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Weekly Bitcoin Update – 24 August 2014

A recap of the week’s biggest Bitcoin stories from the perspectives of the best sources for e-currency news around the web

After remaining above or around the $600 mark for the majority of the summer, bitcoin’s value has fallen below the $500 mark. Petar Kotevski of ForexNews reports that the price appears to be stuck around the $500 mark. However, while prices are slightly higher on the BitStamp exchange, users are now having issues accessing their cryptocurrency through the exchange. As Kotevski notes, reports of bitcoin withdrawal issues are leading some in the Bitcoin community to fear that BitStamp could be leading to another Mt. Gox-like situation.

Women in developing countries are coming to embrace Bitcoin. Jhiuk Chowdhury of RT.com reports that women are attempting to use the decentralized digital currency system to better their financial situation. For example, the Women’s Annex Foundation (WAF) , which connects women with digital literary across several different countries, pays for women to create social media content. The women, who are paid in bitcoin for their services, receive $250 to $400 per month.

Bitcoin and Sports

Bitcoin is growing as a betting currency in poker game. As Leah McGrath Goodman of Newsweek writes, the gaming website SealsWithClubs’ weekly gathering titled “Big BTC Sunday” routinely attracts a large number of players looking to wager bitcoins in a game of poker. The company’s direct of marketing, Bryan Micon, cited the gaming site’s anonymity and fast bankroll payout as the strengths that come along with bitcoin. For example, American players who live in states that have made online gambling illegal can avoid using traditional banking channels. The buy-in for Sunday’s game is 0.25 bitcoins.

BitPay acquired the naming rights for the St. Petersburg Bowl with a bitcoin-only payment. Tampa Bay Business Journal‘s Chris Wilkerson reports that BitPay co-founder Tony Gallippi paid for the naming rights to the event with a digital currency-only payment as a way “keeping to his message that digital currency is as easy to use as cash and safer than a credit card.” The game is set to include teams from the “Big Five” Atlantic Coast Conference and the less-significant Conference USA.

Automated Teller Machines

To build off the increased exposure of having the naming rights to a local bowl game, BitPay currently plays to turn St. Petersburg into a permanent hub of Bitcoin exchange. Susan Thurston of the Tampa Bay Times notes that BitPay plans to install 30 Bitcoin ATMs throughout the city so as to help facilitate its adoption in the southern city. The company also hopes that at least 100 local businesses accepting bitcoin payments Dec. 26th, the date the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl is set to take place.

Bitcoin ATM adoption is not localized in the southeast United States, however. As Kaja Whitehouse of the New York Post reports, Manhattan’s first bitcoin ATM is now operational. The teller was installed inside of Flat 128, which sells UK-style jewelry and home goods. Currently, the device only allows for individuals to transfer cash into one’s bitcoin wallet. As of right now, the Lamassu-made machine does not allow for bitcoin-to-cash exchange.

In total, bitcoin holders can now access over 200 total bitcoin ATMs globally. Eric Calouro of NewsBTC writes that, along with the growing total, bitcoin ATMs distributed by fifteen different manufacturers have reached six continents. North America leads the way with the largest number of operating bitcoin ATMs. Cryptocurrency holders looking for an accessible bitcoin ATM can head to CoinATMRadar.com to find the nearest teller.

Regulation

Comments on the proposed “BitLicense” currency regulations will now be accepted for an additional 45 days. Sydney Ember of The New York Times reports that the move, which came after several requests from important Bitcoin advocates, extends the commentary deadline to Oct. 21st. The rules are intended to prevent the more unsavory side of Bitcoin exchanges, including money laundering, from coming forth by requiring Bitcoin exchanges and businesses to acquire a “BitLicense” to “secure, store or maintain custody or control of virtual currency on behalf of their customers,” as Ember writes.

A United States federal judge has ruled that bitcoin is a form of money. As Carlo Caraluzzo of CoinTelegraph writes, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff ruled that Robert Faiella’s claim that his attempt to sell more than $1 million in bitcoin on Silk Road did not constitute “transmitting” money was false on the basis that bitcoins “clearly qualifies as ‘money’ or ‘funds.’” Silk Road was being used as a way to sell illicit goods and services online before it was closed last year.

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