This week on Planet Bitcoin - 25 September 2015

Friday 25 September 2015

TL;DR: Markets are quiet but Charlie Shrem has been talking.

The last week has proven to be nothing particularly significant in the bitcoin space. At the end of last week we saw a spike from the high $220s up to $235, if such a small move - for bitcoin - deserves the term 'spike'. From there, it was a gradual decline over the course of the next five days to a bottom just below $225, which represents just about the lowest point for a month - though there has been very little variation after the brief crash to $200 that occurred on the 25th August.


After that there was a prompt recovery back to the $230 line, followed by some days oscillating around it before a move back up to $235 - where the last week ended. The markets are lacklustre, still apparently inclined to slight pessimism but without any real clarity over which way to go. As we’ve noted before, this has been the case for most of this year and there seems no reason to think that it will change much in the coming weeks. Traders might seek to make a few dollars here and there on the bumps and dips, but unless they are highly leveraged there’s not much to profit (or lose). What has also been lacking recently is the obvious whale activity - attempts by large holders of bitcoin or fiat to jump-start the market in one or other direction. Listless is the word that sums it up.

Around the Bitworld

Secretive bitcoin company 21, which secured an unprecedented $116 million of VC funding, has announced the launch of its own computer - apparently built on a Raspberry Pi, and integrating a miner that will earn bitcoins as it’s used. The idea is to enable customers to transact in bitcoin easily, and to develop apps with the computer, which comes supplied with the full blockchain and various bits of bitcoin software. It is not intended to be a profitable mining rig, costing $400 but capable of earning just $40 a year at current prices. The 21 Bitcoin Computer is available to pre-order on Amazon and will ship in November.

Russia, meanwhile, may be set to ban all bitcoin activities, including mining and trading. It’s unclear how serious this is, since the Russian government has flip-flopped on bitcoin over the past couple of years.

One of the week’s odder stories was that Charlie Shrem has been conducting an AMA (ask me anything) from his current home of Lewisburg Federal Prison Camp, Pennsylvania, where he is spending two years for violating AML regulations in the course of running a bitcoin exchange. Over the prison email system, Shrem discusses how he spends his time inside, his remorse and what he has learnt, and what he hopes to do when he leaves prison. He says he has taught all the other inmates about bitcoin and more esoteric aspects of cryptocurrency (‘We have alot of programmers here, finance guys, doctors, and economists’), and that he views fungibility as critical to the success of bitcoin.

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