1 – The Silk Road Trial
The Silk Road trial continues, with Ross Ulbricht accused of turning to violence to silence a whistle-blower. The third week of Ulbricht's trial has seen prosecutors allege that the defendant sought to have a vendor on the platform murdered because he threatened to expose the names of vendors and customers. Prosecutors began wrapping up their case against the 30 year old accused of being Dread Pirate Roberts, the alleged mastermind of The Silk Road.
“[FBI agent Ilhwan] Yum showed the jury a pie-chart that calculated nearly 89 per cent of the 790,000 Bitcoins found in wallets on Mr Ulbricht’s computer came directly from Silk Road transactions.”
2 – Israeli paper points to Bitcoin as a funding tool for ISIS fighters
Haaretz, one of Israel's largest daily newspaper uncovered payments to the Islamic State being made through the digital currency, though the total was less than 5 BTC.
“Due to the increasing efforts of social media websites to close ISIS-related accounts it was estimated that global jihad activists would seek refuge in the dark web,” the analyst, Ido Wulkan, said. He cited findings of jihadists fundraising from a specific Bitcoin account, which seemed to have accrued approximately 5 bitcoins, worth at the time around US$1,000.”
3 – Cointerra files for bankruptcy
The mining computer manufacturer and cloud mining specialist Cointerra filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Texas. The start-up was recently sued for US$1.5 million over unpaid bills from a US data center provider, and will now face liquidation by the courts in an effort to repay these creditors. The court filings mention that up to 999 creditors are owed between US$10 and US$50 million.
“The mining computer designer and provider of cloud mining services becomes the second mining company to declare bankruptcy in four weeks after Dutch firm Mining ASICs declared itself bankrupt on December 31, 2014. Another US based mining computer producer, HashFast, also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June, 2014.”
4 – Reddit's head cryptocurrency engineer Ryan Charles let-go as the platform abandons Altcoin plans
Charles was hired back in 2014 to design Reddit's own in-house cryptocurrency, allegedly as a way of returning 10% of a US$50 Series B funding round last year to the community itself. Stating that it was no longer in Reddit's “near-term” plans, the engineer left his post yesterday.
I was just let go from reddit because cryptocurrency is not a part of reddit's near-term plans. This is unfortunate, but understandable.— Ryan X. Charles (@ryanxcharles) January 29, 2015
5 – Coinbase's “regulated” exchange appears unlicensed in New York and California
The Californian Department of Business Oversight commisioner Jan Lynn Owen warned consumers that despite Coinbase's claims to be in compliance with financial regulations in these states, the digital currency exchange was not.
"Numerous press accounts about Coinbase’s Jan. 26 launch of Coinbase Exchange erroneously reported the Exchange has received regulatory approval from the State of California. The California Department of Business Oversight has not decided whether to regulate virtual currency transactions, or the businesses that arrange such transactions, under the state’s Money Transmission Act. California consumers should be aware Coinbase Exchange is not regulated or licensed by the State."
6 – Wall Street Journal produces video explaining how to invest in Bitcoin
Forming part of the newspaper's “Wealth Advisor” series, the three and a half minute video explains the basics and background of Bitcoin. It then goes on to discuss Bitcoin as a speculative investment, versus investing in the underling Blockchain technology and Bitcoin investment trust vehicles.
“It's a very powerful piece of technology, and it can be used for all sorts of applications. That's where the investment mindset needs to go.”
7 – USAA declares it's “members are more actively engaged in bitcoin than the average consumer”
Speaking after investing in the Series C funding round of the digital currency exchange Coinbase, the financial services firm declared its members are more interested and engaged with Bitcoin than most. The firm took part in the US$75 million funding round Coinbase recently completed.
“Bitcoin "has enormous implications for finance, law, accounting and more," he said. "It's more than a trend. It's a big change that is showing great adoption rates."
8 – Trezor hardware Bitcoin wallet stops being open source
Quietly removing their code from Github, Trezor manufacturer SatoshiLabs has turned the code for the hardware wallet from open-source to licensed. Previously a level of security for the physical device was expected to be the possibility for open auditing of the source code. Bitcoin enthusiasts on Reddit have responded with anger to the move.
“The thread has been at or near the top of /r/bitcoin for 24 hours and the devs of Trezor know that the community is pissed.” - Gunslinger_006
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