Featuring the week’s biggest news stories on the world-famous cryptocurrency from around the web.
After remaining above the $500 mark for most of the summer, the price of Bitcoin continues to fall. As Michael Hiltzik of The Los Angeles Times notes, the frustrating aspect of the recent loss in value, which led to the currency bottoming out at a price of $290 before rising back up, is the fact that no one really knows what is causing the loss in value. While there is speculation that the currency loss in value is related to the new emphasis on regulation, particularly the new “BitLicense” rules, others have suggested that the increased mining of bitcoins by Chinese programmers has led to the decrease.
Bitcoin advocates scored a major victory this week when they managed to clear an order that would have sent the cryptocurrency to levels not seen since November 2013. According to Everett Rosenfield of CNBC, an individual that has been nicknamed “BearWhale” by enthusiasts posted an order that would have sold 30,000 bitcoins for only $300 each. Interestingly, the bitcoin community, which often gravitates to counter-cultural Internet hubs like Reddit, have published a variety of artwork commemorating the event.
Rosenfield noted that there’s been speculation that “BearWhale”, who was able to sell 26,000 bitcoins for around $7.8 million USD, may have been interested in doing something “nefarious.” However, Brendan O’Connor of Second Market believes that it was probably just someone with a large supply of bitcoins and very little trading experience.
Inside North America
Andreas Antonopoulos, a Bitcoin advocate, has presented his case for the importance of cryptocurrency’s freedom to the Canadian Senate. As Jon Southurst of CoinDesk writes, Antonopoulos not only emphasized the power of a decentralized financial system, but urged the Senate to make an effort to better understand the technology and its intricacies before making a ruling. The fifteen-minute presentation, which was swiftly followed by a question session, discussed the centralization of the current financial system and the fact that “a large-scale, decentralized, secure network” has never before come into existence. Antonopoulos noted that applying traditional models onto this new type of financial system may not be a suitable match for bitcoin’s needs.
According Giulio Prisco of CryptoCoins News, “The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin” is now available for purchase online. The film offers a glimpse into the story of Bitcoin’s origin and meteoric rise. The film, which was created by Nicholas Mross, follows the story of a 35-year-old computer programmer who falls in love with Bitcoin and its potential. The movie had previously been shown at the Tribeca Film Festival in Manhattan and the North American Bitcoin Conference in Chicago.
Outside North America
The number of payment terminals in Romania that sell Bitcoin reached the 874 mark. As Joon Ian Wong of CoinDesk reports, a partnership between Bitcoin Romania, an ATM operator, and ZebraPay, a terminal network operator, will allow customers to purchase the cryptocurrency at a 4% commission rate. The prices will be based on the Cointrader exchange and customers are not required to supply identification documents when buying the cryptocurrency. Wong does note that that ATMs do not allow for customers to exchange bitcoins for Romanian leu.
A proposal to introduce a new digital currency has been launched in the Philippines. The “E-Peso Act of 2014,” as Mellisa Tolentino of SiliconAngle writes, would be backed by the Central Bank of the Philippines if passed into law. The organization would be tasked with studying cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin so as to determine which technology would be best suited for the country’s needs. The E-Peso will be available in limited quantities during the first two years of its existence.
Venezuelans are now using Bitcoin in an effort to bypass the country’s economic controls. According to Reuters.com’s Girish Gupta, two New York-based Venezuelans are hoping to begin a bitcoin exchange within the country so as to service the several hundred cryptocurrency users within the country to better make Internet purchases. The digital currency is being used to subvert the currency controls put into place by Hugo Chavez, the late president of the country. Those rules force Venezuelans to request hard currency from the state. Gupta also notes that Venezuelans are better able to mine bitcoins in the country due to the low electricity costs within the country.
Researchers at the United Kingdom’s Internet Watch Foundation have discovered that over 200 websites across the world now accepts bitcoin payments for pictures of sexually abused children. According to Kristen Schweizer of Bloomberg, researchers from Germany, the United States, and other countries are also discovering this startling trend. The IWF also noted that thirty child pornography websites exclusively accept only bitcoin payments. The well-documented fight against child pornography often begins with tracking down pedophiles through their Internet connections and their payments for the illegal files. Just as with the black market trade for drugs and other contraband, however, the anonymity of bitcoin has led to its use for this rather immoral endeavor.