Blockchain Blog

Bitcoin News for the week of 6/8/15

**Welcome to our weekly bitcoin news recap, where we cover top headlines and stories in the world of Bitcoin each week. **There were several new developments in the world of Bitcoin this week, such as the release of the anticipated Sidechains project, and Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne to be the first to purchase a ‘cryptobond’. In addition, VC investments continue to show support of the Bitcoin ecosystem as Bitcoin is developed globally. Read about this news and more in our weekly roundup.

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Blockstream to Release First Open Source Code for Sidechains

Blockstream has announced it will release an open source codebase and testing environment for its signature sidechains project. Called Sidechains Elements, the launch is the first major release for the bitcoin startup since it published its white paper last fall.

Quick notes on Sidechains “Elements”

I wrote about the idea behind sidechains late last year and so it’s interesting to see parts of the vision turn into real code. Back then, I said that a way to think about this is as a system that lets you “move” bitcoins from the Bitcoin block chain onto another bitcoin-like system and back again in a way that doesn’t harm the Bitcoin network and doesn’t require you to trust a central entity like a Bitcoin exchange.

World’s First Cryptobond Has First Buyer, Inc. announced its CEO Patrick M. Byrne made the first purchase of the world’s first cryptobond for $500,000. Working with other qualified institutional buyers, the company intends to sell a total of $25 million in digital bonds to trade on a cryptographically-protected distributed ledger – the same technology that underlies cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

![OpenBazaar image courtesy of Inside Bitcoins](
OpenBazaar image courtesy of Inside Bitcoins
[OpenBazaar Receives $1 Million in Funding from Andreessen Horowitz and Others](

The developers behind the OpenBazaar decentralized marketplace project have announced a $1 million cash infusion from Union Square Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, and William Mougayar. The money will be used to fund further development of the free, open-source platform for online commerce.

Symbiont Raises $1.25M Seed Funding from Former NYSE CEO for ‘Smart Securities’ on the Block chain

Symbiont has announced that it has secured $1.25 million of seed funding from influential financial market leaders including Duncan Niederauer, former CEO of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). A ‘Series A’ round of institutional investment is expected to close in the third quarter of 2015.

Company leaves New York, protesting ‘BitLicense’

One company is suspending its services in New York, saying it needs to take a “moral and ethical stand” against a new state law regulating digital currency such as Bitcoin. ShapeShift, a digital currency exchange that doesn’t require users to make accounts, announced it is pulling its service from New York State because it does not wish to comply with the recently issued BitLicense.

Russia Expected to Legalize Bitcoin P2P Transactions

In a possibly dramatic change of attitude towards cryptocurrency, the Russian Central Bank may soon allow P2P transactions in Bitcoin, as well as other operations with cryptocurrencies, according to Izvestia, one of Russia’s leading news publications.

No VAT on Bitcoin in Switzerland

We have excellent news from the Swiss Federal Tax Administration (ESTV): no VAT applies to Bitcoin in Switzerland. “This is excellent news for Bitcoin in Switzerland as it provides the legal certainty we need to professionally operate our business,” Niklas Nikolajsen, CEO of Bitcoin Suisse AG, comments.

What Bitcoin consolidation in Mexico tells us about the industry

Bitso buys competitor Unisend in an effort to corner the Mexico market. It’s a small deal that is a sign of a larger trend. The value of the deal has not been shared.

Taiwanese Company Brings Bitcoin to 10,000 Convenience Stores

Taiwanese startup Maicoin has launched a system that lets users buy bitcoin at 10,000 convenience stores in the territory, both over the counter and at in-store terminals. Maicoin founder and CEO Alex Liu said foreign workers using bitcoin for remittances would benefit from the over-the-counter service, as it does not require users to have a bank account.

Venezuelans Escape Currency Collapse with Bitcoin

“Bitcoin adoption in Venezuela will explode any time now,” one early cryptocurrency adopter in the South American nation confidently predicts. Bitcoin experts argue that the worse an economy is, the more interest there is about the digital currency’s benefits — and Venezuela is a strong candidate for the next bitcoin boom.

Estonia’s LHV Bank uses blockchain tech to issue receivables claims

Estonia’s LHV Bank is tapping block chain technology for an experiment that will see it issue EUR100,000 worth of “cryptographically protected” receivables claims against the bank. LHV says that Cuber (Cryptographic Universal Blockchain Entered Receivables) is technically a new kind of certificate of deposit that can be used as a building block for innovative financial products.

BTCChina Introduces Service to Imprint Messages on the Block Chain

Have you always been curious about how messages can be imprinted on the block chain, and what it can be used for, and how it can be easily done? It is now possible for anyone to do it for a relatively small sum of money. In return, a message not to exceed 60 letters or 20 characters in some languages will live on forever in the block chain.

Bitreserve: Convert and Exchange Money Absolutely for Free: Zero Cost. Zero Fees. Forever.

Bitreserve, the world’s first real-time transparent financial service, announced that it is now also the world’s first zero-cost service. For the first time in history, the ability to convert and exchange money can now happen instantly, safely and for free.

Ask the Experts: Bitcoin’s value to merchants clings to customer curiosity

Different Bitcoin entrepreneurs weigh in on Business In Vancouver, discussing if customers should be offered payment choices like Bitcoin or maintain options like credit/debit cards. Opinions by Mike Yeung, Rob Cameron, and Michael Vogel.

Cryptocurrency: This Is How Digital Money Will Challenge the Global Economic Order

Exactly how cryptocurrency technology gets to become a major part of the global financial infrastructure is the next big unknown. However, a few routes are obvious. One or several may play a role, or this could be led by some factor that nobody’s even thinking about.

The shy college student who helped build Bitcoin into a global phenomenon

When Martti Malmi found Bitcoin in the spring of 2009, he was in his second year at the Helsinki University of Technology. Lanky, with birdlike features, Martti shied away from social contact. He was happiest in his room with his computer, writing code, which he had learned to do at age 12, or hammering away at enemies in online games, while listening to heavy metal music on headphones.

A new breed of video games will let users spend virtual currencies on real items

The Voxelnauts economy will implement block chain technology that gives players full control over the virtual items they own, both inside and outside of the game.

Bitcoin Data Center Construction Marches On, Despite Low Value

Following a quarter of relatively low but steady bitcoin value, companies that operate large-scale bitcoin mining data centers are expanding their infrastructure.

Bitfortip: Combining ‘Yahoo! Answers’ with Digital Currency

While community-driven knowledge markets have been around since Yahoo!, Bitfortip, is a new service that allows users to post questions and pay Bitcoin to people who submit the best answers. The site was created by Greek tech geek Panagiotis Pollis.