A roundup of news that made headlines in the Bitcoin ecosystem.
Digital Currency Group Adds Western Union, New Investors and Board Members
Western Union is officially an investor in Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group (DCG), a bitcoin and blockchain incubator with 70 companies across 22 companies in its investment portfolio. According to New York Business Journal, the undisclosed figure, was injected by a venture set of firms including: Horizon Kinetics, HCM International Company, Gibraltar Ventures, OMERS Ventures, Kingsbridge Wealth Management and Wood Investment Partners. Announcing through DCG’s blog, Barry said
“Our investors now span various segments of the financial industry, from banks to insurance companies to global money transfer and payments companies who see the potential of digital currencies and their many applications”
DCG also announced new members to its board, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers and Gavin Andresen as senior advisors.
BitFury expands to full-service digital asset technology company
BitFury, a bitcoin blockchain infrastructure provider, renowned for its mining hardware and pool operations, announced its intention to expand into a full stack blockchain company. Valery Varilov, who co-founded the group in 2011, posted a blog on the company’s new direction.
The announcement comes a week after the BitFury partnered with the Republic of Georgia on a Blockchain Land Titling Project with Economist Hernando De Soto.
Varilov’s also spoke on collaborating with law enforcement which did not sit well with the Bitcoin community. He said
“We plan to partner with law enforcement agencies globally, just as we have in the U.S. through the Blockchain Alliance, a public-private forum formed by the Bitcoin community to help combat criminal activity involving bitcoin and the Blockchain.”
European Parliament Committee OK’s Bitcoin for Wealth Preservation
After hearing from members, the European Parliament Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection released a report on its opinion, calling on the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs to incorporate 14 bulleted suggestions.
Most interesting was 9, that stated
“persons seeking wealth preservation may use independent currencies such as Bitcoin at times of depressed interest rates or as a safe harbour during times of economic instability”
This report was born out of a non-commercial conference held on the 19th of April, by the Members of the European Parliament and representatives from World Bank, IMF, OECD and top global financial institution. The agenda was to discuss policy implications of virtual currencies and distributed ledgers.
Isle of Man seeks to Ease Regulation to Foster Bitcoin Gambling
Regulators from the Isle of Man are being proactive in filling a gap in current gambling regulations to accommodate digital currencies such as bitcoin. The Isle of Man’s Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC) plans to allow acceptance of digital currencies in the same vein as cash. According to Coindesk, GSC
“Wants to tweak the definition of “the deposit of money” currently on the books to include “the deposit of something which has a value in money or money’s worth”, which would cover digital currencies”
Mark Rutherford, an official at the GSC explained their progressive move
“We’re ironing that out so that if the commercial climate in the future becomes less challenging for block-chain based payment channels, it won’t be our law that prevents their adoption”
Bitcoin Exchange Bitstamp Acquires Payment Institution lIcense
This week, via its blog, Slovenia based exchange Bitstamp, announced it had secured a payments institution license from Luxembourg. This license now allows the exchange to expand its operations across any one of 28 EU member states. Luxembourg, also serves as the European headquarters for many global players including Amazon and PayPal.
Pantera Capital, an investor in Bitstamp, said in a press release the application had been 2 years in the works. Luxembourg’s Minister of Finance Pierre Gramegna stated,
“That Bitstamp has chosen Luxembourg as its European hub only strengthens that reputation. I believe this announcement marks a milestone for bitcoin and digital finance in Europe.”
Bitcoin user mistakenly send 291 BTC as fee on a $5 transaction
Motherboard Vice reported on Tuesday, 26 April, an unlucky person paid $137,081 as a transaction fee on a $5 bitcoin transaction, what would normally cost $0.01. Bitcoin Club Network, a mining company that runs a mining pool in Netherlands, included the transaction as part of block 409,008, collecting the fee on it in the process. Because bitcoin is pseudonymous, the identity of the sender is unknown.
“whomever sent this transaction likely meant to send the $137,000 to someone they knew, and just wanted to attach a $5 fee as a thank-you to the payment processor, but got it mixed up”
Torrent site Pirate Bay totals whopping 8 BTC in donations in 3 years
In 2013, the Pirate Bay became the earliest torrent sites to begin accepting bitcoin donations. Because bitcoin transactions are public, the publicly listed wallet address showed a total received amount of $ 3, 720 – 8.31 BTC in 3 years. Not exactly a jackpot for a site that lets people download a tonne of stuff for free! Disgruntled music copyright lobbyists, like the RIAA, in 2013, voiced concern over new revenue streams for torrent sites via unseizable digital currency.
Read more at torrent freak