TECHCRUNCH: Digital currencies have come and gone, and despite the astonishing rise of bitcoin’s popularity over the past 18 months, the majority of the population has yet to board the bitcoin bandwagon. One of the things that has plagued digital currencies in the past has been the perception that they are a solution in search of a problem. Does anyone really need digital currencies like bitcoin? Who are they intended for, and what purpose do they really serve?
The Wall Street Journal: Swiss banking giant UBS is to open a technology lab in London to explore how blockchain technology can be used in financial services. The lab, set to open this month and occupy a dozen desks at Canary Wharf-based fintech accelerator space Level39 – a hub in London for financial technology startups– will bring together technology experts from the bank and the wider fintech community, UBS said. (more…)
THE NEXT WEB: Since 2008, bitcoin adoption has been influenced by a diverse range of factors that have made it one of the most volatile currencies in the world. Yet, despite such volatility, more than 100,000 bitcoin transactions are taking place per day and the volume continues to grow due to the ‘permissionless innovation’ provided by bitcoin’s underlying technology, the blockchain. (more…)
WIRED UK: The government has announced its intention to apply anti-money laundering regulation to digital currency exchanges in the UK. It is hoped that regulation will not only prevent criminal use of digital currencies, such as Bitcoin, but support innovation. Regulation would be intended to ensure the environment was ready to allow digital currencies to flourish, while at the same time discouraging those who wanted to use digital currencies for illicit reasons.
TECHCRUNCH: Rakuten, Japan’s largest online retail firm, has announced that it will soon accept bitcoin across its global marketplaces. The company is putting its investment in Bitnet — a startup that raised $14.5 million last October — to work with this development. Bitnet, which was founded by ex-Visa execs and is rivaled by Coinbase and Bitpay, will initially be integrated into Rakuten’s U.S. marketplace to allow customers to pay in BTC.
TECHCRUNCH: Wiper, a chat application designed to provide users with control over their sent and received messages, recently rolled out support for bitcoin transactions between its users. The tool is simple, allowing individuals to send cryptocurrency to others inside the app’s main chat interface. But CEO Manlio Carrelli told TechCrunch that Wiper was “removed from the iOS App Store in China due to violating that app store’s policies,” and that “Apple [had] explained to [the company] by phone that this violation was related to Wiper enabling bitcoin payments.” (more…)
ВВС: Bitcoin might conjour up visions of dark doings on the Silk Road website and wildly fluctuating value for some – but could it provide a safe haven for the money sent home to loved ones by Africa’s diaspora? Over 30 million Africans live in the diaspora. They sent almost $40bn (£26.5bn) home in 2014, a figure that is likely to grow significantly in the coming years.
DIGITAL CURRENCY MAGNATES: Fidor is not your ordinary bank. You can actually sign into your account through Facebook Connect. They have offered a savings account with an interest rate determined by the number of Like’s awarded on the company’s Facebook page. Customers can interact in the Fidor online community with each other and even support staff, should they have inquiries. They also offer P2P loans through crowdfunding and P2P betting. So it’s only natural that they’ll take a liking to P2P currencies. (more…)
WIRED: When you buy art, you typically get something physical in return: A print, a painting, a sculpture. And that piece of art, depending upon who created it and what happens after you bought it, can become very valuable down the line. Or not. But here’s an interesting idea: What would happen if you were to invest in the artist instead of the art? That’s a question Sarah Meyohas, a young photographer from Yale’s MFA program, hopes to answer with her latest project. Meyohas, working with Brooklyn’s Where gallery, created BitchCoin, a new cryptocurrency. Like bitcoin, BitchCoin is virtual and “mine-able,” but has just one purpose: to buy Meyohas’ art.