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Weekly Bitcoin Update – 5 October 2014

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

A Bitcoin documentary has opened that explores both the potential of the cryptocurrency and its dark side. Ben Kenigsberg of The New York Times details “The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin,” a film from Nicholas Mross. The one hour, thirty-six minute picture features interviews with Mr. Bitcoin, a drug-dealer, and Jennifer Shasky Calvery, the director of the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

Is Bitcoin better than currency? That’s the opinion of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. As Kim Lachance Shandrow of Entrepreneur.com details, Gates holds the cryptocurrency as being a more-effective low-cost payments solution that traditional currencies. Not only can Bitcoins be exchanged online, but they also carry the potential to be almost free to use. Gates, however, did not posit the anonymity of Bitcoin usage as a positive.

Block chain technology is now being used for collectible card games. As Joon Ian Wong of CoinDesk reports, Deckbound, a card game that is similar to Magic: The Gathering, features block chain-linked cards which allow for the exchange of cards online without being tied to the game-maker itself. EVA Plexus, the designer of the card game led by founder Gareth Jenkins, has made the cards permanent digital objects through the block chain. It is also worth noting that there is a long history of ties between collectible card games and Bitcoin, as the Mt. Gox website originally began as the “Magic The Gathering Online eXchange.”

Leon Spencer of ZDNet reports that the Australian Digital Currency Commerce Association’s Chairman, Ronald Tucker, has called for a “correction” of digital currency taxation policies in Australia. The purpose of the inquiry is to “evaluate the appropriate definition of cryptocurrencies under Australian taxation laws.” In late August, the Australian Tax Office released a guidance paper that called for the cryptocurrency’s transactions “to be traeated like barter transactions with similar taxation consequences.”

Will Bitcoin soon be viewed in the same way as gold? As Matt Warman of The Telegraph reports, the executive director of the Bitcoin Foundation, Jon Matonis, released expressed such sentiments at the Institute of Director’s annual convention. Specifically, he pointed out that while banks will be able to regulate transactions including both Bitcoin and traditionally currencies, they will not be able to do so with Bitcoin-only exchanges.

Spain is making an effort to increase the awareness of Bitcoin by hosting a two-day event in Madrid’s busiest shopping district. As Grace Caffyn of CoinDesk reports, the two-day event will feature twenty merchants and 200 bitcoin users. The event will occur at Serrano Street, referred to popularly as the city’s ‘Gold Mile’. Event organizer Félix Montero hopes the Bitcoin boulevard will help those in the offline world to become familiar with the cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin is now being used to fund protests in Hong Kong. As Alyssa Hertig of CoinTelegraph writes, pro-democracy protesters that are taking part in the Umbrella revolution are receiving funds. The efforts to facilitate the donations are being made on Reddit’s /r/bitcoin subreddit. The funds will be used to supply food to protesters who have otherwise not received necessary provisions.

The first Bitcoin ATM has opened in Lisbon, Portugal. As John Weru Maina of CryptoCoins News notes, Bitcoin Já and Parrteam have joined together to develop an ATM machine that will officially be launched on October 4th, 2014. The teller will be located inside the lobby of @Cinema in the Saldanha Residence.

Universities

The Georgia Institute of Technology has accepted Bitcoin as a payment option for stadium concession sales and campus cards. According to Katherine Fletcher of CoinReport, the payments, facilitated through BitPay, will enable Georgia Tech “students to pay for on-campus food, good, and services” through their campus card. Additionally, Georgia Tech fans who attend the football team’s games will be able to pay for concession items at the event. The higher education institution is known for its liberal attitude towards new technologies, as exemplified through its adoption of Bitcoin and support of the Massive Open Online Course movement.

Students at the University of British Columbia have formed a Bitcoin club. As Stephen Hui of Straight.com reports, the club hopes to educate students about Bitcoin and its usage. Additionally, the founder and president of the club, Willson Cross, hopes that the university will accept payments for tuition and bookstore sales in Bitcoin.

Flinders Unviersity Australia has announced that it will begin to accept Bitcoin payments. As Eric Calouro of NewsBTC notes, however, the cryptocurrency will only be accepted for ‘Venture Dorm’, an entrepreneurial education program that will last twelve weeks. That being said, Vice Chancellor Michael Barber stated that the university will not be accepting the currency for tuition payments and other expenses in addition to this recent effort.

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