Recapping the week’s biggest Bitcoins stories from around the web.
Ross Ulbricht’s request for retrial is denied. As Andy Greenberg of The Wired reports, Judge Katherine Forrest denied Ulbricht’s defense request for a retrial based on an alleged violation of Ulbricht’s fourth amendment privacy rights due to “warrantless investigative attempts to identify the Silk Road server and insufficient time to review the evidence in the trial.” Additionally, Ulbricht’s defense team stated that the corruption charges against Carl Mark Force IV of the Drug Enforcement Administration and Shaun Bridges of the U.S. Secret Service need to be reexamined. Yet, Judge Forrest has not been convinced.
Coinbase, global bitcoin payment processor opens bitcoin exchange in the UK. As Supriya Kurane of Reuters reports, the San Francisco-based Coinbase secured a partnership with a European bank (which still remains undisclosed) and expands in the UK aiming to capitalize on the enthusiasm for the digital currency in one of the financial capitals of the world. The new exchange will allow users to convert GBP to bitcoin.
Circle Internet Financial, the Boston-based bitcoin startup, has raised $50 million with Goldman Sachs in the lead. As Michael J. Casey of The Wall Street Journal reports, Goldman Sachs is exploring the use of digital currency technology to provide more effective financial solutions. The new round of $50 million adds up to prior financing rounds of $26 million, while Goldman Sachs values Circle roughly at $200 million.
NASDAQ Sweden, XBT Provider AB, approves Bitcoin Tracker One, an Exchange Traded Note (ETN) designed to provide investors with access to the returns of the USD per bitcoin. As Yessi Bello Perez of CoinDesk writes,XBT Provider AB opens up bitcoin investment for people who are reluctant to directly invest in the digital currency. The ETN will be launched on 18th May.
California Banking and Finance Committee approves a bitcoin regulation bill. As Sean Wince of Bitcoinist writes, following New York’s BitLicence, California passed the AB-1326 Virtual Currency legislation, which considers any cryptocurrency business a crime in California without prior registering, meeting all requirements, and paying $5,000 as an application fee.
The Canadian government takes careful steps in regards to bitcoin regulation. As Susan Willms of Bitcoin Magazine reports, although in February 2014, the Canadian officials approved the necessary amendments to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act of 2000 to include the bitcoin, still the amendments haven’t become an official Canadian law. According to digital currency regulations expert, Amber Scott, “Instead of rushing in, the Canadian government is looking at all the options and considering feedback from the Senate and the industry.”
Western Union is interested in teaming up with Ripple Labs. As JP Buntinx of Digital Money Times reports, Ripple has partnered with ZipZap Inc. since October 2014 for expanding the bitcoin distribution and money transfer software. Western Union gets in the picture aiming to explore if, by entering into a partnership with Ripple, it could take advantage of the distributed ledger value transfer tool and capitalize on faster and cheaper transfer of funds.
Overstock plans to issue bitcoin-like stocks. As Scott Fargo of Inside Bitcoins writes, the largest online retailer has filed a prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Commission, asking consent to issue up to $500 million in stocks that will be regulated by a bitcoin network. According to the SEC filing “We may decide to offer securities as digital securities… using technology similar to (or the same as) the distributed ledger technology used for trading digital currencies.” Overstock’s initiative may alter the way the traditional stock market operates.