Welcome to our weekly recap of top bitcoin and fintech headlines. This week bitcoin is in the limelight for its potential as an online payment method, and also how it’s bringing people together. Security aspects of blockchain technology were under the microscope too, with key insight from security expert Pamela Morgan. For details about these headlines and more, read on.
Online payments and encouraging adoption[W3C Bringing One-Click Bitcoin Shopping to All Web Browsers](https://news.bitcoin.com/bitcoin-one-click-soon-web-standard/)
The Internet’s international standards organization, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), are working on ways to improve the flow of online transactions and how merchants and users interact. Excitingly, their Payment Request API reveals bitcoin is one of the payment methods included in the project.
The benefits bitcoin offers over other payment methods has also been noticed by a startup in Japan. ResuPress will become the first company in the country to let customers pay off their electricity bills in bitcoin. To encourage customers to try the new payment method, ResuPress plans on offering rebates between 4-6% for bitcoin payments. This news echoes headlines earlier this month about Enercity, a major energy provider in Germany, which began accepting bitcoin for a variety of utility bills.
Making bitcoin the more affordable payment option is one way to encourage new users to give it a try, and another effort we’re supporting is community-building through events. In Brazil, bitcoin is getting noticed in some big ways, and in many cases the attention is accelerated at the level of local interest groups and meetups.
In an earlier September recap, we mentioned several standout events including a meetup in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, where meetup-goers had the chance to chat with Blockchain Co-Founder, Nicolas Cary, learn about bitcoin, and exchange ideas. Hot topics included the different opportunities bitcoin represents worldwide, how Blockchain was founded, and how accessible it is to buy bitcoin locally. As South America’s largest country, research has shown that bitcoin trading in Brazil has tripled annually since 2013, and it’s projected to reach 100M USD by the end of this year. We plan on supporting this growth by continuing our involvement with events around the country.
Bitcoin is more secure than ever[UCL blockchain center calls for research papers on blockchain and bitcoin](http://www.econotimes.com/UCL-blockchain-center-calls-for-research-papers-on-blockchain-and-bitcoin-317746)
University College London has announced a call for students to submit thesis and research papers on blockchain, bitcoin, and other financial cryptography research as part of an upcoming competition. According to the official release, the competition is an effort to crowdsource blockchain research for the broader community. Researchers will compete for 3 prizes of 5 BTC each, and should be prepared to highlight security failures, risks, privacy and other critical issues in bitcoin and blockchain systems.
Beyond the research in academia, bitcoin developers are always working toward making bitcoin more robust, scalable, and secure. A great example is a video published this week by Bitcoin Classic developer Thomas Zander, who covered the risks of scaling bitcoin.
Security expert Pamela Morgan, CEO of Third Key Solutions, weighed in on bitcoin and blockchain security, saying that “Bitcoin is more secure than it has ever been and it keeps getting stronger.”Morgan goes on to say that funds that are held “in a decentralized manner and secured by decentralized blockchain protocols are extremely secure,” and in contrast, centrally-managed custodial wallets are much more tempting to attackers.
Understanding blockchain technology[The US Congress now has a caucus dedicated to bitcoin and blockchain](http://qz.com/791360/bitcoin-caucus-the-us-congress-now-has-a-caucus-dedicated-to-bitcoin-and-blockchain/)
We learned this week that a U.S. congressional group was created to study blockchain technology. Dubbed the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, the group was put together to get other legislators educated on bitcoin and blockchain in efforts that will most certainly impact future laws and mandates coming from Washington.
Also in Washington DC, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is going to be holding a public forum in November to discuss blockchain-related technologies. As part of the debate, the discussion will include regulatory framework and its impact on digital currencies such as bitcoin.
Everyone from politicians in DC to farmers in Zimbabwe are being introduced to bitcoin. Over the last several years, there has been a huge land reform program in Zimbabwe which has had a direct impact on the rise of local female farmers. And a new program from African startup BitMari aims to empower 100 of these unbanked farmers by teaching them how to use bitcoin. BitMari CEO Sinclair Skinner says the female Zimbabwean farmers will be given bitcoin to redeem for goods at selected suppliers.
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