1. Publisher Time, Inc. Begins Accepting Bitcoins for Handful of Magazines
We reported Tuesday that publishing giant Time, Inc. had begun accepting bitcoin payments for subscriptions to four magazines: Fortune, Health, Travel+Leisure and This Old House.
“We believe this is an important step in helping the publishing industry understand and explore new business models that can be enabled with bitcoin,” Coinbase—which will process the payments—wrote on its blog.
2. New York Relaxes BitLicense Proposal’s Rules … Slightly
Ian DeMartino reported Thursday that the State of New York had eased up a little on what people and organizations would need in order to apply for proposed BitLicenses.
“[NYDFS Superintendent Lawsky] pointed out that the regulations did not apply to individuals holding Bitcoin for personal investments, or to software developers, currency miners, promotional or ‘reward’ points denominated in fiat currencies, or merchants.”
Paul Snow from the Texas Bitcoin Association said in the comments on our story that these changes were not very useful. “I believe the license has not [been] relaxed enough to be useful,” Snow wrote. “I would still advise the banning of New York residences from the client base of any Bitcoin based business.”
3. Bank Supervisory Group Unveils BitLicense-esque National Regulation
Meanwhile, another group has spearheaded an effort to push the same kind of regulations onto state legislatures, William Suberg reported Wednesday.
“The US Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) has produced a draft framework for its idea of digital currency regulation, and is now taking 60 days’ worth of public comments.
“The proposals come under the guise of suggestions, mirroring the organization’s position as a bystander with no direct influence on state policy. Commentators, however, have already likened much of the draft’s content to the New York Department of Financial Services’ BitLicense proposals.”
4. Ford Motor Company Identifies Bitcoin as a Trend for 2015
Diana Ngo reported Monday that American automaker Ford called Bitcoin a trend to watch among consumers in its annual trends report.
“Ford Motor Company released its third annual trends report, highlighting the rising influence of Gen Z and mentioning Bitcoin as an emerging trend arising from the 'Carryless Movement' that puts forward the need of more convenience in the way we transact.”
5. Effects of the Ruble’s Ongoing Woes in Russia (and Belarus)
The ruble took a nosedive at the beginning of this week, and analysts wondered whether this would drive larger Russian adoption of Bitcoin. On Thursday, William Suberg confirmed a higher number of transactions, but that this wasn’t affecting the BTC price.
Meanwhile, Belarus enacted a 30% tax on purchases of foreign currencies, Suberg reported Friday.
“The sudden implementation of a tax of this magnitude will come as a shock to businesses and private consumers alike, with a series of other measures also being introduced with the aim of preserving the maximum amount of funds held as Belarusian rubles (BYR).”
News broke earlier this week that negative rates had come to Switzerland. “The Swiss central bank said it would charge banks for overnight deposits—a move that should help to crimp a recent rise in the Swiss franc,” the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. “As a traditional haven in times of international tension, the franc has appreciated markedly in recent weeks against the euro, the currency of the Alpine country’s key export market. The move comes as central banks across Europe scramble to kick-start growth and stave off falling prices.”
While sites such as The Pirate Bay are exposed to at least temporary government-imposed shutdowns, researchers at Delft University in the Netherlands have developed “a robust BitTorrent client that doesn’t rely on central servers,” TorrentFreak wrote Thursday. “Instead, it’s designed to keep BitTorrent alive, even when all torrent search engines, indexes and trackers are pulled offline.”
Looks like US$350 wasn’t a very durable level of support. Bitcoin’s price in USD fell off a cliff Tuesday, and by the end of the workweek, we were seeing prices around the US$310 mark before a slight weekend rebound.
Meanwhile, transaction numbers have hit new high-water marks, breaking past 103,000 transactions in a 24-hour period on Thursday. As we pointed out earlier, Tuesday and Thursday saw big spikes in trading activity among consumers who appeared to be moving their money out of rubles and into bitcoins.
Unfortunately for them, both currencies have taken a big hit this week.
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