The second of two former agents charged with pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars in bitcoin reached a plea agreement with prosecutors; former Nike CIO Anthony Watson has been made CEO at Bitreserve and more top stories for June 23.

Second Agent Agrees to Plead Guilty to Bitcoin Theft

Carl Force, the second of two former agents charged with pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars in bitcoin during the investigation, reached a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Force agreed to plead guilty to charges including money laundering and extortion. Force’s agreement follows a similar deal reached on June 17 with Shaun Bridges, a US Secret Service agent who worked with Force on the same task force.

Former Nike CIO Anthony Watson Named CEO at Bitreserve

Former Nike CIO Anthony Watson is now CEO at Bitreserve, the Bitcoin startup he joined two months ago. As such, he replaces Bitreserve founder Halsey Minor, who will assume the role of board chairman and “chief visionary.”

Andresen Proposes Hard Fork Patch for Bitcoin XT; Critics Remain Skeptical

Bitcoin Core developer Gavin Andresen today proposed a hard fork change for Bitcoin XT in order to allow for an increased block size limit on the Bitcoin network. So far, however, it has failed to appease most critics of his previous proposals.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, Blockstream co-founder, hashcash inventor and prominent critic of the proposed Bitcoin XT fork Dr. Adam Back said:

“Everyone in the developer and technical community is strenuously advising to avoid the unnecessary risk of a unilateral hard fork. These are the very people with the knowledge and expertise we all rely on for the security and ongoing support and maintenance of Bitcoin today — and they are extremely concerned.”

Philippine Government proposes its own Crypto Currency

Philippine Congresswoman Kimi Cojuangco has announced a national digital currency entitled E-Peso or Electronic Peso. The E-Peso will be the electronic equivalent of the paper peso, as all rights, obligations, attributes and characteristics accruing to the paper peso shall also accrue to the E-Peso. The Philippine Central bank will deploy government approved machines to be government controlled nodes around all the banks in the .

Barclays Signs ‘Proof of Concept’ With Safello to Explore Blockchain Advantages

Swedish-based digital currency startup Safello has signed a proof-of-concept deal with UK bank Barclays to examine what advantages FinTech solutions could offer the financial institution.

Making the announcement during the demo day for the Barclays Accelerator program, Safello is celebrating the deal to explore blockchain technology with the major bank.

Safello CEO and co-founder Frank Schuil said:

“[The blockchain could be used] at first as a way to optimize existing operations, [then later] as a complete new infrastructure to handle all kinds of financial transactions and p2p interactions.”

Canadian Senate Drops Its Bitcoin Report in Blockchain

The Standing Senate Committee on Banking Trade and Commerce released its new report on digital currency late last week, not just on the Parliament of Canada website, but also as a message in the Bitcoin blockchain. This was done "mostly for fun, and partly as a nod to the community," according to reddit user emansipator, who posted a link to the message on the social news site.

Leading VC Firm Shifts its Focus Toward Bitcoin

Kliner Perkins Caufield and Byers, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm best known for its investments in Google, AOL, Twitter, Uber and Amazon, has introduced a fund called the Edge Seed Fund, which is set to focus on helping early stage Bitcoin- and blockchain-based startups.

The Edge fund, led by Kleiner Perkins partners Mike Abbott and Anjney Midha, plans to offer investments of US$250,000 to support selected startups in developing and programming platforms, products and services. The US$4 million fund will be operated by former Google product manager Ruby Lee, and the founder of bitcoin and dogecoin transaction service Backlash, Roneil Rumberg.

BitHub Aims to Take South African Bitcoin Scene to a New Level

Based in , , BitHub is the latest entrant in the African Bitcoin scene. In addition to facilitating Bitcoin startups, BitHub is in talks with Barclays to create a physical space at the Bandwidth Barn as a Bitcoin-related forum. BitHub’s goals with this project are to create events that are interesting to the Bitcoin community, as well as creating awareness among developers and other people who have not yet heard of Bitcoin.