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Bitcoin News Roundup – 15 Mar.2015

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

Ross Ulbricht asks for a re-trial and seeks for a violation of its Fourth Amendment rights by the government’s confiscation of the Silk Road servers. Kate Vinton of Forbes reports that defense lawyer Joshua Dratel claims that Ulbricht was convicted lacking “exculpatory material”, although the government has presented favorable material to Ulbricht’s conviction prior and during the trial. The story is far from over.

Bitcoin exchange itBit is one of the three winners in the online auction of Ross Ulbricht’s 50,000 bitcoins. Katherine Fletcher of Coin Report writes that, itBit won 3,000 bitcoins, while the other two unidentified winners won 27,000 and 20,000 bitcoins respectively. Based on the bitcoin’s trading value last week, the total value of the 50,000 bitcoins is estimated at $14.6 million.

Business men, financial executives, technology leaders and institutional investors are some of the members of the newly-launched Wall Street Bitcoin Alliance (WSBA), which aims to promote the adoption of the bitcoin and theblockchain technology across financial markets. According to Finextra, the WSBA plans to work closely with regulators and policymakers in order to enable the financial markets to realize and capitalize on the cryptocurrency innovation.

21 Inc. bitcoin startup hits the funding jackpot. As Michael J. Casey of Wall Street Journal reports, the San Francisco-based startup has convinced some of the biggest institutional investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, RRE Ventures and Yuan Capital, to capitalize on the blockchain technology. 21 Inc raised the record amount of $116 million in venture funding, although it has disclosed no valuation on how the funds will be used “to drive mainstream adoption of bitcoin.”

Following the latest trend of new publicly traded bitcoin financial exchanges, Digital Asset Holdings joins the game and allows its clients to trade financial assets in bitcoins. As Giulio Prisco of Bitcoin Magazine writes, Blythe Masters, a former executive of JP Morgan Chase & Co, will be CEO ofNew York, Chicago and Tel Aviv operations. According to Masters, the bitcoin is not “a store of value or an alternative currency or an investment,” but rather “a medium for exchange and a mechanism for recording information.”

Regulation

The European Central Bank (ECB) recognizes the growth of the bitcoin. In the “Virtual currency schemes – a further analysis,” report, the ECB acknowledges the dramatic growth of the digital currencies by investigating their underlying forces and challenges, Elliot Maras of CryptoCoins News writes. The ECB does not view any immediate risk to the banking activities in spite of the VSCs lack of regulation and high volatility, among other disadvantages.

IBM considers the adoption of the blockchain technology for the creation of a new digital payment system for transferring funds in fiat currency. Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss of Reuters reports that IBM’s objective is to build a blockchain-tied cash system with several banks, but without using a bank or a clearing party for the transfer of funds. The new system will operate a country-specific open ledger, viewable by everyone using the system, will record the transactions and print them out in the country’s fiat currency.

Coinbase is the first bitcoin-related company to join the Internet Association (IA). As Nick Marinoff of NewsBtc writes, Amazon, eBay, Facebook and Googlehave joined the IA to make the most of the Internet economy under certain regulation policies. Acknowledging the challenges of Coinbase due to regulatory issues, IA’s CEO, Michael Beckerman states that “We look forward to working with Coinbase and harnessing their insights about the role of digital currency and online payment systems in our Internet economy.”

Payments

T-Mobile in Poland accepts bitcoin. According to Bitcoin Examiner, Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa joined forces with InPay, a Polish bitcoin platform to accept the digital currency as a legal form of payment. The partnership will expand the use of bitcoin in the Polish market, and especially among prepaid telephone users.

RedditMarket accepts bitcoin. As Yessi Bello Perez of Coin Desk reports, Reddit entered into a partnership with Coinbase to enable the processing of payments in its merchandise store with the use of bitcoin. Generally, the partnership is well-received and some users asked RedditMarket to include other virtual currencies as well such as the dogecoin.

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