Bitcoin news roundup: February 12 2017

Thanks for joining us for this edition of our bitcoin and fintech news roundup! Today we’re showing how bitcoin can empower both nonprofits and donors, sharing some invaluable tips from a security expert, and filling you in on what a growing number of investors think about bitcoin. Read on for these headlines, and more!

Giving back with bitcoin
Image courtesy of Bitcoin Magazine

We’ve previously highlighted the perks of using bitcoin for donations, primarily that of lower transaction fees and speedier transaction times, which ensures the charity receives a larger portion of the total transaction as quickly as possible. So, it’s no surprise to see more and more charities accepting bitcoin donations. Fidelity Charitable, an independent public American charity, is one such charity. They began accepting bitcoin in late 2015, and recently reported receiving $7 million USD in bitcoin donations last year. The announcement provides evidence that people are using bitcoin to donate, and is another example of the generosity of bitcoin users.

The block chain also gives charities an added perk: increased transparency and trust. In a Bitcoin Magazine article, contributor Rebecca Campbell points out the decline in public trust and confidence in charities, which has largely been due to lack of accountability and transparency about the allocation of donations. In an effort to rebuild the public’s trust in nonprofits, bitcoin philanthropy pioneer and Founder of BitGive, Connie Gallippi, announced the nonprofit’s beta launch of GiveTrack, which allows donors to follow their donation in real time from initial donation all the way to project completion. Gallippi believes GiveTrack will demonstrate how block chain technology can work in tandem with charities to combat fraud and make a bigger impact.   

Security Smarts

Crucial for bitcoin-accepting nonprofits and users alike are sound security practices, and security expert and CEO of Third Key Solutions, Pamela Morgan, admits that hers weren’t always so sharp. In an effort to curb others from making similar mistakes, she outlines a simplified approach to security, applicable to beginner and advanced users. In her first article in the series, Morgan identifies use of a password manager as the most important first step, which we agree is crucial to security. She also points out that the importance of these practices isn’t just to help prevent an instance of monetary theft or prying eyes in our inbox, it’s to save us the precious time and energy spent recovering from the damaging experience. Morgan plans to focus on two factor authentication and use of hardware wallets for the second series installment.

Proposed implementation SegWit could also give users a leg up on security if it reaches the required 95% network consensus and is adopted. In fact, SegWit adoption would ensure additional network improvements like Lightning Network could operate to their fullest potential. Without SegWit, Lightning could still operate, but issues like transaction malleability would still hinder the network.

Growing promise from Investors?
Image courtesy of Bitcoin.com

Big decisions like SegWit implementation are still on the horizon for bitcoin, but that hasn’t prevented mainstream investors from continuing to hear about its benefits and unique properties. CEO and Co-Founder of Wyre, Michael Dunworth, joined Rishaad Salamat on Bloomberg Markets to share his enthusiasm for bitcoin, which he believes is like gold, but better. Dunworth likens the use of bitcoin to “a new age of storing value,” and not only is it divisible and scarce like gold, “it’s also extremely transferable.” Former financial markets professional and finance blogger Alex Lielacher also points out the demand from emerging markets and the increased desire for financial autonomy as other notable reasons for its growing appeal.

That growing appeal has translated to a second jump past $1,000 USD per coin since the start of 2017. And what goes up… sometimes comes down. We saw that this week with a drop to $970 USD speculated to have been the result of market reaction to the temporary suspension of withdrawals on major Chinese exchanges, due to a series of checks issued by PBOC to keep a closer eye on trading activities. This news out of China comes about a week after Venezuela’s largest bitcoin exchange, Surbitcoin, announced it was forced to suspend operations because the exchange’s bank account was closed by private bank Banesco as of February 3, 2017.

And during the World Economic Forum last month, our CEO Peter Smith joined hosts Axel Threlfall and Mark Weinberger for a #DavosToday interview. The conversation (begins at 40:33) focused on the pace of economic change and whether the world was ready for bitcoin and block chain technology. Smith identified bitcoin as the first truly digital asset that has already triggered a global push beyond paper currency, with mention of its extraordinary growth in 2016 and declining volatility. While the use of block chain technology is an increasingly longer-term project, we’ll likely begin to see progress for its second wave of development in 2017.

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