MasterCard has announced its so-called peer-to-peer debit-card-based remittance service, dubbed MasterCard Send.
The system, which is being deployed first in the U.S., is designed to allow transactions between “banked and unbanked consumers,” including international and domestic payments at a near-instant speed, rather than the several days required with the traditional bank clearing system.
Crypto Coins Exchange Denmark ApS (CCEDK), a Danish virtual currency bourse (a European stock exchange), has announced a launch of its "next-generation" payment card, a MasterCard-backed bitcoin debit card dubbed NanoCard.
"Users will be able to use the Bitcoin Debit NanoCard to pay for goods and services in restaurants and shops as well as online. They can also be used at ATMs worldwide. It requires no verification, allowing users to remain anonymous."
Bloomberg has released the latest edition in its Bloomberg Briefs series, this time focusing on bitcoin and its future.
The special report features opinion from industry figures, along with limited editorial content and informational data.
Bloomberg’s Noah Smith offered his take on Bitcoin’s mainstream entry hurdles, stating:
“The sooner people give up the hope that bitcoin will skyrocket in price, the sooner they will be willing to spend bitcoins in everyday life, the way they now spend dollars.”
Many FinTech startups have emerged since 2013, with products that target sectors that are poorly supported by traditional financial institutions, such as student loans, asset management, stock brokerage, and small business and merchants loans.
Here are the six startups that you should watch in 2015:
- Sofi: a San Francisco-based company looking to refinance federal and private student loans in the U.S.;
- Nok Nok Labs: a service that provides mobile apps a secure authentication method without the use of passwords;
- Bitbond: a German peer-to-peer bitcoin lending platform;
- Wealthfront: a startup that manages portfolios for a fee of 0.25% per year, with sophisticated algorithms that measure risk tolerance and build a diversified portfolio;
- EQuidate: a platform that allows private investors to access top pre-IPO companies;
- TrueAccord: a debt management startup that works with businesses to recover unpaid bills effectively and to make the process of debt collection friendlier.
On Friday, BitFinex's hot wallet was compromised, resulting in a loss of 0.5% of their total funds, according to the exchange.
BitFinex warned users to stop depositing funds into old addresses and wrote in an announcement:
"We believe that our hot wallet keys might have been compromised and ask that all of our customer cease depositing cryptocurrency to old deposits addresses. [...] Although this incident is unfortunate, its scale is small and will be fully absorbed by the company."
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) launched a bitcoin pricing index on Tuesday. The event marked the first exchange-calculated index for the digital currency, with a real-time price tied to the Coinbase exchange, reported Mashable.
New York Department of Financial Services Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky, has announced he will be leaving his position at the state department to set up his own consulting firm. The firm will advise financial institutions on technology, cyber security and virtual currency, as well as help them overcome some of the legal obstacles he helped put in place, reported Fortune.
On Friday, popular forum BitcoinTalk was taken offline following a social engineering attack that resulted in a server compromise. The attack is said to have targeted the site's ISP, a company called NFOrce that is based in the Netherlands.
New Bitcoin ATMs
Three new bitcoin ATMs were installed this week in the U.S., according to Coin ATM Radar.
The first device, a Lamassu one-way bitcoin ATM, was installed in Brooklyn, New York. The machine is located at B-Papa Mini Market, 689 Ralph Ave, and charges between 8% and 12% in fees, with a daily limit of US$1,000.
Also in Brooklyn, a new Skyhook one-way ATM was installed on Wednesday at The Essence of Life, on 451 6th Ave.
Operated by Coin Cafe, the device has no transaction limit. However, only Coin Cafe-verified clients can use the BTM. The operator charges 5.95% per transaction.
In the state of Georgia, a Lamassu one-way bitcoin ATM was installed in the Sandy Springs North Shopping Center, 6317 Roswell Rd NE, in the city of Sandy Springs.
Operated by Atlanta Bitcoin, the machine charges 5% per transaction.
The bitcoin price has remained stable this week, fluctuating between 232 and 241 USD per BTC, according to Blockchain.info data.
On Friday, BitFinex, one of the largest bitcoin trading platforms, suffered from a hack that resulted to the loss of more than 1,500 BTC.
Despite the negative news emphasizing that major bitcoin exchanges are still vulnerable to attacks, the bitcoin price hasn't moved much.
Overall, we are still awaiting a sign of an uptrend, and as we wrote in our bitcoin price analysis earlier this week:
"The primary downtrend continues. It’s looking like the price is getting ready to make a big move. All of the indicators are compressing around the same key levels mentioned above."