California is discussing a license for businesses in the cryptocurrency sector, leading to fears of a NewYork-style BitLicense proposal. Victoria, Australia to auction off US$7.1 million in bitcoin after a Silk Road dealer has his assets liquidated. Privacy-centric messenger app Wiper pulled from Chinese app store after including Bitcoin payment option, and much more news that happened on March 15.
California proposes to ban unlicensed Bitcoin businesses
Despite making bitcoins legal for transactions back in 2014, the state of California is now debating the introduction of bill AB 1326, a proposal to ban any unlicensed Bitcoin businesses. Strongly reminiscent of New York's BitLicense, the Californian licenses are expected to cost a crypto business US$5,000.
“Banks, financial institutions, and governments would be exempted under the law, making it even harder for a start-up to compete. Worse yet, the bill doesn't even define what "the business of virtual currency'" means, making it both overly vague and counter to the very nature of the trustless, permission-less innovation that bitcoin and blockchain technology enable.”
Victoria, Australia to auction off US$7.1 million of bitcoin
Liquidating the assets of a convicted drug dealer in the Victoria state of Australia, the Department of Justice and Regulation is beginning to process of auctioning off US$7.1 million bitcoins held by Richard Pollard. Pollard faces 11 years in jail after pleading guilty to trafficking drugs via Silk Road.
"The Department of Justice and Regulation's ACO unit is assessing options for selling the bitcoins in this case. With the volatility in price for bitcoins, it is important that the sale of the coins on the open market is done at a time and way to get the best value," he said. This haul was worth AUD$32 million in late 2013, when bitcoins reached a peak of AUD$1100 apiece, but was now worth about AUD$9.3 million, with bitcoins selling at about AUD$377.
Wiper messaging app banned in China after accepting Bitcoin
Privacy-centric messaging app Wiper has been pulled from Apple's App Store in China after the start-up introduced a feature allowing users to send and receive bitcoins within messages. Cryptocurrencies are facing a tough time in China currently, despite their huge popularity, although some critics now suspect a shift in policy is approaching.
“The bitcoin integration also got Wiper removed from Apple’s iOS App Store in China, according to the company’s CEO Manlio Carrelli. […] Wiper was “removed from the iOS App Store in China due to violating that app store’s policies,” and that “Apple [had] explained to [the company] by phone that this violation was related to Wiper enabling bitcoin payments.”
China broadcasts Bitcoin during segment on national TV
Despite a national approach to cryptocurrencies that has seen multiple large exchanges in the country shut down, China yesterday included “Bitcoin” as one of its trending topics during a national television broadcast. Some critics are expecting a softening towards the crypto sector, which the inclusion of this news piece would seem to support.
Quickbooks becomes Bitcoin friendly
Immensely popular accountancy software package QuickBooks will become Bitcoin transaction friendly after developer Intuit announced a free PayByCoin service. The new feature will allow businesses a familiar way to issue and accept invoices in the cryptocurrency.
“Nicolette Maury, managing director of Intuit Australia, stated in a press release, “QuickBooks Online is the first cloud accounting solution to enable small businesses to accept bitcoin payments. It provides an efficient, safe, and seamless payment option that doesn’t sacrifice their revenues in credit card transaction fees.”
Fitness app rewards workout intensity with bitcoin
The appropriately named Fitcoin app, launched yesterday at the SXSW conference aimed at rewarding high intensity workouts through Bitcoin payouts. The app links to a fitness monitor, such as a Fitbit, to monitor both activity and heart rate. The founders hope that by linking a monetary reward to the reward of fitness itself, users will be more motivated to work out.
“It’s a really interesting platform play application and service layer,” Ali Madad, the Chaotic Moon Studios creative director, said during a demonstration. “[It’s] accessible. It’s not about cypherpunks or overthrowing the government. It’s something that you would use every day.”
Cryptoart heads to SXSW, gives away Bitcoin laden artworks
Following an invitation by the SXSW music conference's organizer, Cryptoart has set up a pop-up gallery at the Austin Texas based event. The produce of “fine art bitcoin wallets”, is giving away a limited number of these pieces to gallery visitors over the week, hoping to encourage further interest in the cryptocurrency.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to engage with SXSW attendees. The art we sell holds digital currency. If you are curious about how it works or simply want to enjoy bitcoin in physical form, please stop by the gallery,” says Cryptoart founder, Troy Fearnow
Deep Web premieres at SXSW
Silk Road trial film premieres at SXSW, directed by Alex Winters and narrated by Keanu Reaves, the depiction of Ross Ulbricht's trial and prosecution portrayed in favorable light, along with a reasoned explanation of Bitcoin. /r/bitcoin user CC_EF_JTF attended the premier and had the following to say:
“The focus of the film was basically the history of the Silk Road, the bust, and how unfair the government's trial of Ross was. They even mentioned OpenBazaar (I almost dropped out of my seat).”
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