Thursday, July 24, 2014

The dollar’s 70-year dominance is coming to an end / Liam Halligan / 5:30PM BST 19 Jul 2014

Within a decade, greenback’s could be replaced as the world’s reserve currency

In early July 1944, delegates from 44 countries gathered at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. A three-week summit took place, at which a new system was agreed to regulate the international monetary and financial order after the Second World War.

The US was already the world’s commercial powerhouse, having eclipsed the British Empire several decades earlier. America was also on course to be among the victors of “Europe’s conflict”, even though its economy was largely unscathed by war. As such, Bretton Woods was US-dominated and produced a settlement largely on US terms.

Seventy years ago this week, that fateful summit ended. Its close marked the moment the dollar’s unquestionable supremacy was secured. Since then, global commerce has been conducted largely in dollars and leading economies have held the greenback as their primary reserve currency.

The same system remains intact today, with the lion’s share of commercial settlements worldwide still clearing the US banking system – even if the parties involved have nothing to do with the States.

The dollar’s hegemony continues to be cemented, meanwhile, by the operations of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Founded at Bretton Woods, they’re both Washington based, of course, and controlled by America, despite some Francophone window-dressing. - READ MORE:

Chinese Bitcoiner Makes Physical Bitcoins In Pure Gold

Chinese Bitcoiner Makes Physical Bitcoins In Pure Gold / Eric Mu / 7/21/2014 @ 5:57AM

Back in early December last year, we heard that people in the Channel Island of Alderney had been working on the idea of producing physical Bitcoins, as part of their grander plan to reinvent the British crown dependency as a global hub of digital currency. Since then, things have been rather quiet with no follow-up since the initial report.

Obviously, Alderney’s residents weren’t the only ones working on the idea, and now it appears they may have lost the race to some Chinese guy who had just put the idea into execution. - READ MORE:

BitXatm to Launch 1,000 Bitcoin ATMs in US

BitXatm to Launch 1,000 Bitcoin ATMs in US / Pete Rizzo / July 20, 2014 at 19:25 BST

Germany-based digital currency bitcoin ATM and point-of-sale (POS) solution provider BitXatm has announced a new partnership that will find the company shipping 1,000 units to the US in a bid to build the country’s largest bitcoin ATM network.

For the initiative, BitXatm will partner with Los Angeles-based CryptVision, a startup that itself is seeking to build the largest network of bitcoin ATMs around the globe. As part of the deal, CryptVision will become the exclusive provider of BitXatms in the US and Canada.

Sergey Yesayan, president of CryptVision, framed the move as one that will find the new company moving quickly to gain a foothold in the bitcoin market, saying - READ MORE:

Report: Mobile Industry Should Embrace Bitcoin or Get Left Behind / Nermin Hajdarbegovic / July 18, 2014 at 10:52 BST

Mobile operators need to prepare for the shift to digital currencies if they want to remain competitive. That is the takeaway from a report published by European consultancy firm Reply, which also urges the mobile industry to avoid past mistakes.

The report, titled ‘Embracing Bitcoin: Why Mobile Operators Should Prepare for the Digital Currency Shift’, examines the benefits and pitfalls associated with digital currencies, and makes the case that this rapidly advancing technology is already hitting the mainstream in some respects:

“It is now benefiting from a surge of interest, investment and acceptance, with ca. $300m being invested in Bitcoin-related start-ups and high-profile names such as Richard Branson and the Winklevoss twins championing the digital currency movement, and more and more online and physical stores accepting the currency via services such as Bitpay, a service analogous to Paypal.˝ - READ MORE:

“Bitcoin and Fiat Money will be jointly used well into the Future” – Jase Leung, CEO Bitcoinnect / Allen Scott / 2014-07-18 10:35 AM

CoinTelegraph had the chance to interview Jase Leung, CEO of Bitcoinnect based out of Hong Kong. Their two-way Bitcoin ATM is the first machine that provides real-time purchases and sales of digital currencies in the region.

Their Bitcoin vending machines are currently operating in locations across Hong Kong and Macau. And given China’s stance on digital currencies, we were interested in getting a first-hand perspective on how a Bitcoin company maneuvers in such a regulatory gray area and gauging the demand for physical points of exchange in China.

Cointelegraph: Can you tell me about Bitcoinnect and why did you decide to start your company? What do you hope to achieve in the short term?

iOS 8 Touch ID Bitcoin Wallet Demo

Jase Leung: Bitcoinnect is a HK-based Limited company established by a group of young entrepreneurs. We believe, without a doubt, that Bitcoin will be the currency of the future. Our company and our machine are named “Bitcoinnect” — Bitcoinnect aims to connect people around the globe through the usage of Bitcoin. The story of creation behind Bitcoinnect is one born out of the difficulty we experienced in getting our first coins.

In the earlier days, when there were not so many online trading platforms and Bitcoin vending kiosks, it was a big hassle to start trading Bitcoin. First, we needed to register a trading account online. Then we had to get the account verified. Finally, we had to deposit fiat to the account via bank.

It took us a week to get the account straightened out. Meanwhile, the Bitcoin price had already doubled. We had lost the investment opportunity because of all the paperwork and time involved in connecting our bank to the traditional online trading platform.

Teaching children the A to Z of bitcoin? There’s an app for that

Two pages from iPad app The Bitcoin Alphabet. / Stuart Dredge / 17 July 2014 10.23 BST

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are still a mystery to most adults, so teaching children how they work may seem a strange ambition.

Nevertheless, that’s the aim of a new app, The Bitcoin Alphabet – for Kids and Everyone Else, released for Apple’s iPad tablet this week by author Chris Bozak and publisher iKandy.

The app is a mixture of illustrations and text explanations in plain English, and as its title makes clear, it has an eye on parents who don’t know their blockchains from their hash rates, as well as their children.

It’s a no-frills affair, without the voice narration or interactivity that have become standard features in book-apps for children. On the plus side, it does have a jazzy soundtrack.


Bitcoin vault Elliptic secures £1.2m backing / 2:26PM BST 16 Jul 2014

There are now over 13m Bitcoins in circulation Photo: Reuters

Elliptic, the UK-based insured Bitcoin storage service, has raised £1.2m in seed funding from Octopus, marking the UK’s first major venture investment into the cryptocurrency.
Octopus Capital, the venture fund, has led a £1.2m investment into Bitcoin vault Elliptic, in a deal that add Elliptics further credibility to the digital currency.

Launched just six months ago, Elliptic stores cryptographic “keys” on offline servers for a raft of institutional clients, including hedge funds, law firms and the newly regulated Global Advisors Bitcoin Investment Fund, a Jersey-based organisation that allows insurers and pension funds to invest in Bitcoin. - READ MORE:

Google adds Bitcoin exchange rates to instant search answers

Google is now supplying Bitcoin exchange rates. / Ian Paul / Jul 16, 2014 8:42 AM

Bitcoin continues its march into the mainstream with yet another big name thinking the crypto-currency is worth its attention. This time, however, it’s not a retailer agreeing to accept Bitcoin, but Google integrating Bitcoin into its instant answers.

If you want to find out how much 20 bucks will currently get you in Bitcoin, just type in “20 USD in BTC” (or speak it using Google Now) to get the answer. Google’s currency exchange feature allows you to mix and match any currencies you want. If you’ve got an Italian vacation coming up and want to know how many Euros a Bitcoin will get you, Google can help. - READ MORE:

LinkedIn Co-Founder: Bitcoin is in My Five-Year Investment Plan / Pete Rizzo / July 14, 2014 at 22:05 BST

LinkedIn co-founder, early Facebook investor and Greylock Partners partner Reid Hoffman has declared his enthusiasm for bitcoin in a new interview with CNBC’s ‘Squawk Alley’.

The interview aimed to assess Hoffman’s current opinion of opportunities in the market given his experience and success in early social media.LinkedIn

Notably, despite the suggestions by show hosts that such industries as wearable technology, healthcare and home automation were areas that investors should be considering for investment over the next three-to-five years, Hoffman suggested he is increasingly focused on bitcoin.

Indicating that the ecosystem has piqued his interest in the last six to 12 months, Hoffman lauded bitcoin, saying - READ MORE:

Hong Kong Exchange ANX Launches Bitcoin Debit Card / Jon Southurst / July 15, 2014 at 11:34 BST
Hong Kong-based exchange ANX is introducing a reloadable debit card that can be used across the globe. ANX customers load their cards from bitcoin balances (effectively selling bitcoins to ANX) or from any of the 10 international currencies the firm currently supports. The stored currency on the cards, however, is always US dollars.

The cards can then be used worldwide at any merchant that accepts debit cards and at regular ATMs to withdraw cash, though, again, all amounts will be debited in USD.

ANX charges a 2.5% fee to load the cards, which is deducted from the deposited amount. - 

South Africa takes the first step to set up an active Bitcoin community / 07/14/2014
Few months ago, the first bitcoin ATM arrived in Kempton Park, South Africa. Since then, bitcoin enthusiasts and entrepreneurs tried to set up an active Bitcoin community in South Africa by launching various exchanges and helping business to accept bitcoins. Now, there are clothes shop, salons, restaurants and tourist spots that accept bitcoin, which is a huge step towards changing the poor payment system in Africa.

Although it may take awhile to help the un-banked set up a bitcoin wallet or to even use the bitcoin ATM, South Africa’s efforts to change the poor payment systems in Africa is impressive.