It's All About the Bitcoins
Bitcoin has been trading at the depressed price of between $6 and $7 USD for the past few weeks, which seems bad for the once high-flying digital currency that had climbed to $33 USD at one point. Hardly a week has gone by without some extreme crisis. In addition, New Yorker finance columnist James Surowiecki, wrote a long treatment of Bitcoin for the MIT Technology Review in which he notes pessimistically that “the number of actual transactions conducted in bitcoins, and the value of those transactions, has been shrinking.”
STRANGEST RECRUITMENT LETTER EVER. The strangest recruitment letter we’ve seen, we must say–an email from the list-happy General Assembly-based Dinevore, seeking … someone or someones “great” … for … the “evolution of Dinevore, if you will.” Biz dev folks, technical co-founders and designers all need apply! “We’re not looking for rockstars or ninjas or jedis or any of that. Just great people with vision and killer ideas and the ability to execute on them. Drop us a line if you think we could use your skills. Make sure to include something to get us interested (a great BD idea, a link to your GitHub page, your online portfolio etc). NYC-based is ideal, but not essential.” Okay! Readers, if you’re applying, do send a tip with your impressions.
#BITCOIN-RUMORS. The mystery of the epic MyBitcoin whodunnit continues, although energy is flagging among the Bitcoin community. Word on the street is, MyBitcoin.com may have some connection to that most underground of ecommerce, the website where you can OMG buy drugs known as the Silk Road, which would give the owners another motive to build the easy-to-use wallet service in order to make it easy to get Bitcoin to spend on weed and mushies. Betabeat called our local Federal Bureau of Investigation today to file a complaint and find out if there was an investigation ongoing. “I’m sorry, I can’t help you on this,” a press representative said, declining to either confirm or deny whether the FBI was looking into the matter.
Energy has flagged in the hunt for the people behind MyBitcoin.com, the popular e-wallet service that disappeared with, according to them, 154,406 Bitcoins back in early August. After days of silence, a spokesman emerged for the site and a claims process was initiated to refund users 49 percent of their deposits, which in today’s prices shakes out to $861,755.
But that still leaves 78,747 BTC ($896,929 USD at today’s prices), which MyBitcoin’s spokesman says were taken by hackers, unaccounted for.
The Redwood City-headquartered ExchB, founded in May 2011, just started accepting cash and check payments via brick-and-mortar banks to speed up the sometimes-lengthy process of crediting an account with USD in order to buy BTC. “ExchB customers can walk up to any of over 15,000 locations nationwide and make a cash deposit at any Chase or Wells Fargo branch,” president David Sterry wrote last week. “Simply walk up to the teller, deposit your cash or check, and e-mail us an image of your receipt. Cash clears when we verify your e-mail and check deposits typically clear overnight.”
The popular Bitcoin transaction processor that disappeared from the internet about 10 days ago, taking at least tens of thousands of Bitcoins in user deposits with it, has been communicating via statements posted to the site. In essence: We screwed up. We were hacked. We have enough BTC to refund some of the lost Bitcoins, and then we’re done. “It appears to be human error combined with a misunderstanding of how Bitcoin secures transactions into the next block,” the most recent statement says by way of explanation.
Some members of the Bitcoin community suspect foul play (more about that later). But as promised, there is now a claims form for users who lost Bitcoins in the debacle: “Claims are manually reviewed and will be processed within 48 hours of being filed. This claim form will remain online for 30 days.”
And as of Saturday night, the historically-reticent MyBitcoin has a voice: “Tom Williams,” who stepped forward to field questions from the Bitcoin community via the #bitcoin-police channel on IRC, where he verified his association with the site by moving Bitcoins from the MyBitoin IP to a pre-specified address and providing the same encrypted signature that was used to sign the official statements posted on MyBitcoin.
After passing muster with the tech-savvy denizens of #bitcoin-police, a loosely-organized group of Bitcoin enthusiasts who investigate various issues in the Bitcoin community, Mr. Williams got down to tacks. “Listen: what did you think we did after the hack happened? We got shitfaced for many days. What would you do? Fuck.”