Recent blog posts
Money2020-5 Money20/20's (Bit)coinWorld track resumed for a second day of action on Monday, delving more thoroughly into the nuances of the technology. Interestingly given the comparatively advanced subject matter, attendance at the bitcoin-themed seminars on Monday appeared higher than day one, with lines forming outside of the session room several times during the afternoon. Beyond the seminar, bitcoin was an audible and frequent discussion topic among conference attendees, many of whom seemed eager to discuss the potential impact the technology could have on their respective industries. The Internet of value The first session brought together Circle founder and CEO Jeremy Allaire and Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam. Moderated by TechCrunch senior editor Jonathan Shieber, the seminar took a broad view of digital currency, placing the topic in context of global payments, finance and commerce. In opening statements, both men struck a critical tone of bitcoin's existing infrastructure, framing the technology as a powerful way to transmit value or develop in what Allaire called the "Internet of value exchange". “I think we know a better way - the path of the Internet,” he remarked. “Its core values, its core DNA, its core distributed systems that is built on the public commons, its deep respect for personal freedoms and privacy.” In his remarks, Ehrsam noted that one of the most significant aspects of digital currency is that it puts full control of the transaction and assets in question in control of the user. This, he said, carries its own associated benefits and risks, but nonetheless represents a big departure from existing payment vehicles. “Bitcoin fundamentally rethinks [what we have today] as you are ultimately in control of your money and all transactions are final," he added. Money2020-7 During a discussion segment that followed, both Allaire and Ehrsam shared their thoughts on the potential for bitcoin to be adopted by larger institutions, including banks. Allaire said that he believes banks are a few years away from integrating parts or all of the technology underlying bitcoin, explaining: “I think banks are reluctant to get into this market until they have a better understanding of the obligations under existing laws and regulations. I think they are reluctant to work with other companies if they are directly involved until they have that clarity.” A legacy disrupted A session entitled “Legacy Disruption and Mainstream Integration” aimed to predict how bitcoin could be implemented within the broader financial system. Hosted by Business Insider analyst John Heggestuen, the panel looked at both the transformative and disruptive impact digital currency can have on the world’s payment and finance ecosystems. The session featured Will O’Brien, CEO of BitGo; Halsey Minor, founder and CEO of Bitreserve; Adam Ludwin, CEO of Chain; and Cedric Dahl, CEO of Buttercoin. While all the participants presented their own vision for how digital currency integration could happen over the next few years, all agreed that the technology will be most beneficial when most consumers don’t even know they’re using it. “I think, in hindsight, bitcoin will be seen as one of those transformative technologies,” Minor predicted. Money2020-5 O’Brien noted that he believes bitcoin “will become the backbone of finance.” Ludwin suggested that some consumers will be more aware than others that bitcoin is being used to facilitate their transitions, while Dahl added that, in the future, it will be “impossible” to identify all the areas in which blockchain-based transactions are happening. Panelists urged finance institutions, including technology firms, to get involved with bitcoin even in an informal way. Ludwin said this sector has an interest in understanding the blockchain, ending with a call to action: “Now is the time to start experimenting with building for bitcoin, with your platform." Winklevosses pitch for automatic economy One of the final keynotes of day two was given by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, the leaders of VC firm Winklevoss capital and two of the largest known investors in the currency. During the speech, the Winklevosses pitched what they see as both the future of money and economic activity – the blockchain. After walking through a truncated history of money and value exchange, the presentation moved into a conceptual framework for an automated economy. This, the two noted, would include self-driving cars, delivery and commerce kiosk networks and forms of artificial life underpinned by blockchain behavior. The framework proposed pushes the crypto 2.0 concept – that next-generation digital actions will be powered by programmed transactions – to cover almost every aspect of what the Winkelvosses called a sector of automated business, with agents behaving and creating economic activity all on their own. Money2020-8 Funding these mechanisms, they suggested, would be public campaigns that collect the microtransactions needed to fuel these “autonomous agents”. As the two concluded: “If we fix money, the computer bits are the limit.” Images via CoinDesk; Andrew Zarivny / Shutterstock.com CircleCoinbaseMoney2020Winklevoss
Original author: Stan Higgins
©Coindesk
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has secured the authority to begin converting Butterfly Labs’ bitcoin holdings into cash reserves. The motion was granted by the US District Court for the Western District of Missouri on 29th October and marks the latest update in the case that began when the FTC filed a lawsuit against the company for fraud and misrepresentation this September. At the time, Butterfly Labs was closed pending trial, although it has resumed limited business operations under court receivership. The designation means that a court-appointed receiver has been in control of the business, and that this individual will now be able to “manage and administer” the company’s finances. The latest filing suggests that the receiver will seek to cover potential refund liabilities the company may incur by liquidating the company's bitcoin assets. The full court filing reads: “The stipulated interim order requires all parties to cooperate in transferring receivership defendant’s bitcoins to a court-controlled bitcoin wallet, under the direction and supervision of temporary receiver.” The FTC receiver may now hire independent professionals or contractors to ensure the safe transfer of the company’s bitcoins to the court-controlled wallet. The agency responded to requests for comment, but declined to elaborate further on its latest proceedings in the case. Managing bitcoin assets Although a largely procedural update in the ongoing case, the motion may be notable due to the fact that Butterfly Labs is likely to have carried out substantial portions of its business operations in bitcoin. Butterfly Labs is alleged to have generated bitcoins by conducted extending testing of the bitcoin mining machines it manufactured before delivering the units to consumers, while former employees have been accused of profiting by using products returned by customers for personal use. An early market leader, Butterfly Labs supported the bitcoin ecosystem through partnerships, and accepted bitcoin as payment for its bitcoin miners – even selecting emerging bitcoin startup BitPay as its exclusive online payment processor for sales of its then-new ASIC miners in 2012. Butterfly Labs selected BitPay over online payment services provided by Dwolla and PayPal, which lead to record processing figures for the startup. Court case ahead Pursuant to the case’s original filing, Butterfly Labs will now move toward an eventual court case. In the original filing, the FTC sought to secure relief on behalf of the consumers, seeking the authority to refund consumers and sell off any illegally obtained. Butterfly Labs continues to be preserved as a legal entity and could eventually resume operations, depending on the outcome of its court case. Company executives have previously spoken out about the actions taken by the FTC, asserting that the agency overreached when closing its operations and that the firm will be vindicated in court. The US District Court for the Western District of Missouri told CoinDesk that the case is still in its earliest stages and that no upcoming court dates have been set. Image via Shutterstock Butterfly LabsFTCLaw
Original author: Pete Rizzo
©Coindesk
wetjen-scaled-lighter (InnerPortrait)A commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Mark Wetjen, has spoken out in favour of flexible bitcoin regulation in the derivatives space and beyond. His statements came in the aftermath of a CFTC webcast, organised last week to discuss a number of questions related to digital currencies. On the day, more than 5,000 people across the world tuned in to watch the event, which was by far the largest online audience attracted by a CTFC meeting to date. Notably, more of the viewers were from Guangzhou, China, than Washington, DC, according to the commission. Wetjen has now penned an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, explaining why the meeting had proven so popular and what sort of message the commission had hoped to send. Disruptive technology In the article, Wetjen said that the viewers’ comments sent a “clear message” to regulators that they need to take notice and plan for the expansion of blockchain technology that underpins digital currencies. Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrency technologies, he added, have the potential to act as disruptive innovations and leave their mark on the derivatives markets. Wetjen quoted venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, who argued that bitcoin technology could be used to reinvent the entire financial system, decentralising it in the process. Although he did not share Andreessen's optimism, Wetjen indicated there is a need to seriously consider regulating the new technology: “That sort of revolution may be a long way off, but bitcoin ... merits serious regulatory consideration. The virtual currency is important to the CFTC because a number of merchants who now accept bitcoin as payment for goods and services have expressed the need to hedge exposures to fluctuations in its value.” The CFTC was recently presented with bitcoin swap contracts by one registered trading platform, according to Wetjen. Although he did not name the platform in question, the CFTC approved the first bitcoin derivatives offered by TeraExchange in September. However, TeraExchange will not be alone for long. Wetjen confirmed there are several other trading platforms that intend to list bitcoin derivatives contracts in the future. Responsibility to markets Wetjen explained that definition of a commodity under the CFTC’s authorising statute “could be read to include bitcoin”, therefore, he said, the commission would have authority to take action against anyone who attempts to manipulate the digital currency. “The CFTC certainly has a responsibility to ensure to the greatest extent the integrity of the derivatives markets, including those for bitcoin swaps and other virtual currencies,” said Wetjen. Regulators should work quickly to understand how these new technologies work and how they can affect different regulatory jurisdictions, he said. The ultimate goal should be to create a flexible regulatory framework and boost public confidence. Wetjen explained: “Creating a flexible and rational regulatory framework also is the best way for regulators to respond to previous incidents such as Mt Gox, Liberty Reserve or Silk Road ... That will lay the groundwork for future innovation in virtual currencies.” While Wetjen admitted that bitcoin’s market cap represents just a tiny fraction of the US financial system, he argued that bitcoin has the potential to provide “tremendous benefits” to unbanked and underbanked users in emerging markets, especially those who using mobile payment systems. “Bitcoin or similar technologies can be used as platforms for financial innovation in the digital transfer of currency, securities, contracts and sensitive information,” said Wetjen. “To realize these benefits, though, federal regulators and the industry must address the challenges that bitcoin has faced in its brief existence.” US Capitol Building image via Shutterstock; Mark Wetjen image via CFTC CFTCDerivativesTeraExchange
Original author: Nermin Hajdarbegovic
©Coindesk

Posted by on in Coindesk.com
Bitwage Bitwage has announced the beta launch of a new service that allows employees and independent contractors to receive part of their paycheck in bitcoin, even if their employers don’t offer the option. Called Bitcoin Payroll for the Individual, or BP(i), the launch from California-based startup follows a notable announcement from its competitor BitPay, which revealed that payroll service providers Zuman and Incoin had integrated its payroll API yesterday. In an interview with CoinDesk, chief strategic officer Jonathan Chester emphasized how the BP(i) product brings a new twist to existing bitcoin payroll solutions landscape, noting the broad reach of Bitwage's solution when compared to the available alternatives. Chester suggested, however, that the main value proposition for bitcoin payroll services remains the same across the industry. While many merchants have adopted bitcoin processing services, he explained, it remains difficult for bitcoin users to obtain bitcoin in an easy and secure way. Chester said: ”One of the good things about the system is that, unlike a lot of other wallet providers and exchanges, you’re trusting them to hold on to their bitcoins. We’re just a conduit to make it so USD will flow into whatever wallet you chose.” Furthermore, Chester added that the Bitwage service would appeal to individuals whose employers may not be open to the idea of paying wages in bitcoin or offering it as an added service through a bitcoin-friendly payroll provider such as Zuman or Incoin. The BP(i) is the second formal product from Bitwage, following its employer payroll service, which allows employers to extend bitcoin payroll as an incentive to workers. The company said both solutions are now available to W-2 and 1099 workers in all 50 US states. Next-day delivery To enroll in the service, Bitwage users need to first connect a bank account of their choice to the service, then contact their employer or payroll provider to list this account as a secondary recipient account for wage payments. Users thereby authorize Bitwage to initiate debit entries from their bank accounts so that it may convert a certain specified amount of their paycheck into bitcoin. “What users are doing is ... setting the percentage of what they want to be in one bank account versus the other,” said Chester. “They can say they want 10% or 50% of their paycheck in bitcoin, and then pick their wallet of choice.” On payday, Chester explained that funds are sent via direct deposit from the employer to the employee’s designated account for Bitwage. From there, a wire transfer is sent to Bitwage’s partner exchange, Centralway Ventures-backed Buttercoin. These funds stay in US dollars on the exchange until the next day, at which time the funds are converted to bitcoin and distributed. Bitwage will allow employee and employer users to receive capital gains reports through the firm's partnership with Gocheto Financials, a New York-based bitcoin advisory firm. A full overview of Bitwage's terms of service can be found here. Refining the service Chester suggested that Bitwage is still seeking to perfect its product and already has a plan in place to improve the speed of the service. Several factors hold up the process, he explained, including the slow speeds of the automated clearing house (ACH) payment services it relies on to move funds from traditional bank accounts. To offset the chance for volatility during the delay period, Bitwage is offering its service for free while in private beta. Although this will change with the formal launch, Chester indicated the firm will seek to keep fees low once the service does monetize through partnerships that allow Bitwage to obtain competitive pricing. “In the future we will be partnering with more than just one exchange, to go with the best exchange rate for our clients off of all those exchanges,” Chester said. Additionally, Bitwage may seek to cap the fees for users of its individual payroll service, although he stressed that any plans for the monetization of the offering are in their early stages. Disclaimer: CoinDesk founder Shakil Khan is an investor in BitPay. Payday image via Shutterstock BitwagePayroll
Original author: Pete Rizzo
©Coindesk
The UK Treasury has issued a 'Call for Information' on digital currencies in order to weigh the risks and benefits offered by the new technology. The request is intended to provide the government with the information necessary to fully understand digital currencies, as well as to solicit feedback and opinion from all interested parties. The Call for Information will be open for one month to allow individuals, businesses and other organisations to submit their comments on a wide range of issues. The document asks 13 questions, ranging from basic information on the potential benefits of digital currencies, through government involvement and regulation, to new services made possible by block-chain technology. The potential non-monetary uses of the block chain are also addressed. Notably, the Treasury describes the block chain as an innovation that “could represent a fundamental change in how payment systems can be made to work”. The UK Digital Currency association said it welcomed the Treasury's consultation on digital currencies, adding: "We regard this as a positive step for cryptocurrencies and the process is an example of the UK government's forward-thinking approach towards FinTech and technological innovation generally. We anticipate that the UKDCA will be actively involved in supporting the Treasury with comments and feedback throughout the process." Promoting innovation and competition UK Member of Parliament and Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Andrea Leadsom, discussed the issue in a government blog post, entitled Digital currencies: 5 reasons we’re calling for information. Prior to her election, Leadsom spent 25 years working for British banks and financial institutions. She also served on the Treasury Select Committee from 2010–2014. The first point outlined by Leadsom is the need to promote innovation and competition in the financial sector. Leadsom explained that the government wants to ensure payments technology “works better” and serves the people that use it on a daily basis. Leadsom notes that an estimated 20,000 Britons now hold bitcoins and approximately £60m-worth of bitcoins are in circulation in the country. She added that new cryptocurrencies are being developed and that new digital currency businesses are setting up in the UK. As a result, the government wants to know more about the benefits of digital currencies for users and the economy in general, she says. In the Call for Information document, the Treasury says it intends to examine the benefits of digital currencies and the barriers faced by businesses in the space. Based on the information gathered through the initiative, the government will decide whether or not action is required, the department says. Notably, the Treasury also makes a clear distinction between digital currencies and virtual currencies: “The government considers that virtual currencies differ from digital currencies, in that they are issued and usually controlled by their developers, and used and accepted among the members of a specific virtual community. Virtual currencies as defined are therefore out of the scope of this Call for Information.” Risks and regulation In addition to the benefits of digital currencies, the Treasury is also interested in any potential risks. Security and vulnerability in comparison with traditional payment services is one of the concerns, along with use of digital currencies for illicit or illegal purposes. The Treasury listed a number of risks and criminal activities that could benefit from digital currencies, but at the same time pointed out that outright crime risks may be "limited" due to the pseudo-anonymous nature of digital currencies and their reliance on a distributed public ledger. Potential risks faced by consumers and merchants include security, volatility, lack of international regulation and lack of consumer protection, the Treasury notes. Leadsom argued that the “safety net” provided by a regulator can give firms and consumers assurances that their interests are protected, thus attracting even more businesses and consumers to the digital currency industry. Liberal stance on cryptocurrencies Britain’s overall position on digital currencies can be described as liberal and progressive. London is Europe’s biggest financial hub and, in the past, the government has tried to stay ahead of the curve in terms of regulation and business-friendly policies. In August, Chancellor George Osborne announced a new initiative to explore the potential role of digital currencies in Britain’s economy and also commissioned a report on the risks and benefits of embracing digital currencies. Additionally, a recently published FinTech manifesto, backed by more than 150 companies and venture capitalists, urged the government to adopt bitcoin-friendly legislation. And, in June, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced Project Innovate, an scheme designed to support positive developments in FinTech, including digital currency development. Two British Crown dependencies, such as the Channel island of Jersey and the Isle of Man, have already adopted bitcoin-friendly policies in an effort to attract more digital currency businesses. Westminster image via Shutterstock Andrea LeadsomTreasuryUK
Original author: Nermin Hajdarbegovic
©Coindesk
No category has been created yet.

BitCoin-Tech on Twitter

BitCoin_Tech Actual #bitcoin News: Bitcoin-Treffen in München am 5. November. http://t.co/rL8R90xyZy
BitCoin_Tech Actual #bitcoin News: Bitnet Lands $14.5 Million Series A Funding to Rival Coinbase, BitPay. http://t.co/j8DkB8fFmX
BitCoin_Tech RT @davidduckwitz: @ficoba Ausserdem hätte man seinen Kunden ruhig vorher mal Informieren können, als Ihn ohne Vorwarnung abzuschießen. Kun…
BitCoin_Tech RT @davidduckwitz: @ficoba Danke für die Antwort. Wo beginnt Geschäftliche Nutzung? Zusammen betragen alle Transaktionen 12.000 Euro. Das i…
BitCoin_Tech @bnjkhr @ficoba Überlege dir das mit dem Gemeinsamen Konto nochmal. Meines wurde wegen Gewerblicher Nutzung gesperrt (Habe ich nicht mal)

Sign in with Facebook