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
When the Department of Homeland Security seized the funds from Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox’s Dwolla account, we were unsure just how much was taken; now, according to court documents, that number totaled $2.9 million. [Gigaom]
Yesterday Twitter added “related headlines” to tweets, and everyone momentarily freaked out. [PandoDaily]
If you’re building an app that connects to Instagram, better not put “Insta” or “gram” in the title or else you’re gonna have a bad time. [Techcrunch]
Internet citizens, typically reasoned and level-headed when it comes to these sorts of things, freaked the fuck out yesterday when Amazon temporarily went down. [Fast Company]
Elon Musk’s Tesla Model S achieved the highest safety rating of any car. Ever. We like to imagine Mr. Musk celebrating with a lavish party on Mars. [Tesla]
It's All About the Bitcoins
Yesterday the Department of Homeland Security shut down Bitcoin trading platform Mt. Gox’s ability to accept or send transfers using Dwolla, a mobile payment service. A representative from Dwolla told Betabeat that the DHS had sent them a “seizure warrant” for the account, but declined to provide further detail. Now, in the warrant, obtained by Ars Technica, the reason for the seizure has been revealed: DHS believes Mt. Gox is operating an “unlicensed money transmitting business.”
Update: Warrant Reveals Homeland Security Seized Mt. Gox’s Dwolla Account for ‘Unlicensed Money Transmitting’
The Department of Homeland Security appears to have shut down the ability to use Dwolla, a mobile payment service, to withdraw and deposit money into Mt. Gox, a Bitcoin trading platform. A Dwolla representative confirmed the move to Betabeat. Chris Coyne, cofounder of OKCupid, posted a screenshot of an email he received from Dwolla, stating that due to recent orders from the Department of Homeland Security, Dwolla cannot complete the bank transfer to Mt. Gox.
Twice as many households have “smart tvs” as streaming devices–but only 69 percent of them are actually connected to the Internet. Grandparents! [GigaOm]
“When I got here, I was very emotionally touched by all the great companies in this area….These were all the companies I had heard of since I was a kid. I felt like I should be here. Like I belong.” [New York Times]
Here is how you remove tagged Instagram posts from your profile. [Wired]
Earlier this year, Mt. Gox and CoinLab teamed up in a partnership to reach the American market more efficiently. Now CoinLab is suing for $75 million in damages. [Gawker]
Do you trust your friends enough to give them the extra set of keys to your Facebook account? [L.A. Times]
Bitcoin day traders are at loose ends again today, as the major exchange Mt. Gox just announced they’ve shut down trading, in order to “allow the market to cooldown following the drop in price.”
The press release is, we are very sorry to report, not terribly reassuring:
It's All About the Bitcoins
Last week we covered the crazy increase in the price of Bitcoins. The biggest problem, we noted, was the same one that’s always worried Bitcoin users: the online currency’s vulnerability to hacker-induced fluctuations. Well, guess what happened today? Many of the major Bitcoin exchange services, including the popular Mt. Gox, went down for hours, Read More
Betabeat noticed back in August that professional Wall Street traders were taking an interest in Bitcoin. Even though the Bitcoin market is valued lower than in the past, and volatility (read: easy opportunities to flip coins and make fast money) has also flattened out, it seems pro bankers are still trading in BTC.
Established banks and payments processors are skittish about the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, it would seem, prompting Canadian e-payments service Paxum to drop its Bitcoin clients last week.
Paxum, an e-commerce payments solution popular with adult web sites, started working with Bitcoin exchanges more than a year ago. Paxum hooked up with leading Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox in December 2010, major Bitcoin exchange Tradehill in July 2011, and more recently with BitInstant, a service that speeds up Bitcoin transactions by fronting customers the credit, and others.
But on Friday afternoon, the operators of Paxum’s Bitcoin-related accounts received an email with the subject line “Bitcoin termination.” Paxum’s banking partners, which include MasterCard, had called off the Bitcoin party.
Paxum declined to name the partners that were responsible for the change.
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!”