US1.1m through Pantera Capital Management and has welcomed Dan Morehead, Pantera’s CEO to the Board of Directors. The total amount raised is $US1.7m as other institutional investors, including Bitcoin Opportunity Corp. Future/Perfect Ventures and Stephens Investment Management have funded the African project.

Regulation

Utah legislator Mark K. Roberts encourages the use of bitcoin as a legitimate form of payment.

William Suberg of Coin Telegraph reports that H.C.R. 6 “Concurrent Resolution on Payment Options for State Services” introduced by Roberts is an action towards actively considering to legalize the digital currency following the States of New York and California.

Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) in Québec requires that all bitcoin-related businesses obtain appropriate licenses. According to Pete Rizzo of Coin Desk, the Canadian regulatory agency introduced new policies that comply with the Money-Services Businesses Act, so that bitcoin trading platforms and ATMs are licensed. This may be the first step towards the regulation of the digital currency in Canada.

Russia might consider bitcoin regulation. As Chris Pomoni of NewsBtc writes, Alexey Moshkov of the

Ministry of Internal Affairs favors the introduction of a legislative policy that would allow the bitcoin regulation of the Russian Central Bank. Moshkov stated in TASS that “Unregulated status of cryptocurrencies makes operations with them rather risky. Bitcoin holders appear to be absolutely insecure in case of any losses.”

Payments

Bitnet and Universal Air Travel Plan (UATP) joined forces to facilitate the integration of bitcoin payments on more than 260 airlines and Amtrak railways. As Michael Cheng of Payment Week writes,major airlines that own UATP will accept bitcoin payments through the Bitnet platform. Akif Khan, VP of Bitnet believes that “It’s very much in the airlines’ interest for the consumer to pay with bitcoin given that the airline will have cheaper fees and they know that money can’t be taken away in a fraudulent transaction.”

Google is fond of the bitcoin. The tech giant in cooperation with Square is building and testing new payment systems that can accept payments in bitcoins. John WeruMaina of CryptoCoins News reports that Plaso is the name of the new payment processing system, while Square deals with the hardware terminals. The move is expected to increase competition in the payments market, especially after the suspension of Mycelium bitcoin wallet from Google Play store.

Mark Levine, New York City Councilman will introduce a bill for the adoption of the bitcoin as an accepted form of payment for parking tickets, fines and fees. Nick Marinoff of NewsBtc reports that, if the bill is approved, New York City will set up agreements with financing agencies for the payment of parking fine in bitcoin. Levine believes that the use of the digital currency will “convey to the world that New York is on the cutting edge.”

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