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Bitcoin’s Monthly Recap of March 2015

Welcome to HolyTransaction’s third monthly recap for the year 2015. This past month of March has been a real eye opener for the Bitcoin community; during that time, the bitcoin price fell from a high of $258.34 to a low of $244.24, according to Bitcoin exchange Bitstamp.

Third US Marshals Service Silk Road Bitcoin Auction Completed
http://www.coindesk.com/third-usms-bitcoin-auction-bidder-interest/

Compared with the previous two US Marshals Service auctions of Silk Road bitcoins, the number of participants was lower. However, at 14 bidders placing 34 bids during the auction, the participation is markedly higher than the second Silk Road Bitcoin auction which saw a low of 11 bidders. These USMS auctions have been ongoing since before Ross Ulbricht’s trial because of a deal struck in January of 2014 between the courts and Ulbricht and Ulbricht’s lawyer. At the time of the auction, the block of 50,000 BTC was worth roughly $13.4 million USD. The first auction was won by noted venture capitalist Tim Draper while the second auction was won by SecondMarket, the offerers of the new $GBTC Bitcoin investment fund. There remains one last auction of Ross Ulbricht’s bitcoins, seized during the Silk Road trial, for a block of 44,000 bitcoins. The final auction date has not been set.

Bitcoin Investment Trust Bitcoin “ETF” Shares Trading On OTC Market Before Winklevoss’s
http://www.nasdaq.com/article/the-first-bitcoin-etf-offers-easy-way-to-profit-from-virtual-currency-gbtc-cm450589#/ixzz3VcocZkx0

The Bitcoin Investment Trust, created by SecondMarket, has received approval from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority to launch a Bitcoin fund and sell shares on the OTC market. Though Silbert has since moved on to the Digital Currency Group, his influence is still felt. Notably, the GBTC Bitcoin fund isn’t technically an ETF but it has launched ahead of the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust ETF, which was gunning to be the first but is still mired in the regulatory approval process. The current price of a GBTC share, however, is well, over the market price of bitcoin. For accredited investors, there is now a new safe way to bet on Bitcoin volatility.

T-Mobile Accepts Bitcoin in Poland and Even Offers 20% Bonus
http://bitcoinist.net/t-mobile-poland-discount-bitcoin-purchases/

T-Mobile in Poland has started to embrace Bitcoin like no other large telecom service provider before. Polish users of the T-Mobile cell network can now top off their accounts using bitcoin, which is accepted online, and receive a 20% bonus: Talk about incentive! In Poland, T-Mobile is one of the largest mobile phone operators with well over 15 million customers in the European country. The bonus and bitcoin acceptance comes from a partnership with Warsaw-based payments company, InPay. T-Mobile is currently testing out a 3 month trial. The Polish Bitcoin community is strong, as evidenced by this deal. Internationally, there have been Bitcoin for mobile minute credits and/or code conversion websites for years; however, the acceptance of Bitcoin by a major provider in a major country is a major milestone.

Dark Net Marketplace Evolution Admins Disappear with $12 million USD in Bitcoin
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/mar/18/bitcoin-deep-web-evolution-exit-scam-12-million-dollars

Following the arrest of Ross Ulbricht in October of 2013, Evolution was one of many underground marketplaces to spring up on the infamous darknet. In fact, another underground marketplace called Sheep Marketplace also saw its owner disappear with user funds. Users and law enforcement alike have started to look for the thieves that have perpetrated the latest “Bitcoin exit scam.” The Bitcoin price fell on the news of the marketplace disappearing and hasn’t recovered since.

In the standard budget proceedings this year, Chancellor George Osborne released the government’s research on digital currency to date. The United Kingdom has taken an admirable approach to regulating but not stifling Bitcoin and digital currency innovation within the historical world financial capital of London. Future legislation from the UK will include measures to protect and support digital currencies and their related business development. Many Bitcoin companies in the UK stepped up to teach the government about digital currency when the “call for information” was released months ago.

Two Federal Agents Arrested, Charged With Stealing Bitcoins and Blackmailing During Silk Road Investigation
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/03/30/federal-agents-charged-with-stealing-bitcoin-from-silk-road-case/70672058/

Two former federal agents, Carl Force of the DEA and Shaun Bridges of the Secret Service, have been charged with counts of money laundering, wire fraud, theft, and conflict of interest. Agent Force is charged with blackmailing nearly a million dollars worth of bitcoin from Ross Ulbricht, who was recently convicted of running the Silk Road underground marketplace that only used bitcoins. Force also worked at Bitcoin exchange CoinMKT as their supposed anti-money laundering and compliance officer. The evidence and charges against agents directly involved in the takedown of Silk Road did not appear in Ulbricht’s trial because they were sealed at the time. Bridges, on the other hand, allegedly stole nearly $800,000 worth of bitcoins from the government after the bitcoins were seized from Silk Road servers. These newest revelations have undoubtedly shaken things up for those following the Silk Road Bitcoin story with interest.

Open your free digital wallet here to store your cryptocurrencies in a safe place.

Satoshi

Bitcoin’s Monthly Recap of February 2015

Welcome to HolyTransaction’s February monthly recap for the year 2015. During this past month of February, the bitcoin price fell from a low of $226.93 to a high of $258.34, according to Bitstamp.

Payment Processor Stripe Lets Its Businesses Accept Bitcoin Simply

Starting a few weeks ago, the popular online payment processor Stripe ended its Bitcoin beta and rolled out the ability to accept bitcoin to any of its business customers. International businesses that use Stripe include Facebook, Lyft, and Kickstarter. Any of these companies could now start accepting Bitcoin with just a few lines of code. Stripe processes Bitcoin payments for a cost of .5% and uses Coinbase to facilitate the fiat settlement. Bitcoin’s reach expands by thousands of merchants and Stripe, which has also backed other cryptocurrencies in the budding industry, shows just how serious it is about Bitcoin and the power of the blockchain.

Dread Pirate Roberts Unmasked: Ross Ulbricht Convicted On All Charges

After hearing days of testimony from both sides, the jury in the historic Silk Road trial found Ross Ulbricht guilty on all charges. The jury found the government’s evidence that Ross Ulbricht was operating Silk Road under the pseudonym ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’ since day one. Ulbricht’s defense, led by lawyer Joshua Dratel, rested his entire defense on suggesting that Ross Ulbricht may have founded Silk Road but he had long ago left it to a successor, who then came back around to frame Ulbricht. The chat logs from the laptop that was taken from Ulbricht’s hands at a public library where he was using it may have been forged, the defense alleged. The jury was not convinced, and Ulbricht is now behind bars pending sentencing later this year.

CNN’s Morgan Spurlock Of Super Size Me Finds The Inside Scoop On Bitcoin

Morgan Spurlock, of Super Size me fame, has done it again with an episode in his CNN show Inside Man. He spearheads an entire episode dedicated to the new e-currency known as Bitcoin. The episode follows Spurlock as he survived on only Bitcoin for a week. That means that he only lived on things that he could spend bitcoins on, and learned a lot about it in the process. He lived his week in New York where he was able to talk bitcoin with Bitcoiners from the New York Bitcoin Center. The episode went a long way in introducing Bitcoin to a largely uneducated populace and a different demographic.

Dell Starts Accepting Bitcoin In United Kingdom and Canada

Ousting Newegg and TigerDirect, Dell is now the largest electronic retailer that accepts bitcoin internationally. Earlier in February, Dell announced that it was happy with its US bitcoin pilot and was not extending bitcoin acceptance to Canada and the United Kingdom. The international company emphasized that businesses and customers are using bitcoin to purchase just about everything that Dell has to offer. Dell has even processed as much as $50,000 worth of bitcoin for a single item purchase, a large server system. Dell uses Coinbase as a third party payment processor to accept bitcoin. In Dell’s words: “This form of payment is clearly resonating with consumer, small and medium businesses.”

Ledger Hardware Bitcoin Wallet Startup Raises 1.3 Million Euro Seed Round

French hardware Bitcoin wallet maker Ledger recently announced the closing of a 1.3 million euro seed round led by French VC fund XAnge Private Equity. Other investors such as Hi-Pay and Pascal Gauthier, CEO of Bitcoin stealth startup Challenger Deep. Ledger’s first hardware wallet offering, the Nano Wallet, was released at the end of 2014 and was quite popular. Ledger was created by a fortuitous meeting of minds at the French la Maison du Bitcoin, the first “Bitcoin embassy” in Europe. To date, Ledger has already sold thousands of Nano wallets in several dozen countries. Future plans for the bitcoin wallet include NFC and Bluetooth LE capabilities. The startup has also announced plans to move to America with the new funding and participate in some accelerators.

Privacy Centric Cryptocurrency Dash Unveils InstantX Transactions

The new version of the Dash Core wallet, v.0.11.1, will include InstantX. InstantX adds on top of existing Dashsend and MasterNode anonymity features that will have the industry standard 6 confirmations in an average of 1.25 minutes. Dash is different from Bitcoin because it uses the X11 hashing algorithm instead of the SHA-256 algorithm, which makes it much more ASIC resistant. Upon the successful implementation of the InstantX feature, the Dash price experienced a notable rise in value at the exchanges. The Dash development team has promised future updates and new features, some that have been seen on Bitcoin’s wish list and some that have not.

Open your free digital wallet here to store your cryptocurrencies in a safe place.

Satoshi

Bitcoin’s Monthly Recap of January 2015

Welcome to HolyTransaction’s first monthly recap for the year 2015. This past month of January has been a great opener for the Bitcoin community; during that time, the bitcoin price fell from a high of $321 to a low of $226.93, according to Bitstamp.

Bitcoin Exchange Bitstamp Loses 12% of Bitcoins in Security Breach
Early in January, the world was again shocked by another high-profile Bitcoin theft from a high-volume Bitcoin exchange. Bitstamp, the exchange in question, halted trading on 1/4/15 after telling customers “we have reason to believe that one of Bitstamp’s operational wallets was compromised on January 4th, 2015.” The Bitcoin exchange avoided their booth at the Bitcoin World at CES 2015 and worked to fix and migrate their exchange while trading, withdrawals, and deposits were halted for several days. Bitstamp has since returned and offered zero trading fees for a limited time as a form of apology. Many attribute the fallen Bitcoin price to the high-profile Bitcoin exchange theft.

Coinbase Raises $75 Million USD in Series C Funding Round
Coinbase recently announced the closing of its $75 million USD Series C funding round that Bitcoin users around the world have been expecting since late last year. The Bitcoin service has currently raised $106 million USD to date. Round participants included DFJ Growth, USAA, the NYSE, and more. In a good sign for the company’s investor confidence, previous investors such as Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, and Ribbit Capital also joined in the round. Besides Coinbase, other Bitcoin companies have started off the year strong with millions of dollars in funding for Bitcoin 1.0 and Bitcoin 2.0 applications and technologies thus far in the year.

Coinbase Launches Lunar: Supposedly the First Regulated American Bitcoin Exchange
Coinbase has just announced its Bitcoin exchange, called Lunar, which industry experts have been suspecting to be in the works for months now. Coinbase seems to have been drawn out to release its Bitcoin exchange by the announcement of the Gemini Bitcoin exchange by the Winklevoss twins. Lunar currently only supports roughly half of American states; additionally, Coinbase has taken some criticism for claiming to the “first” and “regulated” in this space. The California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) has told Bitcoin media sources: “The California Department of Business Oversight has not decided whether to regulate virtual currency transactions, or the businesses that arrange such transactions, under the state’s Money Transmission Act. California consumers should be aware Coinbase Exchange is not regulated or licensed by the state.”

Reddit Decides to Ditch RedditNotes and Cryptocurrency Engineer
Former BitPay employee Ryan Charles has been recently let go by Reddit amid internal company strife and change of direction. The former-CEO of Reddit, Yishan, was apparently the one that was pushing for a Reddit cryptocurrency, popularly dubbed Redditnotes. Unfortunately, we won’t be seeing anything from Reddit anytime soon, and Ryan Charles won’t be involved. Charles has already started planning his next move in the Bitcoin sphere, where he believes that Bitcoin 1.0 opportunities are still widely available and largely unexplored.

Ross Ulbricht Stands Trial for Alleged Role as Dread Pirate Roberts on Deep Web Market Silk Road
Ross Ulbricht and the Silk Road trial started this past month in a monumental case for both privacy and Bitcoin. The government is presenting evidence that Ross Ulbricht is none other than the Dread Pirate Robert (DPR) that ran the Silk Road for the entirety of its existence. Ulbricht’s defense lawyer, Dratel, tried to make it clear to jurors that digital evidence could be planted, fabricated, distorted, moved, or “manipulated.” Even has Silk Road 1.0’s trial is just finishing, Silk Road 2.0’s legal consequences are also unfolding. Meanwhile, Silk Road 3.0 and over a dozen copycat Deep web marketplaces continue to thrive.

Open your free digital wallet here to store your cryptocurrencies in a safe place.

Satoshi