Ex-Chief of the Department of Justice joins BitFury's strategic advisory board. Austrians able to anonymously buy bitcoins at local tobacco kiosks after Coinfinity deal with Trafik. 18,500 BTC stolen on average every month since 2011 research shows, and much more news that happened on 18 March.

Ex-Chief at the Department of Justice signs on at BitFury

Jason M. Weinstein agrees to help BitFury to develop its security capabilities after joining the start-up as an advisor. Becoming a member of the company's strategic advisory board, Weinstein will be aiming to help the mining group shake off some of Bitcoin's bad image.

“Mr. Weinstein described his BitFury assignment to liaise with regulators and law enforcement agents as an opportunity to help rid bitcoin and its core “blockchain” technology of the stigma of criminality sometimes associated with it.”

Austrians able to buy bitcoins in over 600 tobacco stores

Allowing Austrians to buy bitcoins with cash at one of over 600 street side corner shops, Coinfinity's new start-up BitcoinBon has teamed up with Trafik shops to enable their point-of-sale devices. Although the exchange rates are worse than those found online, users may well be tempted by the anonymity of the purchases.

“With Bitcoinbon you can quickly, safely and simply buy Bitcoins. In more than 600 tobacco shops throughout Austria Bitcoinbon is available in the form of paper coupons. These are available in the denominations of 25, 50 and 100 EUR.”

18,500 BTC stolen every month on average since 2011

/r/Bitcoin user Kinitex has been crunching the numbers on the scale of Bitcoin thefts over the last four years. Tallying over 900,000 BTC being stolen in this period, the inquisitive user works out that an average of over 18,500 BTC being stolen per month since 2011.

“I added the 19000 Bitstamp hack and 130,000 evolution theft. I'm probably missing a bunch more but I ended up at just over 900,000 BTC stolen or hacked since 2011. That averages out to just over 18,000 BTC per month. That is just absurd to think about...”

UK Government pledges US$14.6 million to digital currency research

Making the announcement at the end of a five-month consultation with the public about the importance of Bitcoin and related cryptocurrencies, the government has pledged UK£10 million in research funding. The report also however calls for greater regulation of the sector for the purposes of anti-money laundering.

“The government is launching a new research initiative which will bring together the Research Councils, Alan Turing Institute and Digital Catapult with industry in order to address the research opportunities and challenges for digital currency technology, and will increase research funding in this area by £10 million to support this.”

UK Government pledges US$14.6 million to digital currency research

Snowden calls for better security through decentralized encryption

Taking to a virtual stage at the SXSW festival, the ex-NSA security contractor Edward Snowden held an invite only Q&A session yesterday. The American exile called on the assembled tech leaders to develop better encryption technologies based on decentralized blockchain.

“While the reason for this change isn’t clear yet, it is emerging from those who attended the 2015 encounter that the topics remained within what Mr. Snowden is passionate about. And that is the protection of private citizens from mass surveillance.”

Snowden calls for better security through decentralized encryption

Apple cuts SaruTobi game from the App Store over “Bitcoin” inclusion

Including an in-game currency called Bitcoin led to popular game SaruTobi being pulled from the Apple App Store over concerns users would mistake these animated units for real-world Bitcoin.

“The game, which lets users swing a monkey from a vine in a bid to collect bitcoin tokens, tips users in real bitcoin and allows them to purchase animated coins with no real-world value for use in the app. [Game creator] Moss said that the issue had now been fixed and that the app is currently awaiting Apple's review.”

World Bitcoin Association files for bankruptcy

The company behind the Bitcoin Center NYC has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Stating its expects to be able to pay their creditors in full, the start-up has faced months of legal wrangling over its finances.

“The World Bitcoin Association sought bankruptcy protection in Manhattan. The organization listed less than $300,000 in liabilities in a filing Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.”

Allcrypt.com exchange shuts down

Following an attack focused on a vulnerability in the Wordpress platform, digital exchange Allcrypt.com has shut down. The site appears to have lost 42 BTC of which 20 is understood to have been deposited user funds.

“I'm f***ing done. I run a site, spend thousands of hours of time, thousands of dollars of my OWN money to run it, decide to shut down, and somehow, through ways I cannot even figure the hell out, someone gets in, uploads files to the server, somehow finds the goddamned BTC wallet on the network, and it appears that they slammed it with withdraw requests.”

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