Blockchain Blog

Bitcoin News for the week of 2/15/16

Welcome to our weekly bitcoin news recap, where we cover top headlines and stories in the world of bitcoin each week. We had the opportunity to attend a couple of bitcoin events recently, plus our Co-Founder and CEO were featured as part of the 100 coolest people in the UK tech scene from Business Insider. We have also seen some big name tech companies make headlines as they are moving data to the blockchain, and the UN released a report saying that bitcoin and blockchain tech has potentially empowering use cases.

Bitcoin events and hackathons

IDHack-Title

IDHack 2016 at Tufts University

Last weekend we attended IDHack 2016, our first hackathon of the year. IDHack is an annual student hackathon at Tufts University for developers, technology enthusiasts, and international development students. The challenge is to build applications that have a positive impact on communities around the world. In our event recap, we share all the important details, and take you through some highlights and key takeaways.

In Amsterdam, industry leaders gathered for the first D10E event. D10E is an international event experience focused on celebrating decentralization in the financial technology sector, disruptive technology and culture, the sharing economy, and the future of work. Also this week, team member Chris Camp engaged with students at the Stanford Bitcoin Club as he spoke about bitcoin as a freedom-enhancing technology. Upcoming events we’re looking forward to include the DC Blockchain Summit in March and Money20/20 Europe in April.

Blockchain making a splash in the UK

![Blockchain Co-founder Nicolas Cary and CEO Peter Smith - photo via Business Insider ](https://blog.blockchain.com/content/images/2016/02/Peter-Smith-Nic-Cary-Feb-2016.png)
Blockchain Co-Founder Nicolas Cary and CEO Peter Smith – photo via Business Insider
[The 100 coolest people in UK tech](http://www.businessinsider.com/uk-tech-100-slideshow-2016-2)

Business Insider sorted through the UK’s leading technology figures to bring you this list of the coolest people working in UK tech. Our Co-Founder Nic Cary and CEO Peter Smith made the list, which includes both startup CEOs and entrepreneurs, as well as venture capitalists, radio presenters, and journalists.

Nominees for April’s 2016 European FinTech Awards were released earlier this week! The Awards Show and Conference identifies and showcases innovative fintech companies, products, services, and business models. Nominees have received over 10,000 collective votes so far. You can find us included in the Blockchain / Bitcoin category — show your support and vote for us!

Big tech moves to the blockchain

![Image via ArsTechnica and IBM](https://blog.blockchain.com/content/images/2016/02/ibm-blockchain.png)
Image via ArsTechnica and IBM
[IBM wants to move blockchain tech beyond Bitcoin and money transfer](http://arstechnica.com/business/2016/02/ibm-wants-to-move-blockchain-tech-beyond-bitcoin-and-money-transfer/)

On Tuesday, IBM announced that it’s been working to make blockchain technology—which was refined and popularized by bitcoin—easier for businesses to use for financial and non-financial purposes. Specifically, the company is launching what its calling “blockchain-as-a-service,” or a set of tools for “creating, deploying, running, and monitoring blockchain applications on the IBM Cloud.”

Not only is IBM working to take advantage of the blockchain, but Microsoft is looking to move beyond bitcoin by leveraging the power of the blockchain, to create a blockchain marketplace on Azure Cloud. Also, companies like Orange Silicon Valley are working with private companies on their own homegrown private blockchains. But if you believe that all the hype is solely about the blockchain you may stand corrected, according to a recent poll by Boost VC, where it showed that their portfolio companies are more optimistic about bitcoin.

Innovative new ventures

![Image via BBC](https://blog.blockchain.com/content/images/2016/02/bitcoin-smart-plug.jpg)
Image via BBC
[Bitcoin could help cut power bills](http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-35604674)

Did you know the technology behind bitcoin could help cut electricity bills? A blockchain-based smart plug that can adjust power consumption minute-by-minute has been created by technologists at Accenture. The plug shops for different power suppliers and will sign up for a cheaper tariff if it finds one. Accenture said the smart plug could help people on low incomes who pay directly for power.

In Australia, an upstart political party wants to use bitcoin as basis for governance style. They plan to use bitcoin as a model to replace what they say is an outdated political system – representative democracy – with a streamlined new polity for the information age. In a recent report from the United Nations, they review the emergent wave of “blockchain 2.0” innovations and conclude that bitcoin and blockchain technology is still new, but there are potentially empowering uses in certain contexts.

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