Barclays announced that it will allow people to make donations to charities in bitcoin; Coinbase expands to Canada and more top stories for August 31.
Barclays Bank to Enable Charitable Bitcoin Donations
Barclays, one of Britain’s biggest banks, has announced that it will integrate bitcoin into one of its services. Saying it has the potential to change financial services, Barclays has been conducting experiments with bitcoin in innovation labs in London, as well as working with tech start-ups. It now plans to allow people to make donations to charities in bitcoin.
Coinbase Expands to Canada
Coinbase has announced to expand its services to Canada. Canadian Coinbase users can buy and sell bitcoin with Canadian dollars, as well as trade the BTC/CAD currency pair on Coinase Exchange. To celebrate the launch, Coinbase will waive its retail conversion fees for Canadian customers of the direct Buy/Sell service.
Bitcoin Businesses Prepare for CoinWallet’s 'Stress Test'
UK-based Bitcoin mining and wallet service CoinWallet has said it will be running another “stress test” in early September to “test” the Bitcoin network. The company claims that this round of “test” (or: spam attacks) “will likely render most standard wallet software worthless and create nearly a 30-day backlog” in the system. Several exchanges and wallet companies are therefore developing strategies to deal with the situation.
BitPay: Silicon Valley is Becoming a Bitcoin Hub
BitPay Chief Commercial Officer Sonny Singh, whose responsibility is to bring bitcoin to the masses and to small businesses worldwide, led a discussion about bitcoin, the importance of blockchain technology for banks, the rapid growth in VC investments, and the benefits of bitcoin for merchants and small e-businesses.
Comparing the Bitcoin ecosystem to that of the early internet, Singh said:
“The most important number is [VC investments have] gone up three times this year compared to last year, and so having been based in Silicon Valley for 15 years, and seeing a lot of trends and companies getting funding, back from Google and Facebook and all that, we’re seeing the same kind of ecosystem being built.”
New Initiative Battles Californian 'BitLicense'
A new initiative has started to battle yet another regulatory framework for Bitcoin businesses. What is seen as the Californian version of the New York “BitLicense”, bill AB -1326 will require participants to pay the treasury US$5,000 per application. The paperwork alongside this fee requires an extensive inquiry into the business applicants’ background. Taskforce, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a number of Bitcoin companies intend to fight this measure.
Commonwealth States Urged To Explore Benefits and Regulate Bitcoin & Blockchain Tech
The newly-formed Commonwealth Virtual Currencies Working Group has concluded that digital currencies, including bitcoin, have a potential to benefit Member States and to drive development, but not without risks. The group made various recommendations, urging the 53 members of the Commonwealth to regulate virtual currencies as well as provide awareness, education and funding for training for law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, regulatory authorities, and the financial sector.
The working group stated:
“Member states should consider the applicability of their existing legal frameworks to virtual currencies and where appropriate they should consider adapting them or enacting new legislation to regulate virtual currencies.”
Life Inside a Bitcoin Mine: Interview with Genesis Mining’s Marco Streng
Bitcoin mining has become one of the world’s most difficult and competitive industries over the last 18 months. From the market price corrections after the MtGox bubble burst, to specious national regulatory laws and banking lobbyist backlash, to the battle to have the latest and greatest ASIC mining rig technology and beyond, countless miners have fallen by the wayside.
Not Genesis Mining, one of the world’s largest Bitcoin companies. Cointelegraph spoke with Genesis Mining head Marco Streng on the current state of the mining industry, the Life Inside a Bitcoin Mine project that aims to make cloud mining transparent, and how he sees the Bitcoin industry moving forward.
Canadian Pension Fund's Venture Arm Exploring Bitcoin Investments
The venture arm of major Canadian pension fund The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) is reportedly looking at making investments in bitcoin and blockchain startups.
OMERS Managing director Jim Orlando said in an interview:
“Cybersecurity is another area we have been looking at, specifically in FinTech […] and in particular what bitcoin and blockchain capability bring in terms of differentiated opportunities. We hope to find a couple of investments for Fund II related to bitcoin and the blockchain, and the security side of that whole paradigm.”
American Teen Sentenced to 11 Years for Helping IS with Bitcoin
17-Year old Ali Shukri Amin from Manassas, Virginia, has been sentenced to 136 months in prison. US authorities arrested Amin in early 2015 for offering online advice on how to use bitcoin to fund IS, as well as conspiring to provide material support and resources to the Jihadist extremist organization. In addition to his 136-month prison sentence, Amin will have a lifetime supervised release, including monitored internet activity.