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Bitcoin news roundup, 24 December 2016

This week’s summary of various cryptocurrency news and developments:

New developments:

Bitcoin is a trending top as we close in on the end of the year

Bitcoin’s price has been booming, and that made it a trending topic all over the world as news outlets report on the increase. Google and Baidu show us that Venezuela, Brazil, Nigeria and India are some of the countries in which bitcoin-related search queries surged in the past few days. These countries in particular have been dealing with inflation, money laundering and other problems, that lead the population directly into bitcoin’s arms. Bitcoin being used as a way to hedge against financial instability has been its greatest strength, as every time our economic future looks grim, bitcoin’s price rises.

OpenBazaar partnered with ShapeShift: 35 different altcoins can now be used for transactions

OpneBazaar, widely known as a decentralized eBay for being an open-source marketplace, has recently partnered with ShapeShift, an exchange platform. The partnership now allows users to pay using not only bitcoin, but other cryptocurrencies such as Zcash, Monero, Dash and Ethereum as well. It also means users who believe bitcoin will keep on gaining value can save their bits and use altcoins in their transactions. Just last week, DeepDotWeb reported OpenBazaar managed to raise $3 million in a funding round.

iPayYou users can now buy Starbucks coffee with bitcoin

Bitcoin wallet company has iPayYou has announced the introduction of Bitcoin Direct to Starbucks, allowing users to purchase their coffee with the cryptocurrency. All users need to do is transfer their bitcoins directly from their wallet to the Starbucks app and as soon as the transfer is complete, the corresponding amount will show up. Bitcoin has been used to pay for coffee for years now, but iPayYou’s integration with Starbucks’ official app means it is now a lot easier to do so as the funds are converted to USD.

World affairs:

Bitcoin salaries become a reality in India

The San Francisco-based bitcoin payments company Bitwage has announced a partnership with Indian bitcoin exchange Unocoin in order to push bitcoin adoption in India. The partnership between the two companies makes it possible for Indian-based workers, employees and businesses to get paid in bitcoin from foreign businesses, an option that will help improve the rates at which they get paid. When workers sign up for Bitwage, a Unocoin account is automatically created, and even if their employer doesn’t pay in bitcoin, they can still get paid in the cryptocurrency.

France’s Central Bank has performed a test using blockchain technology

The Banque de France recently stated it tested blockchain technology for the use in the management of identification markers used to establish the identity of creditors within the Single Euro Payments Area. According to the bank the test was looking into both positive and negative impacts of blockchain technology in the financial sector, as participating banks were to “share their analysis on the impacts and opportunities of the technology”. Central banks in other countries such as Japan and Sweden have already made efforts when it comes to blockchain technology, and according to CoinDesk even the US Federal Reserve made progress with a major research paper earlier this month.

Financial:

Bitcoin’s total value above $14 billion, as one bitcoin is now worth over $900

This past week has been tremendously successful for bitcoin, so much so that it made headlines all over the world after its total value blew past $14 billion on Thursday. At the time of press, one bitcoin was worth over $900, according to Coinbase, and even more on some exchanges. The price of the cryptocurrency has surged this week, reportedly due to the devaluation of the Chinese yuan. The majority of bitcoin trading goes on in China so when yuan loses value, investors turn to bitcoin as a way to hedge against instability and insecurity, making the cryptocurrency gain value.

Back in 2013 one bitcoin was worth over $1.100, and a lot of analysts predict the record will be shattered in 2017, as some even claim we will see a $2.000 figure in the near future. At the start of 2016, one bitcoin was worth roughly $430. Demonetization in India, global uncertainty caused, among other factors, by Brexit and the election of the 45th US President Donald Trump.

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