Council on Foreign Relations describes Bitcoin as ‘the craziest thing since the 1630s’; PayPal fined US$7.7 million for allowing transactions to countries covered by the United States' sanctions policy and more top stories for March 27.

Council on Foreign Relations describes Bitcoin as ‘the craziest thing since the 1630s’

Sebastian Mallaby of the Council on Foreign Relations took to Bloomberg to describe Bitcoin as “nuts” and the “craziest thing since the 1630s.” Wrongly suggesting that there is an unlimited supply of Bitcoin, the financial historian goes on to support the idea of digital currency as a payment system, and attacks the concept of crowdfunding.

“Bitcoin is nuts, it's the craziest thing I've seen since the 1630s which was the Dutch Tulip Mania when people would spend ten times their income on one tulip bulb. What is money? Money has always been a scarce metal like gold, where you can't inflate it away because there's a limited supply of it.”

PayPal fined US$7.7 million for allowing illegal payments

The US Treasury Department has taken aim at payments giant PayPal, imposing fines of US$7.7 million for allowing transactions, which violated America's sanctions policy. PayPal had voluntarily handed over evidence of cases where they had failed to screen payments that ended up in Iran, Cuba, and Sudan.

“In total, according to the Treasury Department, nearly 500 PayPal transactions, worth almost $44,000, had potentially violated sanctions that ban US companies from doing business with individuals or organisations on a blacklist.”

Bitcoin Investment Trust’s sponsor Grayscale launches

Following the recent news that the Bitcoin Investment Trust is now trading shares on the ticker GBTC, the parent entity Digital Currency Group has launched of Grayscale Investments, tasked with sponsoring the BIT fund. Seeking to become an authority figure within digital currency investments, the start-up will be running the BIT's day-to-day business, and running it as an investment product.

"We're trying to establish ourselves as the trusted authority on digital currency investing, and seek to develop a fleet of investable products that will allow people to invest in digital currency."

Bitcoin Investment Trust’s sponsor Grayscale launches

Isle of Man introduces its Bitcoin regulation

Once hoped to become a haven of international digital currency companies, the Isle of Man off the coast of Britain has introduced new rules that will force cryptocurrency start-ups to comply with its anti-money laundering regulations. Coming into force on April 1, the rules will involve digital currency businesses complying with Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements and reporting suspected laundering (AML).

“[B]itcoin businesses will have to comply with the island's anti-money laundering laws. The new regulation stems from amendments made to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2008 in order to accommodate digital currencies like bitcoin.”

BitCoinShop acquires stock in CoinOutlet; interview with CEO

Having already become one of the first Bitcoin companies to be pubic ally traded in the US, BitcoinShop has now taken an additional 2% stake in CoinOutlet in its mission to grow as a force in the digital currency world.

“We believe ATMs are a great on-ramp and access points that will connect the digital currency ecosystem with the traditional Fiat systems. If we can successfully integrate our platform with Coin Outlet, we believe we'll be well positioned to offer a unique value add service to customers.”

BitCoinShop acquires stock in CoinOutlet; interview with CEO

7-11 Mexico launches its own virtual currency called BigCoin

Aiming to reward customer loyalty, 7-11 Mexico has launched its own virtual currency dubbed “BigCoin” as a way of offering rewards and incentives. Redeemable only online for now, the chain of convenience stores aims to roll out its use to physical locations at a later date.

“Customers will be rewarded with the virtual currency ‘simply by logging into [the company's] social blog,’ reading, sharing or commenting on 7-Eleven's products pages and such.”

7-11 Mexico launches its own virtual currency called BigCoin

International group of designers working to design universal Cryptocurrency logo

In an effort to unite the diverse world of 600+ cryptocurrencies behind a common banner, a group of designers has been working to develop a universal brand for cryptocurrency itself. The final design is set to be picked by public vote on the central BrandMeCrypto website.

“I found myself and our designers struggling to visually articulate cryptocurrency as a whole without inundating our designs with 5+ more coins just to communicate the overarching cryptocurrency conversation and message.”

Plug and Play Incubator seeks to bridge Wall Street with digital-currency start-ups

Silicon Valley incubator Plug and Play is seeking to build a bridge between the world of Wall Street and digital currency start-ups through their latest intake round. Working with an emphasis on the FinTech sector, the class includes a number of cryptocurrency businesses who will be working with advisers from large investment groups and houses.

“The latest accelerator program is focused on startups in financial technology, ‘fintech’ in the parlance, and includes a handful of Bitcoin startups like ChangeTip and 37Coins. They are working directly with mentors from financial firms like USAA, Citi Ventures, and Capital One, and the interest appears to be very much mutual. For both sides, it’s a chance to learn what the other has to offer.”

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