Central Texas Gun Works was working right along with Atlanta-based BitPay to process bitcoin transactions until last week, then the processor abruptly froze the firearm dealer’s account and dropped them from using the service.
According to the shop’s owner and U.S. Army veteran Michael Cargill, there was no prior warning and no explanation.
While BitPay’s terms of service list dealing firearms in exchange for bitcoin as prohibited, Cargill says that the company was aware of his business model upon sign-up. As pointed out by Bitcoin Magazine, it’s unclear whether or not this restriction was added to the terms before or after the dealer signed up for BitPay.
In effort to continue accepting the digital currency, the gun shop has teamed up with CoinVoice, who has reportedly worked overtime to sort out an integration with Cargill’s business.
newsBTC has reached out to BitPay for comment on the matter, but did not immediately receive a response before publishing time.
You can read the full story at Bitcoin Magazine.
Having just launched a bitcoin ATM in Singapore, Tembusu has reportedly received nearly $237,000 USD in seed funding, according to a report published by bitcoin news website CoinDesk.
The money has come from undisclosed investors in the city-state for a near 6 percent equity stake in the company. This puts the company valuation at just over $4 million USD at the present time.
Company spokesman Jared Luo said they funding will be used to fill outstanding orders, stockpiling raw materials to build the machines, and adding additional staff members.
The Tembusu bitcoin ATM made its debut last week along with a number of other bitcoin ATMs in Singapore. It’s a one-way device, meaning it will only dispense bitcoin in exchange for fiat (and not the other way around). With advanced anti-money laundering features like thumbprint and idnefication scanning, the device’s KYC (know-your-customer) security level can be customized according to local law.
The Tembusu ATM is located at The Spiffy Dapper, a cocktail bar in Singapore’s Boat Quay district.
The company is claiming to be the first and only licensed Internet escrow service to be accepting the digital currency, and they say support for other cryptocurrencies will soon be included.
“Payment flexibility, processing efficiency, and transactional security are key to a successful escrow transaction, all of which are core to the Bitcoin protocol. Agreed prides itself on finding new and innovative ways to handle online transactions, so we’re excited to empower the growing tide of early cryptocurrency adopters the flexibility to fund their transactions in whatever currency they see fit,” said Agreed co-founder and CEO Ammar Kubba.
The Los Angeles-based company serves as a hub for those who buy and sell domain names online (among a number of other services), and could very well help facilitate the security of over-the-web bitcoin transactions.
“With the recent public failings of the likes of Mt. Gox and others, Agreed’s escrow service offers a key element in rebuilding consumer trust in the burgeoning Bitcoin ecosystem,” Steve Beauregard, chief at GoCoin stated.
Agreed was launched on January 7th, 2014 after what the company says has been “countless hours, days, and months” of preparation.
U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman has reportedly frozen the U.S.-based assets of Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles and companies related to him for two weeks as clients of the former exchange look to get back at least some of what was in their accounts before the company shut down.
Feinerman is said to have placed a temporary restraining order on Karpeles’ assets, that of a related company in the U.S., and the parent company of the exchange’s operator, according to the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ reported indicates that the firm that ran the exchange, Tibanne, is not affected by the order due to bankruptcy hearings.
The asset freeze comes in response to a lawsuit filed by former clients in Chicago currently seeking class-action status, and attorneys are suggesting that Karpeles has been moving money claimed to have been lost.
“Every day we wait, our view is there will be less and less money,” Jay Edelson, an attorney, said.
Not surprisingly, Karpeles nor an attorney representing him appeared in court. Though a law firm representing the company was present (and declined to make comment).
The asset freeze targets the company’s bank accounts and servers that are suspected to be located in Massachusetts, though the Judge said that “It may turn out there are no such assets.”
Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy protect last month in Tokyo, Japan, and claims to have lost upwards of 700,000 BTC of customer funds and 100,000 BTC of their own.
The New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) announced on Tuesday that they would be begin considering proposals and applications for the establishment of bitcoin exchanges in the State.
Such establishments would, of course, be subject to regulation. But more importantly, serve to pave the way to efficient (yet effective) oversight of such financial institutions in the nation’s third-most populous state.
“Firms may immediately submit formal proposals and applications to operate virtual currency exchanges in order to help expedite the process of putting in place greater oversight for this industry,” the Department said in a public order.
The NYDFS has noted that it would be proposing regulatory frameworks for digital currencies some time before the end of the second quarter.
“Turning a blind eye and failing to put in place guardrails for virtual currency firms while consumers use that product is simply not a tenable strategy for regulators,” said NYDFS Superintendent Ben Lawksy. “Our overarching goal is to balance creating appropriate regulatory protections without stifling beneficial innovation in the development of new payments platforms.”
New York-based Coinsetter, a bitcoin exchange in private beta, made the following announcement:
“Coinsetter is pleased to announce that we will soon be submitting an application for a BitLicense. If accepted, our regulatory licensing will allow us to offer a fully compliant trading platform with US banking options.”
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (also known as FINRA), the largest independent regulator for fall securities firms that do business in the USA), has issued an investor alert on bitcoin entitled Bitcoin: More than a Bit Risky, which aims to caution investors who may be looking to invest in the emerging digital currency.
The report makes note of the fact that bitcoin is volatile due to speculative trading, and also that “there is also the risk of fraud related to companies claiming to offer Bitcoin payment platforms and other Bitcoin-related products and services.”
The authority’s statement echo a number of alerts issued by governments around the world, and even a couple of U.S. states.
“Speculators drawn to Bitcoin trading should understand that Bitcoin prices have fluctuated widely, and wildly, almost from the currency’s inception,” said FINRA Senior Vice President for Investor Education. “Investors looking to get in on the ground floor of a Bitcoin-related company should realize that fraudsters may see the latest digital currency trend as a chance to steal their money through old-fashioned fraud.”
Bitcoin: More than a Bit Risky also includes a brief primer on the bitcoin technology and other risk warnings, such as the fact that bitcoin is not backed by any government entity.
The FINRA report can be found in its entirety here.
Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff, like many other executives, has been skeptical on the topic of bitcoin (and likely digital currency as a whole), but his opinion may be changing.
Why? Because he’s not just watching the game from the sidelines. He’s stepped into the field.
A tweet published to his 20,000+ followers Monday read:
Rascoff, who also serves as a director for TripAdvisor, followed up with yet another tweet on the topic on Tuesday morning, noting he’s managed to purchase bitcoin:
Bought some bitcoin this morning. Buckle up.
Anyone can view from a distance and offer harsh criticism, but to actually experience the bitcoin technology is imperative if one is willing to understand it. That’s seemingly was Rascoff is doing, and for that we applaud him.
“I bought some bitcoin through coinbase after meeting the founder and CEO. I was impressed by his strategy, his vision, and his explanation of the future potential for bitcoin,” said Rascoff in a statement to newsBTC. “I look forward to exploring more about bitcoin in the future, and possibly investing more in the currency and the sector. Given the surprisingly high level of interest in this topic, I will also probably blog about my thoughts on bitcoin when I have time.”
He’s not the only one. On Monday, Wikimedia President Jimmy Wales told the world he too has purchased bitcoin in attempts to understand it. The story took a comedic turn when Wales shared his public bitcoin address on social media and started an accidental fundraiser – the community’s way of telling Wales Wikipedia should accept bitcoin donations. Wales acknowledged the donations would go to benefit the online encyclopedia. The impromptu fundraiser has brought in nearly 20 BTC, or just over $12,000 USD.
Should more execs follow in the footsteps of Wales and Rascoff?
The Bitcoin Foundation today announced the appointment of two new officials to their global team.
The first addition to the Foundation is Jim Harper of the Cato Institute, who’s been serving as the director of information policy studies at the Institute since 2004. Harper will take on the role of Global Policy Counsel at the Foundation while becoming a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute.
The second addition is Amy Weiss, former White House Deputy Press Secretary, also the founder and head of Weiss Public Affairs. She will serve as a media consultant for the Foundation.
“Bitcoin is rapidly maturing and we are actively building out a world-class team of highly experienced professionals. Jim’s experience with Cato and past experience with PayPal in addition to Amy’s experience with the United Nations Foundation and the White House are invaluable to our efforts around the world and in D.C.,” said Bitcoin Foundation Executive Director Jon Matonis.
Harper’s role at the foundation is of supreme importance. He will be responsible for leading efforts that address political barriers related to bitcoin adoption around the globe, but also to help governments to build confidence in bitcoin.
“The Bitcoin Foundation is already a credible voice in Washington, D.C. The consensus policy that the foundation has produced — maximizing the benefits of Bitcoin while managing the risks — is something we’ll work to see governments around the world adopt. I’m excited by the opportunity to help the foundation achieve Bitcoin’s promise for improving global financial inclusion, strengthening financial privacy for law-abiding consumers, increasing liberty and dignity for people the world over, and providing a stable money supply in countries where monetary instability may threaten prosperity and even peace,” Harper said.
Weiss will join Jinyoung Lee Englund on the Foundation’s public relations team to continue the Foundation’s communications and media efforts.
“Bitcoin will soon be recognized as one of the most important economic and social innovations of our times. The Bitcoin protocol is poised to do for international commerce and financial services what the World Wide Web did for communications,” Weiss said. “Working with the Bitcoin Foundation during this exciting and formative time is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Following (somewhat) in the footsteps of Zynga, Big Fish Games is reportedly embracing bitcoin, only they’re not just testing it. They’re fully implementing it into the 3,000 games in their portfolio, according to VentureBeat.
“It’s a fun project, and it makes sense,” company CEO Paul Thelen said to GamesBeat.
Big Fish began looking into accepting bitcoin thanks to an engineer on the team who is also a bitcoin enthusiast, and here we are today.
Frankly, move makes sense from multiple angles. For bitcoin enthusiasts, they’ll be able to easily make purchases using their digital currency. And for Big Fish, they’ll be saving money on transaction fees charged by traditional payment processors — which works out to be about 8 percent of the company’s gross revenue, in fact.
Thelan is hoping gamers turn to bitcoin faster than other shoppers might, the VentureBeat report added.
In order to make this all work, Big Fish has partnered with Coinbase, who will not charge transaction fees for the first $1 million in transactions. Thereafter, the fee is below 1 percent.
Interestingly, the company was considering setting aside up to 8 percent of each bitcoin payment as an investment in bitcoin, but decided to convert it all into U.S. dollars.
Would you be more inclined to buy from Big Fish now that they’re accepting bitcoin?
Who’s on a roll? Las Vegas-based Robocoin, apparently. The bitcoin ATM manufacturer today announced plans to bring their kiosks overseas to to Israel, Ireland, Singapore, Czech Republic, Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, Italy, and here in the United States to Boston and Seattle.
The rate of growth the company is experiencing is nothing short of impressive, but not surprising, given how in-demand these sort of machines can be.
“Robocoins are injecting bitcoin liquidity into finance, technology and culture hubs around the world to help unleash bitcoin’s disruptive potential,” company CEO Jordan Kelley said. “Protecting consumers and preventing money laundering are in Robocoin’s DNA–they fuel our growth and, moreover, bolster bitcoin security, adoption and compliance.”
On Monday (March 10th), the company shipped three units headed for Ireland, Israel, and Singapore. Shipments to Japan and the Czech Republic will take place on Wednesday (March 12th), and on Friday (March 14th), two units will head for Australia, and another two will head for the United Kingdom and Italy, respectively.
Next week (Monday, March 17th, to be precise), the company says they’ll be shipping to Boston and Seattle.
Quite the global footprint, don’t you think?
If you’re interested in following delivery progress, the company says they’ll be updating their official Twitter account accordingly.