The past week brought positive news for bitcoin despite a 10% price drop since Sunday 8 July. Price decreases over the past week have likely been caused by speculators selling off on fears of the US Marshall’s sale of seized bitcoins will flood the market. Bitcoin holds a value of $599.92 at the time of writing, an improvement of $7.95, or 1.34%, since the markets opened today.
Policy and government moves
The US Marshalls Service will auction off $17.5 million worth of bitcoins seized by the government from the infamous Silk Road black market trading website. Of the 144,336 (approximately $100 million) coins the government holds, 29,656 will be sold off with bidder registration closing on Monday, June 23, and the auction occurring on Friday, June 27. Since the announcement of the sale, bitcoin’s prices have taken a hit, which Forbes reported could be down to speculators believing the sale will oversaturate the market. Despite this, some 3,600 new bitcoins are minted each day.
The Isle of Man is now defining bitcoin as a property rather than a currency, and intends to add digital currency-related language to its anti-money laundering bills. In a statement on the Isle of Man’s official website, the island said it recognised both the benefits and risks posed by digital currencies and is implementing “a regime that promotes both business opportunities but also applies appropriate anti-money laundering requirements”.
Making good on its recent policy changes, Apple has now allowed the first bitcoin app to reappear on its store following its previous crackdown, which saw it removing apps allowing trading of the virtual currency . Coin Pocket, an app that allows you to send and receive bitcoin from your mobile device, reappeared on the app store . Apple is likely being cautious as there is no hard-and-fast rule, as yet, as to how the government views or will legislate on bitcoin. Users took to Reddit with mostly positive feedback on the move, though some lamented the app working slowly. Others suggested Coinbase’s app – which was previously pulled – may reappear on the store at some point.
GHash.IO has come close to having the much-feared 51% of the bitcoin network hashing rate that would apparently allow abuse of the bitcoin system. Prompted by fears from vocal miners on Reddit mining hardware partner of GHash.IO, BitFury, responded by pulling a portion of their hashing power from the pool. GHash.IO now accounts for 42% of the hashing power after the move .
In a move that is likely to add further legitimacy to the cryptocurrency, both Google Finance and Yahoo Finance have added the currency’s value chart to their respective websites . Microsoft had already added Bitcoin currency conversion to its Bing search engine back in February. The move highlights a growing appetite for the digital currency coming from private and institutional investors.
Payments processor and e-commerce trading platform Digital River now intends to accept bitcoin for online transactions. The move makes the company one of the first in the industry, which typically uses more established payment methods, to accept the cryptocurrency. Vice President and General Manager Souheil Badran said it would aim to pass the savings from small bitcoin transactions on to its business customers. Badran said he doesn’t see the currency “as just a fad going away” . Digital River processed some $30 billion in transactions over the last year, generating almost $400 million in revenues. It will employ third-party services from Coinbase to enable payments made using bitcoin. However, he hinted at a note of caution, stating: “We are always going to be cautious in view of the historical reputation of bitcoin, with Silk Road and other episodes.”
Early-adopters of ASIC chip maker HashFast’s products received sour news this week when the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. After running into financial problems when the firm was unable to deliver mining equipment on time, customers began requesting refunds in bitcoin – after the coins had increased in price. CEO Eduardo de Castro said the firm had “pretty much emptied the bank accounts into refunds”, ArsTechnica reported .
With the World Cup generating top headlines this week, the bitcoin community is taking advantage by putting the coin to use on bitcoin betting sites. Betting platforms that have sprung up catering to bitcoin include Bitkup, Cloudbet, Nitrogen Sports, and BetVIP.