BitBuzz Daily: A roundup of the best bitcoin news

Friday 22 November 2013

There is a lot of talk about how viable bitcoin is as an alternative form of money. Well, according to Kevin Roose on nymag.com  bitcoin's volatility prevents it from being such but he does see other uses for it, to take bitcoin mainstream. His arguments may not sit well with some of the bitcoin enthusiasts, as he states they "would have to give up on the dream of a universal currency that is treated as money and accepted at stores all over the world." He suggests bitcoin is really only useful as the intermediary for moving money across borders.

It's been a hell of a week for Bitcoin, the digital crypto-currency turned Internet punch line. First, the price of a single Bitcoin jumped up past $600, after spending months hovering in the $100 to 200 range. Then, it got an impressiveimprimatur in Washington, with Fed chairman Ben Bernanke saying that the currency may hold "long-term promise." That comment, along with a letterfrom the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago that called Bitcoin "a remarkable conceptual and technical achievement," sent prices even higher. At one point, Bitcoins were trading for $900 apiece (meaning that if I'd held on to my one Bitcoin instead of selling it earlier this year, I'd have made enough to buy the iPad Air I've been coveting).

I agree with Timothy Lavin that the price swings of the last few weeks are a bad sign for Bitcoin's long-term viability, since no currency with such crazy volatility will ever be trusted as legitimate money. But I think there's a solution to all of this: Bitcoin needs to give up on its dream of replacing fiat currency, and focus on becoming something both much bigger and much more mundane: an invisible middle-man for the global payments system, which is currently way too expensive and outmoded.
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On a similar point, Jerry Brito looks at bitcoin's future, not just as a currency but gives a more in depth insight into many other areas of possibility. It's an excellent piece on reason.com and gives much food for thought.

On August 6, Judge Magistrate Amos Maazant of U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas made many a headline when he became the first known United States government official to declare that Bitcoin-the non-government and non-bank currency, payments network, and anarchic digital phenomenon-is indeed money. In a ruling rejecting a defense argument that a certain Ponzi scheme was not in fact a Ponzi scheme because its shares were sold in Bitcoins, instead of "real" money, Maazant made this declaration: "Bitcoin is a currency or form of money, and investors wishing to invest in [the scheme] provided an investment of money."

The following week, the German Ministry of Finance also formally recognized Bitcoins as a private money. Germans can now use Bitcoins to buy bratwurst, sell lederhosen, or invest in Volkswagen. The government is developing rules to ensure Bitcoin transactions are taxed, just like those in euros.

So governments are slowly acknowledging the obvious: Bitcoins are money. But bureaucrats, like many observers since the digital currency burst on the scene in January 2009, are likely missing the larger implications. Bitcoin is much, much more than just money.

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Well, bitcoin may or may not be the future of money, but one person has found a much more grisly use for it by attempting to crowdfund murder. Yes, you heard me right. 
The article by Andy Greenberg on Forbes is a fascinating if not shocking insight into the creation of The Assassination Market by a pseudonymous character, Kuwabatake Sanjuro. Targets on his hit list include NSA director, Keith Alexander, and Chairman of the Fed, Ben Bernanke.
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As Bitcoin becomes an increasingly popular form of digital cash, the cryptocurrency is being accepted in exchange for everything from socks tosushi to heroin. If one anarchist has his way, it’ll soon be used to buy murder, too.

Last month I received an encrypted email from someone calling himself by the pseudonym Kuwabatake Sanjuro, who pointed me towards his recent creation: The website Assassination Market, a crowdfunding service that lets anyone anonymously contribute bitcoins towards a bounty on the head of any government official–a kind of Kickstarter for political assassinations. According to Assassination Market’s rules, if someone on its hit list is killed–and yes, Sanjuro hopes that many targets will be–any hitman who can prove he or she was responsible receives the collected funds.

 
Here's an interesting look at bitcoin's evolution from conception to (almost) present day. The timeline on WSJ goes up to November 2013, although has not included the ongoing US Senate hearings. However it is still an interesting look at the changes that have happened, and in particular how the majority have occurred within the last nine months. This has certainly, so far, been bitcoin's year in the limelight.

And finally, as US Homeland Security look at the pros and cons and risks involved with bitcoin and get their head around the regulation headache, take a look at BitPay's CEO, Tony Gallippi give his testimony at the Senate hearings.  (Shared by FreeToEvolve.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJYBlROTswo

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