Weekend Roundup: Ukraine Central Bank to Remove Bitcoin Obstacles, Ripple Labs Partners With Western Union
Weekend Roundup from Cointelegraph
While Bitcoin adoption has globally increased during the past two years, seven cities have stood out to be leading the way.
The cities that are leading the world's Bitcoin adoption are San Francisco, Vancouver, Amsterdam, Makati, Zurich, Tel Aviv and London.
"San Francisco is home to over 68 rapidly growing Bitcoin startups, including Coinbase, Kraken, Purse, Changecoin and Lawnmower. [...] Vancouver has over 100 Bitcoin-accepting merchants and several other Bitcoin exchanges and payment processing platforms which help the locals to purchase bitcoins easily."
The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) held a meeting in April to discuss ways of "[improving] the performance of international payment systems in Ukraine" and easing up regulatory constraints for new market entrants.
According to Alexander Karpov, the director of the Ukrainian Interbank Payment Systems Member Association EMA and an attendee to many internal meetings with the NBU:
"We conducted 15 conferences on banking innovation and bitcoin was made as a proposal to the National Bank to cooperate in the national system of electronic payment initiative. [...] I think that in the near future – in two or three months, possibly the end of the year – we can expect considerable and interesting innovation from the Ukrainian market"
Ripple Labs created quite a stir when the company announced earlier this week a new partnership with fiat-based money transfer operator Western Union.
Chris Larsen, founder and CEO, twitted on Tuesday:
"We're excited to announce we're working [with Western Union] on a pilot to provide infrastructure for real-time settlement."
Multi-function crossover ATM operator Planet Capital has announced that Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is joining its board as an advisor and director.
Planet Capital's CTO Dan Sokol told Cointelegraph:
"[H]aving an engineer as innovative as [Wozniak] around to look over our shoulders and make suggestions is priceless."
Speaking to Cointelegraph, Huobi's CEO Leon Li, discussed his company's new tool connecting Bitcoin and the traditional stock market, why Goldman Sachs' 80% statistic on Bitcoin trading in Yuan is "inaccurate," and how Beijing’s new policy is fostering Bitcoin startups in the country.
"The Chinese government is giving a lot of leeway to bitcoin startups with their FinTech startup support initiative, which will have a positive effect on the industry and will add value to Bitcoin in China."
The first quarter of 2015 was the most successful ever in Bitcoin’s record of attracting new venture capital, reported TechCrunch. Over US$229 million was raised by startups in the digital currency space.
Secretive Bitcoin startup 21, widely known for its record-breaking US$116 million in venture capital raised, might be working on "embedding ASIC bitcoin mining chips into everyday devices like USB battery chargers, routers, printers, gaming consoles, set-top boxes and — the piece de resistance — chipsets to be used by internet of things devices," suggested FT Alphaville.
The judge in the Silk Road trial, Katherine Forrest, denied a motion from Ross Ulbricht’s defense for a new trial, shooting down several of the defense's arguments, including those regarding the new corruption charges against a Drug Enforcement Administration agent and Secret Service agent, Wired reports.
A newly surfaced filing from BitGo suggests that the Bitcoin security platform might be looking to patent Bitcoin's multisignature capabilities.
New Bitcoin ATMs
Quite a few Bitcoin ATMs went live this week, notably in North America, according to Coin ATM Radar's data.
In New York, two BitAccess two-way Bitcoin ATMs were installed this week. Both devices are operated by LocalBitcoins user coin_trader, and have daily limits based on verification status: US$1,000 with phone number verified, US$3,000 with valid government document (license/passport) & custom higher limits allowed on case-by-case basis via manual review. Buyers are charged between 12 and 15% per transaction, and sellers 5%.
In Chapel Hill, California, the Bitcoin ATM originally located at MultiVerse Gamers was moved to Mediterranean Deli, on 410 W Franklin St. The machine charges 9.3% per transaction based on Bitstamp's price and is limited to US$1,980 per person per day.
In the city of Valley Village, a new Robocoin Kiosk two-way Bitcoin ATM was installed at Kangen Water Store, 4839 Laurel Canyon Blvd. Buyers and sellers are limited to US$5,000.
On Monday, Coinme Kiosk installed its third Bitcoin ATM in Seattle. Located at Southcenter Mall, the device is a Robocoin Kiosk two-way Bitcoin ATM.
In Chicago, a BitAccess two-way Bitcoin ATM was installed on Thursday at Boost Mobile shop, on 6535 S Halsted St. Operated by Midwest Bitcoin, the machine charges 5% in fees per transaction and is limited to US$5,000.
Moving up North, Canada has welcomed two new Bitcoin ATMs this week in the cities of Toronto and Mississauga.
The first machine, a LocalBitcoins two-way Bitcoin ATM, is located at Hairy Tarantula North on 6979 Yonge, North York. Operated by Xagau, the device charges between 4 and 5% per transaction with a daily limit set at CA$3,000.
The second Bitcoin ATM is a Skyhook one-way machine located at Mass Nutrition, 1900 Fowler Drive, Unit D101, Mississauga, Ontario. The Bitcoin ATM is operated by ToBitcoin and charges 5% per transaction with a daily limit of CA$3,500.
Meanwhile in the European continent, Spain welcomed its 11th Bitcoin ATM last week, a Lamassu one-way kiosk installed at the Espaitec, Universitat Jaume I de Castelló.
The machine is operated by Chip Chap, a Spanish startup widely known for its cryptocurrency conversion app.
This week, Overstock made headlines when it filed a prospectus with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that indicates it may issue up to US$500m in stock or other securities using Bitcoin's blockchain.
The SEC's response is widely awaited and should mark the beginning of a gradual transition of at least some market activities to Bitcoin-based systems in the event that Overstock does effectively receive approval from the authority.
The Bitcoin price has slightly increased this week, starting on Monday at 218 USD per BTC to eventually climb to 237 USD/BTC as of today, according to Blockchain.info data.
While the price might have slightly gone up with relatively strong volume on Monday, Bitcoin remains on a primary downtrend.
In our price analysis published earlier this week, we suggested:
"Bitcoin has entered a period of range-bound trading. Watch key levels before putting a trade in. Right now, the price continues to whipsaw above and below."