Weekend Roundup: Shopping with Bitcoins on the Mastercard Network, First Publicly Traded BTC Exchange
Weekend Roundup from Cointelegraph
CoinSpark Launches Open Source Messaging Feature for Bitcoin
On Monday, CoinSpark released a new tool that allows bitcoiners to attach private messages to transactions.
Open sourced CoinSpark is a colored coin protocol that allows users to move assets around the blockchain much like Counterparty.
CEO Gideon Greenspan told Cointelegraph:
"The guiding principle of CoinSpark is that users can use a lightwight wallet on their computer. [...] [Both the sender and the recipient] can prove the message exists very easily without having to go to a notary, or without having to go to any kind of a central intermediary."
Oliver Janssens and Jim Harper Win Bitcoin Foundation Seats
The results of the Bitcoin election run-off are in, and Oliver Janssens and Jim Harper are the newest members of the Bitcoin Foundation board.
Janssens was the lead vote getter with 63 % of members approving his inclusion. Harper came in second with 60 % of members approving his appointment.
Controversial figure Oliver Janssens made a clear claim on Twitter that he is determined to change the way the Bitcoin Foundation is currently operating. Last summer, Janssens put a US$100,000 bounty for a software that could replace the foundation's perceived control over Bitcoin development.
In contrast to Janssens, Harper is a more traditional candidate, and he would like to see the Bitcoin Foundation focus more on development.
Taking their lead from a group of Bitcoin enthusiast customers and a “serious, public conversation” on Facebook, Europe’s military surplus giant, Varusteleka, now accepts bitcoin payments.
Using BitPay as a payment platform, the company now aims to ease that friction while opting to still receive the payments at their end in Euros.
Founder Valtteri Lindholm, told Cointelegraph:
"Payments within the euro zone are easy enough, but payments even to EU countries not part of euro are sometime so hard that no business gets done. Euro's not going to gain popularity anytime soon, so there is good room for Bitcoin."
Vancouver-based Bitcoin exchange QuadrigaCX, announced it will start to trade under the public company name "Quadriga Fintech Solutions" by early April 2015.
The company is set to become the first publicly traded Bitcoin exchange in the world, with approval and assignment of the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE/CNSX) ticker symbol "XBT."
Following the closure of two Canadian exchanges, namely Vault of Satoshi and Cavirtex, QuadrigaCX had quickly emerged as the leading exchange in the country.
Abine is set to release a service that will allow bitcoin users to shop at any online store that currently accepts Mastercard.
The program, which is currently available in invite-only beta, allows users to fund their “Masked Cards” (created through Blue) with their Coinbase Wallet, and shop anywhere Mastercard is accepted.
- Barry Silbert's Bitcoin Investment Trust (BIT) is poised to begin an open sale of its shares to become the world's first publicly traded Bitcoin investment fund, reported the Wall Street Journal.
- A new bill introduced in California by Assembly Member Matt Debabneh, proposed to forbid digital businesses from operating in the state, unless they are granted the appropriate license issued by the Department of Business Oversight, reported CoinDesk.
- The US Marshals Service announced that 14 bidders participated in yesterday's auction of 50,000 BTC, placing 34 bids over the course of the six-hour event. The figure was up slightly from the 11 bidders and 27 bids entered in December's auction, but down from the 45 bidders and 63 bids during the first auction in June, 2014, reported Reuters.
- A new report published by researchers from the New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering, provides insight into the world of bitcoin mining and explains why many miners are struggling to break even. The paper notes that competition involved in the mining industry has increased sharply over the years, and that as of today, it is not financially feasible for miners to continue their activity unless they keep up with modern hardware.
New Bitcoin ATMs
In light of Cointelegraph's partnership with Coin ATM Radar, we compiled a list the new Bitcoin ATMs that went live this week.
The United States
A new device was set on February 15, at Desert Hills Premium Outlets, 48400 Seminole Dr Cabazon, California. Operated by ZenBox, the two-way BitAccess device is available Monday to Friday from 10am to 9pm, Saturday from 9am to 9pm, and Sunday from 10am to 8pm.
On February 25, a BitAccess two-way Bitcoin ATM was installed at Ketchup Premium Burger Bar and The Miracle Mile Shops, 3663 S Las Vegas Blvd #410, Las Vegas, NV. The device, which is operated by CoinSource.net, is available everyday from 10am to 2am and charges a 5% fee with a transaction limit of US$9,999.
In Ohio, a General Bytes one-way Bitcoin ATM went live on February 27, at Everything Computer and Electronic, 17000 Madison Ave, Lakewood. Operated by Coinnective, the machine is limited to US$2,500 per person per day and charges a flat 5% fee. It is available Monday to Saturday from 8am to 7pm, and Sunday from 12pm to 5pm.
On Monday, the state of New York welcomed two brand new Bitcoin ATMs. The first device is one-way Lamassu Bitcoin ATM located at Old Man Hustle on 39 Essex St., NYC. Operated by PYC, the machine is available Monday to Friday from 4pm to 2am, and Saturday and Sunday from 12pm to 2am.
The second machine is a one-way Skyhook device located at Cafe Muchmore's, 2 Havemeyer St., Brooklyn, and available everyday from 10am to 1am. While there is no limit for transaction amounts, the device charges between 10 and 15% per trade.
On March 3, 4 bitcoin ATMs went live in Detroit. All 4 are one-way Genesis Coin's "Satoshi1" machines, operated by Mt Management LLC. Transaction limits are set to US$9,999 and the machine charges no fee. The 4 BTMs are located at:
- Timmy's Market, 17700 West Seven Mile Road;
- Open hours: Mon-Thu: 10:00 am - 10:00 pm, Fri-Sat: 10:00 am - 11:00 pm, Sun: 11:00 am - 9:00 pm;
- Boulevard Check Casher, 2697 W Grand Blvd;
- Open hours: Mon-Thu: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm, Fri-Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm;
- Check Cashing & More, 14531 W Mcnichols Rd;
- Open hours: Mon-Thu: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm, Fri-Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm;
- Ace Check Cashing, 20011 Plymouth Road;
- Open hours: Mon-Thu: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm, Fri-Sat: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm, Sun: 11:00 am - 6:00 pm.
Other Locations Around the World
Canada welcomed a new bitcoin ATM on February 24, located at Cafe Blanca, 240 Riverfront Ave SW Calgary, Alberta. The device is a two-way BitAccess bitcoin ATM, operated by BitcoinBrains.
On February 26, a two-way Lamassu bitcoin ATM was installed in Cardiff, UK, at The Castle Emporium, on Womanby Street. Operated by Misoneism Limited, the two-way Lamassu BTM charges between 2.5 to 7.5% of fee, and is limited at £1000 for purchases, £500 for sales. The device is available Monday to Friday from 10am to 6pm.
Another BTM was installed on March 4, in Cardiff, UK, this time at CeX Store, 9/11, Glamorgan Building, St Davids Centre Cardiff. The machine is a one-way Lamassu bitcoin ATM, and is available Monday to Friday from 9:30 to 8pm, Saturday from 9:30 to 7pm, and Sunday from 11am to 5pm.
On March 5, the US Marshals held the third auction of bitcoins seized from Ross Ulbricht, a lot of 50,000 BTC amounting at around US$13.9m. On the same day, BTC/USD price topped at 281 USD/BTC (Blockchain.info), a level that we had not seen since January 5, 2015.
This week, two Bitcoin ventures, namely Barry Silbert's Bitcoin Investment Trust, and Canadian bitcoin exchange QuadrigaCX, received approval from financial regulatory bodies, and went public. The positive news might have helped support the price's raise and brought a wave of opportunism among investors.
Overall, BTC/USD continued in its uptrend with a weekly price increase of 7.9% .
USD trade volume remains stable, and the number of transactions per day continues its long-term raise, while oscillating between 88,000 and 109,000 transactions on a weekly basis.
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