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Bitcoin News Roundup – 31 May 2015

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

The “Silk Road saga” is over, the founder of illegal online market Silk Road has been sentenced to life in prison without parole. US District Judge Katherine Forrest was not convinced that Silk Road was created “out of youthful naïveté.” On the top of the prison sentence, Ulbricht has to pay a fine of nearly $200 million.

Australia plans on making a criminal offense to informing people about the benefits of cryptography.

As Justin OConnell of CryptoCoins News reports, academics and cryptography researchers in Australia could face up to ten years imprisonment in the event of even lecturing on cryptography. According to Australian Department of Defense, “university researchers would need prior permission from a Minister at the DoD to communicate new research to foreign nationals or to publish in any research journals.”

Switzerland might consider establishing the first bitcoin bank. As Sarah Jenn of NewsBtc writes, according to Handelszeitung, Switzerland’s major newspaper, arrangements are in progress for a bitcoin bank to acquire the licenses to start operations.It is also confirmed by various sources in the financial industry that the Financial Market Supervisory Authority is aware of the project and the license application will be submitted with the forthcoming weeks.

Canadian universities are increasingly acknowledging the bitcoin potential and openly support the cryptocurrency technology. As JP Buntinx of Digital Money Times writes, students at Simon Fraser University are allowed to pay for their textbooks in bitcoin. Additionally, the campus provides three bitcoin ATMs.

Regulation

The American Bar Association (ABA) is hosting “Bitcoin and other Digital Currencies: Emerging Issues in Regulation and Enforcement” event. The event will take place on June 26that the Ritz-Carlton in Washington DC. As John WeruMaina of CryptoCoins News writes, the ABA plans to investigate the latest improvements in bitcoin compliance and regulation issues, including whether the digital currency should be regarded as money or as a commodity.

Taxes

New Jersey favors tax breaks for companies that embrace the bitcoin. As Katherine Fletcher of Coin Report writes, New Jersey Assemblymen Raj Mukherji and Gordon Johnson introduced a bill that would block municipalities from launching their own tax regulations on bitcoin. Registration with the Department of Banking of Insuranceis mandatory for the companies that operate in the cryptocurrency industry. Additionally, the bill includes incentives to attract more businesses to adopt the bitcoin and expand the use of the digital currency in New Jersey.

Payments

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) joins forces with Ripple Labs. As Jeffrey Maxim of Bitcoin Magazine reports, CBA will capitalize on Ripple technology to expedite payments between its subsidiaries. The CBA has tested the cryptocurrency technology before taking the decision to explore the benefits of intrabank transfers using the Ripple protocols. According to CBA CIO David Whiteing “Bitcoin is a protocol which is now being replicated by non-asset based vendors like Ripple and others. We are about to launch using Ripple as a means to transfer payments between our subsidiaries.”

Bitstamp launches a new prepaid debit card. As Maria Santos of 99bitcoins writes, the London-based Bitcoin exchange has partnered with the payment processor AstroPay to enable Bitstamp’s clients to acquire debit cards in USD, Euros and/or GBP. The debit cards could loaded in fiat currency or in bitcoin and they will be available within the European Union.

ChainPay, the global bitcoin gateway partners with Payment Goblin to facilitate seamless bitcoin transactions. According to Bitcoinist.net, the partnership will enable the customers of Payment Goblin, the UK-based payment processor, to accept bitcoin by using its API. According to an announcement by Payment Goblin “Through this partnership, we hope to introduce merchants currently using traditional card payments to the benefits of digital currency.”

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