Blockchain Blog

Bitcoin News for the week of 10/19/15

Welcome to our weekly bitcoin news recap, where we cover top headlines and stories in the world of bitcoin each week. We saw a lot of great insight this week into bitcoin from policy makers and entrepreneurs in the space, in particular when the EU announced that bitcoin would not be taxed. There was also exciting investment news around the world from people and organizations in various sectors who continue to embrace bitcoin. This weekend some of our team is in Vegas at the Money20/20 Hackathon, so stay tuned for an event recap!

Read on to learn more about this past week’s news headlines in our weekly bitcoin report.

Bitcoin’s Future

![This past week was Back to the Future week. If you could go back in time, wouldn’t you buy bitcoin?](
This past week was Back to the Future week. If you could go back in time, wouldn’t you buy bitcoin?
[Back to the Future: Bitcoin as a Vehicle for Innovation](

Bitcoin is an innovation to the financial system, sometimes called a new kind of currency. While it is true that Bitcoin is a digital form of currency, meaning it can be spent on goods and services like any other form of currency, this definition only scratches the surface. What do you think the future holds for Bitcoin?

Union Square Ventures founder Fred Wilson strongly believes that the technology that powers bitcoin, the block chain, is going to be the catalyst that undoes centralized “network winners” such as Google and Facebook. Wilson said “we think it is possible that an open data platform, in which users ultimately control their data and the networks they choose to participate in, could be the thing that undoes this pattern of winner takes most. The block chain is the closest thing to emerge that looks something like that.” The Executive Director of the Bitcoin Foundation said in an interview this week about bitcoin that “Bitcoin may change our world in ways as profound as the Internet or social media have. We don’t know the future.”

Bitcoin goes on overdrive

![The European Union headquarters in Brussells, via Wikipedia](
The European Union headquarters in Brussells, via Wikipedia
[EU’s Top Court Rules That Bitcoin Exchange Is Tax-Free](

Bitcoin got a boost at the European Union’s top court after judges said exchanging virtual currencies should be exempt from value-added tax in the same way as traditional cash. In a ruling that puts bitcoin on a more equal footing with mainstream money, the EU Court of Justice sided with Swede David Hedqvist who set up a service for the exchange of mainstream money for bitcoin and vice versa. VAT, a type of sales tax, shouldn’t be charged because the business involves “the exchange of different means of payment,” the judges said.

In Spain a new report claims that Barcelona will launch a local digital currency in the next six months. Although it’s still unknown whether the currency will be based on bitcoin or some other digital currency, it’s clear that digital currencies such as bitcoin in general are influencing the greater world and economies, and seeing what alternative methods of exchange are possible. In other parts of the world, Chinese policy makers appear to be warming up to the bitcoin industry, and in Australia, the government is going to be taking a closer look into bitcoin regulation in light of the recent bitcoin bank account closures.

Keep calm and carry on

![Keep Calm and Carry Bitcoin](
Keep Calm and Carry Bitcoin
[Blockchain to help Nasdaq manage proxy voting](

In a keynote speech at the Financial News Awards for Excellence in Trading and Technology, Europe 2015 in London, NASDAQ’s Chief Executive Bob Greifeld declared that the exchange was going to use the block chain to manage the proxy voting system. Declaring the plan at the London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, Greifeld said: “We are going to put that proxy voting on the block chain, on the immutable ledger and obviously enable people to do this [vote] with their cell phone and have that record with them forever.” In related news, NASDAQ Private Market acquired SecondMarket, which is known for investing in innovative technologies such as the block chain.

In other investment news, Santander bank is said to have invested in bitcoin lending platform Kabbage and American Express invested in bitcoin venture Abra. And in Australia, bitcoin mining company Bitcoin Group snagged up $3mm in the world’s first ‘mining’ initial public offering.

Embracing bitcoin

![W3C illustration courtesy of Cointelegraph ](
W3C illustration courtesy of Cointelegraph
[World Wide Web Consortium Launches Work Group to Boost Bitcoin Adoption](

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) launched the new Web Payments Working Group to examine ways for easier adoption of payment instrument improvements or new payment instruments, including bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Working group will raise better payment standards, boost digital wallet market, and improve online check-out process.W3C CEO, Dr. Jeff Jaffe says the newly proposed standards will “help ensure interoperability of different solutions by standardizing the programming interfaces.”  This will ultimately result in a smoother check-out experience for both the consumer and merchant.

The value of programmable-money is infinite. Take for example the benefits of accepting bitcoin as a nonprofit, and if bitcoin was adopted more widely including through payment protocols, the impact it could have globally could be very significant. IBTimes UK asked Jeff Garzik, Bitcoin core developer and Bloq co-founder, how bitcoin might be adopted.

He said: “It is the very early days yet. Several pieces of the decentralised software stack have yet to be written and deployed. Bitcoin was just the first step. There is a vision of greater corporate and governmental transparency and honesty when finances are audited and in some ways governed by smart contracts – audit-able, computer-provable milestones and metrics that govern asset transfer. Combine this with real time self-optimising markets and you begin to glimpse some of the future of money.”

What are your thoughts on the news we shared this week? Let us know by commenting below!