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Weekly Bitcoin Update – 13 July 2014

A recap of the week’s biggest Bitcoin stories from the perspectives of the best sources for e-currency news around the web

Industry News

A new ATM specifically designed for bitcoin has been released in the Los Angeles area, according to Riley Snyder of the Los Angeles Times. Robocoin’s automated teller machines turn bitcoins into hard cash. The founder of the company, John Russell, stated that he believed bitcoin had the potential to “totally disrupt” traditional wire transfer services such as Western Union. Current expansion estimates for bitcoin ATMs currently sit in the 600 range. Russell also spoke of the neutral, apolitical aspect of bitcoin, likening it to software protocols such as HTTP.

According to Andrew Quentson of CryptoCoins News, companies that have traditionally bought and sold gold have now begun to do business in the bitcoin industry. Netagio, a British-based company, has begun an exchange of bitcoin to gold to pound. Also indicative of bitcoin’s increased relationship with gold, Grand Pacaraima Gold Corp. also recently decided to change its stock market ticker to First Bitcoin Capital Corp. Other gold companies that have integrated bitcoin into their operations include DNA Precious Metals Inc. and SchiffGold Precious Metals.

New Chinese e-commerce websites that accept bitcoins have begun to emerge, Eric Mu of Forbes reports. Such websites include Boluojishi.com, which was launched in May of this year, and Coinxu.com, which has over 1,000 items for sale. That being said, Taobao, a top Chinese e-commerce website, has over one billion items available. However, Mu believes these new bitcoin-accepting sites allow for the digital currency to avoid being weakened by the establishment, thus keeping the currency alive in China.

United States House of Representative candidate Dan Elder (R-MO) has chosen to fund his entire campaign through bitcoin. According to a source, the candidate hopes to draw attention to the digital currency during both his time and his prospective time in office. Bitcoin donations, though limited to only $100, are allowed by the Federal Election Commission. Elder, an IT specialist hopes bitcoin can help to stabilize financial markets.

Campaigns funded solely by bitcoin are not limited to the United States. Mathias Sundin, a parliamentary candidate in Sweden, will only accept campaign donations in bitcoin, stating that he wants “to spread the knowledge” and hopes “new people will try it.” Although Sundin did not reveal the total amount donated to his campaign, he did state that he received 30 donations on the day his decision was announced. Sundin hopes his decision can help governments ensure regulation keeps pace with innovation.

In more bitcoin-in-Sweden news, Tanaya Macheel of CoinDesk also reported that the Bitcoin Opportunity Corp (BOC) donated $250,000 to Safello, a Swedish exchange. Macheel notes that “the financing is the BOC’s largest investment outside of the US yet.” The move will help the company increase its European marketing as well as introduce new products more easily. According to Barry Silbert, the chief executive of the BOC, Safello’s business model will allow for individuals to find “ways to buy, hold and use bitcoin.”

A member of the Bitcoin Foundation recently announced his decision to leave due to a lack of transparency. Neil Sardesai of CryptoCoins News reports that Andreas M. Antonopoulos, Chief Security Officer at Blockchain.info, announced his decision to leave the organization that has begun to implode due to internal and external issues. Examples of what Sardesai refers to as “disarray” include Charlie Sherm’s resignation due to potential money laundering and the resignation of Mark Karpeles.

Policy News

According to a source, the French Ministry for the Economy and Finance has sought to implement new regulations to make the bitcoin market more transparent. Budget and Public Accounts Minister Michel Sapin, in response to a report by money laundering investigation unit Tracfin, stated that “even if the existing volumes of virtual currencies are not likely to destabilize the financial system, these unofficial currencies are developing and have risks of illegal or fraudulent use.” Sapin’s communiqué presented four regulatory actions aimed at the digital currency.

Italian authorities have issued bitcoin warnings and are moving toward regulation, Nermin Hajdarbegovic of CoinDesk reports. Luigi Ciampoli, Attorney General of Rome, expressed in an interview with Ansa.it that bitcoin could potentially be used by terrorist organizations, money launderers, or the mafia. Ciampoli called for bitcoin laws to be made more “precise and rigorous” so as to prevent such crimes from occurring.

An Argentinian money regulator, the UIF, has ordered for all transactions involving digital currency, including bitcoin, to be reported by financial services companies. Stan Higgins of CoinDesk finds that the UIF, like Michel Sapin and Luigi Ciampoli, both found that bitcoin carries with it the threat of money laundering and criminal financing. The UIF hopes these reports will prevent criminal funds from moving outside of Argentina’s regulatory jurisdiction.

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