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Bitcoin news roundup January 8, 2017

This week’s summary of various cryptocurrency news and developments:

New developments:

Bitstamp has raised over $1.8 million in ongoing funding campaign

Luxembourg-based bitcoin exchange Bitstamp has an ongoing funding campaign on the BnKToTheFuture platform, where it has already raised over €1.7 million ($1.8 million), out of a planned $1.2 million and the campaign isn’t over yet, as it will last another 19 days. 258 backers have already put their money on the line, as they’re buying a total of 2% of Bitstamp’s equity.

According to the company’s co-founder and CEO Nejc Kodrič, the money is going to be used to help the company expand into new markets and to offer new services on its platform. Bitstamp obtained a Payment Institution License from Luxembourg last year, allowing it to expand to new markets.

Kraken has added Monero trading to its platform

Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken has recently added Monero (XMR) to its platform. Users can now trade Monero fir Bitcoin, Euros or United States Dollars, as the anonymous cryptocurrency has gained huge adoption in 2016. According to the exchange, Monero witnessed a huge 40x market cap growth last year. Kraken even informed users that the planned hard fork for block 1220516 should go smoothly, and trading on the platform will be offline shortly before and a while after the fork.

Microsoft Excel to add native support for bitcoin this year

According to CryptoCoinsNews, Microsoft’s Excel, one the most widely used spreadsheet programs in the whole world should enable bitcoin support this year, as it is one of the most anticipated new Office 365 features, among 84 other updates that, back in March 2016, were under development. At the time, one could read about bitcoin support: “Now use Excel to track, calculate and analyze Bitcoin data using native Bitcoin number formatting options. The feature is first being rolled out to Excel 2016 for Windows, Excel Online, Excel Mobile for Windows and Excel Mobile for Android.”

Microsoft has been bitcoin-friendly for years now, as back in 2014 it started to accept bitcoin payments via BitPay.

World affairs:

UK’s first FinTech course has been launched in Scottish University

The University of Strathclyde in Scotland has recently announced a FinTech masters course. Dubbed Masters of Science (MSc) in Financial Technology, the course will help students gain analytical and programming skills so they’ll be able to help companies with technology such as blockchain. The course was launched in order to help Scotland stand out as a leader in financial innovation. Moreover, the university’s statement claims that FinTech can create nearly 15,000 jobs in 10 years, so there’ll be a market for the students’ future.

The 12-month course will begin in September, and students will be taught by staff from the Department of Management Science, and the Department of Accounting and Finance.

Financial:

Bitcoin price plunges after China’s Central Bank warning for investors

A few days ago, as soon as we got into 2017, bitcoin hit all-time records in a few exchanges, as its price went far beyond $1,100. At the time of press, one bitcoin is worth $873 on Bitstamp, a huge plunge in a few days. According to Reuters, part of the reason why is China’s Central Bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), as it urged investors to “take a rational and cautious approach to investing in the digital currency”.  The statement released by the PBOC is was soon followed by increased volatility in bitcoin prices. Since most of the trading volume comes from China, the statement immediately affected bitcoin’s price.

Monero closes in on Litecoin

Monero has been growing in popularity over time, and is now closing in on Litecoin as the currency keeps gaining value. According to CryptoCoinsNews, the cryptocurrency used in darknet markets such as AlphaBay even passed Litecoin on January 3. At the time of press, according to CoinMarketCap, Litecoin’s market cap is at $192 million, while Monero’s market cap is at $185 million. Monero’s value is of $13.5, while Litecoin’s is $3.91. Monero may in the future take Litecoin and Ripple’s place, establishing itself as the third most valuable cryptocurrency, behind Ethereum and Bitcoin. Early adoption has been strengthened by AlphaBay and Oasis, as these two darknet markets began accepting Monero payments back in April 2016, as reported by DeepDotWeb. This year, Kraken announced Monero would also be accepted in its platform, as reported above.

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