it's all about the bitcoin baby
“This is kind of a premiere for Charlie,” New York Times reporter Nathaniel Popper joked last night. “This is the first time I’ve seen you out of the house.”
Mr. Popper and former BitInstant CEO Charlie Shrem were sitting on the stage at the School of Visual Arts theatre. Mr. Shrem was arrested in January on charges of money laundering associated with his bitcoin exchange company, BitInstant. He’s currently under house arrest, but was allowed to attend last night’s panel on the documentary The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin, in which he’s a prominent character.
Filmmakers Nicholas Mross and Daniel Mross joined Mr. Shrem and Mr. Popper onstage, following a screening the documentary.
The documentary follows bitcoin magnates like Mr. Shrem, Jered Kenna of Tradehill, Gonzague Gay-Bouchery of Mt. Gox and Mike Caldwell of Casascius Coins.
It's All About the Bitcoins
In a scene out of a Scorsese film yet to come, self-described “Bitcoin evangelist” Charlie Shrem was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport on charges that he schemed to sell more than $1 million in Bitcoins to users of the Silk Road yesterday.
Put this arrest right above Dogecoin and Coinye West on the list of reasons why Bitcoin is the Jonah Hill in The Wolf of Wall Street of currency: no matter how much they strive to be taken seriously, the Bitcoin community remains a punch line.
BitInstant, the New York-based Bitcoin startup that promises to make it easier and faster to transfer Bitcoin funds, has been hit with a class action suit, according to CoinDesk.
In the suit, three BitInstant customers allege that the startup makes false claims about its services, including advertisements that say customers can obtain coins “within an hour or two,” and that they will be refunded if their transfers experience “undue delays.” The customers call these representations “disingenuous,” and are suing the company for relief for the company’s false representations of the speed of its service.
The FBI recently estimated that after three years, the Bitcoin economy is worth at least $35 million. Thanks to the uncertainty surrounding certain government currencies, it may soon be worth more. The Financial Post reports that fear over the value of the euro, strained by potential government insolvency in Greece and Spain, has led to a significant uptick in euro-for-Bitcoin trading.
A partnership between Bitcoin startup BitInstant (Brooklyn-based) and Georgia-based payments processor TrustCash means users can use BitInstant to pay for their BTC in cash by making a deposit at any of five major banks including Bank of America, Chase and Citibank. The process is a bit more involved than depositing to your own bank account; you must print or download a deposit slip from TrustCash, which alerts BitInstant of balances on 30-minute intervals. BitInstant then credits the BTC to the customer’s account, minus the appropriate transaction fees. “It’s just like depositing money into a bank account, except in this case, it’s directly to your Bitcoin exchange/destination,” says a press release.
Brooklyn-based BitInstant, a startup that provides temporary credit in order to make Bitcoin transactions faster, has raised an undisclosed sum of seed funding from an angel investor. “We sold 15 percent of our company to Roger Ver, CEO of MemoryDealers, which is probably the largest used computer parts site on the West Coast,” co-founder Charlie Shrem told Betabeat by Gchat.* “He bought in for an undisclosed sum and is now our director of marketing and Asian operations, as he’s based in Tokyo.”
The original plan was to have three or four investors, but Mr. Ver offered in full and wanted to be on the team, Mr. Shrem said. “An offer I could not refuse!”
The Bitcoin markets have been sleepy over the past week or two, and Bitcoin traders are starting to whine. What happened to the drama of hacks, the excitement of skyrocketing prices? The biggest news out of the weekend’s Bitcoin World Conference and Expo was that the organizers teased future conferences in Thailand and Amsterdam. “As fun as it was, seems there were no great world-shattering announcements that would affect the world of bitcoin in the near future,” one Bitcoiner who was present told Betabeat. “Other than more conventions as announced by Bruce.” On the Bitcoin Forum at bitcointalk.org, user tacotime wrote: “Well, someone buy or sell a bajillion BTC and do something, it’s boring as hell right now out there.”
But the Bitcoin markets may soon pick up again as a Bitcoin start-up launching later today, in partnership with one of the better-known exchanges, is likely to encourage a new crop of casual traders and the Bitcoin-curious.