Recapping the week’s biggest Bitcoins stories from around the web.
Cavirtex, the Canadian virtual exchange that ceased operations in March due to compromised security information, is expected to re-launch operations following Coinsetter acquisition. As Yessi Bello Perez of Coin Desk writes, Coinsetter, the New York City-based bitcoin exchange, acquired Cavirtex following a negotiated agreement with its voting shareholders. The new CEO of both Coinsetter and Cavirtex, Jaron Lukasiewicz, stated that “We feel strongly about our ability to protect customer funds and will keep minimal funds in hot wallets.”
Orange, one of the leading mobile operators and Internet services in Europe is eyeing bitcoin startups in Silicon Valley. As Olga Kharif of Bloomberg reports, Orange is interested in the cryptocurrency technology in order to explore ways of cheaply transferring money between different countries. According to CEO of Orange Silicon Valley, Georges Nahon, Orange is ready to invest $20,000 per startup and spend nearly $3.2m per company.
Kentucky Senator, Rand Paul is accepting bitcoin donations for his presidential campaign. As Eric Lichtblau of The New York Times writes, Rand’s decision to accept the digital currency as a payment method is part of a sophisticated strategy with an aim to appeal to tech-savvy voters and bitcoin aficionados. The bitcoin donation threshold for Rand’s political campaign is set at $100 in value or less.
igot, the Australian bitcoin exchange adds payment processing options to its platform. Gola Yashu of NewsBtc reports that, following real-time payment settlements, Igot will convert bitcoin payments into fiat currencies. To establish a strong merchant base, igotis offering$500 bonus for $25,000 worth of bitcoin transactions in the first 90 days. Additionally, igot acquired TagePesa, Kenya’s crypto exchange. As Katherine Fletcher of Coin Report writes, the acquisition gave access to igot to Kenya’s mobile payment system, M-Pesa.
Bitcoin Conference South Africa kicks off next week
The first Bitcoin conference in Africa is slated for the 16th and 17th of April in Cape Town South Africa. It has attracted a host of relatively new Bitcoin start ups from Africa such as ICE3X, BitX and BitPesa. Elizabeth Rossiello, CEO of BitPesa, which recently secured a $ 1.1 million funding round is scheduled to speak alongside others.
Sub Saharan Africa is ripe for digital currency services such as remittances that currently incur abnormally high transfer costs. More details of this event can be found here
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) does not consider the bitcoin a threat to the existing financial system and sees no need for regulation at this point. Alexander Cordova of Coin Buzz writes that the RBA, through the mouth of the Head of Payments Policy Department, Tony Richards, explained that it monitors the progress of digital currencies in Australia and considers them as “an interesting development in the Australian financial and payments system”.
New Jersey is considering to introduce double taxation of retail transactions in bitcoins. As Evander Smart of CryptoCoins News writes, the New Jersey Division of Taxation has released a technical advisory memorandum explaining that any barter transaction in bitcoins is state-taxable, if used for a retail transaction. This double taxation is expected to repel New Jersey residents from using the bitcoin.
The official divorce of eBay with PayPalwill take place within 2015 and may be beneficial for the bitcoin. Giulio Prisco of Bitcoin Magazine writes that eBay has confirmed that the new structure, PayPal Holdings, will operate eBay’s payments, while eBay will continue its operations as an independent company. As far as Braintree is concerned, the payment processor which was acquired by eBay, it will be a subsidiary of PayPal Holdings. However, given that Braintree enables seamless bitcoin transaction via Coinbase, and that PayPal will take over the payment segment, it is expected that PayPal will be able to capitalize on the benefits of the cryptocurrency space.
Coinkite, the leading bitcoin platform and API developer enables bitcoin transfer via sms. Jp Buntinx of Bitcoinist reports thatCoinkite, seeking to capitalize on the benefits of cryptocurrency technology, has enabled a new feature in their API to allow users to send bitcoins globally. The move is expected to raise the bitcoin popularity, especially in areas where it is not so widely used and/or accepted, like in Africa.
Coinbase plans a regulated UK Bitcoin exchange
As one of the largest start ups in the bitcoin space, this bitcoin exchange and wallet service is planning a UK invasion. The UK is one of a few global financial centres, and has recently announced its commitment to digital currency innovation. CEO, Brian Armstrong spoke to ibtimes saying conversations with authorities had been on progress for “at least six months” and were “positive and moving in the right direction.” Strangely, this predates UK’s HM Treasury statement last month by 5 months.
Back in December, NYSE, BBVA chipped into a $ 75 million series C funding into Coinbase. As of January 2015, it estimates it serves 2.1 million users across the United States plus 18 other countries in Europe.