Last updated on January 2nd, 2018 at 12:00 am
Bitcoin’s fifth birthday made this last week very special, but it wasn’t the only good news of the last seven days. Bitcoiners can now use their cryptocurrency to buy all-terrain utility vehicles from Tomcar, pay for plastic surgery in Florida and also get original content from the Big Brother Bundle, but there’s more.
However, there’s no time for shopping now, because we are about to take a look at the last seven days within our usual weekly round up.
Circle raises $9 million to compete with BitPay and Coinbase
The Boston-based Circle Internet Financial Inc. raised $9 million in order to dive into the Bitcoin ecosystem. The Series A investment was made by Jim Breyer, Accel Partners and General Catalyst Partners.
According to its founder, Jeremy Allaire, Circle wants to create and offer payment acceptance tools for merchants, but also be a place where consumers can buy, sell, receive and store Bitcoins, eventually competing with the giants BitPay and Coinbase.
Moneero creates SMS Bitcoin payment system
A South American startup based in Uruguay wants to make Bitcoin easier to use via the widely used SMS platform on cell phones. Steven Morell, chief programming officer of the company Moneero, told CoinDesk that the plan is to make Bitcoin accessible for anyone to use. The company estimates that its service can be used on the 6.8bn mobile phones already being used worldwide.
Four Dutch men create Bitcoin exchange to launder stolen money
The Dutch authorities arrested four men in the Netherlands, after a technological crime spree. The suspects spread a type of malware that allowed them to obtain information from about 150 Dutch bank accounts and then used a Bitcoin exchange called FBTC Exchange, which was set up by them to launder part of the $1.4 million that was stolen.
The virus is known as TorRAT and operates via the network Tor, targeting only Dutch speakers.
Liberty Reserve founder admits guilt and faces 75 years in prison
Vladimir Kats, one of the co-founders of the digital currency service Liberty Reserve has pleaded guilty to several charges including money laundering and receiving child pornography. The 41-year-old man from New York issued his plea at a federal court before US district judge Denise L. Cote, Coindesk reported.
Many of the charges he faced related to his role in running Liberty Reserve, which allegedly laundered more than $6 billion in suspected proceeds of crimes. If Kats receives the maximum sentence for each charge, he faces 75 years behind bars.
SatoshiDICE owner launches new off-the-blockchain game
Although the people who bought the original SatoshiDICE from Erik Voorhees in July are still keeping their identity in the dark, a representative of the new owners revealed the firm was enhancing the game. Kat Brown, head of product and marketing for the company, said Tribute will include session-based accounts and a developer API.
Coinpunk is now in beta and waiting for developers
Coinpunk’s beta version is finally available. The project, which is being developed by the veteran startup founder Kyle Drake, intends to build the first fully open-source, self-hosted do-it-yourself Bitcoin wallet service that you can run on your own server.
The basic implementation of this tool, which managed wallets on the server side, was released earlier this year. However, there are now several changes worthy of attention. Drake says he has spent the summer rebuilding Coinpunk from scratch “to support a hybrid-wallet design that moves the encryption to your web browser, where the server can’t touch it”.
Adventurer plans first Bitcoin transaction from the South Pole
The Frenchman Faysal Hanneche could soon become the first person to make a digital currency purchase from the South Pole, according to Coindesk. There’s a fundraising going on to make the project come true, lead by the Danish bitcoin broker Sirius Money. If Hanneche manages to gather €2,000 to help support the trip, he will carry a Bitcoin sticker on his sledge all the way to the Amundsen-Scott base station in Antarcticaand make the first ever Bitcoin purchase from the South Pole. And what will he buy? Pizza, of course!
Plug-in can turn iOS devices into Bitcoin mining bots
In a move that is being criticized by a lot of users, Icoplay wants to use mining software hidden within mobile applications. The developer gets rewarded with Bitcoin, instead of going for in-app purchases. According to Icoplay’s Simon Hill, the company has developed the Icominer Unity plug-in that can be built into an app or game. The plug-in will then run in the background and mine for Bitcoin while a player uses the application.
Support LibreOffice and the Document Foundation with Bitcoin donations
The charitable group Document Foundation, creator of the well-known free office suite LibreOffice, is now accepting Bitcoin donations to support the work of its worldwide community. The software is available in 110 languages and works on any major platform.
According to the foundation’s website, the “servers and infrastructure need to be provided and maintained, domain names and trademarks need to be registered and taken care of, plus there is an ongoing demand for travel funding of our members, and participation in events”.
RedFury 2.6GH USB miner now available
The market celebrated the arrival of a new USB-based Bitcoin mining device this week, Coindesk reports. The company RedFury is taking orders for its 2.6GH miner, which is basically an ASIC board with a heatsink powered by plugging it into a USB port. The power consumption of the device is about 2.5 watts and the company is selling the units for 0.49 BTC.
Brazilian magazine Super Interessante accepts Bitcoin from the readers
The well-known Brazilian magazine Super Interessante, part of the giant media group Abril Comunicações S.A., has just launched a “new experience” with November’s issue. The publication is accepting Bitcoins from the readers who want to have immediate access to some of the magazine articles.
This new edition has some articles dedicated to cryptocurrency, specifically about the Kreuzberg district, in Berlin.
eBay president says PayPal may accept Bitcoin in the future
The president of eBay has revealed that his company is preparing to expand the range of digital currencies it accepts, Coindesk reported this week. John Donahoe even went as far to say that PayPal could incorporate Bitcoin in the future. He said digital currency is going to be a “very powerful thing”. However, the ecommerce group is first going to focus on incorporating reward points from retailer loyalty schemes into its PayPal wallet.
Exchange BitTrade Australia launches first Bitcoin scholarships
The Sydney-based exchange BitTrade Australia announced the launching of the first Australian cryptocurrency scholarships with three opportunities available with a value up to 7 BTC. To participate, the applicants have to submit a 2,000 word essay answering the question “will Bitcoin change the world?”.
“Bitcoin was conceived in an academic essay four years ago. Today, it’s changing the world. We want this essay competition to encourage people to crystallize their big ideas about what this protocol can achieve”, said Ronald Tucker, head of marketing at Bit Trade Australia.
Biggest online platform of food delivery in the Netherlands accepts Bitcoin
The users of the online platform Thuisbezorgd.nl, the most famous food delivery service in the Netherlands, received great news this week: the service is now accepting Bitcoin. This means the platform’s clients will be able to order their meals from one of the 5,000 restaurants connected to the service and pay with cryptocurrency.
Although the company realizes that not a lot of clients will immediately start paying with Bitcoin, it has added the support for digital coin anyway, mainly to offer more choices to the customers. Imad Qutob, Thuisbezorgd’s marketing manager, says that, for now, “we don’t expect Bitcoin to reach 10 percent of our total payments”.
Researchers say Bitcoin could suffer network attack
Bitcoin is vulnerable to a “selfish” attack that would let someone gradually take control of the digital cash system, BBC reported this week. The theoretical attack could subvert the way that computers involved in Bitcoin share information.
Such an attack could already be happening, said the North-American researchers who discovered the vulnerability, adding that “Bitcoin is broken”, according to Prof. Emin Surer, a Cornell University scientist.
Mining company Alydian incubated by Coinlab files for bankrupcy
After just three months of existence, the enterprise-scale mining startup Alydian, which is connected to the cryptocurrency service CoinLab, has filed for bankruptcy protection, declaring less than $50,000 in assets.
Alydian Inc. filed for Chapter 11 protection in the United States bankruptcy court in Seattle, during the last week. However, the 10-page document didn’t explain why the company is claiming grounds for bankrupcy or how it will pay its debts.
BTC China turns into the world’s number one Bitcoin exchange
After a whole week handling a higher volume of Bitcoins when compared to Mt. Gox and Bitstamp, BTC China has become the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange. The platform processed the transaction of more than 109,841 BTC for seven days. During the same period, Bitstamp “only” processed 93,372 BTC and Mt. Gox levels were even lower, with 76,673 BTC. The data is from Bitcoinity.org.
The difference was also notorious during 24 hours in the beginning of the week. Between Sunday (3) and Monday (4), the Chinese exchange processed 36,104 BTC, turning into a clear winner when compared with Mt. Gox’s 24,913 and Bitstamp’s 23,214 virtual coins.
Swiss cryptocurrency trader can store your Bitcoins in a nuclear bunker
Since the Swiss government allowed private firms to buy or rent some of the country’s fallout shelters built during the Cold War period, a lot of new original businesses have popped up. One of them was created by a cryptocurrency trader that decided to use some of the 7,000 available bunkers to safely store digital coins, allowing super-secure mining and trading as well.
Richard Porubcan is the pseudonym of this Swiss entrepreneur, who’d rather not reveal his true identity. Although this could evoke some suspicions, the trader seems legit: he runs a successful virtual currency mining operation called GMP, which attracts investment through a website called Cryptostocks, and maintains regular contact with his many shareholders.
Silk Road is back with its 2.0 version, but the authorities are watching
Much like the old Silk Road, the new black market for drugs and other contraband uses the anonymous Tor and keeps dealing with Bitcoin to protect the identity of users and dealers. Shortly after opening up, it was already possible to see a list with almost 500 narcotics, ranging from the “usual” marijuana to the more expensive cocaine.
Bitcoin goes beyond $300 and hits all-time high
Only two weeks after surpassing the $200 barrier, Bitcoin is now celebrating a new milestone. And this one is more than just “huge” or “great”: it’s truly massive. The price of the most famous digital coin just went beyond $300 this Thursday (7).
This means that Bitcoin’s value has increased 20-fold in the past year alone, breaking a new record by reaching a high price around $324 on Mt. Gox. The exchange that made the headlines this week, BtcChina, shows a smaller value of ¥1,852, equivalent to more than $301. However, with the demand rising in China, the future looks even brighter.
BTC-E teams up with EgoPay to offer zero-fee online payment solution
Besides offering “a safe, fast and convenient way to conduct business, shopping and entertainment activities online”, the fast-growing e-currency also provides “a unique multiple wallets system which would provide users with superior tracking and management” of their digital money.
Bill & Ted actor Alex Winter to direct Silk Road documentary
Alex Winter was pointed as the director of the forthcoming documentary “Deep Web: The Untold Story Of Bitcoin And Silk Road”, according to Coindesk. Alex Winter, star of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure or Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey and director of Downloaded, is apparently looking to direct the project.
The Internet Archive accepts Bitcoin donations after fire
The scanning center of the Internet Archive, located in San Francisco, was partially destroyed by a fire during Wednesday (6) night. The fire, which started around 3:30 in the morning, completely wrecked digitization and scanning equipment worth around $600,000.
While nobody was hurt and no registered data was lost during the incident (thanks to several backups held in multiple locations), which was reported by the Internet Archive here, the fire ruined a few “physical materials” that were yet to be digitized.
With both this loss and the loss of the equipment, the nonprofit organization’s ability to record the history of the web was affected and that is why the institution is asking for help, including Bitcoins.