Friday, July 5, 2013

I invested in Bitcoin. You should, too

I invested in Bitcoin. You should, too.jpg
July 1, 2013 11:06 AM Richard Kagan.I first learned about an electronic currency called Bitcoin in February, 2013. At that time, it was pretty easy to find well-connected people who hadn’t even heard about the phenomenon, much less understood the details and potential implications.

This is rapidly changing with the growing volume of Bitcoin news and chatter. This prompted me to consider: Is Bitcoin mostly a means for criminals, tax evaders and terrorists to avoid detection of their financial doings? Or is it the next big thing in tech?

I’m still developing my thesis for investing in businesses based on Bitcoin and related technologies. If you’re considering investing, here are some of my thoughts:

Bitcoin isn’t inherently good or bad

I believe that the Internet is not inherently good or bad — and neither is Bitcoin.

A frequent complaint is that the anonymous nature of Bitcoin transactions makes it a haven for bad people doing bad things. It’s true that Bitcoin transactions are anonymous, in that transaction records do not include any metadata regarding the owners of the participating digital “wallets” involved in a transfer of coins.

As such, Bitcoin technology can be used by tax cheats, criminals and others seeking to hide their activities. - Read more here:

Scared of PRISM, US Firms Bank on Swiss Data Centers

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MIKE WHEATLEY | JULY 5TH. Switzerland has a well deserved reputation for secrecy when it comes to banking, and now its hoping to ‘cash in’ on that legacy by providing a similar refuge for something that some say is even more valuable than our money – our data.

Since Ed Snowden first lifted the lid on the NSA’s PRISM data collection program, a growing number of companies have begin turning to data centers in the Alpine nation, where national laws offer a degree of protection from government spy agencies.

Once such company is Artmotion, which claims to be the largest offshore hosting company in Switzerland. Its CEO Mateo Meier said that the firm has seen revenue growth of around 40-50 percent in the last year, with companies from the tobacco, tech, finance and oil sectors all looking for someplace private to store their confidential data.

Fueling this drive to host data offshore is a desire to stay out of the NSA’s grasp. For those who missed it (and we’ve had quite a bit to say on the subject), the PRISM program allegedly allows the NSA direct access to the data of several major US-based Internet firms, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo. The worry is that this could also have implications for US-based cloud storage companies too – firms like AWS and Azure will now likely be viewed with suspicion from those who demand the best possible security for their data. Then again, cloud-hosted file sharing services like Dropbox and SkyDrive must also be considered as no longer being 100 percent secure. - Read more here:

Bit Apple: Savvy pros push Bitcoin currency

The prospects for the alternative cyber-currency known as Bitcoin have brightened, with some serious financial players preparing to open it to investment. The Winklevoss twins, best known for suing Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerburg over claims he stole their social network idea, are planning to float a Bitcoin trust. But even though the multi-millioniares are now going along with Bitcoin, the rebel currency still has a strong grasp over those drawn to its anti-establishment charm - as RT's Marina Portnaya reports. READ MORE:

Bit Apple: Savvy pros push Bitcoin currency

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A revolution is needed in how businesses process money, says GoCardless cofounder Tom Blomfield

A revolution is needed in how businesses process money, says GoCardless cofounder Tom Blomfield.jpg
01 JULY 13 by KADHIM SHUBBER. "In dire need of transformation" is how GoCardless cofounder Tom Blomfield describes the way businesses pay suppliers and process money, speaking at Wired Money.

Consumer payments have been transformed over the last 15 years. Companies like PayPal and newer innovations like Bitcoin, Stripe and iZettle, have made it easier than ever for consumers to make purchases and also to send money directly to each other.

"[Back in the 90s] the biggest problem on ebay was transferring money to another person," says Blomfield. "PayPal innovated around that problem. The same revolution is needed in business-to-business payments."

Business-to-business (B2B) payments are stuck in the stone age. Anyone who's had any experience in processing invoices, cheques, and payment orders -- the seemingly infinite amount of accounting paperwork -- knows that it is slow, labour-intensive, and open to human error. It's incredible to think that in the digital age around 80 percent of B2B payments in the US are via cheque, according to Blomfield. - Read more here:

Monday, July 1, 2013

Bitcoin compliant: Mt. Gox registers as money service, seeks federal blessing to continue operations

Bitcoin compliant Mt. Gox registers as money service, seeks federal blessing to continue operations.jpg
By Joel Hruska on July 1, 2013 at 4:51 am. The last six weeks have been rough ones for Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox. On May 15, federal agents seized its account with Wells Fargo. It cut relations with online payment processors like Dwolla and OKPay, which left expensive wire transfers as the only way to move USD funds into or out of the system. 11 days ago, Mt Gox announced that it would no longer process withdrawals in US dollars for the next two weeks. Then, on Saturday, news broke that Mt. Gox has registered as a money services business with the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The move requires that Mt. Gox follows stricter accounting laws, and log transactions of over $10,000, but it also brings the service into compliance with directives issued by FinCEN earlier this spring.

The bigger question is, what happens now? In theory, this move could unlock the seized Wells Fargo account that Homeland Security shut down in May. Mt. Gox was never charged with any crime; it’s not clear if the account closure and asset seizure was permanent or a way of getting the company’s attention. Typically, the asset lockout isn’t instant — the Wells Fargo account may go into lockdown, but the money in it isn’t actually transferred until a period of time has passed. Whether that’s the case here or not, I can’t say. - Read more here: