This week in bitcoin hasn’t been any normal week, at least not for us here at Blockchain. This was a huge week, where we announced our $30M Series A round of funding. There was other good news to report on this week too, such as the huge bitcoin price recovery and Andreas Antonopoulos speaking with Canadian senators on the ins and outs of bitcoin. Without further ado, let’s get into the news.
We are excited to announce we have closed a Series A round of over 30M of growth capital, co-lead by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Wicklow Capital. In addition to our two leads, we are bringing Richard Branson, Mosaic Ventures, Prudence Holdings and some strategic angels on board to further leverage our ability to grow and bring bitcoin to the next 20 million consumers.
Blockchain President Peter Smith gives insight into the Bitcoin economy in an interview with Fox Business news to discuss Blockchain’s new $30M Series A round of funding.
We first met the Blockchain team at the inaugural Bitcoin Foundation conference in San Jose in early 2013 where we were one of very few VCs in attendance. Since then we have continued to meet with the team regularly. Through that time we have come to hone our thesis on Bitcoin and build our enthusiasm for Blockchain. This investment is by far the largest one that we have made in the Bitcoin space.
Blockchain, the most popular Bitcoin wallet service, announced Tuesday that it has raised $30.5 million in a Series A round, marking one of the largest funding rounds of any bitcoin startup to date. The bitcoin startup was founded three years ago, but had never taken outside investment. Even so, it managed to build up a user base of more than 2 million wallets.
Tech-savvy Venezuelans looking to bypass dysfunctional economic controls are turning to the bitcoin virtual currency to obtain dollars, make Internet purchases — and launch a little subversion.
In Canada, the public debate surrounding Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies is currently being formalized as the official “Study on the use of digital currency”, a consultative exercise conducted at the initiative of the Senate of Canada’s Banking, Trade and Commerce committee. It’s a lengthy video, but well worth your time.
Recently, an individual or group put an estimated 30,000 bitcoin onto the market at a price of $300 per coin. It isn’t clear who was behind the sale, or what their motives were, but the sale meant millions of dollars in revenue for whomever pulled the trigger. Given the number of coins that were made available at the $300 mark, then below the market price, it took quite some time for purchasers to chew through them.
The Bitcoin Foundation’s Financial Standards Working Group is underway with chairperson Beth Moses, an aerospace engineer, formerly with NASA and now with Virgin Galactic, at the helm. The group’s priorities for 2014 Q4 and 2015 Q1 will focus on applying for ISO 4217 approval for a Bitcoin currency code as well as drawing up recommendations for a Bitcoin currency symbol and Bitcoin subunits.
Overstock.com is building software, based on the bitcoin digital currency that could allow the big-name retailers to issue corporate stock over the internet, sidestepping traditional stock exchanges such as the NASDAQ and the New York Stock Exchange.
TeraExchange announced the first bitcoin derivative transaction to be executed on a regulated exchange. The initial trade was completed between digitalBTC, the world’s first bitcoin-focused company to commence trading on a major stock exchange, and a hedging counterparty.
*State of Bitcoin Q3 2014 slide via Coindesk.com *
Overall, this quarter could be characterized as a ‘Tale of Two Bitcoins’. On the one hand, significant bitcoin venture investment continued and much progress was made in furthering adoption, particularly in bitcoin’s use as a medium of exchange. On the other, there was a steady erosion in the price of bitcoin throughout the quarter, which was further punctuated by a sharp plunge of roughly 20% at the start of Q4.
PayPal’s Braintree unit helps online businesses process credit-card transactions by providing merchant accounts, payment gateways, platforms, apps and more. Its CEO, Bill Ready, has been busy explaining eBay’s decision to use his unit as a platform to let PayPal merchants accept bitcoin in payments transactions. Bitcoin’s role likely faces more questions now that eBay’s unveiled plans to spin off PayPal as an independent public company.
A smart business owner is always looking for ways to innovate and maintain an advantage over competitors. Just as the Internet changed the competitive landscape across multiple industries, the way businesses choose to proceed with Bitcoin could significantly influence future success.
Bitcoin Foundation chief scientist Gavin Andresen has proposed increasing the number of transactions allowed on the bitcoin network by raising the maximum block size by 50% per year. Doing so would require a hard fork and “some risk”, Andresen conceded in a new Bitcoin Foundation blog post, but he concluded that such proposals are necessary for the long-term viability of bitcoin as a global payments system.