Welcome to our weekly Bitcoin news recap, where we cover top headlines and stories in the world of Bitcoin each week. This week we saw the effectiveness of Bitcoin, with multiple giving campaigns running to help those in Nepal that suffered from the recent earthquake. Also, a large and ongoing discussion started on whether to increase the Bitcoin block size or not, which has sparked a lot of different thoughts on the matter. There was even more exciting news this week, which you can read about below.[Nepal earthquake disaster relief – how you can make an immediate difference](http://blog.blockchain.com/2015/05/07/nepal-earthquake-disaster-relief-how-you-can-make-an-immediate-difference/)
When natural disasters strike aid agencies need to deploy capital quickly and delays have tragic consequences. This is a real problem Bitcoin can help solve now. Fortunately, those that are aware of Bitcoin know that sending funds across the world to places such as Nepal can be done fast and easily. In a matter of seconds, people on the ground in Nepal can have tangible funds to contribute toward disaster relief.
Gavin Andresen plans to submit a pull request to the 0.11 release of Bitcoin Core that will allow miners to create blocks bigger than one megabyte, starting a little less than a year from now. Gavin, who is the chief scientist of Bitcoin Core, is currently proposing an increase in Bitcoin block sizes which will require a hard fork in the Bitcoin protocol if accepted.
Bitcoin Core developer Mike Hearn analyses some proposed alternatives to raising Bitcoin’s network capacity, specifically, the Lightning network. But the arguments made are general and could apply to other proposed alternatives too.
New York State issued its first charter for a Bitcoin exchange, providing a major dose of legitimacy for the virtual currency as it begins to move from the margins of the financial system to the mainstream. ItBit Trust Co., a New York start-up that allows investors to trade dollars for bitcoins, started operating this week under a banking trust charter that it says allows it to function legally in all 50 states.
Within the next month, AlphaPoint plans to roll-out a platform that will act as a single-contact point for potential traders. By routing all of the different bitcoin exchanges to one network, users will not have to create an account for each individual exchange. Instead, users can create one account that will give them access to multiple exchanges simultaneously.
Bitcoin, the digital currency, has become an increasingly popular method for storing wealth and conducting financial transactions. The SEC has announced regulations that would allow crowdfunding for both new and small companies, bitcoin startups could benefit from new sources of funding.
Rand Paul’s decision to accept bitcoin for his political campaign defies the very construct of nationality he intends to represent. For the first time in U.S. presidential history, a candidate will openly accept campaign contributions in a digital currency – further disguising the source of an already less than transparent donation process.
We had the privilege of speaking with Josh Blatchford, CMO of BTC.sx, about how the trading process works, advice and resources for those to learn more about how to trade, and what differs conventional financial markets from cryptocurrency markets. BTC.sx is a trading platform that provides a secure bitcoin trading experience for new and advanced traders.
— Nic Cary (@niccary) May 7, 2015
Fold’s Corbin Pon recently answered a few questions related to Fold via email, and he was able to give an inside look into how the app works behind the scenes and what the future could hold for this young startup.
According to mathematician Meni Rosenfeld, Israel is a Bitcoin “forerunner.” With large numbers of users in the country, the number of startups and merchants continues to grow. Among the list of Israel-based startups, Bits of Gold — in which Rosenfeld is an investor — GetGems and Polycoin lead adoption.
Serial healthcare entrepreneur Joe Maristela recently invested more than $100,000 into Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI) as part of its ongoing initial seed round. SCI is an umbrella company for seven Bitcoin companies in the Philippines, including the recently acquired BuyBitcoin.ph, Rebit, and Bitmarket.
Boosters of Bitcoin commonly call the digital currency the future of money. But even if it doesn’t turn out to be, a growing group of investors and entrepreneurs is convinced that the idea at the center of Bitcoin could revolutionize industries that rely on digital record keeping. It might replace conventional methods of keeping track of valuable information like contracts, intellectual-property rights, and even online voting results.
Last week, Networld Media Group hosted its first Virtual Currency Today Summit in Boston. Bitcoin enthusiasts filled a room at the Back Bay Hilton with a lot of gusto for the virtual currency’s future, specifically the potential for the blockchain technology. But some of the assembled speakers worried that different industry players were not doing enough to foster consumer adoption.
The twin Harvard graduates of Facebook fame Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss just took the stage at Disrupt NY to update everyone on their recent bitcoin projects. As a reminder, the twins have been working on an exchange traded fund (ETF) under the symbol ‘COIN’ so that old-school traders can trade bitcoins on the NASDAQ OMX. The two brothers also recently announced a new bitcoin exchange called Gemini. They want to build a fully regulated and fully compliant U.S.-based exchange.
I spoke with Kristov Atlas, semi-recently appointed Security Engineer at Blockchain while he was here in San Francisco for the RSA Conference. The venue was The Grove at Verba Buena. I wanted to pick Kristov’s mind for a little bit and see what sort of things prominent brands in the Bitcoin space are doing to stay ahead of the exploits/vulnerabilities. Also, how his tenure at Blockchain has affected the overall operations of the company.
The number of bitcoin in circulation, the number of transactions per day, Google search interest, the value of one bitcoin, and the hash rate of the bitcoin network.
The first quarter of 2015 shows Bitcoin companies have been boosted with notable investments growing from $133 million to $229 million. With the increase of investments, more employees are needed to satisfy the demands of the digital currency industry. Last week, about 30 companies attended the Bitcoin Job Fair in order to attract the best talents. There were about 350 attendees, and many of the job seekers were interested in being compensated in Bitcoin.