BitBuzz Daily: A roundup of bitcoin news from around the web

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Our look at some of the most interesting articles and comments relating to digital currency around today.

There's something to be said for the phrase: when China sneezes, the world catches a cold. As with most things these days, when China takes an interest, the world indeed feels the impact, and bitcoin is no exception. Jessica Roy at Time Business wrote about the new world leader in bitcoin trading platforms - BTC China's - influence in bitcoin's recent price surge. Likewise, this piece by Richard Boase on Coin Desk attributes much of the recent rally to Chinese traders.

 Chinese bitcoin exchange BTC China hit its all-time high at the weekend, trading bitcoin at ¥1,978 each.

The record surpasses the previous Chinese high of ¥1,944 back in April this year, which, although Western media generally quotes the Mt. Gox high of $265, was actually equivalent to approximately $308.

It seems the Chinese are willing to pay premium prices for their bitcoins, as exemplified by this recent breakout, with reports that much of the recent surge in the value of bitcoin can be attributed to the enthusiasm of Chinese traders.

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China also gets a mention in this piece by Jonathan Stacke on the Genesis Block, which explains the various factors associated with bitcoin's recent rally to above $300. What is interesting in this piece is that it looks at the many areas affecting the bitcoin economy right now, not just trading volumes. The shift in attitude towards bitcoin as the currency starts to gain traction in the wider population is also interesting. 

The recent climb in bitcoin’s exchange rate has driven heavy attention from media and investors. As the second time this has occurred at such scale in 2013 alone, the broader conversation has made a subtle but important shift from simply trying to understand what bitcoin is and where it came from, to what is happening in the space and what the future might hold. Recent growth has been driven not just by speculators, but also entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and bitcoin users that have contributed to remarkable change in the digital currency economy since the last time these types of exchange rate gains were made.
As bitcoin’s mainstream popularity grows, the tone with which it is addressed has largely begun to shift. For example, in 2011, some of the earliest comments about the industry from federal legislators arose when US Senator Charles Schumer referred to bitcoin as “an online form of money laundering used to disguise the source of money.” A more recent letter from US Senators urging a discussion around bitcoin noted,
“the federal government must make sure that potential threats and risks are dealt with swiftly; however, we must also ensure that rash or uninformed actions don’t stifle a potentially valuable technology.”

A few weeks ago, I wrote a feature about the trend in mainstream news to give a negative slant to bitcoin in any of its coverage. (Ironically this was the day before the SIlk Road bust.) This denigration of bitcoin is also noted in this piece on RT by Patrick L Young. However, he goes on to say that despite the doomsayers and scaremongering, bitcoin's popularity is on the up and bit by bit, entering the mainstream consciousness.
 At first glance Bitcoin appears under siege. Most days another scare story emerges. Yet behind the headlines, cryptocurrency is gaining ground.
Nothing new develops without glitches. Some poor souls in Australia are lighter of (virtual) wallet due to a new era banking heist (the digital equivalent of raiding safe deposit boxes while the bank was shut). Meanwhile some academics tried to suggest there was a huge flaw making Bitcoin innately unstable. That’s just a couple of the key stories in the media this past week… ...while Bitcoin itself reached record highs.
The surge in bitcoin price and its growing acceptance has not escaped those who are set to lose out if bitcoin takes off in a meaningful way, namely the credit card providers and fiat payment processors. Pete Rizzo on Coin Desk has written this excellent piece demonstrating how fiat is fighting back.
 
This much should be clear: bitcoin is the radical payments tool of the times, a concept that lays bare the inadequacies of both traditional payment options and the major financial institutions that have stayed short-sighted in an age where smartphones, the Internet and the global economy necessitate innovation.
 
Even if bitcoin were to be stamped out, it’s safe to say that at least some of its essential properties would be subverted and integrated into the traditional financial system.
 
Today’s financial institutions are demonstrating that they are looking to harness new technologies to eliminate friction in the marketplace. From the trenches of the alternative currency movement, it can be difficult to see the larger innovations that are being set in motion in the traditional financial world, and how the marketplace is breaking many long-held rules to encourage new ideas.
 
And finally, what is it about lists that get people talking? The 100 Richest People On Earth, the Top 100 Films Of All Time, and today, the Top 49 Most Influential Men of 2013. Any guesses who has made the list? Well, a certain Mr. Nakamoto might be in there somewhere...

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