MAY 8 DIGEST: Bitcoin Exchange ItBit Raises $25m And Opens Shop in US, BitPagos Strikes Deal With Big Mexican E-Commerce Partner
Bitcoin exchange ItBit opened its doors on Thursday to US customers, BitPagos announced a partnership with e-commerce solutions provider Entrepids, and more news.
New York-based bitcoin exchange ItBit opened its doors on Thursday to US customers as a trust company, BitPagos announced a partnership with Latin American e-commerce solutions provider Entrepids, and more top stories for May 8.
ItBit Opens Shop In US As A Trust Company, Raises US$25 Million
ItBit, a New York-based bitcoin exchange, opened its doors on Thursday to US customers as a trust company. The 18-month-old startup announced that it has received a trust company charter from the New York State Department of Financial Services that will allow it to operate in all 50 states as a fully-regulated financial services entity.
ItBit’s co-founder and CEO Charles Cascarilla said:
“Our focus has been to create an institutional-grade exchange (…) you’re stepping into a much higher standard of oversight and requirements, which reassures the traditional system. We don’t want to be the best bitcoin company, we want to be the best bitcoin company in financial services.”
BitPagos Strikes Deal With Best Buy Mexico E-Commerce Partner
BitPagos has announced a partnership with Latin American e-commerce solutions provider Entrepids that will enable its merchant partners – such as Best Buy Mexico – to opt into accepting Bitcoin payments as well as receiving Bitcoin in exchange for fiat payment. BitPagos CEO Sebastian Serrano indicated that, as part of the partnership, Entrepids will play a role in helping encourage its merchants to sign up for its service.
"From this point, the next phase is to go after these larger clients to integrate our platform into their system, but this makes it very, very easy. We have done the big part of all the technology integration so it's going to be super easy for clients to add bitcoin payments."
Swedish Digital Currency Exchange Cryex Raises US$10 Million
Sweden-based digital currency exchange Cryex has raised US$10m from investors including White Star Capital and Northzone Ventures. According to its website the Stockholm-based company seeks to bridge the gap between traditional financial markets and blockchain technology with a soon-to-be launched exchange product.
Though details are scarce, chairman of Cryex Clearing AB Simon Nathanson said:
“Cryex has a unique model to clearing and settlement and has all the necessary components in place; financial-grade architecture and technology partners, a seasoned team and a number of high-profile strategic investors from the financial sector.”
As Russia’s Bitcoin Sites Fight To Lift Ban, Btcsec.com Founder Expresses Cautious Optimism
A court in Ekaterinburg, Russia has set a hearing for May 15 regarding the Russia’s crypto community representatives’ complaint against the government’s ban of Bitcoin-related websites. The founder of btcsec.com, Ivan Tikhonov, believes that the court hearings have so far been positive for the banned websites despite the ban not being lifted as of yet.
In an interview with Cointelegraph, Tikhonov said:
“I believe we have a good chance of victory. Their decision is clearly not backed by any law and we presented evidence of this in our appeal petition. We are happy with how the hearings have been going since our request to restore the timeframe was approved and the prosecutor’s demand to stop our appeal was rejected.”
German Central Bank Economist Expects EU To Fund Digital Currency Research
Paolo Tasca, research economist at Deutsche Bundesbank and founder of digital finance startup ECUREX Research, recently attended the Blockchain and Digital Currencies Workshop at Startup Europa, which aims to strengthen the business environment for web and ICT entrepreneurs in the EU. Interestingly, according to Tasca, Startup Europa expects that the EU will follow in the footsteps of the UK to fund blockchain-related projects.
“We expect that the EU Commission will start funding research projects specifically targeted to digital currencies and blockchain technologies as recently done by the UK government.”
'FinCEN Examinations Of Digital Currency Businesses Will Drive Innovation Overseas'
Shortly after Ripple was fined by The United States' Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) for not having registered its service as a money services business, FinCEN has announced it is working to investigate a string of digital currency businesses, assessing whether they meet financial regulations for the sector. David Mondrus, CEO at Blockchain Factory, spoke to Cointelegraph about this, and voiced concerns that increasing regulations in the US would push startups to move to jurisdictions with more relaxed legislation.
"All this will do is drive innovation overseas. We already hear of companies registering in HK and avoiding US shores. This will only accelerate that trend."
Bitcoin Must Be Seen For Money Laundering Potential, Swiss Regulator Says
Switzerland’s financial market regulator, Finma, says Bitcoin needs to be treated as a serious medium for illicit activities such as money laundering. Bitcoin’s ability to be used anonymously and internationally increases the risk it could play a role in terrorist financing, Finma said in a February report on draft of its revised decree on money laundering.
Netki Launches Bitcoin Wallet Name Service To Help Boost Adoption
A common complaint regarding Bitcoin is that Bitcoin addresses – consisting of a string of random letters and numbers – are just not a very practical solution, as they are practically impossible to remember. Netki has now launched a service that should do for Bitcoin what domain names did for the internet: for about US$20, the company will register your wallet addresses to a traditional ICANN-served domain (.com, .org, .net, etc.).